Why Are My Brakes Squeaking?

You’re on your way to work and the traffic signal ahead of you turns yellow. You step on the brake pedal to slow your vehicle. Your brakes squeak loudly. You shake your head because they’ve been squealing a lot lately and you don’t know why. They aren’t wet and you haven’t noticed any spots on your garage floor to indicate the brake fluid is leaking out of the lines or master cylinder. Your brakes could be squeaking for any number of reasons. Accurate Auto explains what they could be below.

Dirt and Rust

Brakes squeal once you hit the road for the day if they’re dirty or rusty. Brake rotors gather dirt and moisture that can cause rust. Once you depress the brake pedal, the brake pads scrape that grime off the rotors and this motion sometimes causes a squeaking or squealing sound. Once the grime is removed, your brakes shouldn’t squeak anymore. If they do, there is something else going on.


Condensation, humidity, rain, and snow can also cause brakes to squeak. You will hear the sounds in the morning most often, as your vehicle has been sitting all night while moisture collects on the rotors. As with dirt and rust, once the moisture evaporates, i.e. once you’ve used the brakes a few times, the sound should stop. If it doesn’t, it’s time for a brake inspection to see what parts are worn.

Brake Pads

For example, once the brake pads begin to wear down, which they all do, you may hear a squeaking or squealing sound each time you use your brakes. It’s best to have the brakes inspected at this time rather than wait until you hear grinding sounds. If you hear grinding sounds, your pads have worn all the way down and the metal of the pad base is grinding against your rotors, which damages the rotors.


Sometimes, your pads are fine but one or more rotor is uneven or wearing down unevenly. This could be due to a faulty brake part or brake pads that aren’t mounted properly. The rotor itself could be the culprit, too, as although manufacture quality test them some still come from the factory with defects. Alongside sound, your vehicle will also vibrate when you brake if the rotors are the issue.

Accurate Auto has three shops in Beaverton, Oswego, or Hillsboro, OR. We’d be happy to inspect your brake system to isolate why it squeaks.