Official Blog

  • A Few Benefits To Flushing your Car’s Radiator As Part of a Regular Auto Maintenance Schedule

    You are probably quite aware that you should change your oil either once every 3 months or every 3,000 miles—whichever comes first.  Of course, you can have a little grace period if you want, but it is best to address this Cross Drilled Rotors maintenance schedule as regularly as possible.

    You might also know that this is a good time to rotate your tires and check other filters and fluids as well. Some fluids and filters, of course, can wait a year or more before replacement, so it is important to learn your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, especially when it comes to you radiator.

    Flushing Your Radiator for a Cleaner Drive

    Flushing your radiator is important because it helps to keep contaminants and other deposits from building up in the radiator.  While you can put water in your radiator, today’s high-demand lifestyles require chemically formulated coolant/antifreeze fluid to improve your engine’s longevity; and although these fluids are designed to maximize performance, they are filled with chemicals which can leave behind deposits.  When you flush them out, you reduce the risk of engine damage and potentially increase the life of your engine.

    Lubricating the Water Pump

    It sounds counterintuitive but radiator coolant does more than just keep the system cool.  When you flush out your radiator to ensure it runs properly, you can enjoy the added benefit of improving the performance of your water pump.  Lubricating the water pump ensures that water moves through the engine smoothly and effectively to extend its performance, too.

    Out With that Bad (and Keeping the Good)

    The chemicals used to make antifreeze/coolant are not just there to fill up the space.  The additives are intended to improve the health of your engine.  So when you flush your radiator it helps to remove the bad stuff so that the good stuff has a better opportunity to do its job at reducing corrosion and increasing your engine’s longevity.

    Checking Engine Pressure

    When you flush your radiator, this is also a good time to run engine pressure tests. These tests look for leaks in the system that could be affecting performance and, potentially, lead to premature degradation of the system.

  • Replacing Your Brake Wheel Cylinder

    Replacing Your Brake Wheel Cylinder

    While it is easy to regard your car as the thing in your life that helps you get all the things done that need doing, it is just as easy to forget how important it is to have strong brakes.  Most of the time we think in terms of going and rarely think about stopping.

    Of course, if you have ever experienced brake problems then you know firsthand just how important this aspect of your car really can be.  If you have been fortunate enough to avoid any braking issues, though, you should still remember how crucial it is to respect your vehicle’s maintenance schedule.

    Perhaps you are pretty good about getting your oil changed—which should be about once every three months. And maybe you know that you should also change your air filter about once a year (and its easy enough to do on your own).

    But brake maintenance is a little more complicated.  That doesn’t mean you cannot do it yourself (or shouldn’t), and learning about the cost of replacing your braking component might just motivate you to learn a little more, as well, about doing it yourself.

    The Cost of Replacing A Brake Wheel Cylinder

    Now, it is tough to give a true estimate for any repair job, especially since there are so many makes and models on the road right now.  Each manufacturer is a little different and you can sometimes use interchangeable parts. Some parts are designed for standard use while others are specifically for high-performance.  Replacing disc brake calipers is one thing and replacing a brake cylinder could cost upwards of $200, just on labor.

    Since the parts typically cost less than $40, you can see why it might be a good idea to do this yourself.

    Do It Yourself Brake Wheel Cylinder Replacement

    To do this job you will need only a few things: the replacement part, of course, and just a few tools:

    • Replacement brake cylinder
    • Brake fluid
    • Jack stands
    • Standard mechanic’s tool set
    • Protective gear

    Basically, use a jack to raise the car off the ground and secure with the jack stands. Now you can remove the wheels to get to the brakes (and brake cylinder); remove the brake shoe (caliper and pad) to reach the cylinder.  Disconnect the brake line from the master cylinder and you are ready to remove and replace the brake cylinder. Make sure to use brake fluid when you reinstall to ensure graceful installation. Restore the brakes, brake shoe, and wheel, and you are ready to go.

