Everyone dreads hearing noises from their vehicle’s brakes. However, those noises can be your friend when determining if it is time to inspect or repair your brakes. The brake pad is the friction surface in your brake system that causes the vehicle to stop. These pads wear over time, and their lifespan varies greatly due to system design, pad compounds, and driving habits. Most brake pads are equipped with pad wear indicators (these are commonly called “squealers”). The “squealers” are small metal tabs on the sides of the brake pads that are designed to contact the surface brake rotor (or disc) just before the pad is worn out. A screeching metallic noise when stopping or while reversing is a created by these indicators.
If heeded, this can prevent the pad backing from contacting the rotor and cutting into its surface, destroying it. If the pad surface runs completely out, a “grinding” noise will result. By the time a grinding noise is heard, the brake rotors will usually have to be replaced along with the brake pads (typically a more expensive repair). In some cases (if detected early enough), the rotors may be resurfaced or “turned” on a brake lathe machine and may be put back into service with only a new brake pad set. However, this may not be possible if the rotors are too thin to safely resurface.
Harris automotive specializes in brake services on all makes and models of vehicles, and our technicians are equipped with the latest equipment to measure rotor thickness, resurface rotors, and perform repairs correctly in compliance with factory specifications. So, listen for that “squeal.” It may save you money in the long run.