Brake & Wheel Noises You Don't Want to Ignore

  • Aug 23,2018
bear hands working on a brake pad bear hands working on a brake pad

If you can't remember the last time you came to a quiet, smooth stop at a red light, keep reading. Brake and wheel noises are more than annoying—they can also be dangerous and expensive.

When something is "off," there's a good chance you'll hear it.

See why these common brake noises should have you headed in for a free brake check at Tires Plus—ASAP!

Squeaking & Squealing

Squeaky brakes are common and bothersome. A few possible reasons for squealing brakes include:

  • Poor quality brake pads
  • Worn brake pads
  • Changes in weather or road conditions
  • Loose parts in the braking system

Poor quality brake pads contain metal flakes which can drag along your rotor (the part that connects with the wheel to slow it down) and cause a squeaking noise.

Worn brake pads, on the other hand, trigger a wear indicator that rubs against the rotor and causes squealing. The noise is a little like your fuel indicator light. When the light pops on, you're almost out of gas. Similarly, when your brakes start squealing, you're almost out of brake pad! Think of it as an alarm: your car is warning you to replace your brake pads before your rotors get damaged.

And since your brake pads aren’t something you can regularly visually check, like your windshield wiper fluid, it’s important to listen when they raise the alarm. Consider it a wake-up call!

Rain, snow, and humidity can also cause your brakes to squeak thanks to condensation collecting on the rotors. If weather is the cause, the squeaking noise shouldn't last long once the brake pads have warmed up and dried out.

The squeaking could be due to loose parts in the braking system. A part might simply need to be cleaned, lubricated, or adjusted.


Your brake pads are kind of like bars of soap. They wear down and need to be replaced every so often. Grinding is often a sign that your brake pads have worn down too much. The sooner you "stop" in, the better your odds of addressing worn–down pads and shoes before they affect other costlier parts of your braking system, resulting in brake repairs that could have been avoided. Keep driving with grinding brakes and you might end up replacing more than the pads.


A thumping noise or wobbly feeling is fairly common, and typically the result of warped, grooved rotors. Brake rotors can become uneven for a number of reasons. They begin their lives smooth and even, but like most pieces and parts in your car, brake rotors wear out over time. Since your brake pads will be pressing onto a surface that isn’t smooth, your braking and steering won’t feel smooth either.

Brake rotors generally need replacing every 15,000 to 70,000 miles, but the exact number depends on your driving style, brake pads, and vehicle.

If there's more wobbling than thumping and it only happens intermittently or at a certain speed, it could be the result of your car's suspension.

Visit Tires Plus for a Free Brake Inspection

Brake noises have a habit of getting worse, not better. The most common problem we find are rotors that are warped and damaged when worn out brake pads and shoes haven’t been replaced, which ultimately shortens the life of healthy parts due to that metal–on–metal friction. Stop by your nearest Tires Plus for a free brake check as soon as your brakes start to make noise. Put an end to your brake worries today!

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