The brake pads on your car are likely a source for many different types of noises. Knowing which of those noises are minor and which ones to be concerned about can be tough. When you understand the sounds that indicate a potential brake malfunction, you can catch a worrisome problem before it becomes a serious safety concern. Here are some tips about the sounds you should never ignore from your brakes.
Scraping or Scratching
When you press the brake pedal and you hear a rhythmic scratch or scraping sound, that's a sign that your brake pads have worn down to the wear indicator, or the metal strip inside the pad. This strip will rub against the rotor, making a metal-contacting-metal type of scratch. It's a safety measure that's designed to let you know when your brake pads have worn to the point that they need to be replaced.
Banging or Heavy Clunking
If you hear a loud bang or clunking noise when you press the pedal down, that's a more concerning sound. It may be an indication that you have a malfunction in your steering system. If the sound gets louder when you press harder on the brakes, that's a sign that you might need to have the tie rod ends or rack and pinion evaluated by a mechanic.
It may also be a sign of loose springs or shocks. If either one is loose in the mount, they could be shifting or wiggling when you hit the brakes. Try tightening the mounting bolts on the suspension springs and your shocks to see if it resolves the problem.
Squeaking or Squealing
Many new brake pads will squeak or squeal when they are first installed. This is a normal part of wearing down the first layer of the pad. If, however, you're hearing this sound and your pads have been in place for a while, you might have some debris or dirt on your brake pad surface.
Another thing that might cause this type of sound is a glazed brake pad. If you've had to brake hard, it can overheat the pad and cause the surface to glaze over. This smooth surface may squeak when it contacts the rotor. Try a thorough undercarriage wash to clear away any dirt or dust. If that doesn't fix it, check the pads for a glossy surface. If they're glazed, they'll need to be replaced.
The more you understand about the sounds that your brakes can make, the less risk you'll have of potential brake failure on the road. It's in your best interest to be attentive to these types of sounds and to call a mechanic right away if you have any cause for concern. A brake mechanic can test your car's braking system and help you decide if it needs attention. To learn more, contact a business like Autowerkes.