Is That Screeching Brake Dust Or Do My Brakes Need Repair?

Posted on: 18 December 2016

If you hear a slight squealing sound coming from your brakes when you hit them, you may immediately think that you need brake replacement. But not every screech or squeal is indicative of brake problems. In some cases, the screeching sound is simply caused by too much brake dust in the way. So how can you tell the difference? Here is some information that can help you determine what is causing the screeching you heard when you hit your brakes.

Clean Your Wheels

After hearing a screeching or squealing sound coming from the brakes, you should take the time to clean your wheels and remove any excess brake dust. This is a relatively easy process. After your brakes and wheels have cooled, spray your tires down with the hose. Try to get spray through your rims, spraying down your rotors as well. Next, spray down the tire and rim with your preferred wheel cleaner. Allow it to soak for about an hour. Use a soft-bristled brush and clean your rim. Be sure to reach in through the gaps of the rims and scrub down the inside well. This is where brake dust can accumulate. After scrubbing, rinse away the cleaner and any residue remaining. Allow your tires to drive and then take your car for a spin. If you don't hear the sound, it was likely brake dust causing the issue.

Pay Close Attention to Signs of Brake Issues

Small screeches here or there are not uncommon with brakes. But if these noises do not stop when you clean your wheel, if they increase in frequency, or if they are accompanied by other signs of brake issues, your brakes may need to be repaired. If you feel any grinding when you hit on the brakes, if you hear squealing that seems to worsen with time, or if you feel your brakes and/or steering wheel shake when you hit the brakes, you likely have brake pads that are worn and need to be replaced. If you fail to do so in a timely manner, you can ruin the rotors on your car. This can cause you to have to pay more for brake repairs.

If you are unsure whether the sounds you are hearing are related to brake dust or brakes needing repair, a brake repair shop can always inspect your brakes. They can tell you if your brake pads, also commonly called brake shoes are worn and if they need to be replaced. They can also tell whether your brakes are extremely dusty and remove the excess brake dust that you may not be able to reach on your own.