Why Do Car Brakes Squeak?

Written by jason medina
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Squeaky brakes are a common occurrence that can be a sign of brake-system dysfunction. Although a certain amount of brake noise is considered normal, excessive squeaking or squealing is often a red flag indicating that a brake system needs to be evaluated.

Brake Dust

Brake dust is a major cause of squeaky brakes. When brake pads wear, small particles flake off and lodge between the brake pads and the spinning brake rotors. The excessive vibration and slippage can cause a squeaking sound.

Worn Brake Pads

Worn brake pads cause brakes to squeak if they wear down to the point of exposing the brake-pad wear indicators. These indicators are small, thin strips of metal embedded in the brake pads that cause brakes to squeak when they contact the spinning brake rotors.

Excessive Brake-Pad Vibration

Although a small amount of brake-pad vibration is normal during vehicle braking, excessive brake-pad vibration can cause uneven, disjointed contact between the brake pads and the spinning brake rotors, resulting in squeaking.

Worn, Pitted Brake Rotors

Worn, pitted brake rotors are a prime cause of squeaky brakes. As brake pads act against the spinning rotors, any irregularities in the brake rotors can cause disjointed, uneven contact, which can cause squeaky brakes.

Warped Brake Rotors

Brake rotors that lose their round shape and become warped and/or bent can cause squeaky brakes. Warped brake rotors create misalignment between the brake pads and the rotors, causing uneven and irregular contact and squeaky brakes.


Noisy brakes should always be evaluated and checked to rule out any serious brake problems. Although brake noise is not always a sign of brake system dysfunction, it is always better to err on the side of caution.

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