We had new brakes put on our 2000 Ford Windstar in June. We’ve put 8,000 miles on, and the brakes stop the car fine, but they make a HORRIBLE noise – not just a little squeek as you come to a stop – but a loud shreek. Sometimes is almost musical. Is there anything we can do? The mechanics have said its the new asbestos free pads. They tried some product, but it only made it worse.
The first thing to find out is, did they install brake pads with a friction material that meets the OEM specifications. Installing something else that doesn’t meet these specifications can result in unwanted brake noise.
Second. Where the brakes properly broken in when the brake job was performed? If not, this could be the cause of the brake noise. When new brakes are installed, there’s a procedure to follow to get the brake pads to seat/embed into the brake rotors. This has to do with what is called Friction Material Transfer.
What you might do is, bring the vehicle back and ask that they remove any glaze from the pads and rotors. The glaze can be remove from the rotors by using a special abrasive disc made by 3M. The glaze can be removed from the pads by rubbing them on a piece 800 grit sandpaper placed on a sheet of glass.
Once you get the vehicle back, break in the brakes in this manner. On a safe stretch of road or in a large parking lot, get the vehicle speed up to 35-40 MPH. Now apply the brakes very firmly to whoa the vehicle down. You don’t want to lock up the brakes or cause the ABS to kick in. Just stop the vehicle as quickly as possible. Repeat this about a half a dozen times, allowing a minute or two between braking events to allow the brakes to cool down.
Try this, and see if takes care of the brake noise.
Asbestos free pads are NOT NEW. They’ve been around for over 20 years. Someone is shirking their duty. My guess is that the shop you used put in cheap pads. Brakes don’t have to squeek. Good pads, properly installed won’t. Tester is correct in that a glaze may have built up on the pads or rotor, but my suggestion is that you demand the shop redo the job for free with pads from Ford, or at least top of the line pads from Autozone or wherever. The pads should have shims on the side that contacts the puck inside the caliper which will prevent squeeking.