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Squealing brakes after recent brake pad/rotor change Corolla

I just had new front brake pads and rotors put in my 2006 Toyota Corolla by my trusted local mechanic a few months ago in September. When I went to the dealership for an oil change in October they confirmed that I had 6 mm left on the brake pads then. Now, about two or three weeks ago my front brakes have started squealing every time I stop. I do have a 20 mile commute back and forth from work each day that is mostly stop and go driving. But it’s hard for me to believe that I have worn out all my brake pads in a month. It usually takes a year or two before they are down to 1mm or less. Anybody have any idea why my almost brand new brakes have just begun squealing all the time? Thanks

I suggest that you have your brakes looked at by your trusted local mechanic. There are a number of things that could be causing the brakes to squeal, but wear isn’t one of them.

Worn pads make a gravelly sound when applied. You may also get a scratching sound from the feeler attached to the pads when the brakes are not applied. A loud squeal when you apply the brakes means the pads are vibrating.

The pads should have either anti squeal shims behind them, a thick grease like molycoat77 on the backs, or some type of anti-squeal coating on the backs.

As for the wear, they need to be inspected because the wear may not be even. If the calipers are not floating freely, then the outer pads will wear out completely while the inside pads will still look like new. This can happen very quickly in worse cases, like within two months. Calipers can stick when the slide pins aren’t properly lubricated or their seals fail.

Thanks for the suggestion. I will contact my mechanic.

Is the squeal problem separate from the uneven wear problem?

Your mechanic may have installed ECONOMY brake components instead of installing OEM specified or better brake components.

Some of the results of installing cheap brake components is, brake noise and short brake component life.


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I have seen numerous cases of cheap aftermarket brake pads causing annoying noise problems. Especially with Japanese-make cars, I believe in using only OEM brake pads.

This vehicle should have antisqueal shims installed.

Sounds like someone might have skipped them. Or the dabs of antoisqueal grease that Keith suggested.

For some reason I’ve never had this squealing brakes problem, but from the reports we get here, seems a pretty common complaint and to happen more often if the wrong brand of pads is used. Most of the experts here seem to recommend using the manufacturer’s oem pads if avoiding brake squeal is your objective. You usually have to buy those from a dealership.

Myself, I’ve always purchased aftermarket pads for my own Corolla, and choose the brand that is sort of priced in the middle of the price range they offer me at the parts store. Not the cheapest, and not the most expensive. When I install new pads I always lube the places in the caliper area recommended with the brake grease that comes w/the pads, & sandpaper radial oriented grooves in the rotors with 160 grit paper , and I sandpaper the brake pad surface a little too to roughen it up, and round off the edges of the new brake pad a bit. Obviously all the parts have to be installed correctly. I draw a little sketch of where everything goes before I take the old parts off.

One thing for OP to double-check, if new rotors were used sometimes the shop will forget to clean them off. They come from the factory with an anti-rust coating, and that must be cleaned off completely using hot water and soap before install, otherwise brake squeal will result.

You don’t have to go to the dealership to get OEM quality brake pads/rotors.


I’ve switched years ago to ceramic pads and never had a problem. On my pickup I used metallic pads without a problem. Properly installed, I don’t believe any pads should squeal.

Thanks for all the advice. I appreciate it. I’m torn between taking it back to the mechanic that did the work to ask them if they can fix the squealing, or just turning up the radio/CD player so I can’t hear the squealing, lol. Wonder if the squealing will go away eventually on its own. Also, how difficult would it be for my mechanic to pull the brakes apart again to put in antisqueal grease, or whatever else it needs to stop squealing. My main concern about the squealing was safety, but I can probably live with/get used to the noise until it’s time for another brake pad replacement. Might take it to the dealer next time or not depending on price.

The same as putting the new pads in the first time. You’d be doing him a favor. Excessive “come-backs” (or customers who are dissatisfied) are death to a mechanic.

Why, you paid for something and you are not completely satisfied. The worst that happen is that they will do nothing. If that is the case then you will know not to use them again.

The mechanic could roughen the rotor surface w/some sandpaper without much trouble. Wouldn’t have to take anything apart, just remove the wheel. Sometimes that will stop squealing. Just living w/it is a reasonable idea too, as long as it doesn’t seem to be affected stopping distances. It will probably reduce in volume if not go away entirely eventually.

May be you also have sticky calipers that make the piston not to slide back from the pads.

George, why should the mechanic “roughen the rotor surface w/some sandpaper” . . . ?!

He just replaced the pads AND rotors

I would use the correct shims and apply anti-squeal paste as needed, before roughing up new rotors

What brand brake pads did your mechanic use?

Was it Wagner Thermoquiet?

Was it a store brand?

Squealing is most often due to vibration. That could be caused by glazed rotors and/or pads, the pads vibrating in the caliper yokes, caliper slides binding or dry, and so on.

You say he installed new rotors. Many rotors come with a rust preventative on them which needs to be cleaned away before installation of the rotors.
In most cases this substance is not visible to the naked eye. In some cases it resembles Cosmoline. Regardless of what can be seen or felt new rotors should be cleaned before use. Or after machining on a lathe.

Can assist the new pad to better mate w/the rotors, quiet down squeaky brakes, even w/new pads and rotors. I concur w/your comment that the correct brake parts must be installed to get good results.

Then I guess we’ll just have different opinions on this

I’m guessing one of these scenarios happened

Cheapo ceramic brake pads were installed

shims were not replaced, or maybe they were even left off . . .

anti-squeal paste was not used, if it was supposed to be used . . . This apparently wouldn’t apply to Thermouiet, because I believe Wagner thinks their thermoquiet pads are so awesome that no paste is supposed to be applied. Not that it would do any good, anyways :smirk:

Or maybe the mechanic actually DID install wagner rotors and thermoquiet pads :fearful:

For the record, I think Wagner brakes are okay, for the most part

With at least one major exception :smile: