When a vehicle's brakes squeal and screech when being used, it can often distract the driver enough to carry out some checks to address the problem. These checks can be done by anyone, even those with little DIY experience. Keep the vehicle book close by if you need help identifying certain parts of the vehicle. This article looks at a few checks to carry out to eliminate squealing brakes.
Check if the Wheel Wobbles
With the vehicle safely elevated and the tire off, you can access the brake system itself. Before you do anything, grab hold of the circular disc and the caliper and gently move them to make sure that they are tight. Any movement indicates looseness; this can cause vibration when in use, creating the noise. Tighten any loose nuts to make the brakes more stable.
Inspect Clips & Shims
As the pad sits in the caliper assembly, it should not move. If, however, one of the clips has been damaged, the pad may be able to move. This will cause a screeching noise when the brakes are used. Check the condition of the caliper's clips and shims to make sure they are doing their job of holding things in place.
Change to a Better Pad
Changing to a better pad may take a little trial and error. There are three basic kinds of brake pads:
- Metallic pad: Metallic pads offer the best performance, but are probably the loudest in terms of squealing. The pad uses a mixture of different metals to provide the most friction to work against the rotor, providing stopping power.
- Semi-metallic pad: Semi-metallic pads are a good compromise, using some metals and some organic materials to effectively stop the vehicle without causing much noise.
- Organic pad: Organic pads are certainly quieter, but generally perform less well than full metallic pad.
Experiment with the pads so that you learn which type is best for you.
Rub in Some Dampening Paste
Dampening pastes can be purchased from hardware and DIY stores. The paste is usually spread in between the caliper assembly unit and the actual pad itself. A thin layer is worked in and left overnight to dry. If you are in a hurry, you can dry the paste with a light or a hair drier. The hardened paste forms a cushion and helps reduce the noise coming from the brakes.
With a little investigatory work and a few simple fixes, squeaky brakes can be corrected and eliminated from your vehicle. Contact local brake services for more help or tips.