How to Fix Squeaky Brakes

The brakes on your car are literally a life-saver. They help you stop on time and avoid accidents and help you manage the dance of driving with other cars on the road. Brakes can suffer from wear and tear, and sometimes you may start to hear squeaky brakes. Hearing the high pitch sound can be unsettling and in a panic make you think, “Why are my brakes squeaking?!” If you’re dealing with this issue right now, read on to learn why this is happening and how to fix it.

Why Are My Brakes Squeaking? | Metromile

Why are my brakes squeaking?  

If you’re wondering why my brakes are squeaking, it could be a number of things. Squeaky brakes happen for many reasons but here are the most common. 

Slamming on the brakes 

As noted above, your car brakes can be an actual life-saver. You use them day-to-day normally, but sometimes another car swerves in front of you, or you miscalculate the distance, and you need to slam the brakes hard. If all goes well, this maneuver can avoid an accident. But it’s not without consequence. Slamming on the brakes can lead to squeaky brakes that can be annoying and may need additional attention. 

Run-down brake pads

Using anything enough can lead to overuse and eventually become run-down. That includes your brake pads. As the brake pads are used continuously, they may deal with wear and tear, and the metal pads may start to screech, squeak, or squeal. If you start to hear squeaky brakes, it’s a warning sign that it’s time to get them looked at for potential issues. 

A rusty rotor 

Your car’s brake rotors can accumulate rust over time, leading to that unpleasant sound you hear. If your car doesn’t sit in a covered garage and is continuously exposed to the elements like rain or snow, the additional moisture from weather conditions can lead to a rusty rotor. The rust may be able to come off while driving. But if it’s deeper than the surface, to fix squeaky brakes you may need to see a mechanic to remove the excess rust. 

Subpar installation

Let’s say your car got fixed for a particular issue, and now you’re dealing with squeaky brakes. If that’s the case, there could be subpar installation or use of shoddy or low-quality parts that are contributing to the high-pitched sound. Another thing to look out for is if your caliper is sticking out or isn’t lubricated enough, which could be another underlying reason your brakes squeal or squeak. 

How to fix squeaky brakes 

It’s natural to wonder, “Why are my brakes squeaking?” but the more important thing is to figure out how to fix the issue. In some cases, it could be something you can do yourself, in other cases, you may need to see an automotive professional.

According to AutoZone, you can fix squeaky brakes by:

  • Replacing the brake hardware. Their website states, “…it’s essential that brake hardware is changed every time you change your brake pads. This means changing the pad clips, removing and cleaning the slide pins, and replacing the pin boots if they are cracked or damaged. If your brake pads don’t come with the pad clip hardware, they can be purchased separately at this time. Many times, it’s more cost-effective to simply opt for the better-quality brake pads that already have the hardware included.”
  • Getting new brake pads. 
  • Apply lubrication to specific contact points. AutoZone recommends adding brake lubricant to the edge of the brake pads, pad clips, as well as the caliper and slide pins.  
  • See a mechanic. Sometimes you can’t DIY it and need professional help.

You can watch a YouTube tutorial on how to fix squeaky brakes but if you’re hesitant to do it yourself or the problem persists, take your car to a mechanic to inspect your brakes and help remedy the issue. 

Will my car insurance fix squeaky brakes?  

If you need to fix squeaky brakes, you might wonder if your car insurance will cover the cost. In many cases, you’re fully responsible for covering car maintenance and repairs. However, if the squeaky brakes are related to a car accident or other incident with your vehicle, it may be covered. To have your car insurance cover it, you’d typically need to have comprehensive or collision coverage, which would include such things. It’s important to note that if your brakes were squeaky before the accident, it likely won’t be covered as it’s not directly related to the accident. 

The bottom line 

If you’re panicking and wondering “Why are my brakes squeaking?!”, take a deep breath. It could be something fairly harmless like rust or it could be something serious. You don’t know until you try to fix squeaky brakes yourself or consult a professional. 

The key is to get help as soon as you notice things aren’t right with your brakes to make sure you’re safe and secure. If you were in an accident, contact your car insurance provider. If you’re looking for more affordable car insurance coverage, check out pay-per-mile auto insurance with Metromile, where you’re charged based on how much you drive and not a generic flat fee. Get personalized car insurance that makes sense for how much you drive. Grab a free quote. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.