Brakes are one of the most integral parts of a vehicle’s safety system. They give you control and prevent accidents. Therefore, it is paramount to ensure that they can function optimally. Otherwise, irreversible consequences might await you. Accidents and other damages might be imminent. However, there is a cue given by each system of your car for maintenance and brakes are no different. They also release a certain type of sound to inform you that it is time to get a mechanic for maintenance.
Unfortunately, most of the car owners are unable to decode these sounds. Some might outright neglect them and keep operating the vehicle. Hence, this article is for those who want to understand what each noise entails. It will take an in-depth approach to explain sounds, the reasons behind them, and how you can rectify the situation.
Different Types Of Sounds Produced In Your Braking System
There are primarily two different types of sound that your car’s braking system might produce:
A rattling sound can usually be heard after applying the brakes. Whenever you release the brakes, you might hear this sound. Usually, it is due to a process called heat expansion. The innovation of anti-rattle shims might just be the solution. However, if the rattling happens when you are not even using the brakes, then it is a sound of trouble. The sound is identical to shaking a physical object inside a tin can.
A grinding noise is alarming. It is time for you to stop using your vehicle and visit a mechanic immediately. This sound might produce when you use the brake pedals and step on them. The primary reason for this sound is an obstruction in the rotor disc area. It might be making contact with another part known as a brake-caliper. This problem is only apparent with reckless use of the braking systems.
What Are Fading Brakes?
As you’re trying to learn about different problems regarding brakes, it is important to understand fading. It is another sign similar to rattling and grinding, but not necessarily with noise. A fading brake is the one that is losing its potential to work efficiently. Primarily, it starts to surface and becomes obvious in inclined pathways such as mountains. A decreased efficiency in stopping at high speed may also be the sign.
Cause of Fading Breaks
The main reason for this is the heating of the brake system. It will gradually decline and become useless. Therefore, you will have to visit a mechanic for maintenance if you have to press the paddle more than previously required or feel that the brakes are less effective, its time to get them changed.
However, if you are traveling and do not have any mechanic nearby, it is a good idea to first let the car rest. Turn the engine off and pull over to the side. This will allow the brakes to cool down before you can drive again.
It is not a permanent solution but temporary to allow you to reach the maintenance center or a mechanic safely. Drive the vehicle at a lower speed, as well.
Causes of Noise Coming From Your Car Brakes
There are a plethora of reasons why your car might be making these noises. It can either be one or more of the following reasons listed. Usually, it is a combination of these factors. Consequently, it is not necessary for the brakes to only make the above-mentioned sounds. It is possible that it releases a mixture of sound that might be perceived as squeaking and such.
The best you can do is immediately visit a service center or mechanic to get your brake pads examined. It will prevent you from getting into any mishap, especially with family or loved ones.
1. Rarely Used Car
If you don’t use your car frequently, it will accumulate dust and other agents over time. Prolonged storage can lead to the strong formulation of these particles. As a result, it can jam the system of your car. Improper storage is even more critical. However, you have to make sure that you take your car out for a drive from time to time. A rarely used car will not only have a problematic braking system but other malfunctioning components as well. Similarly, regardless of how much you use the car, it will always require proper and timely maintenance services to work optimally. So even if you don’t use your car too much, make sure it is getting serviced.
2. Prolonged Use Of Brakes
There are two different components in a braking system that can result in the malfunction. The first one is the rotor disc, and the other one is the brake pad. Both of them usually have longevity of around 20,000 miles for optimal performance. After that, they begin to decline but may be able to work until 50,000 miles. It is ideal for getting them replaced or at least opt for an inspection after covering 20,000 miles.
If the problem is in rotors, it will deliver a scraping sound or even mild vibrations. However, if it is grinding or making a squeaking noise, then it is the brak pads. It is important to understand that none of the brakes will ever last forever. Even if you spend on high-grade brakes, the number of 20,000 miles might be much higher, but they will end up getting worn out.
3. The Problem With Wheel Bearings
If the vibration is not coming from the brake paddle but one side of the car, then it might be wheel bearings. The vibration starts around one of the wheels, and you might even hear grinding and squeaking noises. Bearings are an essential part of your car’s ‘race’ system.
In simple words, it is responsible for the performance of your car’s wheels. Therefore, if it malfunctions, you may have a rumbling car, or there might be potential damage to one of the wheels. This can lead to accidents, and it might have nothing to do with brakes.
4. Objects In Calipers
Alternatively, the sound might be due to something getting stuck in the calipers of the brakes. It can be due to the build-up of rust and dust. However, any foreign material like stones, rocks, and such might have also made its entrance into the system. Usually, the sign is that grinding noise is consistent. Not only while using brakes, but also while driving casually. You might either have to DIY or take it to the shop for quick removal.
5. Lack Of Lubrication
Similar to not using your car often, you might not be taking care of the parts of your car. The car service of shops is designed to offer maintenance and lubrication. If you are reluctant to take your car to a service center often, then opt for self-lubrication. However, make sure that you are diligent about it and prepare a schedule. You should lubricate the car as much as possible.
Even something as minuscule as caliper bolts require lubrication. However, if you have forgotten to lubricate and there is noise, it is time to get some parts replaced. That’s right, and it is better to replace the parts such as bolts than to lubricate parts that are potentially damaged.
6. Other Partial Damage
Similar to the caliper or bolts, other parts are also prone to such damage. There are brake shims that come with all of the modern vehicles. They are installed between brake pads and rotors. A shim is designed to reduce heating or noise caused by expansion or consistent use of the braking system. It is often the least responsible part.
However, it is a good idea to always get them replaced whenever you are in for a car service. If that does not sound feasible, then you should perhaps opt for shim replacement with braking replacement. This will ensure that they work optimally.
Brake Grinding Repairs Are Costly
It is vital to understand that no level of repair and maintenance can completely fix the grinding problem. Over time, it will resurface and keep declining. Inevitably, you will end up investing way more in maintaining the brakes, than buying a new system. It is wiser and financially more sustainable to invest in new brakes.
Even if you can repair it by yourself, it can cost around $500. Similarly, for a professional as per the requirement, it can get past $1,000. So, choose wisely. The rotors cost around $300 to $800. However, the cost of extra parts can push it above $1,000. So it comes down to your requirements. Therefore, visiting the mechanic as early as you detect the problems is the right choice.
Refrain From Using Low-Grade Brakes
On a similar notice, refrain from investing in low-quality brakes. A mechanic might even offer a temporary solution, depending on your financial condition. However, it is important to understand that they are supposed to be temporary.
Therefore, replace them with high-grade integration as soon as possible. Low-grade brakes will wear out faster and do not offer a permanent solution. In the long run, they may even end up causing much more than premium services. Low-grade brakes are more prone to developing problems, wearing out faster, or malfunctioning and causing accidents.