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Squeak on first braking - 1999 Saturn SC1

I purchased a used 1999 Saturn SC1 in 2008 with 128,000 miles on it. The brake pads and rotors were in excellent shape. The problem: Since that time my car has had a squeal when I apply the brake. This only happens for the first minute of driving the car, in forward or reverse, when applying the brake. Now I have 168,000 miles on the car and I just had the rotors and pads replaced yesterday. The old rotors and pads had slight grooves, but otherwise fine. I thought replacing them would take care of the problem, but it didn’t.

The car drives quiet, no squeals or squeaks when starting/stationary. I have eliminated CV joints or wheel bearing as a possible cause of the problem, because it seems like it should make a noise other than starting, especially when driving. Again, the noise is ONLY when I first use the car each day and ONLY happens when I apply the brakes. Thank you for your help.

IU Grad Student (on a tight budget)

Its most likely just fairly normal brake noise that just comes from vibration of brake parts. The reason it is worse or only there the first few times that you brake is that surface rust forms very quickly on rotors/drums so your first few brake applications are getting rid of that surface rust.

There are various anti-vibration things that can prevent this when applied correctly. Some are little bits of brake hardware. Other methods just involve some dabs of well-placed brake grease.

This doesn’t affect the functionality of your brakes, but you might take it back to whomever did the brakes and tell them about the squealing. They may or may not try to do something about it.

Are you sure the squeal is in the front? I believe this car has rear drum brakes, and seems like it’s a common thing for these to be neglected. A big dust build-up in the drums can case this.

Thanks, cigroller and Cherokeeboogieman! It really were the rear brakes. Back in 2008, when I first got my license, I drove my car with an emergency brake on for about 7 miles - you can imagine the smoke! The friend that was helping me with the car said that the excess heat caused the crystallization of the drum brakes. We cleaned them with sand paper, and the squeeling has reduced significantly. Thanks for your help!

Glazing would be a better way to describe what this will do to the brakes than “crystallization”. That will definitely cause a squeak. Glad you got it figured out.