Winter weather and your brakes
Nothing gets your attention like hearing grinding or squealing noises coming from your vehicle's brakes. Your mind races - this is the last thing you need, its winter and you count on your vehicle's brakes to help you safely stop on snow and ice. All you can think about is how much this could cost you.
Before you resign yourself to a costly brake repair, read on to learn how Old Man Winter could be the cause of your brake noise. Especially in winter, some brake noises are temporary and don’t have lasting effects.
Frozen water and snow
While driving your vehicle, snow and water can get into your brake pads and rotors. If the temperature dips below 32°F, it can freeze, causing your brakes to make grinding and squealing noises the next time you start up your car. As your brakes heat up, the ice should melt off the brake pads and rotors, resolving the issue.
A buildup of rust on your brake rotors can cause your brakes to make a squealing or squeaking noise. If your vehicle sits outside overnight, moisture from rain, snow or dew can collect on the surface of the brake rotors. This moisture causes a layer of rust to develop on the rotor.
As you drive and use your brakes, the surface rust will get scrubbed off. The best way to avoid this is to park your car overnight in a garage or other dry environment when possible.
If you make a sudden stop on snow or ice, your vehicle’s anti-lock brake system (ABS) will most likely engage. In many vehicles, the ABS system makes grinding or buzzing noises when you step on the brake pedal. While you may not be used to how anti-lock brakes work, don’t be alarmed: these noises are normal and are an indication that the ABS brakes are working as they should.
Don't be alarmed, it is normal for the ABS system to make grinding or buzzing noises.
Be sure to keep continuous pressure on the brake pedal – don’t take your foot off the brake when you hear the grinding or buzzing sounds. ABS brakes are most effective when you hold your foot down on the brake pedal with steady pressure; you don’t have to pump the brakes.
I’m still having issues – what should I do?
If you are still experiencing brake noises, it is time to have your trusted mechanic take a look at your vehicle. Your brakes are one of the most important safety features of your car; don’t risk driving with damaged brakes.
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