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Brakes squeaking when stopping slow can be a real annoyance. Your driving experience will become ugly as you continuously apply pressure to the brakes and hear this squeaking.

Squeaking brakes won’t result in your car not being able to stop, however, it will indicate that something is wrong with your brake pads. This article will provide you with the potential causes and solutions for brakes squeaking when driving slow.

Table of Contents

What Are Squeaky Brakes?

Squeaky brakes often imply it is time to get new brake pads for your car. You will hear a loud screeching noise every time you step on the brake pedals. But, this may also be an indication that the brake pads or rotors are loose.

Often, people will replace their brake pads and still be able to hear squeaking. The immediate worry will be thinking that they’ve purchased worn brake pads that are no good! But really, the reason for the new brake pads squeal at low speed can be due to a number of reasons which we’ll now discuss!

Possible Causes of Squeaky Brakes When Stopping Slow

The most likely causes of squeaky brakes when stopping slow are:

  • Thinning of the brake pads
  • High metal content in the brake pads
  • Condensation build-up
  • Glazing
  • Panic braking

Now let’s discuss each in more detail!

Thinning of the Brake Pads

Squeaking sounds generally occur due to the brake pads becoming worn out and too thin. This is a good indication that it is time to replace the brake pads.

The majority of car manufacturers have indicators in the brake system that will notify drivers on the dashboard when the brake pads are wearing down.

This indicator is typically a tiny metal tab, made of hardened steel that is connected using a rivet or using a push-on clip. Every time this tab hits the rotor, it will notify the driver that the pad material is wearing down.

High Metal Content in the Brake Pads

It’s very normal for brake pads to have metal content, however, it’s not desirable to have a high amount of metal content. When brake pads contain extra parts of metal, it can result in loud squeaking noises when in contact with the revolving rotor.

Condensation Build-Up

Condensation, or moisture dew, collects on the rotors when vehicles are left outside overnight. This condensation build-up can result in the formation of rust on the surface of the rotors.

The brake pads when pressed will then scrape the rust, which ultimately leads to the squeaky noise you hear when the brakes are cold.


If the brake callipers become glazed, you will undoubtedly have brakes start squealing after driving a few miles. Glazing results in excess heat and friction, causing the brake pads to become stiff every time you apply the brakes, producing a squeaking sound.

Panic Braking

If you brake abruptly, for instance, during an emergency stop, this will cause your brake pads to wear down a lot faster than usual. The sheer amount of heat produced due to excessive panic braking will ultimately lead to the brake discs and rotor wearing down, resulting in squeaking sounds when you are stopping.

Drum Brakes

A different type of brake is the drum brake, which is usually located on the back wheels of some cars. These types of brakes involved a curved pad pressed on a deep drum to help bring the vehicle to a stop.

These types of brakes will likely squeak due to a lack of lubrication between the pads and the hollow drum. When there is little or no drum brake lubrication between this contact point, the metal will start to rust.

As the metal rusts, the brake pads will begin to scrape it off the surface of the rotor, resulting in a brakes squeak when stopping slow.

Related: Car Brake Problems: Warning Signs That Your Brakes Need to be Inspected

How to Limit or Stop Brakes Squeak When Stopping Slow

Brakes squeak when stopping slowly due to the high pulsation of pads against the rotating discs. As the brake pedal is applied, the calliper clamps move against the rotating disc, leading to a combination of friction and heat. This pulsation from the friction and heat results in the squeaky noise you can hear.

Other factors such as dust contaminants, humidity and temperature can all affect the pulsation and will contribute to the squeaky brakes. Here are a few suggestions on how you can fix brake squeak:

  • Avoid hard braking
  • Use lubrication
  • Install high-quality brake pads
  • Avoid leaving the car in cold environments

Avoid Hard Braking

As already mentioned, excessive hard braking will cause your brakes to squeak when stopping slow, regardless of whether it is a new brake pad or not.

