Did you know that early car braking systems began as blocks of wood? The driver would pull a lever to apply the brake and bring his horse-drawn carriage to a stop.

The brakes are one of the most important safety mechanisms of your car. So if you find yourself wondering, “Why are my brakes squeaking?” it’s for a good reason.

Whether your brakes are old or new, squeaking is a common issue. Squeaking could be caused by something simple like the quality of the brake pad, or it could signify a more significant problem that needs attention.

Keep reading to discover why your brakes may be squeaking and what you can do about it.

How Brakes Work

When you press the brake pedal down, your foot transmits force to the brake pads through a hydraulic fluid system. This squeezes the brakes against the rotors, multiplying the force and transmitting it to the tires using friction. 

Brake pads are an integral part of the braking system, working dynamically with the rest of the components to stop your car safely and effectively. So when these brakes begin to squeak or squeal, it’s a sign they need attention.

Why Are My Brakes Squeaking?

There are several reasons your brakes could be squeaking. First, it’s important to note the type of sound your brakes are making to pinpoint the source of the issue.

Squeaking, grinding, squealing, or screeching, can all stem from slightly different causes, and it doesn’t necessarily mean your brakes are failing.

Worn Brake Pads

If you’re unsure when your brakes were last serviced, or you just bought a used car and notice your brakes are squeaking, the brake pads may be the culprit.

Brake pads come with a wear indicator to warn you when your brakes are getting low. This metal tab only protrudes once the brake pad material wears down enough and is one of the best signs you need brakes.

New Brake Pads

If your brake pads are new, squeaking could signify you need to grease the contact points. To do this, remove the brake pads and apply grease between the metal points, where the caliper makes contact with the pad.

In doing this, be sure only to apply grease to the backside of the brake pad.  The pad itself relies heavily on friction and should remain free of any oil or debris that will keep it from making proper contact with the rotor.


One common reason for squeaky brakes is moisture, caused by rain, snow, ice, or condensation between the rotors and brake pads. Moisture can cause a light layer of rust to form on the surface of the rotor, causing squeaking.

The squeaking should be temporary as the rust wears away while you drive. However, if you notice the brakes grinding, your rotors may be rusted severely, and you should replace them.

Squeaking Noise While Driving but Not While Brakes Applied

If you hear squeaking while you’re driving, but your foot isn’t even on the brakes – this could signify one of several issues. Poorly fitted brake pads, discs, or worn wheel bearings may be the culprit here.

This should earn your immediate attention, as it is uncommon for brakes to squeak without applied pressure. If you live in the Greenville area, head to a professional brake service Greenville NC, to get them serviced.

Signs You Need Brakes

No more wondering, “Why are my brakes squeaking?” If you are experiencing any of the above signs, you should get your brakes checked by a professional.

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