I have a 1997 Saturn with only about 28,000 miles. I've never had
any work done on the wheels or brakes. Now my brakes have started
squeaking loudly, but it only seems to happen in the morning when
I'm coming home from work. (I work 10 p.m.-7 a.m.). I live in a
hot, humid area (central Texas) and wonder if the squeaking may
just be due to moisture accumulating on the breaks - morning dew,
so to speak. There's been a lot of that, lately.
Of course, I don't want to go straight to the auto mechanic because
he/she will probably say something like, "Bring it in and let us
take a look," which will then lead to replacing break pads or
whatever. I'd like to have some free opinions before I do that!
Thanks in advance.
You're right. I can see from here it's just moisture. Not worth paying
a mechanic to actually look at the car. You don't really need brakes
anyway. There's always the other way of stopping. Throw it in reverse.
Do me a favor, stay down in Texas, will ya?
Sometimes squeal is caused by dust, and simply spraying water over the
inner and outer pads will eliminate it.
You should be able to inspect the outer brake pads through the openings
in the wheel and by steering the wheels to one extreme or the other to
see the inner pads. Don't assume both pads in a pair are of equal
thickness since one can wear out much faster than the other, especially
if the caliper piston or slider rods have seized. There should be at
least 1/16" of friction material left on each of the steel backing
plates (about 1/8" themselves).
Don't change the pads yourself unless you're good with tool and know
all the precautions to take. Most important is to not let the car fall
on you -- loosen the wheel lug nuts slightly before jacking the car,
and use a jack stand in addition to the jack. Also install the parts
correctly (get a diagram or take very good photos) and torque them
properly (use a cheap 3/8" torque wrench for the brake parts, a 1/2"
torque wrench for the wheel lug nuts). The caliper piston will likely
have to be pressed back to make room for the extra material on the new
pads. There is a tool for this, but an ordinary c-clamp will work as
well (you may need a piece of wood for it). If your brake fluid
reservior is full, fluid may spill out of it when you do this, and
brake fluid dissolves paint very quickly (brand-new turkey baster or
brand-new ketchup pump can remove excess fluid before you press back
the caliper piston). New brake pads usually require some rubbery
material or high-temperature grease on their metal backs (not on the
friction side!) to prevent squealing.
Actually, not good information! Unless you like buying master
cylinders! Go ahead and push that piston in. Along with all the old
fluid is dirt and other crap. So go ahead and push all that up into the
master. More times than not, you'll mess up that master. Proper way is
to open the bleeder, then press the piston. When done with your brake
job, top off the master as necessary.
And no, most new pads don't require anti-squeal. Not if the job is done
properly. It all depends on the surface of your rotor. And it depends
on proper installation of your pads. Crimp the ears if it has them.
Make sure your clips are in good shape and properly installed. If the
manufacturer doesn't recommend NOT turning the rotors, them turn them.
If not, then feel free to enjoy your vehicle pulling to one side or
another when you stop.
Sure, you only pay $5 per wheel for pads. But you'll pay that a lot
more than I will. I'll get more miles and wear out of my brake job and
spend less than you in the long run. I have no interest in keeping the
$5 a wheel brake pad people in business. My interest is in a cost
effective brake job that will get maximum miles on both the pads and the
rotors and not ruining the master, all at the same time!
That depends on your what car you own. Some cars you should disconnect
the battery before working on the brakes but I didn't hear you mention
that. I don't know about do_not_spam_me, but I haven't destroyed a
single master cylinder.
I seriously doubt I'll spend a lot more than you do on my brakes. This
is particularly true because I use $10 rotors as mentioned in my
previous post. Statements such as I will pay a lot more than you for
my brakes are just off the wall and not credible.
Well, I didn't hear you say how a late model Dodge pickup master
cyclinder should be checked for leaks, but we weren't talking about that
or disconnecting batteries. So what either has to do with brake pads, I
don't know. BTW, you don't own one of those pickups, do you, 'cause
then I really don't want you behind me!
If you are using those Chinese rotors, I really don't want you in the
car behind me!
But if you are really using the cheap rotors and pads, and doing them
yearly, you are doing more brake work than necessary! And spending a
lot more time doing brakes and paying for a lot more material than I
would ever have to.
I use the same rotors everyone else does but I get them off of cars at
the junk yard. If you look at just four cars chances are you will find
a set with 80%+ life left. If it takes you 1/2 hour extra to buy your
rotors this way you are earning $200/hr after tax vs. paying $65 each
in the store.
Plus you are recycling, reducing the trade deficit, and employing
Americans (if you care about that sort of thing).
Then beginners shouldn't do the job until they have the proper tools and
know what they are doing. Plus, if proper maintenance is being done,
beginners won't have a problem with bleeder screws. Bleeder screws are
there for a reason.
I drove a rented Fiat 500 through Italy about 40 years ago which had
what was called "morning brakes". They squealed and grabbed on the first
couple of stops.
It was explained as an overnight slight rusting of the inside of the
brake drums, which polished off quickly. Something like that may be
happening on your car.
