New brakes squeak AFTER I remove my foot from the brake pedal!

Two days ago I had the front brake pads on my 2003 Toyota Camry LE replaced because they were squeaking when I stopped. That squeak stopped, but after driving about 15 miles, I heard a squeaking noise AFTER I took my foot OFF the brake pedal. Pressing the pedal makes the squeak go away. I took the car back the next day and they changed the front rotors. While driving home, the squeak returned. I took the car to my regular mechanic this time. He says the guys who installed the brakes didn’t clean anything when they put the new ones on, so he disassembled everything, cleaned the rotors, etc. and put everything back together. He also said they put the wrong pads on the car - I need ceramic pads and they used the metallic kind. Well, the brakes are still squealing when I’m not pressing on the brake pedal and stop squealing when I do press it.

Characteristics of the squeak…It only seems to happen when I drive the car more than 5-10 miles. When I drive a short distance, it doesn’t happen. The sound is rhythmic, not constant. If I step on the brake and let if off slowly, like at a stop light, I can hear it “squeak, squeak, squeak” as the tire rotates. The faster the wheel spins, the more constant the sound. It only seems to come from the driver’s side.

I hate to take the car back to the original shop because I don’t think they know what they’re doing. I’m scared of getting ripped off at one of the big chains (I’m a female and of course whenever I take a car in for service at one of those places “everything needs to be replaced.”)

Will Toyota ceramic pads fix the problem? Can the wrong pads cause the brakes to squeak when you’re not stepping on the brake pedal? Someone else suggested it might be the caliper binding and that would require replacing it.

Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thank you!

You could NEVER go wrong with OEM Toyota brakes. They are more expensive, but are built to exacting specifications by Toyota. Aftermarket brakes tend to be hit or miss, and there are some less than desirable brands out there.

Metallic brakes are noisy by nature. If your car originally had ceramic brakes, that is what they should have stuck with. Ceramic brakes are less noisy and tend to last longer.

I’m willing to put the Toyota brake pads on. I just want to make sure that’s going to solve the problem. I read somewhere that excessive brake dust could prevent the brake pads from releasing fully and that could be causing the squeal when brake isn’t being applied. That makes some sense to me, but I really don’t know anything about cars. I don’t want to spend more unnecessary money if I don’t have to. I’d also like to make sure the next person who works on my brakes really knows what they’re doing!

Thanks for your reply! I appreciate it!

The metallic brakes that are on there will create more ‘sticking’ dust. The ceramics also dust, but tends not to stick to things, part of what makes them less noisy and keeps your wheels cleaner.

Thanks, BustedKnuckles, for your response!

The OEM pads for your car should be semi-metallic. I don’t think the pad material has much to do with what you are experiencing. I have put ceramics on mine and no noise either. Have your mechanic inspect it again, you might have sticky brake cylinders or something else. Do the wheels get hot? Check both. Changing pads without real trouble shooting would get too expensive.

Just a wild guess, but perhaps the pads, when not in braking mode, are not parallel to the rotor and one of the tabs on the anti-noise shims is rubbing. When the brakes are applied, they become parallel when grabbing the rotor, and the rubbing shim tab is drawn back when the pad rotates to become parallel. OTOH, if the brake job is new, neither the shim tabs nor the “fix-me-now” squeaker should be anywhere near the rotor, so I don’t know.

If the squeak is rhythmic and not constant, then you probably have some very minor run-out on the rotor, not enough to worry about.

Thanks for the suggestions. I’m going to drive it a while and see if it stops. I’ve only put about 30 miles on the car since the problem started.

I’m open to any other ideas.

The OEM pads on Toyota disc brakes have shims that keep the pad from vibrating in the caliper. If you used aftermarket pads and did not replace the shims (or at least use some sort of gunk like Disc Brake Quiet on the back of the pads) then you will get the exact problem you are describing. I have replaced pads on my Toyotas since 1989 and have never had a problem with any pad as long as they were shimmed. Toyotas are notoriously fussy about this.


Thank you for taking the time to respond. This sounds like the solution to my problem. I appreciate your help!


Follow up…

Well, I went back to the shop because I was still getting some squealing, though not as much as was first happening. The mechanic and the owner both drove my car. They must have made some hard stops because everything in my trunk was knocked over! Anyway, they changed the brake pads to the ceramic type and the squeal is gone. The mechanic told me he put new shims on the car when he installed the first set of pads. He also said that the first set (which was something other than semi-metallic) seemed “really hot.” Everything seems to be fine now.

Thanks to everyone who responded!