Unusual sounds coming from your car brakes are not typical and should not be ignored. It is crucial for drivers to be aware of any signs that suggest their brakes require replacement. This is because brakes are designed to bring a moving car to a stop, especially during unexpected or critical situations.
6 Important Things You Need to Know About Car Brake Noise
If your car braking system is making strange noises every time you hit the brake pedal, this is something that should not be ignored. The car brake system is a crucial element that needs attention to ensure safe and comfortable driving for both the driver and passengers. Faulty and problematic brakes are often the cause of road accidents that can cost lives.
1. Drum Brake VS Disc Brake
Aside from stopping a moving car, brakes also slow down the car when going downhill for safety purposes and to prevent unexpected incidents such as rear-end collisions or running off the road.
For your information, there are two types of brakes used in cars, namely drum brakes and disc brakes. Both types of brakes, drum brake and disc brake, have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Drum brakes have a wide surface area. Usually, it is used in larger and heavier vehicles such as buses and trucks. Its wide and large surface area creates a stronger friction force that can stop the speed of the large wheels of the vehicle.
Disc brake, also known as a disk brake, is often used in smaller vehicles such as cars and motorcycles. Although the disc brake in cars and motorcycles has a smaller surface area, the brake pads are thicker and can produce a strong friction force that can stop a vehicle moving at high speed.
2. Durability of Car Brake Pads
The durability of car brake pads is also a cause of car braking noises. Typically, the lifespan of a car brake pad cannot be determined because it depends on how it is driven, where the car is driven, and how often the car is driven.
On average, the durability of a car brake pad is up to 80,000 kilometers. However, it may last longer. These are some factors that affect the durability of your car’s brake pads:
Brakes will last longer with smooth driving without any interruptions. For example, if you frequently drive on a smooth highway, you will find that your car brake pads can last longer. However, when you frequently drive on busy roads with heavy traffic, your car brake pads will wear out quickly.
This is because when you frequently drive on congested roads, you will use the brake frequently to stop the car. Such as stopping at traffic lights, junctions, or roundabouts. It is different from driving on a highway without traffic lights, junctions, or roundabouts.
Number of Passengers and Distance Traveled
The heavier your car with passengers, the thinner the durability of your car brake pads, and it can also cause strange car braking noises. This is because the number of passengers in the car affects the weight of the car. It is also related to the distance traveled that you drive. With many passengers and long distances to travel, it will use the brake more frequently, and surely the car brake pads will wear out faster.
Types of Brake Pads Used
The type of brake pad you use also affects its durability.
- Organic pads are usually cheaper but do not last long.
- Low metallic pads can produce loud noise but last longer than organic pads.
- Semi-metallic pads have high durability but still wear out over a certain period of time.
- Ceramic pads last longer and are the least prone to wear, but they are usually more expensive than other pads.
- Front brake pads usually wear out faster because the heavier load is in the front.
3. Signs that Car Brakes Need to be Changed
When car brakes make noise, it is a clear sign that they need to be changed. The braking system of a car needs to be maintained consistently to ensure safe driving. Maintaining car brakes is not just the responsibility of mechanics, but also of car owners and drivers. What are the indicators or signs that brakes need to be changed? Find out below:
Indicator Light Illuminates
When the indicator light illuminates, it is the easiest sign. Some vehicles are equipped with warning lights on the meter panel that indicate that the brake pads need to be replaced. However, in Malaysia, not all cars have this warning symbol except for premium and luxury cars.
Metal Grinding Sound
When your car makes a sound like metal grinding, it is a clear sign that you need to replace the brakes. The sound of car brakes grinding is also an indicator that the brake pads are worn out. If you ignore this sound, it will lead to more severe damage such as damaged brake calipers and rotors. This will ultimately damage the entire brake system of the car. Therefore, you are advised to always be aware of any unusual sounds produced by your vehicle.
One of the signs that your car brakes need to be changed is when there are cracks on the brake pads. For your information, the brake system in a car undergoes a process of heat cycles. When the driver presses the brake pedal, the friction that occurs to stop the car generates heat. To lower the temperature of the hot brakes, the brake pads will self-ventilate before you use them again to stop. This frequent cycle adds pressure and wear on the metal of the brake pads, causing them to crack.
This situation can become worse if your brake pads become too hot and cool down too quickly. This can happen if the car is driven on a flooded road or if the car is washed immediately after driving. Rapid metal expansion and contraction caused by sudden temperature changes can cause them to crack. When cracks are visible, it is time to replace the brake pads.
When there is a squeal on the brake pads, it also indicates that your car needs new brakes. This squeal can be caused by collisions or road debris entering the wheel well. This is a rare occurrence, but it is not impossible to happen. It can also be caused by cracks that may have occurred before but were ignored.
Brake pads that squeal can also cause premature wear of the pads, or in the worst-case scenario, failure of the car’s brake system.
