Brakes Squeak When Stopping Slow

What does it mean to have a squeaky brake?

Squeaky brakes simply tell you that it's time to get new brake pads. It is a loud screeching noise of wear that you hear each time you step on the brake pedals. Squeaky brake pads can also be an indication that brake pads or the rotors are loose at some point.


Brakes Squeak When Stopping Slow

You may decide to get rid of the old brake pads and still experience squeaky brakes on the new one. At some point, you may think you have installed worn brake pads. Sometimes, the cause of the squeaks is beyond buying new brake pads.

In other words, purchasing new brake pads may not entirely solve the problem because they can squeak. You may be wondering why is that right? Read on to find out what causes squeaky brakes and possible solutions to fix it.

Causes of Squeaky Brakes When Stopping Slow

Before we dive into the causes of squeaky brakes, let us understand the types of brakes and why they squeal.

There are two types of brakes - the disc brakes and the drum brakes.

Disc Brakes

The disc brakes are the ones used in modern cars. The brake pads press against the disc brakes or the rotors to stop the vehicle when you apply them. This type of brakes may squeak due to the following reasons:

Thinning of the brake pads.

When brake pads are worn out and are too thin, it will lead to squeaky sounds. When this happens, it is to notify you that you should replace the brake pads.

Most car manufacturers build wear indicators in a brake system that notifies drivers or car users that the brake pads are wearing away. It is a tiny metal tab, made of hardened steel that is connected using a rivet or using a push-on clip. Each time this tab hit the rotor, it tells the driver that the pad material is wearing off.

Condensation from moisture

When cars are left out overnight, moisture or dew collects on the rotors. As this gets to the rotors, it results in the formation of rusts that reside on the surface of the rotor. As the rotor revolves, the brake pads scrape the rusts, which leads to the squeaky sound that you hear. Brakes squeak when cold. 

The brake pads contain high metal content

It's perfectly normal for brake pads to have metal content. However, it is abnormal if the brakes contain high metal content. Brake pads, which contain these extra parts of metal, may result in loud squeaky sound when it comes to the revolving rotor. Although, some companies intentionally put this extra metal on pads.


If brake calipers become glazed, squeaky sounds become inevitable. Excess heat and friction, which are the effects of this glazing, cause the brake pads to become stiff when you apply the brakes. This leads to your vehicle stopping and producing screeching sound.

Panic Braking

Braking abruptly or extremely hard will cause the brake pads of your vehicle to wear out more quickly. The heat produced as a result of this excessive braking will affect the brake discs or the rotor. When this happens, your brakes will start to squeak when stopping.

Drum Brakes

The drum brakes are located in the back wheels of some cars. It is where a curved pad presses on a deep drum to stop the vehicle.

This type of drum brakes squeaks because of insufficient lubrication between the pads and the hollow drum. If there is no lubrication at this contact point, the metal will start to rust. When this happens, the brake pads will begin to scrape it off the surface of the rotor, giving it a squeaky noise during rotation.

How To Fix Brakes Squeak When Stopping Slow


Brakes squeak occurs as a result of high pulsation of pads against the rotating discs. As you apply the brakes, the caliper clamps move against the rotating disc. This process generates friction and heat, which leads to pulsation. The pulsation is the squeaky noise that you hear when you apply the brake pedals.

Vibration or pulsation is affected by some other factors such as dust, humidity, temperature, etc. These factors can also contribute to the squeaky sounds that your brakes produce when you mount on them.

Fortunately, you can fix brake squeaks in easy steps. These steps are also affordable, so you won’t have any complaints about how expensive the solutions are. 

1. Avoid braking hard

As earlier pointed, excessively braking hard will make your brakes squeal when stopping slow, whether it’s a new brake pad or not. Also, avoid working out the brake pads with heavy loads. The brake system will heat up, leading to the production of squeaky sounds. Limit your load weight to reduce the pressure on the brakes to avoid squeaky sounds.

Ensure that you maintain a driving gap between your car and the next car in front of you. This safety driving will help you avoid mounting on the brakes. 

2. Use brake lubricants.

When brake pads rub against the rotating discs at a specific pressure and speed, high friction is produced. Using brake lubricants to grease the brake pads will ensure that friction is reduced. Brake lubricants come in several forms, such as tubes, cans, sprays, etc.

3. Use high-quality grade brake pads.

Sometimes, the condition of the brake pads determines the vibration levels, which contributes to squeaky noises. In terms of replacement, buy high-quality grade brake pads. Although, you may not get replacement pads that will work exactly like the old one. 

You can either use a semi-metallic brake pad, Non-Asbestos Organic, or the ceramic brake pad. Semi-metallic brake pads are the most popular among them. They conduct heat very well and have one of the best stopping power. However, they tend to rust and wear down the rotor sooner than later.

