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Quiet Those Squeeling Brakes
Quiet Those Squeeling Brakes
Squealing, squawking and squeaking brakes can not only be annoying, these noises can indicate potentially dangerous problems with your braking system. There are several reasons why brakes can be heard. Problems include worn out brake pads and shoes, the wrong pads have been installed or pads are glazed. Other reasons for squeals and squawks are warped or glazed brake rotors, misaligned or loose calipers, loose wheel bearings, or sticky pistons. If you hear clunks, metal-to-metal screeches or the brake pedal vibrates, you should check out the braking system immediately. The braking system is the most critical system on any vehicle.
The first step in silencing noisy brakes is to do a complete inspection of the braking system to identify the source of the problem. Look for excessively thin brake pads or shoes, scored or warped rotors and drums, brake fluid leaks and oil or grease on pads and shoes. Make sure pads and shoes have not worn down to the metal backing plate. If you do not catch the problem in time, rotors and drums can be grooved to the point they cannot be turned and will have to be replaced, usually an expensive proposition. Look for rust or corrosion that can prevent proper functioning such as a piston sticking in its cylinder. Check pads and shoes for equal side-to-side wear to determine if a piston might be sticking leading to unequal wear. If such an inspection and subsequent repairs are beyond your capabilities, take the vehicle to a qualified brake specialist.
Often the braking system checks out okay, but squealing persists. While probably not affecting braking safety and effectiveness, the noise can be irritating. If the squeal comes just as you about to come to a complete stop, often the reason is a brake pad that is vibrating against the rotor or caliper.
One solution here is to install vibration dampers. These are made of a self-stick fiber material which adheres to the back of the brake pad backing plate. Some damper designs are have a mushroom shaped button spring in the center that fits snuggly into the piston head. The fiber disk adheres to the backing plate of the pad to damp brake pad vibration while the mushroom button helps pull the pad away from the rotor as the piston retracts when the brake action ceases. This results in greater clearance between pad and piston that should eliminate vibration and squeal, but not always.
Another solution is to coat the back of the brake pads with an anti-squeal compound, a thick heat-resistant polymer adhesive applied to the back of the pad to provide a cushion between the pad and piston as well as help the pad retract with the piston. This material comes as an aerosol spray or as a liquid. Coat only the area that contacts the piston, making sure that it does not get onto the front, contact area of the pad or rotor, which would have the same effect as waxing your brakes. A good idea is to use both vibration dampe...
The Importance of Brake Performance
By Tom Torbjornsen
Your vehicle carries some pretty valuable cargo. Let's talk about a major safety aspect of your car -- the braking system. Being "out of sight, out of mind," the braking system on most people's cars go unnoticed, until a problem crops up. What are the most common signs of brake failure?
When Brakes Talk, Drivers Should Listen
Home » Articles » Maintenance » Brakes » When Brakes Talk, Drivers Should Listen
When Brakes Talk, Drivers Should Listen
When it comes to driving safely, it’s easy to take your vehicle’s ability to stop for granted �' until you really need it.
According to brake expert Akebono, your brakes often reveal possible serious situations when they make noise, pull, judder �' another term for vibrate �' or feel soft. Addressing these symptoms promptly enhances your safety and may save time and money in the long run.
Brake Squealing and Groaning
Squealing noises soon after a brake job may indicate there is a problem. You should return to the shop where the work was done as soon as possible, to have the brakes checked out by a technician. Installing premium brake pads, calipers and rotors may cost a bit more up front, but often provides noise- and vibration-free operation and longer pad life.
In some instances, however, brake squealing simply indicates the pads are worn down and those squeaking wear indicators are doing their job.
The abrasive nature of many traditional brake pads against the rotor may also cause squealing. Low quality rotors could be the noise culprit, as well. Neither of these situations is ideal, but the resulting noise is more annoying than anything else.
Groaning noises also can be caused by low quality or abrasive brake pads. Squealing and groaning can both be minimized by installing premium brake system components. Have your installer use the same type of pad fitted as original equipment or an upgrade pad. Ultra-premium ceramic pads are now available for virtually all domestic, Japanese and European models.
Pulling and Judder
When your brakes are applied and the vehicle pulls to one side, low tire pressure may be at fault. But, it can also mean a brake caliper is sticking, leaking or not sliding properly due to corrosion. This can lead to uneven brake pad and rotor wear, reducing the life of the pads and causing steering wheel judder or vibration.
The rotor may be able to be machined smooth, but this is not a long-term fix. A corroded caliper or rotor may need to be replaced. A trained technician can assess the situation and fix it right the first time.
When air or water gets into the brake system, you may experience a soft-pedal feel. Improper bleeding and general corrosion are typically the culprits. Air in the system forces you to push harder on the brake pedal than no...