  • The Advantages of Cross Drilled and Slotted Discs

    We’ve received quite a few emails lately asking us to explain what the advantages are of cross-drilled and slotted rotors, as compared to the blank rotors most cars come standard with. We’ve also had requests to explain why many slotted rotors these days have curved or J-hook shaped slots, rather than straight slots. Rather than giving you the Wikipedia answer, we went right to the source by once again contacting Mark Valskis at Brembo North America (some of you will recall his contribution to the big brake kit Tech Talk story in the May ’11 issue).

    As most of you already know, the basic function of a brake disc is to provide a mating surface for the brake pads so that when you stomp on the brake pedal the friction material that makes up the pad is squeezed against the rotors (by the calipers), converting forward motion into heat as the car slows. That heat is then radiated to the atmosphere as air flows over and through the rotors (and the rest of the braking system), completing the conversion of kinetic energy into thermal energy.

    According to Mark at Brembo, cross-drilled rotors came into being because of the need to evacuate gases or water from the interface between the disc face and the brake pad surface. As Mark further clarified, “Modern brake pads don’t have an issue with out-gassing like they did many years ago, but the cross-drilling is still helpful for use in wet conditions, especially when the pad surface area is large. Additionally, cross-drilling increases the surface area of the disc, and this aids in disc cooling (one factor in brake disc cooling is the ratio of surface area to disc mass). The most significant feature of the holes (when done correctly) is that they continually refresh the brake pad surface, providing improved performance and greater disc life. As the holes pass the brake pad they essentially clean the surface, helping to prevent pad glazing or hardening. This effect can be easily observed on a drilled disc near the outer edge where there are no holes. In this area, the pad surface is not refreshed and you will typically see greater disc wear in this unswept area.” It’s also worth noting that this type of pad refreshing by cross-drilled and/or slotted rotors helps maintain more consistent frictional performance.

    Rotor Education Tech Talk Cad Drawing
    These CAD drawings of a slotted and ventilated Brembo brake disc illustrate just how compl

    Some of you may not be fans of cross-drilled rotors because you’ve seen cracks in the disc surface radiating out from the drilled holes, but as Mark points out, not all drilled discs are created equally. “Brembo has a long list of requirements for drilled discs. First, the holes are not just simple cylindrical holes. They have a more complicated shape that requires special tools to create. We also have strict requirements on hole density or the number of holes per given surface area of the disc. Additionally, there are requirements for the hole size and placement of the holes, including distance between holes, distance from braking surface edges, distance to disc vanes, angular offset of holes and more.”

    But even with the highest quality cross-drilled discs, there can be issues with thermal shock and fatigue around the holes when using very aggressive racing brake pads. As Mark explained, “Slotted discs were developed to provide the benefit of refreshing the pad surface, while being able to be used with top-level racing friction materials. Drilled discs provide the same benefit [refreshing the pads], but also increase the cooling of the brake disc. With top-level racing materials, the heat input is very rapid and the increase in localized cooling around the holes can cause issues.” So slotted rotors were developed as a solution to a very specific problem associated with extremely aggressive friction material normally associated with racing, though if you’re anything like me and run some pretty aggressive brake pads on the street as well as at the track, then slotted rotors may be the right choice for your car.

    Rotor Education Tech Talk Cross Cut
    These CAD drawings of a slotted and ventilated Brembo brake disc illustrate just how compl


    As for the shape of the slots, Mark had this to say: “The different design of the slots is due to extensive research and development, including [brake] dyno testing. Due to the fact that track testing is required, and thanks to strong collaboration with many top-level racing teams, Brembo has developed a very broad knowledge of the many different types of slot shapes possible when machining discs.” Since this type of extensive R&D is really outside the scope of all but the biggest brake system manufacturers, a lot of what you’re seeing in the aftermarket are companies copying what leaders like Brembo are doing with respect to slot shape, slot spacing, slot depth and so on.

