11 Apr, 2018
WHY ARE MY BRAKES MAKING NOISES
Noisy brakes are a common automotive annoyance, but should you be concerned? While the noise can be annoying, it might be alerting you to a deeper mechanical issue that will need repaired. So, yes, noisy brakes are worth taking a closer look at. No need to worry – we’ve got you covered with the answers. Here are some common reasons why your brakes are making some interesting sounds.
Hearing a grinding noise when you hit the brakes is similar to hitting a rumble strip on the highway; it’s a sign that you need to pay attention, and in this case, stop driving. A grinding noise like this is usually caused by a lack of brake pads, meaning that yours have likely worn down to nothing. In this case, your pads and rotors are working metal to metal, which is really bad for your vehicle.
This problem is especially annoying – the noise will drive you nuts if you can’t drown it out! Many cars have drum brakes in the back, where a shoe stops/slows down the car by pressing on the inside of a metal drum. These drums get resurfaced once in a while, similar to rotors. During the process, a new groove in the brake drum will appear and when the brake shoes ride on it, they will follow it. This is similar to how a needle follows a track on a record player. If this groove is interrupted, the shoes will snap back and hit the backing plate, causing that thumping noise.
The most common causes of squeaky brakes are low-quality or worn-down brake pads. Cheap pads have metal flakes in the material, which can be dragged along the rotor when you press on the brake, creating the squeaking noise. The best way to avoid this issue is to invest in quality brake pads. Cheap ones are tempting, but you’ll end up regretting it once the pads wear down and start affecting your rotors. You can ask your mechanic for recommendations on quality pads – they would know best, after all.
If your car makes a scraping noise when you’re driving or turning a corner and it sounds like something being dragged across a thin metal plate, you probably picked up a rock and lodged it between your rotor and backing plate. Even if you haven’t been on dirt roads in a while, you can pick up rocks from hitting potholes. If you think this has happened, simply have the rock removed and go on your way. Sometimes noisy brakes are nothing to fear. Other times they’re a wake-up call. Before you panic, take a break to inspect your breaks. If you’ve done your research and still can’t figure out the cause, always work on the side of caution and take your vehicle to an experienced mechanic. Here’s to smooth, and less noisy, cruising.