Brake Pads Make High Pitched Squeel Noise

car brake noiseI am totally frustrated. I hope you can help me. I’m an English teacher who wishes I were an auto mechanic. I have a Toyota Corolla that just had servicing done. (I didn’t bring it is because there was a problem.)

The Chevron station is pricey but I know the owner and his workers very well. I picked up the car and paid the fees. I was leaving for a long trip on the next day and heard a high pitch squeal when I put on my brakes. Since the brake check box had been checked as “okay–no problem” I was upset.

I took the car right back and was told the mechanic was a day old and had not done the work. New brake parts were put in. Well, I have a high pitch squeal, a tremulous brake pedal, and now a grinding sound when I slowly put on the brake from an almost stopped position.

I took the car back for the 4th time today. The mechanic tells me the noise is because of rubber “grommets” that are used to attach something to an A-frame. Yes, I have no idea if I have these words right! He said nothing can be done about these except maybe some WD-40. Huh? Is he giving me the run-around? Is my car safe to drive?

Help! a tired teacher…Deb

Hi there teacher Deb,

So they DID replace the front brake pads, correct?

My concern would be that they installed the wrong type of brake pad. Toyota vehicles can be super sensitive to non Toyota brand brake pads, so if they installed an after market pad, which I bet they did….I would first replace those pads with genuine Toyota brake pads and see what happens.

The grinding and high pitched squeal is probably due to the non Toyota pads, but I do not understand the “tremendous brake pedal” complaint you mentioned. This could be due to the wrong TYPE of brake pad being installed.

Some vehicles require a semi metallic brake pad, and some use a softer “organic” (a softer pad does not contain metallic shavings) brake pad material. If you install a semi metallic brake pad on a vehicle designed for organic or non semi metallic brake pads you will have a grinding noise and lack of stopping power complaint.

So in summary, try Toyota brake pads first before you do anything. I would also recommend they resurface the front brake rotors as well to make them smooth again.

This is done by removing a small amount of material from the brake rotor with a brake lathe machine, and is part of a brake job anyway so make sure they did that. I don’t think you have anything wrong with your bushings or needing WD-40…since you did not have these complaints before the brake work.

I made this short video talking about warped brake rotors, what you can do and how to avoid it.

Please share this with your friends,

Austin Davis

Posted in: Brakes

2 Comments on "Brake Pads Make High Pitched Squeel Noise"

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  1. Spenceton says:

    Good question. I remember I encountered the same thing with my 2011 Toyota Avalon Brake Pad Set. It produced a high pitched squeel noise. I took it to a DIY mechanic referred to me by a friend of mine. Nevertheless, he suggested to have them replaced for a reason I didn’t understand. Weird, but once I had the new set, the squeel disappeared.

  2. Solego says:

    Do the brakes squeal when you are backing up, or both forward and backward? I also have a Toyota Corolla, ’06 model and I’ve been seeing a lot of complaints about brakes squealing as people back up. I have also noticed what I believe your grinding sound might have been. In mine I believe it’s just the sound of the brake pads gripping the disk, causing a groaning sound when the brakes are just loose enough to cause it to slip through without losing it’s grip entirely, if that makes sense. Just my best guess based on what I’ve heard in my own vehicle, this may not be the case with you.

    As far as the squealing, though, if it’s just backing up, it’s a problem a lot of people seem to be having. I’ve had a friend of mine that owns a mechanic shop take a look at my brakes several times, and tried both high-metal brake pads as well as ceramic pads. They still squealed, and he went through and tried everything he knew to get it to stop squealing. He’d never had brakes squeal after he did whatever it was he’d done, I did not understand well enough to remember exactly what he said it was, but these remained stubborn. The odd thing is I have never once had them squeal going forward, only ever backward, and have been combing through forums trying to figure out what is causing it. So far everyone’s given the generic brake squeal troubleshooting tips but the problem seems a little too widespread, and the problem too specific, to be just that.

    Overall the brakes are outperforming any I’ve ever had and the problems have not affected the function of the brakes remotely. It’s just annoying pulling out of my driveway at 5am with a squeal loud enough to wake a neighbor. If the above is not your problem, then definitely get them checked, especially if the grinding sounds or acts like it couldn’t be what I described.

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