OT: Car Brakes Squeaking

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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.
--
8^)~~~ Sue (remove the x to e-mail)
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wrote:

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?
--
Luke
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Suzie-Q wrote:

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.
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do_not_spam snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com wrote:

Greetings,
This is good stuff Suzie-Q. I am glad to see at least one poster providing good, usable information.
Thanks do_not_spam_me
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snipped-for-privacy@wdeans.com wrote:

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!
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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.
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snipped-for-privacy@wdeans.com wrote:

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.
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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).
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deans_an snipped-for-privacy@wdeans.com wrote:

You're full of shit, deans_an_asswipe.
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Reach for that maturity Henslee.
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snipped-for-privacy@wdeans.com wrote:

Reach for that little red ball Fido.
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Mark and Kim Smith wrote:

That's better, but beginners are much more likley to get in trouble with stuck bleeder screws, including rounding or shearing them off, than with damaging master cylinders.

Some manufacturers, including Nissan, specify a thin coating of high-temperature grease on the backs of the brake pads and other metal-to-metal contact points.
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do_not_spam snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com wrote:

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.
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Suzie-Q wrote:

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?
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.
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

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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.
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Greetings,
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 yard).
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, William
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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?
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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 professional.
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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.
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Greetings,

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, William
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