Posted under Car Brakes

Oh, the noise can drive you crazy! If you’re one of the unfortunate drivers who hears a high-pitched squeak every time you hit the brakes, you don’t have to ask, “What noise?” You know! When your brakes are making noise, they may get so loud you suffer the stares of other drivers when you stop at a light. (How embarrassing!)

Clearly, something is wrong, and it may be more than just an annoyance. The brakes are your car’s most important safety feature, so when they make noise, a sound course of action is to have your vehicle checked by a trained technician. While it’s usually recommended that brakes be inspected every 12 months or 12,000 miles (see your owner’s manual for your car’s service schedule), you shouldn’t wait until your routine maintenance check to find out why brakes squeak when stopping.

Possible Source of Squeaking Brakes

If your brakes are squeaking, there can be several potential causes, including:

Worn-Out Pads
This is the most common cause. Most brake pads have wear indicators designed to produce a high-pitched squeal. While it’s not music to your ears, this squealing serves as an audible warning that your brakes need service. 

Contamination and Debris
Rust, brake fluid, and grease can all find their way into the brake’s discs and drums. Also, road debris, such as mud, sand, and leaves, can get stuck between the pad and the rotor surface. This can occur in various driving conditions or if your vehicle sits for a long period of time.

Misassembled Brake Components
Your braking system depends on all the vital parts working together. However, if the parts are improperly installed, they can rub against other components and cause noise. For example, maybe the brake caliper wasn’t tightened down properly, potentially allowing the brake pad’s edge to contact the rotor. This uneven contact may result in a squeaking or scraping noise each time you apply your brakes.

Lack of Lubrication
Another possible cause of the squeaking could be inadequate lubrication at the points where the brake shoes meet their attachment plate. These dry or non-lubricated braking components can grind/squeak and make themselves heard.

Too much moisture can cause intermittent brake noise, just like dryness. If your vehicle has been exposed to rain, snow, or high humidity overnight, moisture can set in on your brakes, building up a thin layer of rust. This effect can lead to a grinding or squeaking noise when first applying your brakes. 

How to Fix Squeaky Brakes

Each squeak or grind isn’t necessarily a big problem. Here are some troubleshooting tips that may help quiet things down:

  • Check to see if you picked up debris/contaminants along the way. If so, clean the rotor surfaces and brake pads.
  • Is there rust on the rotors? That's common if you park outdoors overnight. Typically, as you drive throughout the day, the brake pads will scrape the rust off, and the squeak will stop.

Even if you think you fixed the problem, consider having your brakes checked by a professional. After all, the braking system is essential to your safety and the safety of everyone you meet on the road!

Count on Jiffy Lube to Help Keep Your Stopping Smooth and Safe

Remember, if you hear squealing or grinding brakes, it’s a good idea to have them checked promptly. Your timely response will not only help keep you safe, but it could also save you money. When you run into this problem, take your vehicle to your local Jiffy Lube®. Here’s what you can expect when you bring your car, truck, SUV, or minivan to Jiffy Lube for brake service:

  • A trained technician performs a complete visual inspection of the brakes (wheels on)
  • A more thorough brake inspection is conducted if a tire rotation is performed 
  • The technician will explain the results and answer any questions you may have
  • In some cases, a more comprehensive inspection may be recommended
  • Service options will be presented in writing (and service will not be performed without your prior approval)
  • If a brake service is performed, your vehicle will be test-driven before and after the service


NOTE: Not all services are offered at all Jiffy Lube service centers. Please call ahead or check to ensure the service is available at the Jiffy Lube location near you.