NAO brake pads are quieter and cheaper than the semi-metallic brake pads. The upside of this type of brake pads is that it is made with an organic filler that is resistant to heat and vibration. Just like semi-metallic, they wear quickly.

Ceramic brake pads are the best type of pads and the most expensive. It may not have the best stopping power, but they don't rust, are quieter, and do not produce any dust.

Choosing high-quality brake pads are essential to the stopping of the car and the safety of the driver. They will help prevent some avoidable circumstances that may cause you to spend more than necessary. Therefore, avoid replacing your brake pads with inferior or cheap ones. 

4. Avoid leaving out your car in a cold environment overnight.

Humidity, specks of dust, dew can collect in the rotor's surface, thereby leading to squeaky sounds. This happens when you leave your vehicle out in a cold or snowy environment overnight. Park your car in a temperature-controlled garage instead of out in the open.

How To Check the Brake Pads for Signs of Wear

Manufacturers install disc indicators in some disc brakes to notify drivers of squeaks. This indicator gives off warning signs about the condition of the brake pads, usually when they are worn out. Ensure you heed to this notification and carry out the necessary replacement.

You can also check the brake pad dust on the wheels. There is a strong indication that your brake pads may be worn out if there is enough dust around the brake pads.

How to Stop New Brakes from Squeaking

There is no guarantee that your new brake will not squeak. Several factors can cause that. However, if you happen to fall into the category of people who are complaining of their new brakes squeaking, this is how to stop it.

  1. Check for loose parts. Loose brakes will pulsate and squeak. But tight brakes will move with your hands and respond efficiently. Once your new brake pad is squeaking, try loosening the pads, callipers, and other parts to ensure that everything is tight.
  2. Once you find out that there is a loose part, tighten properly or replace the loose gear as soon as you can.
  3. Use dampening paste. This paste is high-temperature grease similar to a lubricant but is effective against vibrations and squeaks. Apply a thin layer of this paste at the back of the pads. Allow drying for about 2 hours before proceeding to reinstall the pads.

Brakes Squeak When Stopping Slow FAQs

1. Why do my brakes squeak when going slow?

The squeaking noise in brakes when stopping slowly is caused by the high-frequency vibration of the brake pads against the disc. However, as the vehicle is pulling to a stop, the squeaking noise reduces, and then, it stops as the car stops.

2. Are squeaky brakes dangerous?

Squeaky brakes are not dangerous. Instead, they are a source of the disturbance. Squeaky brakes are caused by various factors such as dirt and brake dust in the lining.

3. Does brake cleaner stop squeak?

To an extent, buying a brake cleaner can stop squeaking. You can spray it on rotors in a spray can without problems. 

4. Can a new brake squeak?

Squeaky brakes may indicate that your brakes need a replacement. But in the advent of replacing them with new ones, you still find out that your new brakes squeak when stopping. The following reasons can cause the new brake to squeak.

New brake pads may contain loads of metal fibers. Since there are a lot of metal fibers, they can press against themselves, and this can cause the brakes to squeak.

If you replaced your brakes with low-quality brake pads, it might produce even more squeaky sound than the old one.

If you regularly stop your vehicle abruptly, it could heat the brakes. The result would be a glaze on the pads, which maximizes squeaky sounds.

5. When should I check my brakes?

You should check our brakes twice in a year. This will give you an assessment of the working condition of the brake system.

6. I don’t experience any squeaky brakes. Is it necessary to take my vehicle for inspection?

Yes. If your vehicle is more than three years old and above, regular checkup or inspection is recommended to have fully operational brakes.

7. Can low brake fluid make your brakes squeak? 

Having low brake fluid can cause several problems to your brakes, but not squeaks. Low brake fluids will not cause your brakes to squeak. So adding brake fluid will not solve the issues of squeaking. 

8. Do all squeaky brakes mean they need to be replaced? 

Yes! Squealing or squeaking is usually an indication that your brake pads need replacement.

9. How much does it cost to fix squeaky brakes? 

The estimated cost for fixing squeaky brakes ranges between $750 - $1000. However, it depends on the amount of wear. That is why it's crucial to get your brakes replaced once you hear squeaky noise. 

10. Can I spray WD-40 on my brakes? 

WD-40 offers a good lubricating option. However, it evaporates off quickly after application. 


Squeaky brakes are detrimental to the safety and car performance. It is one issue that every driver should take seriously as it affects the day-to-day driving experience. Once you notice that your brakes squeak when stopping slow, endeavor to replace the brake pads. Take your vehicle to a mechanic for routine service check at least once every six months.

Squeaky signs are indeed healthy signs for the safety of your vehicle. If you want to minimize the risk of total damage and expenses, listen to the disc indicators. Replace worn out parts as soon as you can to enjoy your driving experience.


John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.

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