Why Do Brakes Squeal And How To Fix Them

Noisy brakes are not only annoying, they can also be a sign of ineffective stopping power which is
dangerous for you and others on the road. It is important to note that not all noise made by your brakes means they are failing, from time to time your breaks will make some noise.

What Makes Brakes Squeal?

Denver brake repair experts say, modern braking systems use a cast-iron disc that is squeezed between two brake pads which are lined with friction material. The disc, pads and caliper can at times begin to vibrate which causes the system to give off a high frequency noise. The noise that is produced depends on how hard you press down on the pedal. Some brake systems are more prone to squealing than others, so it is important to research the brakes you are recommended before having them installed. If you find your brakes to be too noisy, or suspect a problem with your brakes, bring your vehicle into a mechanic. Mechanics can dampen the noise, change the resonant frequency of the arrangement, or replace your brakes.

The Fix(es)
  • Check for loose parts. 
  • Replace shims or clips that are loose or damaged.
  • Try applying a dampening paste. 
  • Replace worn brake pads. 
  • Change out the brake pad to one made with a different material. 
  • Check the brake rotor or drum for scoring and other wear. 
  • Have the rotors resurfaced if their wear is not too deep.
  • Replace the rotors or drums.

Finding the Right Mechanic in Denver

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

There are many mechanics out there offering a wide range of services. Mechanics are no different from any other professional service; some are good, some are bad and the rest fill in between.  The big question is, how do you find the right Denver mechanic for you and your vehicle?

In our opinion, a good mechanic is a person who can quickly solve difficult auto repair problems at a reasonable expense.  They actually understand what makes a car work and why things happen the way they do, instead of simply knowing how to replace old parts with new ones.  A good mechanic can repair a car on the first attempt without guessing. A bad mechanic bluffs his way through every repair. Even if he figures out how to do a repair, he doesn't really understand what happens next. A good mechanic will give an estimate very close to the final charges. A bad mechanic will give a low estimate to get your business and then have excuses for up-charges and why your final bill is so much higher than their estimate.  A bad mechanic will actually do more harm than good to a car.  There are plenty of bad mechanics out there that have unfortunately given our industry a bad rap.

Somewhere between the good and bad mechanics are the 'part changers'.  The parts changers have a decent amount of experience and can do specific repairs with confidence.  A parts changer may not have the training or be intelligent enough to be a top-notch technician but he is good at what he does. When a new or unusual problem with a vehicle comes up however, this mechanic has no idea what to do. Parts changers however are a valuable part of the auto repair industry.

The Signs of A Good Mechanic

It takes three main things to make a good mechanic; knowledge, experience and intelligense. Intelligence was listed last because it can sometimes be repalced with hard work in the garage.  There is, however, no substitute for knowledge and experience which truly goes hand in hand. No matter how much technical schooling is completed or how many technical books are studied, a technician will not be top notch until he has actually worked in the field for several years.
Experience teaches mechanics that simply cannot be learned in the class room.  There are only so many repair situations that can be simulated in a classroom shop.  A mechanic with several years under his belt are worth a lot more than someone who just graduated from the top auto repair school around.  Experience without knowledge usually equates to a good parts changer which is not a bad thing.


Replacing your Brake Pads - Shoes

On disk brakes on a vehicle, the pads rub against the brake rotors. A brake pad consists of a friction material area about a half inch thick.  The friction material and the backing plate are permanently bonded together to forma brake pad. Two brake pads are used per wheel. The friction material is made of a softer material that rubs against the hard metal rotor create the friction that stops the car.  Most brake pads manufactured today contain a small amount of tiny metal particles within the friction material and ultimately last longer.  Every time the brake pads are used a small amount of the friction material is warn off.  The more you use your brakes, the more your pads will wear down and eventually wear out. 

Replacing your Pads & Shoes
Since brake pads are designed to wear out, they are designed to be replaced relatively easy.  During the time you own your car, you will most likely have to replace either your brake pads or shoes as some point.  The best time to replace the pads is just before all the friction material is worn off. If pads are left on the vehicle until there is no friction material left, the metal backing plate will grind into the rotar and quickly destroy it. This will add a significant amount on your repair bill so you do NOT want to wait!


How to Shop for Struts and Shocks

When you need struts or shocks, call a few auto service shops to compare prices and warranties. Most
tire dealers, brake repair centers, and independent shops sell and install struts and shocks. When struts are replaced the alignment will need to be checked. Therefore, a center that has alignment capabilities is a good choice, although you could take your car to another shop to have it alinged. However don't drive your car more than about twenty miles before it is aligned. If you are replacing shocks only, the alignment need not be checked unless you notice uneven wear. Although most better quality shocks or struts are warranted for as long as you own them, this probably does not cover labor. Make sure you ask about this and any other warranty information when you call for an estimate. Since struts make up a major portion of the suspension, the time and labor requires to install them will be significantly higher than on a shock. You can expect to pay around ten to sixty dollars per strut for labor.

When shopping around for shocks and struts make sure to ask for brand name from your Denver auto repair shop. About ninety percent of all shocks are made by just two companies, Gabriel and Monroe, so you will hear these two names over and over. Many people will say their shocks and struts are made by just two companies, but the brand name won't be on the box, or the shock. These are private label shocks. One of the big shock makers builds them for another company who uses their own name brand. The only disadvantage to a private label is that the warranty will be honored only by the company who sold the shock. A national brand name shock will be warranted at any dealer who carries that brand. Be sure to get all these details in order to make a fair comparison and to help budget can stand it, the best quality struts or shocks will provide a smoother ride for a longer time. Don't be tempted to go with the lowest price just for the sake of saving money, you may just end up disappointed.