Brakes squealing, but stop after I go above 30 mph?

I have a 97 Jeep Cherokee that has 151000 miles on it. There’s a long list of things that are wrong with it, such as the power windows being broken, back windshield wiper won’t work, but I just don’t have the money to fix them and I can get along without them. There’s one problem, however, that embarrasses me to no end and I’m sure bothers other people as well.

My brakes have been squealing for a couple of months now. They only squeal badly (and I mean badly) when I am in drive (they don’t squeal in reverse) and only when I first start the car and have to make frequent stops. It seems like once I go a decent speed (about 30 mph or more), they stop squealing. I’ve made this observation because when I leave my house for work in the morning, I can hit 30 mph for a good distance before I have to brake. When I leave work in the city, however, they squeal whenever I come to a stop…again, once I hit a decent speed, the problem seems to stop.

I just had it inspected in July and my mechanic (for the second time I’ve asked him to look at the brakes) has said there’s nothing wrong with them. The first time I complained of the problem, he said it was because the brake pads are a good quality pad and have metal shards in them that cause the squealing (okay, then why don’t other people with these costly pads have the same problem?). The most recent exchange, after my inspection, had him telling me that the pads had glazed over and he roughed them up. That prevented the squealing for about two days.

I’m selling the Jeep to my brother soon because I’m going overseas for a year and don’t want it to sit idle in the driveway, but it would be nice to get the problem fixed so he can have a decent ride and not be embarrassed as I am.

If this really bothers you, you can change out the brake pads for something less likely to be so loud. The kind if brake pad versus wearing rotors is a wash anyway. One wears more than the other or vice-versa. If this drives you so crazy then get non-metallic pads and replace them a little more often.

You may also have a stuck caliper, in which case at thirty mph the noise goes away because the brake pad has worn just enough for the noise to go away. But it would come back every time you brake, and you would hear the noise again until your vehicle reaches 30 mph, and then it would go away, until you brake, and so on.

Brake squeal is pretty common and is simply a matter of vibration. Brake systems have various little pieces of anti-squeal hardware, and then there are strategic little spots to put brake grease on to keep the squeal down.

Your mechanic obviously doesn’t want to pull the brakes down to deal with it, so maybe you can try another shop. But you will need to pay for the service. The brakes need to be torn down, cleaned, perhaps a hardware kit installed & reassembled.

I think that a lot of mechanics don’t want to bother. Its a comfort rather than safety issue and not a good bet for making money in the auto repair business.

If these brakes were installed very recently and the job included new rotors with the new pads, then whatever shop did that work should deal with it. But I suspect (since you didn’t say anything about it) that its not a recent brake job.

Thanks to both of you for your responses. No, the brakes were not installed recently. And yes, it is more of a comfort issue–for me and for other drivers/pedestrians having to listen to that awful sound–than a safety issue, but if my brother or myself want to pay for the service to be done, then it should be done and done properly. I’ve been dissatisfied with my mechanic for about a year now, but continued to see him to support a local business. I guess I will have to look into my brother having the Jeep serviced elsewhere.