Squeaking Brakes: What to Do?

2020 BMW X5

As you drive around Annapolis, Highland Beach, or Hillsmere Shores, the brakes work hard to keep you safe, so that you don’t get into a collision.While your brakes should be quiet, there may be a time when you hear a slight squeak. If so, what do you do? We’ll help you out with this guide to squeaking brakes.

Read through the information below, and feel free to contact BMW of Annapolis if you have any questions.

Why Do Brakes Squeak?

There are a number of different reasons why your brakes may be squeaking. So, it’s important to differentiate between when the noise is totally normal and when there may be an issue with your braking system.

Some situations that wouldn’t be a cause for concern are:

  • Dust or sand getting into the brakes
  • Extremely cold weather
  • Snow or rain causing a layer of rust (which should go away after braking a few times)

Squeaking Brakes: What to Do However, your brakes may start to squeak once they wear down. When they get too thin, a small piece of metal will drag along the metal brake disc (aka, rotor), resulting in a high-pitched squeal. At that point, you’ll want to replace the brake pads before they damage the rotors.

How to Fix Squeaking Brakes

If the brake pads don’t need to be replaced, there are ways to silence the squeaking.

First, whenever you drive down a steep grade, you could always downshift to a lower gear. This is a good alternative to relying on the brakes, which would produce that squealing. You could maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, to avoid slamming on the brakes. You could also limit the load weight, so that there’s less pressure on the brakes.

Along with changing your driving habits, you might want to consider applying a milk spray, lotion, or cream to the back of the pads. Or, you could use sandpaper to sand off surface hardening from the brake pad.

Finally, you might want to think about getting new brake pads, as some types are more prone to squeaking than others.

Types of Brake Pads

Types of Brake Pads Annapolis MDThere are a variety of brake pads, with all of them having different pros and cons. The most common types of brake pads are…


  • Contains 30 to 65 percent metal (which could be steel, iron, or copper). The metal is then combined with friction modifiers and fillers, along with a graphite lubricant.
  • Semi-metallic brake pads have a strong braking performance. They also work well under any temperature and are useful for any type of driving—including daily street driving or extreme track use.

However, these pads are quite noisy and produce a great deal of dust. They can also be abrasive and wear down the rotors quickly.


  • Organic brake pads are comprised of various fibers mixed with binding resins. Some materials you may find in these pads are glass, fiber, rubber, or carbon.

These pads are soft, quiet, and easy on the rotors. They also produce less dust than semi-metallic brake pads. However, they don’t work as well when it’s really cold or really hot outside. They also wear out more quickly and aren’t good for performance driving.


  • Ceramic brake pads are newer compared to semi-metallic and organic, as they were developed as an alternative to both. They’re quieter than semi-metallic pads and produce finer brake dust. They also last longer than both semi-metallic and organic brake pads.

But they’re typically the most expensive type of pad. They also don’t work well under extremely cold temperatures. Plus, they don’t absorb heat as well as semi-metallic, which could increase brake system temperatures.

Schedule Brake Service Today

As you can see, there are a variety of ways to fix squeaking brakes, from changing your driving habits to equipping your vehicle with a new type of brake pad.

If you hear any type of squeaking or squealing coming from the brakes, let the BMW service experts at BMW of Annapolis take a look at them. We’ll perform any necessary repairs or replacements, and have you back on the roads of Annapolis, Highland Beach, and Hillsmere Shores in silent brakes again in no time.