Freshly installed brake pads seem like they should stop your vehicle nice and quietly – so why do new brakes sometimes emit loud, embarrassing squealing or squeaking noises? This frustrating issue is more widespread than you may think, perplexing drivers everywhere who just had their brakes serviced or replaced. But fortunately, in most cases, squeaky new brakes can be remedied quickly at home or by your technician once you understand the root causes.
So let’s dive into the main culprits behind noisy new brake pads and actionable tips to stop squeaks, squeals and chirps in their tracks – for good.
Table of Contents
What Causes Brand New Brakes to Squeal?
Several common factors can cause freshly replaced brake pads to emit high-pitched squealing or chirping noises when you depress the brake pedal:
Improper Bedding of New Brake Pads
Proper bedding or break-in of new brake pads is absolutely critical to ensuring quiet operation and maximum performance. Most professional mechanics will recommend you drive conservatively and avoid hard braking for the first 100-200 miles after new pads are installed. This allows the fresh pad material to transfer evenly across the rotor surfaces through gradual buildup. Skipping this important pad bedding process can lead to uneven material transfer and cause annoying vibrations between the pads and rotors as you brake – resulting in squealing or chirping noises.
Glazing of the Brake Pads
Aggressive braking with new pads before they are properly bedded can generate excessive heat and cause the pads to become ‘glazed’ or glassy smooth. This glazing prevents the brake pads from gripping the rotor surfaces properly. When you apply the brakes, the super slippery glazed pads fail to grip the rotors adequately and begin vibrating against them – causing the distinctive high-pitched squeal or chirp.
Low Quality Brake Pads
Cheap, low-quality brake pads can be more prone to noise issues even after the recommended bedding period. Inferior pads may lack proper insulation, shims, chamfers or slots. Or the pad material and design itself generates more vibration against the rotor. For consistently quiet operation, using higher quality brake pads from reputable brands is wise.
Contamination of Brake Parts
Oil, grease, road dirt, salt, mud and other contaminants on the brake rotors, calipers or related hardware can significantly alter the delicate coefficient of friction between the pads and rotors. This contamination leads to changes in grip that allow the pads to vibrate against the spinning rotors when braking – emitting a high-pitched squeal, especially with new pads.
So in summary, the main factors that cause pesky squealing with new brake pads are: inadequate bedding, overheated glazing, low-grade pads, and contamination of components.
How To Stop Squeaky New Brakes in 4 Simple Steps?
Luckily, it’s typically easy to get rid of annoying new brake squeal with the following simple 4-step process:
1. Bed-In Your New Brake Pads Properly
As mentioned before, taking the time to properly bed-in or break-in your new brake pads is one of the best ways to prevent noise issues down the road. Work up gradually to harder braking over the first 100-200 miles in normal driving conditions to allow the pad material to transfer evenly across the rotors. Avoid any aggressive or heavy braking during the initial bedding period, as this can overheat the new pads and cause glazing. Patience pays off with smoother, quieter braking.
2. Clean the Brake Rotors and Assembly Thoroughly
Take time to thoroughly clean the brake rotors, calipers, backing plates and related hardware using brake cleaner spray and a lint-free cloth. Be sure to remove any traces of old dirt, oil, grease, road salt or other contaminants from the rotors and brake assembly components. Tiny amounts of debris can Alter friction levels and cause new pads to vibrate and squeal.
3. Apply High-Temp Brake Lubricant to Contact Points
Use a high-quality high-temperature brake lubricant paste to lightly coat any caliper sliding pins, bracket contact points, pad abutments and other areas where metal brake components meet. This lubrication prevents sticking and binding that can cause uneven pad wear – another culprit of brake squeal. The lubricant paste ensures smooth, quiet braking.
4. Upgrade to Higher-End Brake Pads
While more costly, stepping up to a quality premium brake pad can make a big difference in preventing noise issues. Better materials, chamfers, insulators, shims, and other noise-reducing technologies allow premium pads to maintain consistent friction and avoid vibrations. This delivers smoother, quieter braking performance.
By properly bedding-in new pads, keeping parts clean, lubricating contact points, and upgrading pad quality, you can eliminate the vast majority of new brake squeal issues through this simple 4-step process.
