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3 reasons why my brakes are squealing while driving in Fairfax, VA

December 15, 2020

3 reasons why my brakes are squealing while driving in Fairfax, VA

It isn’t unusual for brakes to make squealing, squeaking, or otherwise high-pitched sounds on occasion while driving in Fairfax, VA. For instance, if you hear a squealing sound when you first drive your car in the morning, particularly after rain or snow, it is likely just surface rust being scraped off the rotors by the brake pad. If the squealing sound goes away after applying the brakes a few times, you probably don’t have anything to be concerned about. 
However, if the noise persists most times or every time you apply the brakes, or you hear squeals continuously while you’re driving, you may have a problem. In this blog we will go over the possible causes for these problems and the best way to resolve them.

Let’s start off by watching this informative video to understand how your brakes work and what might be causing them to squeal, squeak or screech:

In summary, here are the top 3 reasons why your brakes are squealing while driving in Fairfax, VA:

1) You Need New Brake Pads – A high pitched squealing sound that occurs the entire time you are driving, not just when you apply the brakes, is almost always a sign that you need new brake pads. 

Most brake pads have small metal tabs built into them and once the brake pad gets worn down, it makes contact with the rotor to purposefully make a squealing sound. Once this occurs, it’s important to get your brake pads replaced. 

Ignoring this warning could cause more expensive problems such as caliper replacement.

an image of car brake pad

2) Your Rotors Are Warped – A rotor can be unevenly worn down by the brake pads, which causes them to warp. This stops the brake pads from pressing against the rotor in a smooth manner. 

Warped rotors can be caused by multiple things. Here are a few common reasons:

  • Sudden braking: If you were forced to brake suddenly while going at a high speed, the friction could have caused a level of heat on the rotor great enough to cause the rotor to warp.
  • Constant braking: If you constantly drive in stop and go traffic, the buildup in heat can also cause the rotor to become warped.
  • Excessive use of brake pads: Meaning, the brake pads weren’t changed when they should have been and metal on metal friction was allowed to happen. 

Depending on the age and condition of your rotors, you may not need to replace them. Instead they might just need to be “turned” on a special machine that grinds down the outer warped layer of the metal to make the surface smooth and even again.

3) Your Brake Pads Were Improperly Installed – Loose pads that haven’t been mounted properly will vibrate and fail to make proper contact with the rotor. The shims that hold them in place may also be improperly tightened or even corroded, and that will cause noise and reduction in performance as well.

an image showing improperly installed brake pads

The bottom line is that there’s several causes for brake squealing, which would be difficult for the average driver to inspect and diagnose on their own. The most important thing to remember is that if the brake squealing is continuous, you need to visit a professional, like ABS Unlimited. 

If you are concerned about your brakes squealing, we welcome you to visit us for a free brake inspection. Click Here To Schedule An Appointment