Brake Noise In My Car Won’t Go Away

Reader Question:
We have a Acura RL with 22,000 miles on it. Since we bought it, we have experienced brake squealing almost every morning when we first start to work, or after letting it sit for multiple hours while shopping.

The Acura dealer has tried to tell us that the brakes are high performance, ventilated disc brakes. With more brake surface area, they are prone to occasional squealing.

To try and satisfy our complaints, the dealer has replaced and re coated the front brakes, and is currently working on replacing and re coating the rear brakes.

Is what the dealer telling us true? Are we going be listening to squealing brakes for as long as we own the car? What are our options?

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your email. I feel your frustration! As a shop owner, I sometimes get as frustrated as my customers do with brake squeal problems on their vehicles. Sometimes we just can’t seem to make the squeal go away.

Until the brake pads heat up (usually the third or so stop sign), many create high-pitched squeals and squeaks. Once the pads are hot, for the most part, the squeals usually go away. The noise is generally due to the small metallic flakes that are in the brake pads.

“High performance” usually means the pads are harder and contain more metallic flakes. They last longer and can handle more heat than regular pads can. Your vehicle is probably equipped with this type of pad because of the heavier vehicle weight…and the Acura’s assumption that the driver will want this added braking performance.

The kind of brake squeal you mentioned is what I would consider “normal,” and is probably something you will have to live with, but you might want to try a few of the aftermarket brake pads and see if that helps. (I almost always recommend using dealer pads, but if you are having trouble with them, you might as well try something else.)

I personally had a Ford Explorer a few years ago that had this same problem, and we tried everything to get rid of that squeal. I finally just admitted defeat and lived with it. Since then, there have been great improvements in aftermarket brakes, and there might be one that will solve your complaint.

If you are interested, visit your local auto parts store and ask them about what brake pads are available for your vehicle that are specifically made for squeaks, squeals, etc.

Bendix and Raybestos both make “quiet” versions of their brake pads. I do not know what is available for your specific vehicle or what brands are available in your area, but you local auto parts guys should be able to recommend something tailored for you.

I don’t think I would have the dealer install them, they will say it will “void your warranty” blah blah blah…it’s just a set of brake pads! Any local mechanic can install them for you, but I would save your old pads just encase they are better.

Keep me posted.

Please share this with your friends,
Austin C. Davis

Posted in: Brakes

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