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Disc Brake Squeal – Danger Signs

Disc brake squeal from your car should not be ignored and immediate action to investigate the cause should be taken.

If you hear brake squeal from your car when applying the brakes you should get it checked immediately. Below shows you why and what happens if you don’t

Most modern cars are fitted with disc brakes both front and rear that have a “tell tale tag” which contacts the disc rotor when the disc brake friction material has reached the minimum thickness.

Other than safety reasons, the cost in repair & replacement can really add up as the images show what can happen.

Disc Brake Squeal Can Really Be Costly If Ignored

The images below show when a car owner kept driving & ignored the signs they needed new brake pads…

Worn Brake Pad

When checking disc brakes, inspect the thickness of the brake pad linings. Brake pads should be replaced when the thinnest (most worn) part of the lining is no thicker than the metal shoe (approximately 3mm) as in image 1 below.

Image of Disc Brake Pad Showing Minimum Thickness to Avoid Disc Brake Squeal.

Image 1

Completely Worn Disc Brake Pad

Some brake pads have a “Tell Tale” which is a metal strip that contacts the disc/rotor and alarms the driver by making a squealing sound when the brakes are applied. This “Tell Tale” is important so the brake pads are replaced before the metal backing contacts the disc/rotor causing damage.

Image Showing Completely Worn Disc Brake Pad & Metal to Metal Contact Giving Disc Brake Squeal.

Image 2

Metal To Metal Contact

The brake pad is completely worn and the metal backing plate contacts the disc rotor and in severe cases loss of the inner brake pad completely resulting in the brake caliper piston contacting the disc rotor. Here you can see how the disc rotor is scored and is unserviceable.

Image Showing Disc Brake Squeal

Image 3

Common Problem Caused By Not Replacing Worn Brake Pads

Excessive brake caliper piston travel resulting in loss of brake fluid.

Image Showing Leaking & Damaged Brake Caliper-Piston from Exessive Disc Brake Squeal

Image 4

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