    Ultimately, the slots are all designed to do the same thing (refresh the brake pads), but different shapes no doubt impact the aggressiveness with which the pads are refreshed and also likely affect localized cooling of the disc. And speaking of cooling, the internal structure of ventilated rotors plays a very important role here. “The mass of the disc is the determining factor in how much energy the disc can absorb, while the design of the internal geometry helps improve the disc’s ability to shed the heat,” Mark explains. “The key factor in the use of a vented disc versus a solid disc is the increase in the ratio of disc surface area to mass. Heat transfer to the air occurs only on the surfaces of the disc that are directly exposed to air; so the more surface area, the better the disc can shed the heat.”

    Rotor Education Tech Talk Display Model
    This NASCAR braking system provides some interesting insight into disc slot design – note

    As for the internal vane structure of a ventilated disc, Mark adds: “There are limitless internal vane structures that are possible. Design of the vane structure has a dramatic effect on the performance of the brake disc. Some designs, such as directional curved-vane discs actually improve the airflow through the disc by turning the disc into a centrifugal pump. However, the cost of implementing this is increased due to the need for unique left- and right-hand discs. Brembo has patented a ‘pillar vane’ internal geometry that provides nearly all the airflow advantages of the curved vane discs while being able to use the same disc on both the left and right sides of the vehicle.”

    Who knew so much technology goes into these seemingly simple iron discs (the material composition of brake rotors being a topic for another month). But when you consider just how vitally important the braking system is to safety and performance, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that industry leaders like Brembo are constantly looking for ways to improve the design of their brake discs.

  • Drilled or Slotted Rotors — What are the Best Brake Rotors?

    Drilled or Slotted Rotors — What are the Best Brake Rotors?

    • Drilled or Slotted Rotors

    Smooth Rotors

    Smooth Brake Rotors

    Slotted Rotors

    Slotted Brake Rotors

    Cross Drilled Rotors

    Cross Drilled Brake Rotors

    Drilled & Slotted Rotors

    Drilled & Slotted Brake Rotors

    Choosing the Right Brake Rotor

  • How to Replace the Brake Pads on a Ford Focus

    How to Replace the Brake Pads on a Ford Focus

    On most Focus models, the pads are in the calipers.

    Items you will need

    • Floor jack
    • Axle stands
    • Tire iron
    • Flat head screwdriver
    • Pliers
    • Wrench
    • C-clamp
    • Syringe or other siphon tool
    • Brake pads
    • DOT 3 brake fluid

    <p>You need to change your car's brake pads at 60,000 miles; they may need changing sooner depending on how hard you use the brakes. On any Ford Focus made after 2000, the brake pads are held within the brake calipers themselves on the front wheels. Older models may have them installed within the caliper's mounting bracket. Make sure you have the correct brake pads for your particular model.</p>Removal

    <p>Raise the car's front end with the floor jack and support it on axle stands. Remove both front wheels with the tire iron; only work on one brake assembly at a time.</p>

    <p>Pry off the retaining clip from the brake caliper using a flat head screwdriver while holding the clip with pliers. Detach the brake hose's bracket from the strut assembly.</p> <p>Remove the guide pin bolts for the brake caliper and lift the caliper off the bracket. On most newer models, the bolts require an Allen wrench and are covered with caps you must remove.</p> <p>Remove the brake pads from the caliper mounting bracket or the caliper itself--if the pads are in the caliper, pull the inner pad and its spring clip out of the caliper piston and slide the outer pad out of the caliper with its retaining clip.</p> <p>Compress the caliper's piston back into its bore slowly using a C-clamp. If necessary to prevent overflow, remove some brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir in the engine compartment using a syringe or unused turkey baster.</p>Installation

    <p>Insert the replacement brake pads into the brake caliper or the mounting bracket as needed; in the former's case, slide the outer pad and its clip into the caliper and insert the inner pad's spring clip into the piston.</p> <p>Install the caliper back onto the bracket on the brake disc and then apply and tighten the mounting bolts with the wrench.</p> <p>Re-connect both wheels and lower the car off the axle stands after changing both sets of pads.</p> <p>Fill the master cylinder reservoir with fresh brake fluid if needed.</p> <p>Press the brake pedal multiple times until it feels firm, thus seating the pads.</p>


    Avoid hanging the brake caliper by its hose while it is disconnected. Lay it on an extra axle stand or tie to the spring on the strut with a coat hanger or other strong wire.

