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Got squeaky brakes? What causes my brakes to squeal?

Do you have squeaky brakes? Find out what causes them and how to fix it!

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Are you experiencing a squeal when braking? or even when your not braking? Any squeak you hear can be extremely annoying, especially if it lasts for a long time. Continue reading to find out why this happens and how to fix it

Why do brakes squeal?

Before we explain what causes your brakes to squeal, you need to understand what type of brakes your car has.

Most modern cars of today have disc brakes at the front and the rear. Some also have drum brakes which you'll only find at the rear of your car.

The most common brake squeal come from disc type brakes.

Disc Brakes

Invented in 1890s and first used in the UK in 1902 by Frederick William Lanchester. A disc brake works by a piston that pushes a pad against a disc to stop the car.

Drum Brakes

Invented by Louis Renault in 1900 and first used in 1902. Used by small vehicles with small engines, the drum brake still lives to this day and is even used on the new 2020 vauxhall corsa. The drum brake works by a curved pad that pushes against a hollow drum to stop the vehicle and is also used as a 'hand brake' is some cars.

The Reasons for your brakes to squeal

High metal content brake pads

Everyone wants to save a few pounds when it comes to changing bits on your car, sometimes you get what you pay for and its very much the same with brake pads. Some brake pad maufactures develop pads with high metal content to be able to sell them cheaply. These metal pads drag on the disc and result in a loud brake squeak.

Brake pads should last between 32,000 to 44,000 miles. If your pads are not lasting close to them figures, for example less than 21,000 miles, and you haven't partially got a heavy foot, then your brakes are binding and it needs fixing.


Rust can fall off from your discs and calipers and get caught in between the disc and pad causing your brakes to squeal.

Brakes Binding

When you hear 'your brakes are binding' it means that either one or more of your calipers are sticking - meaning the pads are always pushed against the disc and in other words, your car is always braking. If not fixed as soon as you know you could be looking at not only new dics, pads but a new wheel bearing due to excessive heat.

When it comes to fixing this problem you can either buy a new caliper or rebuild the one you have with a caliper rebuild kit which are sold on ebay and euro car parts.

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