Common Brake Noises Explained
Understanding the type of sound your brakes are making can help diagnose the root cause. Here are some of the most common brake noise troubleshooting tips:
- High-Pitched Squeal or Chirp – Signals excessive vibration of pads against rotor due to glazing, poor bedding, or contamination.
- Low Growl or Grinding – Indicates worn pads close to the end of their service life as metal backing plate makes contact with rotor.
- Thumping or Clunking – Points to mechanical issues like loose calipers or damaged shocks/struts.
- Scraping or Scrubbing – Metal on metal contact from worn pads damaging rotors – immediate repair needed.
Step-By-Step DIY Guide: How To Fix Squeaky New Brakes
If you want to remedy annoying new brake squeal yourself at home, follow this detailed step-by-step tutorial:
Things You’ll Need
- Brake cleaner spray + cloths
- High-temp brake lubricant
- Wheel chocks
- Jack and jack stands
- Torque wrench
- Gloves, glasses
Step 1 – Bed-In Pads
Drive for ~100-200 miles avoiding hard braking to begin gently bedding pads.
Step 2 – Jack Up Vehicle & Remove Wheels
Use jack stands for safety. Remove front wheels first.
Step 3 – Clean Brake Parts
Use brake cleaner and cloths to wipe rotors, calipers, backing plates.
Step 4 – Lubricate Contact Points
Apply high-temp brake lubricant to pins, abutments, etc.
Step 5 – Reinstall Wheels & Lower Vehicle
Torque lug nuts to spec with torque wrench.
Step 6 – Road Test
Normal driving to finish bedding pads. Check for noise!
Be patient, take your time, and remember safety first! This straightforward DIY process can remedy your squeaky new brakes and restore smooth, quiet operation.
When To Seek Professional Brake Service
While the above tips work great for minor squealing issues with new brakes, there are times when it’s wise to have your brakes checked out by a professional technician:
- Grinding or scraping sounds signal pads/rotors may be dangerously worn and require replacement
- Pulling in one direction when braking could indicate a stuck caliper that needs servicing
- Any brake pedal vibration or pulsation points to a warped rotor that should be machined or replaced
- Ongoing squealing even after DIY fixes – a mechanic can diagnose and recommend next steps
If you are ever unsure about the cause of any brake noise or notice any change in braking performance, don’t hesitate to visit a trusted professional like your local Midas service center. The brake experts can quickly get your brakes back to operating safely and quietly.
FAQs: New Brake Squeal Troubleshooting
Let’s go over answers to some frequently asked questions about fixing squeaky new brakes:
Should new brakes squeak?
New brake pads will often emit some minor squealing as they bed-in initially, but loud squealing or squeaking after the break-in period usually indicates an issue needing attention.
Can you put anything on brakes to stop squeaking?
A high-quality brake lubricant paste applied to all contact points between brake hardware components can help eliminate squeaks. Avoid oils or grease which will contaminate the rotors.
Why do brakes squeak after replacement?
The main causes of squealing new brakes are improper bedding, overheated glazing, low-grade pads, and contamination of parts. Our tips above can typically resolve it.
Will anti-squeal spray stop brake noise?
Anti-squeal spray can help in some cases but typically provides only temporary noise dampening. Fixing the underlying cause of vibration is more effective long-term.
Do ceramic brake pads squeak more?
Ceramic pads don’t inherently squeak more but some formulas do emphasize performance over noise reduction. Higher-end pads include better shims and tech to prevent squealing.
To summarize, here are the key steps to eliminate irritating squeals, squeaks and chirps from fresh new brake pads:
- Bed-in pads properly with 100-200 miles of light use
- Clean rotors and hardware thoroughly with brake cleaner
- Lubricate all contact points with high-temp brake lubricant
- Consider upgrading to premium brake pads
- See a mechanic for any grinding, clunking or vibration
Taking this simple advice will get your new brakes back to operating smoothly, quietly and safely in no time flat. Just remember patience and care during initial break-in. And don’t hesitate to visit a professional brake service technician if DIY fixes don’t do the trick. They have the expertise and equipment to diagnose and resolve any troublesome brake noise issues.
With a bit of effort, you can have confidence knowing those embarrassing squealing brakes will be a thing of the past! Slowing smoothly and quietly is just a few simple steps away. So take action and hit the road with peace of mind knowing your brakes are at peak performance. Safe travels!