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A Screech In The Night

Q. Hi! I am having trouble with my brakes. Every time I push them, they squeak-badly. So badly, that people stare at me when they hear them. Anyway, from looking at the brake section on the web site, I have decided I need to check the brake fluid and the brake pads. Can you think of anything else I might do? Below is the information about my car. Thanks in advance!! 1989 Ford Tempo, 4 cylinder engine, automatic transmission, about 135,000 miles on it, fuel injection, no anti-lock brakes, power steering, air conditioner, no cruise control.


A. Lisa, your brakes are talking to you, they're saying "Replace us now before we hurt something!!"

What you are probably hearing is the Audible Wear Indicators. Brake manufacturers sat around and decided the most annoying noise in the world is the scrapping of fingernails against a blackboard. Then they made the wear indicators make that same exact sound.

On most brake pads there is a metal tab set at a specific height. When the pad wears down, the metal tab scrapes against the brake rotor causing that screeching sound. This is to warn the driver to bring the car in for a brake service before damage is done to the rotors. Shop around for a shop that has brakes on sale or go to your regular mechanic and get them done before too long.

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