Worn Brake Pads
If the brake pads are getting thinner and worn, they need to be replaced. The car’s service manual should have information on the minimum thickness of the brake pads or there may be markings on the brake pads themselves. If the brake pads have a lip on the edge where they touch the pad, you can clearly see how the brake pad has worn down the surface of the brake pad itself.
Usually, you can feel this condition because sometimes it cannot be seen with the naked eye or measured. If the brake pad sticks to an uneven surface on the rotor, you can feel vibrations in the steering wheel, brake pedal, or both.
Brake vibrations and the resulting noise are more pronounced when you brake at higher speeds, like with a warped brake rotor. The uneven deposit of brake pad material on the rotor surface will promote the formation of “cementite,” a by-product of the pad material and the rotating metal that are bonded together by heat.
You may choose to “skim” your brake rotor to save costs, but usually the price of a new brake rotor is not that expensive. A new brake pad that has not been properly run-in can also cause this problem.
Rust on Brake Rotors
Generally, rust that occurs on the surface of brake rotors is a common occurrence. This is because the brakes are oxidized by moist air. However, if the production and formation of rust are significant enough to cause separation of fragments, it can be dangerous. This is because the resulting rust can expand its formation, affecting the integrity of the material structure of the brake rotor itself.
Brake Efficiency Level
In addition to the fact that a noisy car brake is a sign that you need to replace it, you can also tell when you realize that your car brake is no longer giving you optimum results and requires you to press the pedal harder to stop the car. People say the brakes are not working. It is likely that the brake rotor on your car is not able to provide sufficient resistance to stop the kinetic energy of the rotating wheel. It has become too soft, so the brake pad (even if it is new) cannot stick to it properly.
4. Ways to Inspect Brake Pads
When car brakes make noise, we will certainly feel worried, right? Worried if our driving is not safe with brakes that are not functioning properly. One way to prevent noisy brakes or other signs of damage is to inspect the brakes regularly.
There are two ways for you to inspect brake pads:
Send to Service Center
For those who are not familiar with how to check the brake pads of a car, you can go to any car service center and have the mechanic check it for you. You can bring your car to the service center every three to six months to identify the thickness of the brake pads. In fact, service centers are required to measure the thickness of the brake pads every time the car is serviced.
Do It Yourself Inspection
Actually, you can inspect the brake pads yourself without having to send them to a service center. It’s easy. Firstly, you need to know that each brake pad has a metal indicator that will produce a sound when you press the brake. When you press the brake and the car makes a loud noise, it’s an initial sign that the brake pads are thinning and worn out. You are advised not to ignore this situation because the health level of your brake pads is actually in bad condition and needs to be replaced.
The brake system indicator light will also come on if the brake pads are thinning. On the other hand, if the car has been driven for more than a year or driven for more than 20,000km, the brake pads may still be in good condition but the thickness level needs to be monitored. If they are worn out, take your car to the workshop to have them replaced.
5. Causes of Noisy Car Brakes and Reduced Grip
Good brakes are those that provide optimum grip. Optimum grip is important in order to avoid accidents. When brakes provide reduced grip, the following are the causes:
One of the main causes of brakes not operating properly is due to lack of maintenance. If you press the brake pedal and the car is still moving, you need to check the brake fluid level. This is because dirty engine oil can cause the brake fluid to become clogged and prevent it from flowing out of the caliper.
Another cause of reduced brake grip is the brake booster. It can make it difficult for you to press the brake pedal because the pedal becomes hard and there may be signs of leaking in the brake components. Therefore, you are advised to check the booster and clean the brake components.
Lack of Service
Brake pads become thin, worn, and unable to provide grip due to lack of maintenance. Scheduled servicing is the key to ensuring that components in the car, not just the brakes, are working properly.
6. Effects of Not Replacing Your Brakes
As we mentioned earlier, a noisy or unusually behaving car brake can have a negative impact on our driving. These are some of the effects:
Damage to Other Components
The brake pad’s function, aside from maximizing the vehicle’s stopping power, is to prevent direct friction between the brake surface and the wheel. Friction between these two iron components can cause effects like screeching noise and a burning smell at the rear of the engine.
Worse, the brake and wheel can wear out and deform. Therefore, what needs to be done is to replace the brake pad or get a new brake. Please don’t ignore this essential component because the consequences you’ll face are enormous. In addition to causing material losses, you’re also endangering the safety of other road users.
When the brake pad is worn out, the brake’s efficiency is no longer effective. The result is a risk of a road accident. Of course, all drivers do not want such an event to occur. Fortunately, in the event of an accident, the damage can be minimized with the best car insurance protection. If not, your pocket will suffer because you have to spend a lot of money on maintenance costs.
Now that you know everything about brakes, you need to be vigilant about unusual activities and sounds from your car. If you can detect these problems earlier, you won’t have to spend a lot of money on repair costs. It can also save your life and the lives of other car passengers. That’s all for Qoala’s sharing today.
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