Why do my brakes squeak on my Toyota? Bona fide causes of squeaking brakes (and how DANGEROUS they are)

December 14th, 2022 by

Your car’s brakes should always be working properly, but sometimes they squeak or make other noises when you’re using them. This can be annoying but could be dangerous if not addressed. There are ways to deal with it so that it doesn’t become a bigger problem than it needs to be for getting around the Jacksonville area. 

It goes without saying what an important role brakes play in the safety of your driving.  The good news is, it is rare that brakes ever fail without some warning leading up to that. Squeaking or squealing brakes can be a sign that your brakes need some attention. These could be simple fixes or bigger issues, but the most important thing is getting your brakes checked out.   

Keep an eye out for telltale signs of brake problems 

Squeaking Brakes

The most common cause of squeaky brakes – brake pads 

Have you ever noticed that when you first apply the brakes after it has been raining or after your car has been sitting overnight you hear a squeaking noise? Often this is only the brake pads scraping off some rust from the brake rotors. This is especially common in the south where we experience high humidity. The squeaking noise should go away shortly but if not, you should get your brakes checked. 

Another common cause of squeaking brakes is cheap and inferior brake pads. These low-quality pads have metal that drags along the rotor and makes a squeaking or squealing noise when you apply the brakes. It won’t hurt anything, but the sound is annoying. A technician can diagnose the problem.  

If your brakes constantly squeak while on the road, but the squealing stops when the brake pedal is pushed, don’t worry. It is a built-in mechanism telling you it is time for new brake pads as the metal is touching the rotor. But don’t ignore this kind of squeaking sound. Have your pads replaced as soon as possible, as ignoring it could lead to a more expensive repair. It can also lead to more serious problems down the line like warped discs or even an accident if you don’t have enough stopping power! For more information check out our service page on Toyota brake repair in the Baldwin / Yulee area here 

There are several other possible causes of squeaky brakes, such as sticking or loose calipers or worn components. If the noise continues bring your car into our service department where a professional certified technician can diagnose the problem and fix it.  

causes squeaking brakes toyota

Noises other than squeaking that my brakes make – what do they mean?  

Brake Grinding 

If you hear a loud grinding noise when you press the brake pedal, it generally means your brake pads have completely worn away and part of the caliper is coming into contact with the rotor. When your pads have no braking material, and you’ve got metal on metal, your brakes won’t be able to stop your car. Regular brake service will pick up on badly worn pads, which is a relatively cheap repair. But if you wait until your brakes start to grind, you’ll probably also need new brake rotors, which will be quite a bit more costly. 

Thumping Rear Brakes 

A thumping sound is caused by rear drum brakes. Many vehicles feature drum brakes in the rear. They are used as an alternative to the common disc brake. Drum brakes can provide more braking force, last longer and are generally more inexpensive than disc brakes. The downside is the thumping or squealing or squeaking noise can happen. When brake drums and brake shoes are worn out, they get thinner. And the wheel cylinders can start to leak. This calls for a trip to our service department here in the Jacksonville / San Marco area. The good news is that drum brakes are designed to last 100-150k miles.  

Rattling Brakes 

Rattling brakes happen when you take your foot off the brake pedal. It typically happens due to heat expansion. So weather can cause this to occur. If it doesn’t stop, there’s probably a bigger issue and you need to have your brakes checked by a professional mechanic. 

Related: Toyota Check engine light


Why Do New Brake Pads Squeak? 

If you just got new brake pads and you are hearing a squeaky noise, it could be because of a lack of lubrication or it is possible you have the wrong brake pads for your car. Or it is possible your new brake pads weren’t fitted properly, causing uneven braking and squeaky or squealing noises from your car.  

What if I hear a squeaking noise while driving but not when brakes are applied?  

If your brake pedals are squealing when your foot is not on the brakes, this means the brake pads are wearing out and touching the rotors a surefire indicator you need to have your brake pads replaced.   


What are some other signs of failing brakes that don’t present with a squeaky noise? 

  • Car takes longer than usual distance to stop 
  • Car pulling to one side when you brake 
  • Burning smell when driving 
  • Leaking brake fluid 


Make sure to bring your vehicle into our dealership for regular checks if you are not already doing so. Scheduling regular brake service is a great way to ensure you don’t have squeaking brakes. Our certified technicians will replace brakes pads and brake fluid if necessary. But beyond that they’ll look for more serious issues like leaks that could be very costly if left unattended. 

Posted in Jax auto care