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Why does my car squeak?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 1 year ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Maintenance
  • why
Diagnose It Squeaking Noise

WhoCanFixMyCar looks at why your car could be squeaking while driving and what you can do to solve the problem

The good news is that while a squeaking noise could indicate several different issues, most of these problems, in reality, are quick, easy and affordable fixes.

To help you identify some of the possible causes for squeaking and some of the most common solutions, we've put together this handy guide so you can be more informed when taking your car to be looked at by a garage.

Guide Contents

Why does my car squeak when turning?

Why does my car squeak when driving slowly?

Why does my car squeak when accelerating?

Why does my car squeak when braking?

Why do my wheels squeak when driving?

Why does my car squeak when turning?

If your car squeaks when you turn it, the most likely cause is low power steering fluid, which means that your power steering system is not lubricated enough, causing parts to rub together and make a squeaking sound. There's no need for a mechanic to diagnose this problem - you can check the fluid level yourself. 

Your owner's manual will contain all the information you need about your car's power steering system, allowing you to locate the power steering reservoir and check the fluid level.

Checking your car's fluid levels is an essential part of car ownership, as is regular servicing.

Why does my car squeak when driving slowly?

Brake pads and discs fitted poorly or worn will often cause a squeaking noise when you drive slowly.

When you press the brake pedal, the brake calliper clamps around the pad, applying pressure to slow down the movement. Your brake pads will get thinner the more you use them, so they will probably need replacing at least once throughout a vehicle's life. The squeaking sound comes from metal moving against metal.

If you suspect a mechanic has fitted your brakes poorly or needs to replace them, you can compare quotes with WhoCanFixMyCar.

Why does my car squeak when accelerating?

When accelerating, a loud or high-pitched squeak might signify a loose or worn fan belt.

Different vehicles have different belt systems - some might have a serpentine belt while others have multiple smaller accessory belts. These belts play an important role in transferring the rotational energy created by the engine to its different parts. It keeps your fan, air conditioning, power steering pump, water pump and alternator working.

If your fan belt is squeaking, this is probably because the rubber belt is slipping on the metal pulley. It's worth carrying out several visual tests yourself to check the condition of your fan belt system to see, for instance, if any cracks have appeared or if any ribs are missing.

If there are signs of damage, the best course of action is to take your car to a garage to have the fan belt replaced before it breaks completely (and causes considerably more damage).

Why does my car squeak when braking?

Sometimes squeaky brakes can be solved by not braking hard (unless you have to in an emergency!). In other cases, the problem could be more serious.

Rusty brake rotors

Over time, your brake rotors may become rusty, which increases the friction between the brakes and the rotor, resulting in a squeaking noise. The best way to check whether this problem can be fixed without a complete brake rotor replacement - for example, by filing away the rust and debris - is to take your car to a trained professional.

Worn out brake pads

If you're driving an older vehicle and experience squeaky brakes, it's probably a sign that you should book your car for a brake pad replacement.

New brake pads

Of the three main types of brake pads (semi-metallic, organic and ceramic), metallic pads often feature on modern cars. While they're highly effective, they're also prone to making noises such as squeaking.

Why do my wheels squeak when driving?

If you can hear a squeaking or squealing noise coming from your front wheels, there are a couple of likely causes for this.

It could be a problem with your brakes if you notice the noise usually happens when you're trying to slow down, but if it happens even when you're not braking, a bent brake rotor shield could be the cause.

The rotor shield keeps the internal assembly of your brakes safe and clean. If the shield becomes bent, it could touch the rotor, causing a squeaking or squealing sound. Once you align the shield properly, the sound should go away.

The final cause could be a wheel bearing failure. Bearings act as a buffer between the wheel and axle, so the resulting friction causes squealing when they wear out.

It can be tempting to ignore this noise for as long as possible, but if your wheel bearing goes while driving, it can have disastrous consequences. Once your wheel bearing breaks, the wheel completely seizes up - this is awful news at any speed, but imagine if you were in a sixty zone! The best thing to do is take your car to a garage as soon as possible.

The average cost of a wheel bearing repair job on WhoCanFixMyCar is £262.56.

At WhoCanFixMyCar, we help drivers find local, reliable car repairs that won't break the bank.

We're proud to say our Garage Network is the best around, which is why we have a team dedicated to helping our mechanics grow their business and prepare for a greener, more sustainable future.

With transparency and choice at the heart of everything we do, we're changing the industry one quote at a time.

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