Sunday, November 23, 2008

Brake noises

One of the most important aspects of driving for anyone is being able to stop their car correctly; if you encounter a problem with this procedure then it has to be dealt with properly before an accident occurs. If a noise sounds when putting pressure on your brakes when slowing down or stopping this could indicate a problem with your brakes and needs attention for safety reasons.

There may be those of you who have heard a passing car squeak/squeal as it goes past, this is the type of noise that happens when their brakes may be faulty or worn and need attention. Considering the length of time cars are driven on the road until the fault is found, a lot of time and money may be used trying to correct the problem.

Most garages may do a complete break overhaul hoping to correct the problem which can be successful. The way they do this is to replace the brake pads on disc brakes then the brake shoes on the drum type brakes. It is the surfaces between the brake drums and rotors that causes friction example the part that is clamped by the brake pads, these more often have been machined providing a smooth flat surface allowing the brake friction material to push against.

This may mean even though the brakes seem to work well the squeaking or squealing may come back shortly after. The disc brake where the noise comes from is due to brake pads vibrating at a high frequency in their mounts whilst the brake rotor slides past. The noise that comes from this can be spine chilling similar to someone’s fingernails scratching a blackboard.

The noise will normally appear when driving away from the stop position or when braking on the pedal lightly, if breaking quickly the noise will normally stop. If the noise persists when driving around then it is probably best to get the vehicle checked. This can be something as simple as a stone trapped in your brake mechanism, a worn or seized brake caliper.

There are though, some manufacturers who have a metal wear indicator which touches the rotor and screeches if the brake pads are worn out. It is far better for the safety of both the driver and passengers if there is a constant noise to have the breaks tested by a professional brake specialist.

The break pad materials can cause intermittent squeaking noises. Years ago the material used for these was asbestos, the car was quiet and stopped but all the dust it generated was bad for the lungs. Material that is used today could well be classed as organic or metallic the two materials both act differently and one quieter than the other.

The pads made with organic materials can be a lot quieter but will wear a lot faster; these are not beneficial if the brakes are to be used severely. While the metallic ones can be used for severe breaking conditions of which a high break heat will be generated. Metallic material gives a better brake performance when severe and repeated braking is needed and will last longer, but these will make a lot more noise of squeaking and squealing.

It will all depend on what cars are intended or suggested for as to what materials a manufacturer will use but still use both types of brake fiction material. If for example brake pads made of organic material were replaced with metallic this can cause the vehicles brakes to squeak. Manufacturers like to use original brake pad materials to help reduce noise and better still increase durability.

It is virtually impossible to emit brakes from screeching and most manufacturers will state in owner’s manuals that the odd squeak from a brake is normal; even so there are still some ways that the noise can be reduced. It is known for instance that there are some foreign manufacturers who use stainless steel shims behind pads to reduce vibration; these are not normally added to un-shimmed vehicles.

The other causes for brake noises can be brake pads loose in their mounts; these can be tightened sometimes if they have metal tabs which are then bent to tighten the pads. The problem can also arise if the pad has become loose due to wear on the break caliper positioning surface. If this is the problem then the brake caliper will have to be replaced to correct the problem as there is no alternative.

It is possible sometimes to be able to reduce or eliminate the squeak or squeal through coating the back side of the pad using an anti-squeak material. Manufacturers have brake parts made of several types of material; one is like a silicone rubber which cushions the brake pad to the caliper stopping the pad from vibrating. Other types of material are similar to lubricants allowing the pads to vibrate without screeching. If you feel you have a problem with your brakes it is safer to ask your local garage to investigate the problem.

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