How to Repair Squeaking Noises

Many squeaking noises are created when metal is contacting metal and a linear motion is introduced or when rubber is forced over a metal pulley. In general, a squeaking noise is trying to tell you there is a problem somewhere in the car. When metal is forced against each other combined with a linear motion a harmonic vibration (squeak) is created that is sometimes audible. In any squeak situation the location of the squeak is sometimes the hardest task to determine. If detection is difficult employ a helper to ride in the rear seat of the car to differentiate the noise origin.

Car Squeaks
The "Car Squeaks"

Troubleshooting Procedure

Brake Pad Warning Sensor - Most brake pads are designed with a warning sensor that creates noise when the brakes are depressed or when the car is in motion without the brakes applied. While driving this design informs the driver with a squeaking noise when the brake material has worn down to the minimum thickness and needs replacement. The brake pads noise sensor is also designed to protect the brake rotor from unnecessary damage.

Brake Pads with Noise Warning Sensor
Brake Pads with Noise Warning Sensor

Replace Front Brake Pads Video

Check Serpentine Belt Tension. The primary belt function is to supply power to the steering system, water pump, air pump (if equipped) air conditioner and alternator. A serpentine tensioner is designed to hold a prescribed amount of pressure on the drive belt. This tension is needed for belt friction to drive various accessories such as an alternator and water pump. When the belt looses tension a squealing noise is heard, especially on acceleration.

Cracked Serpentine Belt
Cracked Serpentine Belt



Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2013-08-16)