Some brake pads have metal "end of life" squealers on them sized to drag
against the brake disks (like fingernails on a blackboard) when the pads
are nearly worn out. That may be what you are hearing, and the pads may
be warming up and expanding enough to move those squealers away from the
disks and stop sounding off after a little bit of driving, but if that's
it, they are still telling you the brake pads need replacement.
Sounds like you haven't yet settled down with a mechanic you trust, have
You are going to have to pull the wheels and inspect things to find out
whether it's worn pads/shoes or something else. It sounds like you don't
know how to do that yourself. So, find someone who does, either a
knowledgable friend or a shop.
Of course the only sensible thing to do is have someone look at the brakes.
No other way to be sure that are worn. Perhaps you have a neighbor that
tinkers on cars that can do that for you but unless you look at the pads, no
way to tellf or sure.
At 28,000 miles, you may very well need brakes. The milage is not nearly as
important as your driving habits. When I drove in the city a lot, stopping
at nerly every corner, brakes would last maybe 15,000 miles. Now that I do
a lot of highway driving, it is common to go 50,000 miles.
BTW, brake pads are relativly cheap. The longer you wait, the more likely
you will score the rotors and have to replace them at about $65+ each. The
mechanic will look at he pads and measure them. He can show you where the
rivets are about to destroy the rotors too, then you make a decision.
Isn't there a car newsgroup somewhere???
If your rotors are scored don't let them tell you that you need new
ones. Unless they are BADLY scored or thin you can sand them. If you
want new ones cheap often cars go to the junk yard with almost new
rotors. Look at 4 sets and odds are you will find one with 80% or
better of its life remaining. Rotors cost $10 each at my junk yard for
a savings of over $100 for about 1/2 hours work (once you are to the
I also tell everyone they should replace their own break pads. It
normally doesn't take me more than about 20 minutes if I don't bleed
the breaks and maybe 30 if I do. Brand new pads cost about $5 per
wheel. Since, depending on your families driving habits, you may have
to replace a set as often as once per year, I recommend taking the time
to learn. It will save you thousands over your lifetime and it is so
quick it is hardly worth taking the time to drop off your car and pick
it up later even if the replacement was free.
Hope this helps,
What kind of crap pads are $5 a wheel? Secondly, telling someone who knows
nothing about brakes to do their own brake job or change their own rotors
is almost like giving them a loaded gun and telling them to pull the trigger
while aiming at their loved ones. You might know how to do a brake job but
99% of the rest of the world doesn't.
Have you ever had brain surgery? Why not do it yourself? Do you know how
much money you could save?
The same kind that comes on a brand new car rolling out of the factory.
AutoZone VALUCRAFT SEMI-METALLIC part number MKD215V with 1 year
warranty are the kind that I have on one of my own vehicles. Guess
what? They cost 9.99 for a set which does both front breaks. I also
believe that tap water is safe to drink and that I do not need to pay
up to $1 per bottle for water from a spring. My shoes do not have an
air pump so one day a Tiger might outrun me and eat me. I'll fly on
AirTran (ValueJet) to Atlanta. I guess I am just a stupid idiot.
Hopefully my healthy diet, exercise, and continued mental activity will
more than make up for it.
You are right. If someone gave me a loaded gun and told me to pull the
trigger while aiming at my loved ones I would know just what to do with
that loaded gun after they handed it to me. I don't think our readers
are stupid. They can follow some steps and figure out what to do with
the break pads.
If I could learn how to do brain surgery myself in an hour following a
single page of steps and if I wasn't satisfied with the results I could
take the brain into a hospital to be reviewed and possibly redone by a
brain surgeon why not? Especially if the brain surgen looked like the
guy at Midas and didn't have a high school degree. Especially if I
also had an emergency brain I could call upon. Especially if the most
complex organ in the human body perhaps never to be fully understood
were as simple as break pads. Unfortunately this isn't at all what
brain surgery is like and so I prefer to leave it up to the
First of all, auto manufacturers buy millions of brake pads and yes, they
can purchase them a little cheaper than you, who buys one set of pads every
couple of years can buy them.
If you choose to use a cheap set of pads on your car, that's your choice.
But to tell a person who knows nothing about brakes that they should avoid
going to a mechanic to have their brakes installed or checked and that they
should do it themselves without any knowledge of brake systems leads me to
believe that you are a complete idiot.
Car manufacturer's prices are not lower simply because they purchase in
bulk. They are also lower because they are free from such notions as
the more expensive a pad is the safer it is.
I never said that you should avoid having your brakes checked. In fact
while trying to point out to you the seemingly obviously bad analogy
between brain surgery and pad replacement I said: "and if I wasn't
satisfied with the results I could take the brain [pads] into a
hospital [shop] to be reviewed and possibly redone." Most people have
their breaks checked by a mechanic every 6-12 months depending on state
during their inspection. Right before a yearly inspection is a good
time to change the pads if they are wearing thin. Amazingly, having
brand new pads makes them less likely to fail you for having your
headlights out of alignment - but that is a different story.
Hope this helps,
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