Your wheels squealing could be a great source of worry, because if anything goes wrong you could easily lose control.
This is an issue that you shouldn’t ignore and you should be prepared with the knowledge necessary to handle this situation should it arise in your vehicle, which we’ll provide below.
Why Are My Wheels Squeaking When Driving?
If you notice your wheels are squeaking as you drive, it could signal an issue with your tire pressure, uneven tread wear or your brakes. As soon as you hear a squeak that won’t go away, you should get your car checked out as soon as possible because, aside from it being an accident waiting to happen, it could affect other components on your vehicle and result in more costly repairs if left too long.
For more on wheels squeaking, including a closer look into its causes, and how to fix it, read on!
Why Does My Front Wheel Squeak When I Drive?
To determine the reason why there’s a squeaking noise coming from your wheel, you need to take note of the kind of squeak you’re hearing.
A constant high-pitched squeak could indicate the issue is with your brake pads.
A lot of cars’ front brake pads are fitted with a sounding device known as a wear indicator that makes contact with the brake rotor when the pads wear enough.
This is what causes the squeak and you can test for it by pushing down on the brake pedal: if the sound goes away when you hit the brakes and comes back when you release it, this is where the squeak is coming from.
A high-pitched squeak could also be the result of a bent or rusted brake backing plate touching the back of the brake rotor.
You can differentiate this from the wear indicator issue by also hitting the brake, but this one will continue even when the pedal is pushed.
A constant low tone squeak could indicate that the problem is a result of front tire wear.
This could be caused by misalignment, something that arises from wear or damage after direct impact to the area after hitting bumps, potholes, curbs, etc.
Apart from the difference in the type of sound produced, you can distinguish this from the brake pad issue by checking to see if the vehicle is leaning or pulling to one side when driving.
An intermittent light squeak could be the result of one of the wheel covers coming loose.
This might sometimes be accompanied by a rattling sound as you drive because the cover moves around on the wheel.
To test this, you should remove the cover, drive for a while without it and, if the noise is absent during this run, the cover is the issue.
It could also be a problem with your tire pressure, where it’s over inflated or under inflated.
Your tire’s inflation influences how much of it is contacting the road and if it isn’t the ideal amount calibrated by the manufacturer, the tire could deform, slide sideways and this is what produces the squeaking noise.
Squeaks during turns could also indicate a problem with the tire pressure.
Why Do My Wheels Squeak When Driving After Brake Replacement?
New brakes generally need time to be broken in and the period right after you get them will involve a lot of squealing and other sounds.
Moisture buildup from rain, ice, and snow on your pads and rotors could cause the sound as they touch when you hit the brakes.
Condensation on these metal components could also cause surface rust but that should be easy to get rid of after some driving.
Riding your new brakes too much right after installation could cause them to produce the squealing sound, and you can fix this by easing off them for a while.
If the brakes aren’t broken in properly, they can start squealing shortly after you start driving, which is why you should get a qualified technician to make sure they make contact with the rotors the correct way.
If the squealing sound is accompanied by a noticeable pulse and vibration in the steering wheel or brake pedal, the brake warning light coming on, or a burning smell from the wheel area, you should get the vehicle to an auto shop as soon as possible, because there could be a serious issue with the entire braking system.
How Do I Make My Wheels Stop Squeaking?
As stated above, there could be any number of reasons why your wheel could be squeaking, and the steps we’ve provided to determine exactly where the issue lies will help decide what the next course of action should be.
Basically, you should employ general tire and wheel care methods to ensure they don’t start squealing in the first place and if they do, you should ease off them and take them in for repairs as soon as you can.
Rotate your tires regularly, lubricate the moving parts as often as you can, make sure they’re aligned and have them inspected after direct impact or accidents just to be on the safe side.
Make sure they are inflated to the right pressure. Simply looking at them to see if they’re over or under inflated could work in more extreme situations, but you should use a proper gauge and consult the manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure you’re within the ideal range.
To find out more, you can also check our posts on whether or not tires make noise, what are cupped tires, and if tire shine is bad for tires.
Squealing tires could be a result of worn components such as brake pads, treads, bearings and more.
To determine where exactly the issue lies, you should listen for the type of pitch, especially the location, pitch and frequency.
Squeals on turns indicate a problem with inflation, constant high pitched squeals indicate the brake pad is worn, constant low tone squeals indicate misalignment and an intermittent light squeak indicates a loose wheel cover.
To prevent or stop this, make sure you rotate your tires regularly, keep them within the manufacturer’s recommended pressure range, get them aligned when you notice they need it and lubricate moving parts frequently.
Whenever you notice a squeak, whether or not it’s accompanied by other signs such as vibrations, a burning smell or a brake warning light, it’s always best to take the vehicle into the shop.