Brake Noises That Indicate Your Car Needs Attention

Brake Noises That Indicate Your Car Needs Attention

Since you rely on your car brakes to stop your car and avoid accidents, it can be disconcerting when you hear them making strange noises. Properly working car brakes make little noise. If you hear something strange when you apply the car brakes, then it’s important to determine and fix the problem as soon as possible. Usually, brake noises fall into three different categories with some being more severe than others. Here is a list of those three types of noises from the least to most severe.

Brake Squeaking/Squealing

There are several causes of squeaking and squealing, and not all of them mean that you have an emergency. One common cause is that your front disc brake pads are worn down to a critical point and will need replacement brake pads soon. If you ignore this warning sign, then you may end up with damaged rotors or worse. However, squeaking and squealing can also mean something more benign such as moisture, dirt and mud contamination. If the noise is coming from the brake drums, then it could mean you are getting brake dust trapped inside the brake drum from poorly manufactured brake shoes. Excessive dust can also be a problem with front disc brakes, to a lesser extent, and it’s something that high-performance car brake pads or shoes can mitigate.

Brake Clunking Noises

Clunking noises while braking is not always related to the brakes. Worn suspension parts, such as bushings and ball joints, also make noises when braking. It could also mean that your wheel lug nuts are loose are broken. Sometimes, these sounds mean there is something broken or loose on the brake system. You can have a caliper bolt that needs tightening, or one of the brake pad clips or springs has failed or become broken. Since clunking involve loose and possibly broken components, it’s important to check them out as soon as possible to reduce the chance of brake failure and further damage.

Brake Grinding

Grinding is a classic sign that the all the warning signs have been ignored. Most people begin to hear grinding after a period of squealing or clunking. When you start to hear grinding noises, it means that brake components are getting damaged. Letting your car brake pads and shoes wear down too much means that they will wear down to the point where their metal parts contact the rotors and drums. There, they create grooves that may be too deep to “turn” or polish out, and you will need to get new drums and rotors which are much more costly. Another, less common, reason for grinding is that a rock or other debris is stuck inside the car brake drum or caliper, and this can cause damage.

Your brakes are important components, and any problems with them should not be ignored. Anytime your car brakes do not sound right, you should check them out or have them checked out at a garage. When you are installing new car brakes, make sure you use the best car brake pads available to reduce dust and noise. That way, you will have peace of mind and save money in the long run.

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About The Author


Auto Parts Guru is an automotive industry expert with over 30 years of experience as a technician, writer, and educator. Auto Parts Guru helped establish AutoPartsU and is a regular contributor to its Technical Advice articles.

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