If the brake is worked out with a heavy load, the brake system will heat up and lead to the production of brake squeaks.

You should aim to limit the load weight to reduce the pressure on the brakes. Try to ensure you maintain a suitable gap between you and the car in front so that you’re able to avoid applying excessive force to the brakes (emergency stop).

Use Lubrication

Friction is produced between the brake pads and the rotating discs at specific pressure and speed due to contact rubbing. It is recommended to use brake lubricant to grease the brake pads so help to reduce the friction.

Brake lubricants typically come in a variety of forms, including tubes, cans, sprays, and more. Here is an example of break lubricant in the tube form available on Amazon:

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Install High-Quality Brake Pads

The condition of the brake pads often determines the vibrational levels, which ultimately contribute to the squeaking. When replacing the brake pads, you should always buy and install high-quality brake pads.

Choosing high-quality brake pads is essential to allow the car to be driven and capable of coming to a stop safely. Purchasing low-quality brake pads because they’re cheaper is more likely to provide you with issues because they will wear down a lot easier.

When it comes to selecting high-quality brake pads, you typically have 3 options:

  • Semi-metallic brake pads
  • Non-asbestos organic brake pads
  • Ceramic brake pads

Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

Semi-metallic brake pads are probably the most popular. They conduct heat exceptionally well and have very good stopping power. The only downfall is that they tend to rust and wear down the rotor sooner rather than later.

Here’s an example of semi-metallic brake pads available on Amazon:

Non-Asbestos Organic Brake Pads

Non-asbestos organic (NAO) brake pads are generally quieter than semi-metallic brake pads. They’re made with an organic filler so that they are resistant to not only heat but also vibration. However, just like their counterparts, they wear quite quickly.

Here’s an example of non-asbestos organic brake pads available on Amazon:

Ceramic Brake Pads

Ceramic brake pads are probably the best type of pads you can have, but the most expensive. They may not have the best stopping power out of the three, but they do not rust, they are quieter, and will not produce any dust. Ceramic brake pads typically last the longest.

Here’s an example of ceramic brake pads available on Amazon:

Avoid Leaving the Car in Cold Environments

Humidity, specks of dust, and dew (condensation) on the rotor’s surface will lead to squeaking noises. These occurrences can happen simply from leaving your vehicle outside in the cold.

It is generally advised to park your car in a temperature-controlled garage to avoid this scenario!

Related: Grinding Noise When Braking But Brake Pads Are Fine?

How to Limit or Stop New Brakes From Squeaking

As mentioned already, even when installing brand new brakes, it’s possible that they may still squeak. There are many reasons why this may happen, and if it does, you should use the proceeding information as general recommendations.

First of all, you should check for loose parts, as loose brakes will pulsate and squeak. Secure brakes should move with your hands and respond efficiently.

If your new brake is squeaking, try loosening the pads, callipers, and other brake system parts to ensure that everything is tight. Once you find out there is a loose part, tighten it securely or replace the loose gear as soon as possible.

Dampening paste is recommended for use to help reduce vibrations and squeaks. You should apply a thin layer of paste at the back of the pads and allow it to dry for up to 2 hours before proceeding to reinstall your new pads.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Why do my brakes squeak but the pads are good?

Your brakes are squeaking but are due to the thinning of the brake pads, high metal content in the brake pads, condensation build-up, glazing, or panic braking.

How do I get my brakes to stop squeaking?

To stop your brakes from squeaking you should try to avoid hard braking by limiting the load weight to reduce the pressure on the brakes. It is recommended to use brake lubricant to grease the brake pads to help to reduce the friction from contact rubbing. Purchasing low-quality brake pads are more likely to provide you with issues because they will wear down a lot easier, therefore, it is recommended to purchase high-quality brake pads. Finally, avoid leaving the car in cold environments to stop moisture from rusting the brake system.

Please comment below if you have any questions regarding brakes squeaking when stopping slow so that someone can help you!

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