  • How to Use Brake Cleaner

    How to Use Brake Cleaner

    by David Medairos

    Keep your brake parts clean and noise free with brake cleaner.

    Brakes are the most important safety feature of any vehicle. Airbags and traction control are useless if you can't stop in the first place. Although modern cars and trucks are equipped with braking systems that require very little maintenance, applying an aerosol brake cleaner can help remove any grease or brake fluid from the critical parts. Brake cleaner can also be used to remove brake "dust" that can accumulate on your wheels and stain the finish over time.

    Park your car in a well-ventilated area.

    Remove the cap of the brake cleaner can and insert the included plastic tube into the spray nozzle.

    Spray generously on and around your brake discs or drums, calipers, and pads. You may also spray some cleaner on your wheels if they have accumulated any brake dust. Repeat as necessary until any debris and grease have been washed away.

    Wipe down your wheels and soak up any excess cleaner with a lint-free cloth. Allow the wheels and brake parts to air dry for several minutes before moving the car again.


    • check Brake cleaner is a powerful solvent and can stain your driveway or garage floor. Parking the wheel to be cleaned on a piece of scrap cardboard can catch any runoff and keep your area clean.

    Items you will need

  • How to Remove Stuck Brake Rotors

    How to Remove Stuck Brake Rotors

    Removing stuck brake rotors takes time and effort.

    If you need to remove a brake rotor for repair or replacement, chances are the rotor is rusted stuck. Rust and corrosion caused by constant exposure to the elements can cause a brake rotor to weld itself onto the hub. There are many different ways to remove a stuck brake rotor, ranging from simple solutions to those that take much longer to complete and require professional tools.

    Removal using a large rubber mallet

    Spray a liberal amount of penetrative lubricant on the hub and back side of the rotor. Wait a few minutes for the lubricant to penetrate the hub surface.

    Strike the rotor with a large rubber mallet, from behind and from the front. In many cases, the shock from the rubber mallet should be enough to loosen it from the hub.

    Pull the rotor away from the hub. Remove rust and other debris from the hub with sandpaper.

    Removal using rotor puller

    Apply a liberal amount of penetrative lubricant on the hub and back side of the rotor. Allow the lubricant to sit for a few minutes.

    Attach the three-arm rotor puller onto the rotor. Position the center bolt on the hub and hook the three arms onto the back of the rotor.

    Tighten the bolt on the puller gradually. This will apply pressure to the hub and lift the rotor away from the rusted surface. If the rust is severe, there is a chance the rotor will come apart in pieces due to the amount of force applied to the outer edges of the rotor.

    Disconnect the three-arm rotor puller from the rotor. Inspect and clean the surface of the hub with sandpaper.

    Removal using acetylene torch

    Apply a liberal amount of penetrative lubricant to the hub bearing. Wait a few minutes for the lubricant to soak in, then strike the rotor from the front and back with a rubber mallet.

    Light the acetylene torch and apply heat to the hub face and around the hub studs. Turn the torch off and strike the rotor. It might take repeated attempts before the rotor is successfully freed.

    Pull the rotor away from the hub. Remove rust and other debris from the hub with sandpaper.


    • check Instead of purchasing a three-arm rotor puller, you can rent one from a local automotive parts store for far less money.
    • check Add anti-seize compound to the rotor hub after thoroughly cleaning it. This will prevent the rotor from getting stuck in the future.


