This is a hard YES! But there are many different scenarios that contribute to brakes making noise. There are a few tell-tale signs that you shouldn’t ignore regarding your brakes. See if any of these apply to what your experiencing with your car, truck or SUV.
Most people when driving their car expect to hear some noise when they press the brakes to slow down. The brake linkage may creak, the brake booster may huff, and the tires may complain a little if you’re really stopping hard. What’s disconcerting is when the brakes squeal and your foot is not pressing on the brake pedal. This is a sign you don’t want to ignore as it most likely means you have a brake pad that has worn down and needs replacing.
On a positive note, most often this is an indication that your pads need to be replaced, not a determination that you have driven your car past the point of “Oh my Gosh…. No Brakes”.
Most of the brake pads today come with wear indicators, that come into contact with the brake rotor or disc letting you know it’s time to take your car in and have the brake serviced… soon. But if you have been hearing this noise for a while, you should take it seriously and have them looked at. No brake pads mean poor stopping and can even result in wearing other parts out that will cost a lot more to replace. Not to mention the obvious fact that you’re putting you and anyone else in your vehicle at risk since brakes are pretty important when it comes to safe driving; I’m sure you would agree.
What if you hear the squealing noise when you step on the brake pedal and as you come to a stop? As with the first example, your brake pads may be warned down to the wear indicator and your car is telling you it is time to replace your pads.
But don’t fret: Sometimes the squealing is telling you that a build up of brake dust is present and simply needs to be removed during a brake inspection. Drum brakes, in particular, can be affected by brake shoe dust. During a brake service, technicians will be check and clean the drums: this can do wonders. Your brakes may never be squeak free, but with the dust removed, they’ll be quieter to the touch.
Yes, there is a worse noise than brakes squealing. Instead, when you step on the brakes and hear a more vigorous and loathsome noise, one that puts your teeth on edge and gets the attention of everyone nearby. This is an indication that you’ve driven your car beyond the brake wear indicator warning. Your brake components are slowing your car down now by metal on metal contact. The brake pads are worn down and the metal backing plate is now rubbing up against the brake rotor.
Guess what? This is a serious safety issue. Take your car to a mechanic. You can also expect to be informed that the rotors will require resurfacing. In worst case scenarios, damage to the rotors may be so severe, it’s time to replace them.
You are even at risk of damaging the calliper which is a costly part and adds to your repair bill. Without the caliper there will be nothing to squeeze your brake pad to your brake rotor, making you stop. So it’s an essential component.
Moral of the story, don’t wait this long to bring your car in. Make sure to bring it in at the first sound of trouble and avoid this degree of repairs.
Brake noise is not the only indicator of trouble. If the vehicle pulls to the left or to the right when you brake, it may point to a possible alignment issue. Shaking that happens only when applying the brakes can indicate a warped rotor. Also, if the brake pedal feels spongy to the touch or travels closer to the floor than usual, the master cylinder may be giving out. It could be something else, but neither problem should be ignored and, for a precise diagnostic, you should rely on a qualified technician since your safety is at stake.
For more information on brake noise, chat with us and bring your car into Heritage AutoPro. We’ll take a look and make sure all is well.