Skip to content

Disc Brake Squeal – 3 Steps To Danger

If you hear a disc brake squeal or squeaking noise when you apply the brake pedal, don’t ignore it. We show you why and what happens if you ignore brake noises.

Most modern cars are fitted with a disc braking system both front and rear that have a “telltale tag” that makes contact with the brake rotor when the disc brake friction material has reached the minimum thickness. Other than safety reasons, the cost of repair & replacement can really add up as the images show what can happen.

Can Really Be Costly If Ignored

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

Tell-Tale Strip Causing Disc Brake Squeal

Some brake pads have a “Tell-Tale” strip which is a metal strip that contacts the disc/rotor and alarms the driver by making squealing noises that sometimes even sound like you have squeaky brakes when the brakes are applied. This “Tell-Tale” is important so you have the brakes serviced. The common culprits are the brake pads and rotors (if undersized) are worn out. Very important to have them replaced before the metal backing contacts the disc/rotor causing damage.

Brake squeal caused by Tell-Tale strip

Completely Worn Disc Brake Pad Causing Disc Brake Squeal

Brake squeal caused by completely worn disc 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 backing part (approximately 3mm). When doing a car inspection most brake pads can be sighted through the wheel. Grab my free Street Smart Tool Kit to help you. You should be able to get an idea if they need replacing now or at some point in the future.

Metal To Metal Contact Causing Disc Brake Squeal

Metal to metal contact causing brake squeal

Here the brake pad is completely worn like having metal pads. The metal backing plate from the pad makes contact with the rotor. In severe cases loss of the inner brake pad completely results in the brake calliper piston contacting the disc rotor. Here you can see how the disc rotor is scored and is unserviceable.