    • closeWear safety glasses when working on brake rotors, especially while using a rotor puller.
    • close Keep the acetylene torch away from easily flammable materials. Turn off the torch when it's not being used.

    Items you will need

  • How to Clean Rust Off of Calipers

    How to Clean Rust Off of Caliper

    Rust can be cleaned from car brakes and calipers.

    When the brakes on your car have been exposed to winter weather and road salt, the brake calipers can begin to rust. Once rust appears, it will continue to eat away at the metal until the calipers go bad and need to be replaced. Clean the rust off of your brake calipers before it causes permanent damage.


    Move the car to a garage or other enclosed area where you can work.


    Raise one corner of the car up off the ground with a car jack. Set a jack stand under the frame to help support the vehicle.


    Remove the wheel from the vehicle using a tire iron or an air gun to loosen the lug nuts. Take off the tire and set it aside.


    Lay down on an automotive creeper and wheel it under the vehicle to examine the brake caliper. Identify the areas of surface rust.


    Slide out from under the vehicle and insert a wire brush attachment into a power drill.


    Wheel the automotive creeper back under the vehicle and use the drill, with the wire brush attachment, to remove the rust. Press the trigger on the drill to spin the wire brush attachment.


    Wipe of the caliper with a damp rag or cloth to remove any dust and dirt from the caliper. Spray the caliper with caliper paint. This will help to protect the caliper from rust and heat.


    Remove the jack stand and release the car jack to lower the corner of the vehicle.


    Repeat this process on the opposite side of the vehicle to clean the rust on the other front brake caliper.

    Items you will need:

  • How to Fix Squeaky Brakes

    How to Fix Squeaky Brakes

    Squeaky brakes are a common automotive nuisance, but fortunately, it's a fairly easy and affordable fix.


    Squeaky brakes are a common automotive nuisance, but fortunately, it's a fairly easy and affordable fix.

    It's the first nice day of summer; you've taken the convertible out of winter storage and you're ready to hit the road. The stereo is cranking sweet guitar riffs as you cruise the beach, but for some reason, the feedback on Wayne Kramer's ax (Motor City 5, for the uninitiated) starts to sound more like the drone string on Ravi Shankar's sitar. And that's not good. Changing tracks, you find that same droning noise, and it isn't coming from your high-end stereo—in fact, it's your brakes. They are squealing. By the time you get back home, the noise has become so shrill it makes the dog hide under the porch and bark. The brakes seem to work just fine, but any application of pedal immediately makes the noise louder. Owww, it's hurting your ears. Time to check the brakes.

    Why Are My Brakes Squeaking?

    Let's make one thing clear right up front: Sometimes your brakes will make noise. If you expect supreme silence or expect your mechanic to make your brakes totally mute in every circumstance—that just may not be possible. Relax, don't worry. A squeaking brake can stop a vehicle as quickly as a quiet one.

    So what makes the squeal, then? Modern brakes use a cast-iron disc squeezed between two brake pads lined with friction material. Under the right conditions, the disc, the pads and the caliper they're mounted in can start to vibrate—in exactly the same way a violin's string vibrates when stroked by the horsehairs on the bow. The violin's pitch is controlled by the position of the violinist's finger on the string, not by how hard or fast the bow is stroked. Similarly, most brake squeals occur at a single discrete frequency. The speed of the vehicle and how hard you press down on the left pedal will only change the volume of noise, because the pitch is controlled by the stiffness and mass of the pad and disc.

    Inadequate development at the manufacturer that leaves brake systems prone to noise can usually be overcome by a Saturday mechanic without totally re-engineering the caliper/mount/pad/disc system. We can try to damp out the noise, or simply change the resonant frequency of the whole arrangement until it stops singing in any audible frequency. Here's how.

