On your usual morning drive, you find that when you apply pressure to your brakes they make a noise. Brakes can be tricky—there are different parts that of the brake system that typically make noises when it is time for them to be repaired or replaced. Sometimes these issues are cheaper than others, but regardless of money, the most important thing to do when you experience noise coming from your brakes is that you take it to a qualified, certified mechanic shop that can help you. Replacing brakes or brake pads yourself is never recommended—there are too many safety concerns that are important to not overlook in the interest of saving yourself a little time and money. Brakes are relatively inexpensive when compared to other more costly repairs, but it’s difficult to think of another more important part of your vehicle that begs the same justification for spending money. There are a few most common sounds that brakes make when they are in need of care, maintenance, or replacement. Here are some of the sounds you may encounter over the life of your brakes, and what the process and cost looks like in deciding how they may be fixed.
The first most common complaint that a driver will have in regard to their brakes when they take it into a mechanic shop is that they hear a squeaking noise when they apply any pressure. Contrary to popular belief, this may not mean that the brakes are in need of repair or replacement. Yes, squeaking brakes are highly annoying to not only yourself, but to the other drivers on the road around you, but sometimes you pay the price for paying too little. Let me explain; when you have your brake pads replaced, there is a tendency for mechanic shops to use low-quality brake pads. Furthermore, when selling a used car that has worn-out brake pads, dealership mechanics may replace them with even cheaper brake pads. Not only is this a safety concern, it will also likely mean that your brakes will begin to squeak in a short period of time. This is simply due to the low quality of the replacement pads that your car is loudly protesting against. It is recommended that you take your squeaking brakes as a warning sign—invest in better quality brake pads today before you regret more than just a squeak in the long run.
In a different scenario, you may experience the same “squeaky” sound in the absence of putting pressure on the brakes; this generally means that the pads are worn down and its time for a replacement, not necessarily that the pads were initially a bad buy. Brake pads are designed with something called a wear indicator that allows the driver to be loudly notified by a squeaking sound when the pads wear down and the indicator begins to cause mild friction against the rotors. This can become louder the more the problem goes unsolved, and of course, becomes more dangerous as well. In any case, squeaking brakes are annoying, unpleasant, and dangerous.
Another sound you may notice coming from your brakes when you apply pressure is a grinding sound. This is the mother of all warning signs when it comes to a brake system’s health, and this sound should not be ignored in the slightest. The grinding sound is the most alarming and for good reason—when brakes get to this point, it becomes highly dangerous to drive your vehicle anywhere. In fact, it is best to just leave it parked in the driveway until the problem can be fixed, because the likelihood of causing an accident is far too high. This grinding sound indicates that brake pads have gotten to the point of no return and must be replaced immediately. When you go without properly maintaining the brake pads on your car, this is where cost becomes an issue; replacing brakes entails replacing not only brake pads of course, but also the calipers and rotors. It is likely that when you hear a grinding noise coming from your brakes that you can expect a hefty mechanic bill. Do yourself a favor and stay on top of brake maintenance—because driving with bad brakes is not only dangerous, but it costs you more money each day that the issue goes overlooked.