How To Stop Bike Brakes From Squeaking


Want to hear the most annoying sound in the world? *Squeak* *Squeak* *Squeak* Imagine that terrible sound of squeaking brakes every time you have to come to a stop. It’s almost as awful as seeing whether you can dodge your way at an intersection with an 18 wheeler less than 300 feet away. Am I exaggerating at how bad the sound is? Perhaps…a little.

As you can see in the video below, the sound is awful along with there being number of different possible reasons behind the squeaking.  The only positive from the shrilling sound is that you are immediately aware that your brakes are indeed working. While that is an extremely small consolation to dealing with the banshee-esq shriek, at least you know you aren’t about to go toppling over a cliff and to your impending doom!


Why Do Brakes Squeak

There are a number of possible reasons as to why your brakes begin to squeak squeak squeak. Luckily, reading about them won’t cause your brakes to become anymore of a nuisance. One of the more likely reasons for noise is some sort of contaminant has found its way into the braking surface. Whether it’s some sort of dirt, oil, or another liquid, mixing directly with the brakes can result in noise.

NOTE: a build up of dirt can also cause damage to your bike chain which will slow down your overall speed. To avoid this happening to you, check out our article on how to clean your bike chain properly.

Your brake pads may also be the cause of the squeak. Most have a rubber construct and if they begin coming into contact with the metal shoe (holds the pads together) that will induce the squealing. The exact sound is created by the slowing down of the rotation when the brake pad comes into direct contact with the rim surface. There are also several other possible causes for the squeal…

  • Your bike is possessed
  • Your bike hates you
  • You were bad in a past life

Only kidding… Or am I?

How To Stop The Brake Noise

No matter what others will tell you, always begin with the easy solutions first. Therefore, beginning by bicycling-brakessimply cleaning the braking surface. If something is logged into the braking mechanism, a simple cleaning can remove it and solve all of your problems quickly. Unfortunately, not every squeal will have that easy of a fix. A Toed-In Adjustment is another possible solution.

When you press your brake lever, your brake pads should touch at the front first. The front of the brake pad is located closest to the bike seat, pads that hit the surface flat will squeak. Changing the angle of where the breaks hit can solve the squealing problem.

Another cause for noise could simply be the age of the brakes themselves. If the brake pads appear worn or flattened after a careful examination, your best bet is to simply replace them. Not only will that stop the squeaking, it will also provide for a safer ride. Any damage to your brake pads is a threat to your safety, if you find there’s issues with the pads replace them before your next ride.

Any reputable bike mechanic will be able to toe in your breaks and replace your brake pads.

Brakes Are Your Friend

While squeaking brakes are extremely annoying, the sound could be a sign of a greater problem. Even if the sound does not bother you, be sure to take the situation seriously. Some squeaks can be resolved with simple cleaning, other may need a mechanic (or someone with bike knowledge) to make a Toed-In Adjustment or replace the brake pads completely.

Although replacing the brake pads are a sure fire way to solve the problem, be sure to try simple fixes that might save you time and money.

So what are you waiting for?

Go put a stop to that squeaking!



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