    Normal Brake Pad Noises

    Many brake pad compositions will make a swishing or grinding noise for the first few stops in the morning until the pads warm up and drive off any moisture they've accumulated overnight. Ever notice a hissing or grinding noise on some rainy or dewy mornings? It's the pads sweeping a thin film of rust that's formed on the iron discs, and it's perfectly normal

    In the past, brake pad friction material relied heavily on asbestos. Unfortunately, asbestos tended to give asbestos workers and brake mechanics lung cancer, so the industry has almost completely changed over to less dangerous alternatives. Kevlar is one material that's seen a lot of use, but it tends to be dusty. Improved brake performance is more important nowadays because of increased safety requirements and equipment—and the extra road-hugging weight that comes along with these. That leads to the increased use of metallics and ceramics in the brake pad friction material. And this stuff can make the brakes hiss or even grind a little as you slow down. It's a small price to pay for increased performance. So all pad noise is fine, right? Hold up there, Sparky, there's one brake noise you need to pay attention to right away.

    Many brake pads have a small finger of spring steel that will scrape on the disc as the pad reaches its wear limit. This tells you that it's time to change pads for fresh, thicker ones before the friction material wears completely away, and you're trying to slow down on the metal backing plates. It's a sound not easily confused with brake squeal—it's more of a ripping-sheet-metal noise, not a single, high-pitched note.

    Stop the Squeak

    Okay, let's dig in and silence our brake noise. One fix is to simply change pads to a different type of friction material. It's usually hard to beat the original-equipment pads for a good compromise of pad life, noise, grip, dust creation and price, but changing to an aftermarket premium metallic or ceramic pad just might change the interaction that affects the resonant frequency of the pad and disc and, literally, change its tune.

    Go into any auto parts store and you'll see a shelf full of potions and widgets claiming to cure squeaks. One class of products I'm leery of is simple aerosols that you spray onto the pad's friction material. I have no idea if they actually make the squeak go away, because I'm unwilling to try anything that changes the friction characteristics of the pad. Let's not forget, the first reason your brake system exists is, in fact, to make your car slow down. Anything that could reduce that system's effectiveness in any way is probably not a good idea.

    Still got noise? Or still have plenty of pad material remaining and don't want to drop fifty or a hundred bucks on a fresh set? You may be able to decouple the piston acoustically from the pad by purchasing shims made of Teflon, which are intended to go between the pad and the caliper's hydraulic piston. I've tried those shims with middling success—sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. Warning: Some calipers will not have enough extra travel in the piston bore to allow any shimming without making the brakes drag, at least with fresh, unworn pads.

    You can achieve a similar decoupling without Teflon shims by simply coating the back face of the pad's backing plates with high-temp brake grease or even antiseize compound. Unlike shims, this tweak won't last forever, as water and road dirt will wash it away eventually.

    We chose high-end ceramic-based pads for our brake job, hoping the different friction characteristics would cure the squeal. Surprise, the new pads came out of the box fitted with Teflon-coated shims already installed.

    How to Replace Your Car's Brake Pads

    squeaky brakes 1-3
    A Sticky Solution

    Our favorite tweak for squeaks relies on a different principle: Instead of using shims or lubricants to decouple the pad from the caliper, stick the backing plate to the piston or caliper housing, effectively making its mass far larger. That will move the system's resonant frequency out of the range that squeals. A smear of Super Glue won't do it: You need something that will withstand the water, salt, filth and especially the heat that cars see in hard everyday use. How hot do brake systems get? I've seen brake discs glowing bright orange at the bottom of Pikes Peak, and flames shooting out of the brake drums of trucks descending Donner Pass. I've seen the brakes on my own race car visibly glow right after a few hot laps.

    I've used several products over the years, but they're all basically anaerobic adhesives, applied as either a lipstick-style film or a toothpaste-style goo. The application of this product is simple: Remove and clean up the old pads, or use new pads. Clean the area on the piston and caliper where the pad backing plate touches. Apply the anti-squeal adhesive, reinstall the pads and button up. These anaerobic products will stay gummy until you apply the brakes and squeeze out the oxygen. Then they stick like, well, glue.

