Brake a little harder to eliminate that squeak?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have the most expensive car I have ever owned, a 1990 Acura Legend. The problem is the brakes squeak. Time after time I take it in, they remove the glaze on the brakes, wash the car, and give it back to me. But within minutes, the brakes squeak again. I tell them my friend's Legends don't squeak. Then they bring out the "wimp factor." They say I don't drive the car hard enough! Hah! I'm just as bad a driver as any other American male on the road. Any ideas about the brakes?

TOM: Sure, Pete. De-glazing is OK if you're working on roast duck, but it's not 100% effective on brakes. So if they've tried de-glazing, and it hasn't worked, the next step is to have your dealer put in new pads and new rotors.

RAY: That should do it. And if it doesn't, than the dealer may be right. The problem might be you, Pete.

TOM: If you drive gently (the way you're supposed to drive), you end up applying very light pressure to the brake pedal. This is good. It means you're not driving out of control, you're anticipating your stops, and you're not making lots of sudden panicky maneuvers. If you drive like this, you'll be less likely to have accidents, and your car will last longer because you drive it gently.

RAY: But here's the downside. When you apply very light pressure to the brakes all the time, it's almost like "riding the brakes." That means that the pads are just barely touching the rotors. And what happens is you sort of "buff" the pads, or "shine" them until they glaze. Glazed pads can make your brakes less effective, and can also cause squeaking.

TOM: So you may need to drive a little more like my brother, Pete. Here's a benchmark to shoot for. If you can spill at least one cup of coffee a week on your lap due to a sudden stop, I'd say you're headed in the right direction.

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