Why are my car brakes squeaking?

A car dramatically screeching to a halt is a token of any comedy car chase, but brakes aren't actually meant to squeak. A screeching brake is likely to be a symptom of a greater issue, such as worn brake pads or an overloaded car. Find out why brakes squeak and what to do if yours squeak below.

What causes brakes to squeak?

Brake pads

Most cases of squeaking brakes come from worn down brake pads. As brakes are applied, a thin layer of metal is shaved off the pads - over time, these pads become thinner and thinner, causing them to wear out. The squeaking comes from the thin layer of metal dragging along the metal of the brake disc. This is more common in older cars where the brakes have been subject to general wear and tear for a long time.

Another tell tale sign of worn brake pads is less sensitive brakes - if you find yourself slamming down on the brakes for a gradual stop, it might be time to replace those pads.


You may notice your brakes being particularly noisy in the mornings. This is because overnight, moisture can settle around the brake pads, which creates a very slim layer of rust. Although this sounds concerning, as soon as you apply the brakes, the rust should come off and the moisture should be expelled.

Heavy braking

Braking hard is often a cause of excessive brake pad wear. Although sometimes unavoidable, you should make a conscious effort to apply your brakes gradually - make sure you leave an appropriate distance between you and the car in front and remain within the speed limit.

Heavy loads

It takes a lot more energy to reduce the speed of your vehicle if it's carrying a lot of weight - hence why a fully loaded car can put more pressure on your brakes. As more pressure is put on your brakes, they heat up making the screeching sound worse. If heavy loads are causing your noisy brakes, there's likely nothing to worry about - the noise is often worse than the problem. However, we recommend booking a FREE brake check.

What should I do if my brakes are squeaking?

If you notice your brakes screeching, it is important to get your car checked straight away. At Setyres, we offer a FREE brake check! Bring your car in to your local Setyres garage or contact us and we'll let you know if anything needs changing.

Posted on: 08/09/2021

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