If you’ve been driving a truck long enough, you may have experienced squealing brakes. Hearing high-pitched noises coming from your brakes can be concerning, and you might automatically assume you need a new set. Although this could be true, all noises coming from your brakes are not always problematic. The squealing could be from something as benign as moisture or cold weather. Understanding the reasons why brakes squeal will give you a better idea of what is going on next time it happens to you. Continue reading to learn more about squealing brakes and what to do when you hear them.
Harmful Reasons for Brakes Squealing
If you’re noticing a squeal from your brakes when you slow down or stop, it could be due to rusty brake rotors. Brake rotors are composed of iron and other metals that can corrode over time. As they corrode, they become less effective at stopping your vehicle. This is because rust causes uneven and pitted spots, so they take longer to come to a complete stop. They also have less surface area for braking friction, which means there’s less force being applied per square inch of rotor surface area as well. When you combine these factors—Uneven and pitted = less friction—you can get squealing brakes!
Worn Brake Pads
Another reason for squealing brakes might be because it is time for new brake pads. Pad wear is generally indicated by squealing sounds. If you let it go too far then you will also need new drums. If you try to push through in hopes of getting home, you could cause further damage. And cost more money in the long run. To keep your truck safe as well as comply with DOT regulations, it’s important to inspect your brake pads at every oil change/maintenance appointment.
Another brake problem is out of round drums. If you have out of round drums then you will start to feel a pulsing in the pedal. Excessive braking while on long trips through the mountains can cause heat to build up. If you get too much heat it can cause warping of your drums. If you get warped drums then they will need to be replaced. If you start to feel pulsing while braking, you should have your truck checked by a professional.
Harmless Reasons for Brakes Squealing
Dust & Debris on Your Brake Pads or Rotors
Too much dust, dirt, or grime can wreak havoc on your semi truck’s brakes. Brake dust—the substance that brake pads produce when they’re rubbed against a drum—can create a gritty substance that’s essentially sandpaper for your breaks. If there’s enough buildup, it can even bring down your entire truck because there will be too much friction between your wheels and brakes. Keep them clean by regularly checking your brakes for debris, cleaning as needed, or making sure you have proper braking maintenance performed by a qualified mechanic.
Moisture & Weather Conditions
Just like your car, when it rains or you drive through puddles, your truck’s brakes get wet. That means moisture from water or snow gets on your drums and pads and can cause a problem. Wet brakes can cause poor stopping conditions. You may need to stop for a while and let the brakes dry out.
Regular Maintenance Can Prevent Your Brakes From Squealing
If you’re a commercial truck driver, you know that semi brakes aren’t something to mess around with. If you neglect proper brake pad maintenance, serious damage can occur in a very short amount of time. To prevent squealing or other dangerous situations, it’s important to keep your brakes working at their best.
As you travel down highways day in and day out, your brakes suffer from wear and tear. You shouldn’t wait until something breaks to have it replaced. Replacing worn-out parts is a safer approach and also prevents a lot of the issues that cause squealing. Although replacing worn-out parts early may cost some money, it’s much cheaper than an accident. Maintaining good parts also reduces the stress involved with hearing squealing brakes and knowing some of your parts are probably not in ideal shape.
What to Do About Your Brakes Squealing
If you are concerned about your breaks squealing and you don’t know what the problem is, your best course of action is to stop the truck and let a professional take a look. The last thing you want to do is continue down the road and make the situation worse. You might want to stop at your local trucking shop if you feel uncomfortable doing repairs yourself. If there isn’t a shop nearby, you can call a roadside assistance company that offers mobile truck repair services. These services typically include repairs and inspections right there on the spot so once the issue is resolved you can move on down the road.
Need Help With Your Brakes? Call (443) 790-8887 Today!
Look no further than A1 Emergency Roadside Service. We can come to your location and perform repairs quickly and efficiently. Our fleet is ready for service 24 hours a day and we offer a wide range of repairs from bodywork to exhaust systems. Contact us today for more information.