Causes of Brake Rattle
Worn brake pads
This is the most common cause of brake noise. While the noise may be annoying, it actually serves a purpose. This sound is made when the metal wear indicator on the brake pads comes into contact with the rotor due to insufficient brake pad material. When the wear indicator makes contact with the rotor, it squeaks to let you know that the brake pads need attention or replacement. Since brake pads aren’t as easy to visually inspect as motor oil or windshield wiper fluid, it’s important to pay attention to them when they begin to make the sound.
Weather or road conditions
Not all brake noises indicate brake wear. Rain, snow and humidity can also cause brakes to squeal. This is usually due to condensation collecting on the rotors. In this case, once the pads and rotors warm up, the noise won’t last long. To help mitigate weather-related squealing, park your car in a garage at night or store it in a climate-controlled area, such as an enclosed parking lot.
Likewise, if wet weather or road conditions cause brakes to squeal, the noise won’t last long.
“For the most part, your brakes shouldn’t make any noise,” says auto instructor Calvin Feist. He confirms that water, dust, gravel, sand and dirt can make some noise, “but that noise won’t last long.” If the sound persists, it’s time to see a professional.
Cheap parts and/or improper installation can cause parts to rub together in the wrong places and make squeaking or harsh noises. A common problem is improperly installed hardware that results in contact with rotating parts such as the rotor. This can result in a constant squealing sound.
To avoid this, make sure that brake installation and repairs are performed by trained professionals who have the experience and expertise to solve any problems.
Debris between the axle shingles and rotor
How can I prevent my brakes from rattling?
The first step is to determine the cause of the brake rattle. If the brake pads are worn, replacing them will eliminate the squealing. If there is debris stuck between the rotor and the brake pads, cleaning it out will make a big improvement. Applying a small amount of grease to brake hardware such as the slide pins will also help lubricate the contact points and reduce squealing. A professional can help determine the cause of squealing and recommend repairs if necessary.
Can I drive when my brakes squeal?
It depends on the cause of the squealing. Moisture and frequent use may cause a slight squeal. On the other hand, if the squealing comes on suddenly and seems to be getting worse, the brakes should be inspected as soon as possible to avoid costly damage from friction.
What can cause brake squealing when the brake pads are in good condition?
If the squealing isn’t caused by worn brake pads, it could be caused by something else. Lack of lubrication or debris trapped between the rotor and pads can cause squealing. If the brake components are not installed correctly, it could mean friction where there shouldn’t be any. A slight squeal in the early morning could even be caused by moisture that has built up on the rotors overnight. If it goes away after a few minutes on the road, there’s nothing to worry about.
When it comes to the most important safety features of your car, don’t forget to stop, look and listen! Regularly turning down the volume on your car radio will also allow you to hear if your brakes are making harsh noises.