Why Does My Car Squeal When I Reverse?

Many people report that their cars squeal only when in reverse. No, this is not a human response to the gate or trashcan you might be too close to for comfort but rather a sign that something might be amiss with your braking system. Or it could simply be an integral part of your car's makeup that is specially designed to warn you when it is time to take a look at your brakes.

Here are some possible causes for your car's brakes squealing as you are reversing.

Most often what is heard is a 'squealer' attached to the brakes. This is designed so that when the pads wear down to a certain point this piece of metal will rub against the rotor, making the high-pitched squealing noise to notify the driver that it is time to have the brakes checked out.

However, if the noise goes away when brakes are applied then it could be as a result of something else causing the sound.

One of the first things to check is the brakes' wear tabs that are situated on the edge of the brake tabs of your car. They help when bringing your car to a stop, but if the brakes are getting worn these wear tabs will rub against the rotor and produce the squealing sound.

Ceramic pads are also said to squeal when a vehicle reverses, especially if they get wet or pick up moisture in damp weather.

Another scenario is metal touching metal, where the driver or a mechanic would have to check between the rotors and the pads for fragments of metal stuck between these two parts. Cleaning pads and rotors could remedy this.

On the other hand, if this happens with a fairly new car and the wear tabs have been checked, it could mean the shims have to be greased. The shims are attached to the back of the brake pads and would always need lubrication.

If the car still squeals after checking all the above problems, resurfacing the rotors might be in order. This is done by lightly sanding the rotors, but should not be attempted by the driver or an unskilled person.

If you are experiencing this symptom and believe you're due for brake repair, we invite you to bring your car into our shop today!