    Whenever you're installing any brake parts, be sure you remove any corrosion or road dirt from the mating parts—the brake pad or caliper housing needs to be able to slide in and out to compensate for wear. Clean up any sliding parts, which may require a wire brush or a file, until you can push the pads in and out with your bare hands. I prefer to replace any brake hardware (especially on drum brakes) that isn't in perfect condition—hey, it's cheap insurance. Apply a thin film of high-temp brake grease to any sliding surfaces. Obviously, avoid getting anything like grease or antiseize on the pad or disc, and clean any greasy handprints off the disc surface before you hang the wheel on too.

    Brake Hardware Nitty Gritty

    squeaky brakes 1-3
    1. This is one product we've tried that usually works to bond brake pads to the caliper and reduce or eliminate squeal.

    2. This sheet-metal finger is just long enough to contact the disc when the pads are mostly worn out. The noise is calculated to make you replace the pads.

    3. Here are two different compositions of brake pads. The one on the left is the stock pad installed by the factory, with a high concentration of organic fibers and brass particles. The aftermarket pad uses less brass and more ceramics for longer wear and improved braking.

    squeaky brakes 4

    4. When installing new or old pads, sparingly coat all of the sliding surfaces on the pads, pins and hardware with high-temp brake grease. Use sparingly, and—duh—don't get any on the pads or discs.

    squeaky brakes 5

    5. File, sandpaper or grind any burrs, extra paint, rust or high spots off the pads, new or old, to be sure the pad will slide easily in and out as the brakes are applied and released.

    squeaky brakes 6

    6. Check out the raised areas—leftovers from the manufacturing process. We had to file down the steel backing plate on this aftermarket pad.

  • Four Common Types of Brake Squeaks

    Do Your Brakes Squeak?

    Any squeak in your vehicle can be annoying, especially if it continues to get worse. Here are four common types of squeaks that come from the brakes—common problems that come through the shop everyday—plus a fifth (bonus) brake noise, a scraping noise. I hope I can help you understand what's causing your brakes to squeak.

    Four Common Types of Brake Squeaks

    Disc Brakes
    Drum Brakes
    Morning squeak from overnight rain, dew, or condensation moisture .
    Rear drum brake squeaks when shoe-to-backing-late contact points need lubrication.
    Thinning brake pads set off brake wear indicator squeak.
    Cheap brake pads with high metal content.

    Two Types of Brakes

    To make this discussion clearer I'll tell you that there are two types of brakes.

    • Most brakes today are disc brakes, where a pad presses against a disc or rotor to stop the car. The first three squeaks described here come from disc brakes.
    • Many cars have drum brakes on the back wheels, where a curved “shoe” presses against a hollow drum to stop the car. The last squeak here is made by drum brakes.

    1. Disc Brakes Squeak After Car Sits Overnight

    Most brakes squeak after sitting overnight. This is usually due to moisture from rain, dew, or condensation that collects on the surface of the rotors.

    When moisture collects on the brake rotors, it causes a thin layer of rust to form on the rotor surface. As the rotor turns, the pads scrape the rust off the rotors, and then the rust gets caught on the leading edge of the brake pad. These fine particles of rust then get embedded into the leading edge of the pad and cause a squeak.

    The only way to prevent this type of squeak is to garage your vehicle or store it in a climate-controlled environment. Rust on the rotors can also cause pad impressions on rotors, which in turn, cause a thumping noise or brake pulsation.

    Rust Embedded in a Rotor

    This rotor has actually turned blue from countless times the thin layer of rust has been scraped off by the pads.
    This rotor has actually turned blue from countless times the thin layer of rust has been scraped off by the pads. | Source
    The same rotor, close up;  you can see the rust  embedded in the metal.
    The same rotor, close up; you can see the rust embedded in the metal. | Source

    Noise From Rusty Rotors

    2. Thinning Brake Pads

    The brake wear indicator is another common cause of brake squeak. This sound starts when the brake pads are almost worn out and getting extremely thin. It’s a very effective warning that the that the brake pads are almost used up and need to be replaced.

