Squealing Brakes At Low Speed: Causes And Solutions

Are squealing brakes at low speed a serious problem? First of all, brakes should not squeak constantly, especially when you are driving a new car. But there are a few reasons for new brakes to behave that way and you should take them seriously. In fact, any problem related to brakes should be taken seriously because it is a safety issue.

Squealing Brakes At Low Speed: Why Does It Happen?

If you look into the owner’s manual of your vehicle, you will find that the squealing noise is a result of the high-frequency vibration caused by the rubbing of the brake pads against the rotating disc. The vibration is unavoidable in this case because the caliper keeps the pads fastened against the disc.

There are a few metrics that can affect the frequency and intensity of the vibration. It depends on the road conditions and weather conditions like humidity and temperature. It can increase if a road is particularly muddy or dusty.

squealing brakes
Bad road conditions can create the noise (Photo Source: fwi)


The condition of the brake pad material is another thing that determines the vibration level. For example, you will hear more squealing if the material is damaged or worn out.

There could be a few other minor reasons for the squealing noise. It can happen if a stone is stuck in the brakes. It goes away on its own most of the times. You can also do a pressure wash to make stuck stones and dirt loose and fall off. If the noise still lingers, you have to check the brake rotor and pads.

Sometimes, the squealing brakes at low speed could be the result of the materials used in the brake parts. For example, the Subaru Tribeca creates a squealing noise because of the friction between brake parts made of metal and synthetic material.

In some cases, the problem arises after the installation of new brakes. It happens because some dealerships and auto repair shops don’t change the old glazed rotors when installing new brake pads. The servicing should include at least cleaning the rotors if not replacing them to prevent such noises.

Is There A Way To Stop The Noise?

What can you do to stop squealing brakes at low speed? Some people think that securing the pads more tightly onto the caliper is the solution. But it will only make the noise louder.

Changing the brake pads and rotor is a good solution is the materials of these parts are worn out. Be sure of excessive damage or wear on the pads if you find brake pad dust on the wheels. Replacing the pads is a must if their remaining usable lining is too thin to last the next servicing.

squealing brakes at low speed
Service the brake pads and rotors to stop the squealing noise (Photo Source: hotcars)

You can also isolate the vibration and thereby decreasing the noise by changing the pad shims and applying high-temperature grease between the caliper and pads. Shims are a rubber adhesive or thin metal pads that act as a buffer between the brake caliper and the pads. They correct the small differences between these components to prevent possible squealing brakes at low speed.