London News & Search
Without doubt the number one noise complaint on just about any vehicle has to be brake emanations. Whether it’s a squeal, a grind, or a crunch, these assaults on our ears can quickly turn our love affair with our ride (and/or our favourite repair garage) to dust. So what’s the deal with noisy brakes? Do we really have to live with them?
Squeal or high-pitched whine. No matter what your service advisor might tell you, there really is only one cause for a brake squeal; vibration, plain and simple. If your shop just performed a brake replacement on your vehicle and it’s squealing under normal braking throughout the day, it’s not right and you need to take it back. Sometimes it can be caused by low quality parts or the installation of new brake pads/linings without replacing the original rotors/discs. Or it may be caused because a tech didn’t thoroughly clean off any corrosion on the related surfaces, such as brake pad guides or wheel hubs, or they didn’t lubricate the moving parts of the system. What is normal is a light, high tone that may be heard under extremely light brake applications at slow speeds (think creeping in a slow lane of traffic or in a parking lot). And as well, any scraping noise heard from the brakes during the first few applications on the first run of the day may also be normal as surface corrosion can build up on the brake rotors overnight (especially in humid weather). The brake pads usually quickly wear this away during the first few stops.
There is one almost certain way to create your own brake squeal on a newly and properly installed set of linings and rotors. Slamming on the brakes to ‘check’ your repair shop’s job within the first few kilometers of the ride home from the garage can prevent the brake pads from ‘seating’ or wearing in correctly. Do enough of these brake-stands and you can overheat the new materials, leading to the glazing of both the pads and rotors and, you guessed it, a brake squeal. Just drive normally and things should be noise-free.
Popping/creaking noises. If your ride is producing some light popping noises from the brakes on applications or releases, it most likely means the metal frames that the brake pads move back and forth in are causing the pads to stick due to corrosion or grit build-up. This condition can lead to uneven wear if a pad isn’t completely releasing when the brake pedal is disengaged. It’s usually easily silenced with a proper tear-down, cleaning, and lubrication.
Heavy grinding/grating noise. If you hear this coming from your brakes, it almost always means you’ve run out of brake pads/linings and the metal backing plates of the pads are in direct contact with the rotors. No matter how effective the brakes may ‘feel’ when this occurs, you need to get it to the shop directly without delay. If a brake pad wears excessively, the caliper piston that activates it can push too far out of its cylinder. When this happens the polished surface of the piston can quickly get contaminated with corrosion and grit, necessitating the replacement of the caliper unit. In rare cases this type of noise can be caused by a stone or pebble getting trapped between the pad and rotor. Unless it was a diamond fragment, little damage will occur and it’s easily rectified by taking the pad off and popping out the stone.
London News & Search