Jeep Cherokee squeals like Marty Callas when braking or turning


I have a 99 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD with a 6 Cylinder engine.

On occasion, when I brake hard, or more rarely, when I turn the wheel hard or brake while turning the wheel, my car will make a medium pitched squeal. This noise doesn’t sound like a slipping belt to me, and it doesn’t sound as high pitched as a power steering pump does when one turns wheels to the “stops.” But I am guessing that the noise is made by the hydraulic system somehow, since the sound fades in and then maintains the pitch until you release the brake. Unfortunately, the car makes the sound only sometimes, like when my wife is in the car to panic over it.

I can step on the brake pedal hard (while the car is stationary) and it doesn’t seem to squish down as if the master cylinder was shot.

So, before I write a blank check for my mechanic to go on a fishing expedition I want to know if this is just a noise that I can ignore or is this likely to be something serious. If the latter, what should I be looking for?


Sounds like either the brake wear sensors, or “squealers” are rubbing against rotors, telling you it’s time to replace brake pads; or the stamped sheet metal vent shields next to rotor(s) are intermittently rubbing against rotor(s). Just carefully pull’em away from rotors.

I should also mention that according to the mechanic who did a tune up a couple of weeks ago the brake pads have plenty of “meat” left on them. None the less, I will have the folks who did the brakes check them out. I’ll have a look at the sheet metal shields. Thanks

can you remove the rotors yourself? i second the brake rotor shields as a good possibility.

you mention that the mechanic had the brakes apart several weeks ago. by any chance has this noiuse started since then???

a typical problem is when removing the rotors, the shields get bent and rub (a little bit, but thats all it take to squeal)

you can tell if they have been the culprit by driving the car, getting it to make the noise, then stopping, and removing the rotors. if the rim around the inside the shield (which fits inside the inside edge of the rotor) is shiny, that is the problem. sometimes these things happen. if it is new, since the brake inspection, i would suspect they whacked the shields. it is really not a big deal to re whack them so they dont rub; as long as this solves the squealing noises.

Actually, the noise is something that has been happening for a while. It seems to disappear during warm weather and slowly sneak back as it gets cold. What is new since having the brakes worked on (months ago) is a clunk every time that I apply the brakes. I gather that Cherokees have a history of rattling calipers and there is a “caliper slipper” that Jeep makes to solve this problem. I assume the brake guys left that slipper out the last time they replaced the pads.

I gather from your responses that this is likely just an annoying sound that I can get dealt with when I get a chance – rather than an impending life threatening mechanical failure. I will get the car looked at and report back with the results.

Thank you for your suggestions.