There are lots of noises your car might make while you’re driving along, but squealing from the front end should never be ignored as it could be the first sign that you need new brakes on your car or van.
We all take our vehicles for granted, assuming that parts are in the best condition and that they’re going to work when we need them to. You switch on your headlights, press your brake pedal and change gear without thinking about it sometimes; but when it comes to brake parts it’s essential that you notice and react to the warning signs.
Do I need new brakes if I hear the front end squealing?
Are you driving along, occasionally hearing a squealing or screeching noise? Have you noticed this noise increasing in frequency, especially under braking? This is one of the most common noises a car might make and could be the first sign that you need new brakes.
Brake pads are an essential part of your car. As such they have an audible indicator built in to alert you to when they are running low. The indicator is a small piece of metal called a shim.
As the rubber on the brake pad wears down the shim will become exposed, allowing it to rub on the metal brake disc during braking. The shim rubbing on the disc creates a squealing sound which indicates that you probably need new brakes.
If it sounds like I’ve just described your cars noise but aren’t sure, don’t worry. You can check your brake pads without taking your wheels off. You should be able to peer through the spokes and see the rubber brake pad between the brake calipers and brake disc.
There should be at least ¼ inch of rubber between the brake disc and the metal base of the brake pad.
Scored brake discs
If you weren’t able to get a clear view of the brake pads, now is the time to check your brake discs for signs of wear.
You want to make sure there isn’t any scoring (circular cut marks) on your discs, as this can mean that the rubber of your brake pads has almost completely gone.
If the brake discs have signs of scoring on them you may have noticed the front end noise turn from a high pitched squeal to a grinding or growling noise. This noise is caused by two metal pieces grinding together when braking.
If your brakes have got to this stage you may also have felt some vibration through the steering wheel or brake pedal. Unsurprisingly metal on metal doesn’t stop you very well when compared to metal and rubber.
Ignoring these warning signs is dangerous, not just for you but other road users as well. Most good garages will be able to perform a quick brake inspection for free, advising you on what needs – or may need – to be done.
You may not want to spend the money on a new set of brake pads and discs, but failing to do something about your existing brakes could lead to a serious and disastrous brake failure.
Euro Car Parts are the UK’s number one supplier of car parts and accessories with more than 200 branches nationwide and free shipping available, meaning you can have your new brake pads and discs delivered straight to your door.