    The wear indicators are little metal tabs made of hardened steel. The manufacturers attach wear indicators in different ways: welding them on, using a rivet, or using a push-on clip attached to the edge of the brake-pad backing. These steel tabs are designed to hit the rotor before the brake pad totally wears out, warning the driver that the pad material is getting very thin and is about to create a metal-to-metal situation. You don’t want to get to that point because it means ineffective braking, and metal grinding and scratching on the rotor can damage the rotor’s smooth surface.

    Wear Indicator Noise While Driving; Step on the Brakes and the Squeak Stops

    3. High Metal Content in Brake Pads

    Brake pads normally contain bits of metal, but some cheap brake pads are manufactured with very high metal content. They have large chunks of metal pressed into the pad material. These large pieces of metal drag on the rotor and cause a high pitched brake squeak.

    Since brake pads sometimes can last between 30,000 to 40,000 miles, you'll have to listen to this annoying sound for months. This is one reason to spend a few extra bucks on quality brake pads. Another reason, of course, is that your brakes stop the car and quality helps. Don’t let twenty dollars stand between you and an accident that could end up costing you a lot more money.

    To minimize squeaks from your brake pads, use brake pads with a high content of organic brake material (resin, rubber, Kevlar, fiber, or what-have-you). More organic brake material means fewer metal shavings in the brake pad, less squeaking, and less metal dust on your wheels. Metal particles in brake dust can discolor chrome or aluminum wheels.

    This brake pad has very fine particles of metal embedded in the organic brake material.  Particles this fine should not usually cause a brake to squeak.
    This brake pad has very fine particles of metal embedded in the organic brake material. Particles this fine should not usually cause a brake to squeak. | Source

    4. Drum Brakes That Need Lubrication

    Have you ever heard a squeak from the rear brakes after pushing on the brake pedal? This is a sure sign that the shoe-to-backing-plate contact points need lubrication. If these contact points lose lubrication, the metal will begin to rust. Once this happens the shoes will scrape against the backing plate, causing a rhythmic squeaking noise with the rotation of the wheels. Most new vehicles have disc brakes on all four wheels, but drum brakes are still used on the rear wheels of some cars.

    The best way to prevent this noise, or to repair it, is to keep the contact points lubricated, either with a high temperature anti-seize compound or a lube called Moly Paste 60. You use it on the back of brake pads and on all brake pad/shoe contact points, not on the brake pad or shoe surfaces themselves.

    If you're looking for a lube to use on the caliper slide pins, use a Hi-Temp Wheel Bearing Grease like Amalie. If you use high quality products when doing your brake jobs, the time spent doing the job will be well worth it. In the long run, you'll have longer-lasting brakes with no headaches.

    Honda HN 08798-9010 MOLY PASTE (M77)

    Honda HN 08798-9010 MOLY PASTE (M77)

    Moly Paste 60 is manufactured specifically for brakes, and will not melt or wash away. It comes in a small squeeze packet with all genuine Honda brake pad sets. I have used this for over 29 years on all my brake jobs, and it truly stops brakes from squeaking.

    Where to Lube Squeaking Drum Brakes

    Clean and lube these contact points if your drum brakes squeak.
    Clean and lube these contact points if your drum brakes squeak. | Source
    More contact points to lube on drum brakes.
    More contact points to lube on drum brakes. | Source

    Rusted Drum Brakes

    Moisture can cause a lot of damage. Look at this spring clip, it's completely disintegrated.
    Moisture can cause a lot of damage. Look at this spring clip, it's completely disintegrated. Source

    Bonus Noise: Scraping From Plate or Rock Hitting Rotor

    Scraping Noise From Wheel While Driving

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