What's That Sound? 3 Signs Your Brakes May Need Help

It can be quite unnerving when you start hearing noises each time you put your foot on the brakes. The first thing you think is that your brakes are about to fail. Luckily, those initial squeak sounds usually don't mean that your brakes are in immediate danger. However, those sounds do mean that you need to have your brakes attended to by a mechanic. When you start hearing sounds coming from your brakes, pay attention to them. The sounds will help you identify the problems your brakes may be experiencing. Here are three brake sounds you should pay attention to.


When your brakes are squeaking, it could mean one of two things. First, you've recently had a brake job using budget-priced pads and the brake material is scraping against the rotor each time you apply the brake. Second, your brakes are wearing out and the brake wear indicator located on your brake pads are starting to wear through. The wear indicators are small metal tabs located on each brake pad. As the brake pads wear out, the indicator becomes exposed. When that happens, it will start rubbing on the rotor. This should be your first indication that you need to have your brakes looked at.


If the brakes on the rear of your car are drum brakes, you may occasionally hear a distinctive thumping sound when you place your foot on the brake. When you get your brakes done, the drum is resurfaced. Once in a while the resurfacing leaves sections that are not as even as the rest, which leaves a slight dip in the surface of the drum. When that happens, the brake pad doesn't glide evenly over the drum when you put your foot on the brake. As a result, you'll feel a thump when the pad hits that area of the drum. In most cases, the problem can be repaired by having your mechanic resurface the drums again.


Grinding is perhaps the worst sound you can hear when you apply the brakes. This sound signifies that the indicator tab on your brake pads have worn all the way through and are digging deep gouges in the surface of your rotors. If the grinding continues long enough, you can cause permanent damage to your rotors – which will require them to be replaced – and may lead to brake failure. If your brakes are grinding, you need to have your car inspected as soon as possible.

If your brakes are making noises, you need to take it seriously and seek help from a company like ABS Unlimited Auto Repair. Use the tips provided here to help you identify the sounds that your brakes are making.