Do Your Bike Brakes Squeak? Here’s How You Fix Them!

Like anything mechanical, bicycles also require some maintenance to work optimally. Read on to find out how to fix squeaky bike brakes.

You’re riding your bike; you’re at your highest cadence; you’re having fun. At that moment, you pressed them to ride a bit slower on a certain turn or a roadblock, and SQUEAK – that’s what you hear! How would you feel?

It’s very annoying when your bicycle brakes squeak, not only because of the sound, but also because they will affect the way you stop your bike. So, fixing these squeaks is necessary. But how do you do that? Do you need to take your bike for servicing?

Well, fortunately, there are some easy fixes that you could do yourself rather than running down to the bike service centre every time you struggle with noisy brakes. Knowing the problem is the key. Once you’re aware of that, you can move to the possible solution without much thought.

So, here’s everything you need to know about your noisy brakes and how to fix them.

How to Fix Bike Brakes Squeaks?

Brakes Squeak
Brakes Squeak

Well, the way to fix the squeak depends on the problem that caused it in the first place. This could be due to improper alignment or contamination of the brake pads. So, let’s look one by one at what happens in these problems and how to solve them.

Causes of Squeaky Brakes:

Improper Brake Alignment

Sometimes, the brakes on your bike are not installed in proper alignment with the rim brakes. Alternatively, the brake pad could get misaligned with time due to the regular wear and tear on the bikes that may lead to squeaky brakes. Another reason for squeaky disc brakes can be a misaligned rotor and caliper.

Contamination

You often oil your brakes to keep them smooth. Well, sometimes, this brake fluid leads to contamination in the disc pads and rim brakes, and sometimes even in the brake pads, especially in disc brakes. Not only does it contaminate them, but it even forms debris on them. All of this leads to squeaky brakes. If your brake blocks are worn down or there’s a misalignment between the braking surfaces, this may also lead to the squeaky sound. Contamination can also occur because of greasy fingers touching the rim or using aerosol too close to the braking surfaces.

Bike Alignment Fix

Bike Alignment
Bike Alignment

Well, if there are squeaky bike brakes in a brand-new bike, then it’s surely improper alignment of the brake pads with the rim. So, what you need to do is uninstall the entire padding on the braking surface by loosening the caliper bolts and reinstall the same. Just pay attention to keeping the front part closer to the rim brakes and the back part farther away from the rim brakes. 

Also, make sure that the rim brakes and brake pad touch each other, and neither of them touches the tire. Once you’re through with this setting, you just have to tighten the bolts on the braking surface. Now, that is the tricky part because as you tighten them, the brake pad will tend to rotate with the bolts, and you need to prevent that from happening. So, ensure that you’re holding the brake pads very tight in place when screwing the bolts.

After you’re done with the installation, give your brakes a check. If you still experience squeaky bike brakes, adjust the pads a little more, and you’ll be good to go.

Now, if you know there’s no issue with the installation of the pads, then it’s that the pads have got worn out. In that case, you can just replace the pads with new ones, and you won’t have to deal with squeaky brakes anymore.

Contamination Fix

An easy way to fix squeaky bike brakes is to eliminate the contamination by cleaning your brakes with some rubbing alcohol. Just take a clean cloth, dampen it with alcohol and wipe the disc pads and rim brakes. You’ll see the oil residue on the cloth. Once you’re satisfied with the cleaning, you can give brake levers a squeeze, and they won’t squeak anymore.

But that was just about oil contamination. If there’s debris on your pads, then they’ll definitely still have the squeak and will also lead to poor braking. So, you need to remove that debris, and that’s not as easy as wiping them clean with rubbing alcohol.

What you need to do in this case is to take off them from your bike and rub off the top layer using sand paper. Basically, you need to remove all the debris from the brake pad and wheel rim with a brake cleaner. You can also try rubbing alcohol. 

However, if there’s already a lot of debris accumulated there, then scraping with sand paper, rubbing, cleaning, or anything like that will not be much helpful. You’ll only end up wearing off the pads altogether. So, if you can see that the debris is too much to scrape and clean, a better option would be to just move ahead and replace the pads.

Additionally, make sure the brake blocks are also clean and ensure that the brake blocks are not worn out. Also consider checking the bolts securing the brake blocks to the caliper are tightened properly. You can use a non-oil based degreaser for the brake blocks.

More on Breaks:

Summing Up!

It’s really a very horrible and unpleasant experience to ride with that loud sound of squeaky bike brakes. It irritates you, hampers your smooth stop, and is just not good for your bike in the long run. If you care for your bike, it’s necessary that you fix squeaky brakes, and it’s not that difficult after all.

So, just go ahead, find the reason for the noisy brakes and eliminate it with a simple fix, you know!

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