Time to replace brakes?

About a 15 months ago, I replaced the front brake pads on my 95 Dodge Intrepid (sexy, right? :cool:) with Wearever Silver Brake pads from Advance Auto Store.

For the past couple of days, I’ve noticed some squealing from my front brakes when I apply the brakes. They only squeak on my commute home from the city in the afternoon/early evening (rush hour) with a LOT of stop and go traffic. They don’t start squeaking right away, only when I’ve been through about 15 - 20 minutes of heavy traffic congestion. And they only squeak if I gently apply the brakes, like if I take my foot off the brake and roll a few feet and then re-apply to come to a gentle stop. If I have to stop quickly, there is no squeak.

I don’t hear any squeaks in the morning, though there is much less traffic and much less stopping when I drive into the city early in the morning.

Are my brakes squeaking only in the afternoon because the pads get hot from the constant use and the warmer temps? Or should I just replace them anyway.

My weekends tend to be pretty booked and they’ve been rather warm lately, so if I can avoid baking in the sun while I change the pads, that would be great.

This may be venturing into IMHO territory, but Wearever sells different grades of pads. Are the Gold, Platinum, or ThermoQuiet pads any better? Or at least better for my circumstances?

It’s a pretty good bet you’re experiencing disc brake annoyance noise. I wouldn’t be surprised if the pads are less than half worn, so that replacing them would be because they’re noisy, not because they’re worn out.

ThermoQuiet pads are a Wagner Brake product. I use them almost exclusively because they brake well, last a long time, and don’t make noise, which means happy customers. I recommend them highly.

If you do replace the pads, be sure to use a suitable high-temperature grease wherever the pads’ metal backings touch their mounting brackets and spring clips.

There’s also a sprayand a certain kind of glopyou can put on the back of the pads to dampen squealing as well, since the grease is typically more for lubricating the moving parts than to reduce noise.

My coworker had this same problem on his car. Turns out the friction material in his (replacement) brake pads were much harder than what’s used in the OEM pads, and they quickly formed a “glaze” and would cause his rotors to mechanically resonate when he applied the brakes. Removing these pads and using OEM pads fixed the problem.

My bad, you’re right Gary T. The ThermoQuiet pads are from Wagner. But at $61 per set of 4, that is a pretty big investment for an almost 20 year old car.

I’m not sure what the OEM pads were. The Advanced Auto Parts website said these were “exact fit” for my car. Even the ceramic pads, though there is some small print stating that the OEM pads were semi metallic.

I’d just inspect the pads and see what they’ve got left. If they’ve plenty of life remaining, slap it back together and put up with the noise.

While “exact fit” has some meaning with wiper blades, it’s a meaningless term with brake pads. Either they fit – exactly – or they are flat out wrong for the car. The problem with pads is you can buy some that fit perfectly but use a lesser grade of friction lining (as described in the OP) or a different type of friction lining (as described by Crafter_Man). The concern is the material, not the fit.

(bolding mine)

Exactly! :wink:

So if the OEM pads were semi-metallic could I still use ceramic pads? Are ceramic pads better than the ThermoQuiet pads?

When I said I changed the pads 15 months ago, I forgot that I had a sticky caliper and went through a pad back in November and I had to replace them at that time and I used a lot of grease on the calipers. So I will check them tomorrow to be sure I don’t have a similar issue.

I would say yes. Generally I like to use the OEM type, be it organic, semi-metallic, or ceramic. However, while I would not use organics in place of semi-mets or ceramic, nor semi-mets in place of organic or ceramic, I wouldn’t have any qualms about using ceramic pads on any application.

I don’t know how another brand’s ceramics would compare to ThermoQuiet semi-mets. You should be able to get ThermoQuiet ceramics, though.

It is not unheard of to have a bad brake hose that will cause a caliper to be suspect.
It is easy to test for this,
with wheel off apply brake and release. will the wheel rotate? if there is no rotate or great friction in rotating loosen the brake bleeder valve and if the wheel rotates freely and there was a remarkable release of pressure when the valve was opened (and i have loosened the banjo fitting attaching hose to caliper when bleeder s stuborn) i would then suspect the flexible hose and replace it. of course there could also be problems further back, like the anti-lock system. :smack: