Squeaky brake pedal — causes and fixes
Most people pay attention to their vehicle’s fuel economy and performance than other components such as the steering wheel or brake.
In cars, a squeaky sound from your brake pedal is enough to cause worry. But what does a squeaky brake pedal entail? A squeaky brake pedal can be a simple issue like ordinary vibrations or dirt; or a severe problem like worn brake pads and brake rotors or too much brake dust. You might also encounter squeaking noise while driving.
This article will show you what causes your gas pedals to squeak and how to fix them. We also address the use of WD40 and brake cleaners for brake pads and rotors and also tell why brakes squeak at low speed.
How do you fix a squeaky brake pedal?
To know how to fix a squeaky brake, you must first understand why the brake is squeaking before you implement a solution. Below are ways you can fix a squeaky brake pedal:
Lubricate brake pedal joints
Not enough lubrication in your car’s pedal joints will cause your brake pedal to squeak as there’s direct contact between the metal. The simple solution is to identify the exact area where the squeaking happens and lubricate it.
Brake cleaning agents can substitute for a quick fix in an emergency where the proper lubrication is unavailable. Better still, you can use white lithium grease for a more prolonged effect than the cleaning agents.
Replace worn brake pads
Like other parts in a car, brake pads are subject to wear, and worn brake pads give off a squeaky sound. It would be best if you endeavor to replace worn brake pads as soon as you notice them, as ignoring them can lead to brake failure. Replacing them after every 10,000 to 20,000 miles is ideal for safety.
It is important to note that worn brake pads should not be managed, and their replacement should be part of a maintenance routine.
Replace or resurface uneven brake rotors
Over time, brake rotors also wear out and develop defects to the point where new brake pads can’t match their shape. It would help if you replace your brake rotors or resurface them depending on their age and usage. Ideally, you should replace them after 50,000 to 70,000 miles.
Use a cleaning agent
Frequent driving in a rainstorm can cause your car’s brakes to get wet, and the moisture causes the brake rotors (made of cast iron) to rust. When caught in your brake pads, the rust particles cause them to squeak. After a few hard stops or the use of a cleaning agent, the squeaks should stop.
Park your car in a garage
Parking your car in a garage with protection from the elements will reduce the number of squeaky sounds you get from your brake pedals. However, parking your vehicle outside can have a foreign object like a pine cone find its way to the brake rotor from a light wind.
Foreign objects such as the pine cone will cause the brake pedal to squeak while it attempts to scrape the pine cone out of the brake system. The brake pedal will give off the right sound after the impurity is gone.
Driving on unpaved roads can also cause dirt particles to collect around the rotors. The squeaking of this scenario indicates the brake pads are scraping the dirt off and is not a cause for worry.
The problem is only more severe than dirt if you still hear squeaking after some hard stops. Cleaning the rotors manually should get rid of this problem.
Change fatigued brake lines
Brake lines are flexible hoses fitted to a hydraulic brake system. They improve brake system longevity. Over time, they weaken due to fluid pressure.
The brake pedal gives off a squeak when your brake line is tired. You must change brake lines after every 100,000 miles.
Clean dirty drum brakes
Brakes accumulate dirt over time. The dirt is usually a byproduct of friction between the drums and slackened shoes.
Dirt compromises the drum’s function. Whenever the drum turns, the brake pedal will give off a squeak due to the obstacles in the way. An effortless way to deal with this problem is to take off the wheel and give a thud to the deceleration unit to clean the drum.
Will WD40 fix squeaky brakes?
Using the WD40 for cleaning purposes is acceptable, but using it as a fix for squeaky brakes is not advisable. WD40 is a lubricant suitable for home use. It is a fast-drying, powerful spray that dissolves dust, grease, and oil from car brakes and other moving parts.
The WD40 has a composition of light petroleum oil mixed in a solvent. Upon application, the solvent evaporates, leaving the brakes clean, and the oil remains as a light film.
While you can use WD40 to put the squeaky sound from your brakes on hold, it is a temporary solution and not too applicable. Using the WD40 for a brake problem arising from anything other than dirt will only worsen the situation and endanger your life.
WD40 will only clean the area it is applied to and stop the squeaking noise momentarily. The damage that is going on will continue and become worse with time.
Do brake cleaners stop squeaking?
Yes, brake cleaners can stop squeaking. However, the effect depends on the reason for the squeaking. If it’s only dirt build-up and a bit of rust, a brake cleaner would be the perfect solution.
When the squeaking noise stems from problems like wear, and uneven brake rotors, using a brake cleaner only removes the noise. Before using a brake cleaner to address your brake squeaks, ensure the problem does not run beyond the dirt.
Why do brakes squeak when pads are good?
Brakes can squeak when pads are reasonable, depending on where you park them and what roads you use them on. Drivers who park their cars outside will experience more squeaking brakes than those who park their vehicles in a garage.
The reason for this lies in the morning dew and other elements like dirt which can get into the brake area. When you start your car in the morning, the brake pads will scrap off these unwanted elements, giving off a scraping sound.
Another cause of good brake pads squeaking is the material used to make them. Following the additional weight safety features and upgrades features in modern cars, the brake pads’ materials have also been upgraded. Metallic and ceramic materials are now preferred materials used to make brake pads.
Metal and ceramic brake pads slow down heavier vehicles but give off more noise when braking. Occasional squeaks while using such brakes should not be a problem unless the squeak gets more intense than it should.
Why are my brakes squeaking at a low speed?
At low speeds, brakes squeaking may not be a cause for concern. Instead, high-frequency vibrations of the brake pad against the rotating disc can cause a squeak. The vibration is a result of the friction generated by the pad as the caliper clamps them against the rotating disc.
The shims and high-temperature grease between the brake caliper and pads dampen most of the vibration. However, temperature, humidity, road conditions, and brake pad material affect the vibration level. If your vehicle has this issue, the squeaking noise should be heard throughout your ride till the engine goes off.
Before you conclude that your brake’s squeaks are caused solely by the vibrations, first check if the sound has another origin attached to the vibrations. If there is no other cause, time will eliminate the squeaks. Driving the vehicle until the brake pads become “soft” will cause vibrations to cease partially and wholly.
Can brake dust cause squeak?
Brake dust is a naturally occurring phenomenon and is hard to remove. The dark-colored residue accumulates on a car’s wheels, and it is a byproduct of normal brake operation and is not dangerous. When brake pads and rotors press together, brake dust is created.
The material from which a brake pad is made also determines how much brake dust you will encounter. Semi-metallic pads create the most dust, while ceramic pads give off less dust than other brake pad materials. The brake dust from ceramic pads was also less offensive as they have a lighter color.
Brake dust on its own does not cause squeaky brakes. However, without checks, it can build up to the point where the brake pads have to scrap it off every time the vehicle starts. It is not a serious problem, though.
To prevent such scenarios, washing a car’s wheels should be part of a car wash routine. Also, replacing your brake pads with one that produces less brake dust is very effective.
A squeaky brake pedal might be a simple issue or have a severe problem lurking around. It could be a little dirt or extensive wear on the brake pads and rotors.
Whatever the problem is, ensure you go for the solution that will last for a long time. Avoid going for results that only mask the pain and soothe for a short while (like using WD40). Above all, your brakes are your insurance; treat them with utmost care.