Do you find it distracting when you hear squeaking noises while you ride? Well, we cannot deny the fact that squealing brakes are really irritating. In fact, I can even put it on the top of my list of annoyances.
Knowing how to stop bike brakes from squeaking can help our focus on the road a lot. So, we have to maintain our bikes by lubricating and cleaning them properly. We also have to ensure that they’re accurately torqued.
After all, squeaky noises are caused by dirt build-up or faulty assembly. Learn more by reading further.
Table of Contents
- The Things You Need
- Follow These Steps
The Things You Need
- Truing Fork
- Oil-free Degreaser
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- White Piece of Paper
- Bike stand
Follow These Steps
To completely stop bicycle brakes from squeaking, you have to follow these steps.
Step 1: Put the Bike on the Bike Stand
We cannot miss this step. Putting your bike at a good angle allows you to examine it. If you have no bike stand, you can always lean it on a wall or put it upside down.
Step 2: Observe the Bike
Squeaky bike brakes are there for various reasons, and they’re quite common. Aside from the annoying noise, they decrease a rider’s braking performance.
There are also various combinations of braking surfaces and brake discs that affect the noise of your bike brakes.
Usually, grease and oil in the brake pad and the rotor or the bike’s wheel rim can cause squeaks. The contact point between the braking surfaces being misaligned is another culprit.
There’s also a huge chance that some noises stem from brake blocks that are in poor condition. Usually, these things are glazed over or unevenly worn.
Now, let’s talk about rims. Most aluminum rims come with a rough machined surface designed for excellent braking performance. That’s why massive dirt build-up in a worn-out rim affects the brake efficiency.
Step 3: Ensure that the Wheel is Seeded in the Chainstay/Dropouts & Check the Caliper
Before you start fixing, ensure that the wheels are suitably planted in the dropouts or chainstay. This can be challenging if you run a wheel with a quick-release skewer that does not thread thoroughly to the frame.
The next thing you should check for is the caliper’s alignment. To do this, release the caliper nuts and shake them loose. Then, hold the brake pedal down. When you hold down the brake, the caliper goes to the middle of the rotor & over it.
You should constrict the caliper nuts evenly. Slowly spin the wheel and observe if there’s rubbing. If rubbing is present, just repeat the steps. It takes a few tries before you can successfully align the caliper.
However, if the annoying rubbing persists, it’s more likely that your bike’s brake rotor is bent. Don’t worry though, this problem is easy to fix.
Step 4: Straighten the Rotor
All you have to do is to look through the bike caliper and carefully spin the bike wheel. By doing this, you will notice when the brake pad contacts the bent part of the rotor. You can also place white paper under the caliper to help you quickly see the problem.
As you apply the brakes, carefully loosen the mounting bolts. You can also reposition the pad or the bike’s disc brake mount. This will put a precise connection point to the bicycle.
You can also use a Truing Fork to help you fix the bent rotor into place. Note that doing this takes time, a light hand, and a lot of patience.
Related: ways to tighten and loosen bike brakes
Step 5: Clean the Bike Parts
One reason bike brakes squeak loudly is lack of cleaning. When observing your bike’s rim brakes, the first thing is to ensure that the brake calipers, blocks, and other braking exteriors of your bike’s rim are properly cleaned and in good condition.
Scrubbing usually does the job. Gently scrub off any dirt residues. However, if scrubbing alone is not enough, the vibrations result from a poor brake setup. Carefully look for the wear indicators that most brake blocks have. If you notice that the brake blocks are worn unevenly, that’s a huge sign that they’re not set up accurately.
Another reason why bike brakes squeak is contamination. Chain lubing or picking up oil while riding in wet weather and puddles are its primary causes.
As we know, brake pads are porous, like a sponge. This gives them the ability to soak up grimes and oils quickly, resulting in squealing and your bike’s poor performance. Chain lube, degreaser, bike polish, and brake fluids can easily find their way to your bike rotors and contaminate the disc.
A bicycle brake squeal caused by disc brakes is usually due to contamination of pads or rotors. This can happen when spray lubricants are used; thus, avoid using these anywhere near disc brakes. Instead, use an oil-free degreaser.
Aside from the degreaser, you can also use a dedicated disc brake cleaner for an immediate fix if you want. Another common alternative is isopropyl alcohol. This tool ensures that the brakes remain in top condition, avoiding squeaky bicycle brakes.
You can pour alcohol into a small rag and wipe it to clean your bike’s disc rotors. If you want quicker work, you can remove the rotor from the wheel. But you can still clean with it attached to the bike.
Step 6: Use sandpaper on the disc pads & brake blocks
I know I have mentioned that disc pads can be contaminated. And they’re even more challenging to clean because you have to wholly remove this gear from the bike. To free this component from pollution, a bit of scrubbing using sandpaper can help.
If the squeaking sounds are caused by bad brake blocks, you can also pick any grit off the blocks and use sandpaper to smooth the top layer, giving out a flawless look instead of a grazed one.
- Avoid touching the brake pads with your hands too much as it causes contamination.
- A wrongly installed axle causes the rotors and wheels to be misaligned.
Remember that squealing brakes are there for several reasons. Contamination occurs when you hit the anchors. It happens when oil and grimes are on the wheel rim. Rotor and brake disc misalignment can also be a cause.
After knowing the root cause and following the few steps above, you can fix squeaky bike brakes with no issues. You can also check out this video for a thorough guide.
That’s all you need to know in stopping your bikes from squealing. Did you enjoy this simple tutorial? We would love to hear from you in the comments.
Following the steps below will free you from the annoying squeals of your bike. This gives you focus and a more enjoyable bike trip ahead.
Never forget about the tools that make the overall process more convenient. A degreaser, for example, is an excellent accessory to have.
If you love this guide, sharing it with your friends means a lot to us. Also, feel free to share your tips on how to stop bike brakes from squeaking.
“I ride my bike to work for years, but is that enough? Our carelessness towards our surroundings has taken a toll on the environment. And now, everyone is responsible for changes; even the most minor contribution is counted. With this hope and spirit, I started with my partner to establish Biketoworkday to help more individuals commute to their work sites on their bikes.”