Your morning or evening routine may be riding your bike to the store or around your neighborhood. When it’s time to brake, you start hearing a squeaking sound. The more you use your brakes, the more you will hear that sound. You may be thinking to yourself, why do my bike brakes squeak? You may think it’s broken, and it’s time to buy a new bike. Even though that’s the easiest solution, that’s not true. You can easily fix your bike brakes in your garage at home. Before we get into the steps on how you can do that, it’s best to understand why your brakes are squeaking. This guide will cover everything you need to know to get started.
Why do my brakes squeak?
There are several reasons why your brakes could squeak. It could be due to weather conditions, or it could be due to your bike being old and worn out. Unfortunately, brakes don’t last forever, and neither do your bike brakes. So before you learn how to fix the problem, it’s best to understand it. Below you will find several reasons why your brakes are squeaking.
There are a few causes of why your bike brakes are squeaking, and we’ll go over each in detail.
- Brake pads are dirty – You may have biked on dirt roads recently, or you could have biked along a sandy beach. Dirt and sand particles are so tiny that you may not be able to see them on your brakes. Those particles may have traveled inside your brakes, and you can’t see it, so you assume you had already cleaned everything when you last when on a dirt road or a sandy beach.
- Brake pads are worn out – As previously mentioned, your bike or brakes don’t last forever. One cause of the squeaking could be rust forming on your brake pads.
- Weather conditions – How do you put the brakes on your bike? Do you brake using a handlebar at the top of your bike? Do you brake your bike by pedaling backward? Whatever your situation is, your brakes may be squeaking because you were biking in the rain or snow. You may think your bike is dry because you let it air dry, assuming everything is fine, but water could have dripped down inside your brake pads. The same way dirt or dust can get in.
- Your brake pads are not aligned properly – If you purchased your bike online, you might have to put your bike together. You could have missed a step, or you may not have aligned your brakes properly when you put them on.
When biking down the street, you may have heard something, so you look down at the ground to see if you ran over something. When nothing seems out of the ordinary, you keep pedaling. As it turns out, you may have had a loose part fall off or in your brake pads. Loose parts play a huge factor in the squeaking of your bike. They say the vibration and lack of grip on the rotor or rim can cause the parts’ contamination and cause them to loosen.
New Brake Pads
If your bike is brand new, so are your brake pads. If you just had your brake pads replaced recently, that could also cause your bike to squeak. This means you need to wear a little on your bike so it won’t be so new. Also, you might want to add a little oil so your brakes won’t squeak as much. Be sure you use the kind of oil that’s best for bikes and bike parts.
Listen to your Bike
Bikes make different sounds when you’re using your brakes. You may hear a grinding or a screeching, or a squealing sound. Each sound will tell you how to fix it, so listen so you can hear which sound your bike is making. The squealing or screeching sound you’re hearing means the bike is new. It will take some time to put some wear on it. On the other hand, if your bike is making a grinding noise, something needs to be fixed, and you will have to figure out what it is when you look at your bike.
Your bike has Been in the Heat for too Long.
Earlier, we have touched on weather conditions like rain or snow. We haven’t mentioned the Heat yet, especially in the summertime. It is possible that your brakes are squeaking because it has been left in the Heat for too long. It doesn’t happen too often, but it could. Be sure to leave your bike in your garage when it’s not in use. If you don’t have a garage, put it under a carport or somewhere else that has some shade.
How do I stop my bike disc brakes from squeaking?
Fixing your bike so you won’t hear the annoying squealing sound anymore is simple. First, of course, you need a few tools, but you won’t have to spend 100 dollars if you were to take it to a bike shop. A few tools you need are a truing fork, oil-free degreaser, rag, sandpaper, alcohol, a white piece of paper, and a bike stand. If you don’t have these tools available in your home, they won’t cost you much to purchase, or you may be able to substitute something else in your home for that tool. Below you will find the exact steps on how to fix your bike. Please keep these as a reference in case you have future problems with the brakes on your bike.
Step 1. Put your bike on your bike stand.
If you don’t have a bike stand, you can use something else in your home instead. You could also have someone else hold it up while you’re working on it. You could also purchase a bike stand for a low price at any place that sells bikes. It’s best to lift it off the floor, but if you have a bike stand or are planning on purchasing one, lift it and place it on the stand. It should be lifted off the floor so you can inspect the bike, which brings us to our next step.
Step 2. Inspect the Bike.
Now that you have your bike at a good angle, then you can inspect the bike. Look for any missing parts, rust, water damage, dirt, or anything else mentioned earlier. You should also check the brakes to see the kind of condition they’re in. Another thing to inspect is the rims of the bike. The rim is around the wheel, and you should check if you see dirt or rust on the rims. Once you have inspected the bike thoroughly, you should be able to locate the problem. Once the problem has been located, you can move on to the next step.
Step 3. Be sure the wheel is seeded in the chainstay/dropouts.
You may be thinking about what a chainstay and dropout are. A chainstay is a pair of metal tubes that hold the chains together on your bike. It would help if you were sure that the wheel is locked together in the chainstay. If it’s not, then that could be why your brakes are screeching. A dropout looks like a hook at the back of your bike. The chainstay and the dropout are supposed to be perfectly symmetrical within the wheel so it can move like a well-oiled machine.
Step 4. Check the caliper.
These bike terms we have been mentioning throughout these steps so far may be confusing, and you may not know what many of them mean. One of those terms includes the caliper. The caliper is what makes your brakes work. If the caliper is rubbing against the rim of your bike, then that could be what’s causing your brakes to squeak. You can do this by examining the caliper when you spin the bike’s wheel. As you’re spinning the wheel, use the brake bar at the top of your bike or move the pedals backward to brake the bike. Listen for a sound. If you hear something, unscrew the bolts that hold the chainstay together to see if there is any dirt or any loose parts that you can see.
Step 5. Straighten the rotor.
The rotor is what’s inside the caliper. You can place the white paper underneath the caliper so you can see where the problem lies. If the rotor is bent, you will need to straighten it with the tools mentioned earlier.
Step 6. Clean your Bike.
You will need to clean your bike as you’re straightening everything and inspect all the parts. This is where the rag comes in handy. Be sure you’re cleaning everything you can see. Be sure you’re cleaning fingerprints or dirt. If you don’t see anything, then wipe everything down anyways. Put some alcohol on your rag and use that to wipe everything down. It would help if you were cleaning your bike regularly.
Step 7. Use Sandpaper
Try spinning your bike wheels and use your braking options to see if you hear squeaking. If you do, then use sandpaper on the gears. This should help with the squeaking.
What Happens if My Bike is Still Squeaking?
If you have completed all the steps, tested your brakes out, and it’s still squeaking, take your bike apart. Yes, you heard that correctly. Take your bike apart. There may be a loose part, or one of the parts may be broken or rusted. Look at your bike’s manual if you need to so you can put it back together. If you do find a loose part, tighten it. You will need to replace parts if they are rusted, have water damage, or are lost.
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When your bike starts squeaking as you brake, you may shrug it off, thinking it’s nothing and will stop. That’s not always the best solution. It’s best to inspect it as soon as you can. If you ignore the squeaking, a bigger problem could happen. For example, your brakes could stop working altogether. If you bike a lot, I recommend purchasing a travel-size kit with tools so you can fix your bike on the go. You need something like this if you’re too far from home and cannot inspect your bike. I wouldn’t recommend taking your bike to a bike shop because they are usually expensive. Follow the abovementioned steps, and you can fix your bike from home without spending the big bucks.
Last Updated: July 1, 2022