Squeaky brakes- 2000 Corolla

I am a driving instructor and lately when I take students out for lessons in my 2000 Corolla, often there is a squeaky noise coming from the rear of the car when they brake. It doesn’t happen all the time with my students and I rarely get the noise myself when I drive. I took the car both to the dealer and an independent mechanic and complete diagnostic checks, I was told by both that my brake system was fine and perfectly safe. I know there shouldn’t be this sound though and I’m wondering if anyone might know what else might cause a squeaking sound when brakes are applied. Is there some other thing, like maybe the shocks or something else that could be causing the noise during braking?

Thanks in advance for any help,

Kim Probst

You need to give more information. Is it a quick squeak, or a steady squeak or a pulsing squeak? Very high pitched or low? The only thing I can offer is 1. sometimes if you step on the brake very softly you can make them squeak, and 2. If it happens right after a stop when the parking brake was applied quite firmly it could be because the rear calipers (and drum brakes too, I think) adjust out a little bit with a firm pull on the handbrake.

Thanks- I guess I would have to say it was a steady squeak and sometimes it even sounds a bit sloshy- like the car is vibrating back and forth and squeaking and/or sloshing with the stop. It tends to be worse on steep hills (I live and teach in San Francisco), but it’s not even always a problem on hills. The thing is, I’ve been teaching for five months now and this problem didn’t happen right away, it just started around the beginning of November, which is when I had it examined by the dealer, so I’m thinking if it was something in particular about how my students drive (or try to drive) I would think it would have started happening right away.

I forgot to add that, if I had to choose, I would say it was high pitched and I definitely think it has nothing to do with the parking brake because sometimes we’re out for an hour or two without stopping and applying the parking brake- and inevitably my students rarely can pull the parking brake half as hard as I do anyway.

If the mechanics have checked the rotors and/or drums in the back, and everything’s OK, then maybe the squeak is just you unconsciously breathing hard and trying to control your fear responses. I can not imagine teaching driving in San Francisco!

It has drum brakes on the rear and any squeaking could possibly be caused by a glazed brake shoe or warped brake drum.
Had any new tires put on this car? Some of those tire guys can get carried away when reinstalling new tires. Overtighening lug nuts can cause both squeals and vibrations.

Take the car out on a smooth stretch of road. Run it up to about 40 MPH or so and slowly bring the car to a stop using the park brake only. Avoid the foot brake.
If you feel any vibration or pulsation then this means the rear drums are at fault. The proper cure is machining of the drums, new shoes, and proper torque of the lug nuts when reinstalling the wheels.

As far as new tires…The last set of new ones long preceeded the squeaky brake problem, but it is entirely possible that at any of the services since then, the lug nuts may have been overtightened by the dealer mechanics, but one would think they wouldn’t do something like that.

I will try the parking brake test tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestions

I tried the parking brake test and found the squeaking/almost screaming sound even louder, but there was no vibration or pulsation. The car still had no trouble stopping. So does that mean it is the glazed brake shoe. If so, how does this happen? We had a full brake job done in June and the car was fine until about the beginning of November.