Cars can be noisy in a variety of ways, but when a new or unexpected sound pops up, it usually means something is wrong, and you shouldn’t ignore it. You especially should be paying attention if your brakes are making noise. Your brakes are one of the most important parts of your car, and you absolutely don’t want to be caught out with a serious issue while you’re on the road.
Here are five common car brake noises you might hear when braking, and what they might indicate:
Just the word can send a shiver down your spine. If you’re hearing/feeling a grinding sound when you apply your brakes, this likely means that your brake pads have worn down so much that they’re now metal on metal. Ideally, you should have the brake pads replaced before they get to this point, but if they do, you need to get them seen to immediately. Not only is it very dangerous, but the more you use your brakes like this, the higher your eventual repair bill will climb.
This is one of the most common sounds you’ll hear from your brakes – and so will everyone around you! Squeaking brakes are often caused by cheap and nasty brake pads, or by the brake wear indicator dragging along the rotor. Either way, squeaking is a good indicator that it’s time to change your brake pads (make sure the new ones are good quality and installed by a reputable mechanic). Beware of companies offering very cheap brake repairs. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Thumping from the rear
The sound of thumping from the rear of the vehicle can indicate a problem with the rear brake drums. It may be that the drum has developed a small groove, causing the thumping sound as the brakes are applied. This can be fixed by either replacing the drum or machining it (as rotors are machined) smooth.
- Thumping/squealing from front
This car brake noise can be caused by rusted brake rotors, which is a common issue for cars parked outdoors overnight.
This one might test your ears. It sounds similar to grinding, but if your brake pads are of good quality and recently replaced, there’s a good chance you have some dirt or a small stone stuck behind the rotor. It’s especially likely if you’ve been driving off unsealed or recently repaired/resealed roads where you’re kicking up gravel. It’s a terrible sound, but easy to fix.
If your brakes are noisy or not working as well as they should be (for example, taking longer to stop), make sure you put your safety first and get in touch with the friendly team at Northside Automotive for an assessment.
Until next time, safe driving!