Find a Location Repair Estimator Specials Preventive Maintenance Financing Nationwide Warranty Features & Benefits Contact Us Join Our Talent Network


Why Are My Brakes Squeaking?


Sometimes brakes just squeak.

To stop a car, metal is coming in contact with metal and squeaking can be a side effect of that. A lot of new cars are using harder materials for brake pads that can cause a squeak, especially when you first apply the brakes while driving. Dusty, sandy or humid driving conditions can also cause brakes to squeak. But it is always a good idea to have your brakes checked out if they are squeaking. Especially if the noise is loud and occurs every time you apply the brakes.

So what exactly causes squeaking in brakes?

There are two types of brakes used in modern automobiles. Disc brakes and drum brakes. Larger trucks and vehicles may use air brakes, but for now we’ll focus on the two found on more common vehicles.

Today most vehicles have disc brakes in front and in back. Disc brakes work by using a caliper that squeezes a brake pad against a disc called a rotor. The friction causes the wheels to stop and ultimately the automobile. The friction between brake shoes and the rotors causes them to break down overtime and the noise they create is caused by a harder metal in the shoes rubbing against the rotor. This is there on purpose to let you know it’s time to change your shoes, and more than likely the rotors. Shoes and rotors need to be replaced anywhere between 15,000 and 70,000 miles depending on a number of factors.

Drum brakes work in the same way as disc brakes, however the shoes are pressing against a drum instead of a disc.

Many cars will have disc brakes in front and drum brakes in the rear. The shoes and rotors in drum brakes also need to be replaced regularly, however they contain more moving parts and typically take more time for an automotive technician to work on.

Many technicians recommend replacing shoes and rotors at the same time. This is because the grooves that may be rubbed into the rotors with wear out new shoes quicker. If you’re not replacing the rotors is a good idea to have it resurfaced. This is a process of smoothing down the rotor to extend the life of the shoes and make better contact. Also you should replace rotors at the same time to maintain even braking.

If your brakes start squeaking, don’t panic. But you should schedule a visit to your local NAPA AutoCare center soon and they can let you know if it’s time for brake repairs, or time to turn up the radio.

Posted July 27th, 2017

Find a Location

Find A Participating Location

Find your nearest NAPA AutoCare Center

Click here for