excuse me, are you driving a stepped-on pig?
May 14, 2012 2:37 PM   Subscribe

why are my brakes doing this?

i have a 2004 acura tsx. i got the brakes replaced on it a little under a year ago, on july 11, 2011. in december, i was going to the mall to pick up a gift, and was in a dual left hand turn lane (turning onto a two lane street). there was a car in front of me, and to his left on the inner turn lane was a white acura.

upon the light turning green, the white acura proceeded to turn, but instead of going into his designated lane, he turned into our lane. because of this, the car in front of me had to slam on his brakes, and so did i.

since then, when i drive my car, from the time i start it, up until the time i do some actual braking (at a stop sign/light), the brakes squeal. after i brake for the first time, the squealing stops, and i don't have any problem until after the car has been parked for a while (say, a day at work) and i start it again. there is no grinding or any other indication that there's something wrong with my brakes, and i'm not a particularly aggressive driver, so i don't think i could wear the brakes out in merely a year. it's a high pitched squeal. other details: the car is a manual transmission, newish tires.

i have every intention of getting this checked out, but i was wondering if the hive mind had any ideas first. it's pretty annoying.
posted by koroshiya to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Your pads are just a little jammed up - not floating as much as they should. A mechanic will take the assembly apart, grease up the parts that should be greased, and maybe grind down the pad edges.
posted by notsnot at 2:42 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yeah, just need to inspect and/or replace the pads.

Moreover, some pads have a small piece of metal to actually cause a squeal long before the pads are truly at the very end of the lifespan. It's possible that the last time you had them replaced, you got this type where you've never had it before.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:02 PM on May 14, 2012

Could be flash corrosion on the rotor causing the pads to vibrate. After the first stop, you knock the corrosion off the rotor. I get this with a Mazda5 in humid weather, especially braking after backing up.
posted by narcoleptic at 3:37 PM on May 14, 2012

It is possible that the shims that hold the pad square in the calliper were left out. Often the cheaper aftermarket pads don't come with them and the pads make noise until a good shove on the pedal 'aligns' them.

They may also have not been installed with any lubrication between the pad backing and the calliper. This means the 'jamming up' misalignment is more likely. Lots of places don't put enough effort into brake jobs because they are seen as nice and easy jobs to bang out quickly and make money. A brake service by someone more competent will solve this.

Either way, the noise is likely nothing major, but the passage of time is irrelevant - how many miles have you done in the car since then, and were the journeys on predominately flat (ie no long downhill descents)?
posted by Brockles at 3:45 PM on May 14, 2012

Response by poster: i driver about 1000 miles per month, mostly on a flat commute (101S between the peninsula and SJC airport). i got to santa cruz over 17 once in a great while, and to SF, but not often at all, so that's it for not flat driving. so, i'd say 10-12000 miles since i got the brakes replaced, probably just a bit over 1/3 of that since december.
posted by koroshiya at 3:53 PM on May 14, 2012

Response by poster: drive, not driver. oy.
posted by koroshiya at 3:54 PM on May 14, 2012

It's most likely that there is a small amount of corrosion of the part that holds the brake pad in position that needs clearing out and re-aligning after you have parked the car. Again, a brake service will fix this easily and it is nothing to worry about if it is only the first time of each day.
posted by Brockles at 7:25 AM on May 15, 2012

Response by poster: i will go ahead and take it in then. thanks so much, everyone!
posted by koroshiya at 3:49 PM on May 15, 2012

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