Why Do I have Squeaky Brakes?

Dear Car Guys...
My present car (make and model will remain nameless) has been squeaking badly for some time now. I think it's the brakes, but I'm not sure. Should I oil them?

Signed, Desperately Seeking Silence

Dear Desperately:

Oiling your brakes would not be an ideal solution if you want your car to stop, but they certainly should be checked. There are several possible reasons why your brakes might be squeaking. One very common cause is that the brakes are low and need to be changed. Most newer cars have an audible disc brake wear sensor that warn you when this condition is present. Just because your brakes are making noise does not necessarily mean that changing them will be required. Sometimes it can be controlled by using an anti squeak compound or brake shim to keep brake pads from moving inside the caliper. Or, if the brake rotors are pitted (or rusted), another common noise enhance, the service shop can machine the rotors in an attempt to eliminate the noise. Many of today's cars use drum brakes on the rear axle. These drums are prone to accumulating dirt, dust and rust, all, or any of which can cause squeaking. Use of a brake cleaner (that will not harm the brake shoes) and lightly sanding the linings can help to reduce this problem. The best way to determine the source of the squeak and the resolution of the problem, though, is to get your car over to a reputable service station, while the brakes are still working.

The Car Guy has not taken a brake from the automotive business for over 20 years. Gerry's Service in Amherst has Technicians certified through ASE (Automotive Service Excellence).

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