Squeaky Bike Disc Brakes

Disc brakes have become common on modern MTB bikes due to their superior stopping power and modulation. There are basically two types of disc brakes, mechanical and hydraulic, but regardless of which, they both work by squeezing a rotor attached to the wheel hub. But...

What Causes Squeaky Bike Disc Brakes

Contaminated brake pads

Contaminated brake pads are a common culprit behind squeaky bike disc brakes. Various substances can contaminate the pads, such as dirt, oil, or water. These contaminants affect the friction between the pads and the rotor, leading to noise and reduced braking performance. To prevent contamination, it's essential to keep the braking system clean, avoid touching the pads with bare hands while installing and regularly inspect the brake system to help maintain their effectiveness.

Glazed brake pads

Another cause of squeaky brakes is glazed brake pads. Glazing occurs when the brake pads become overheated or when they haven't undergone the proper break-in procedure. Signs of glazed brake pads include a shiny appearance and a lack of friction material transfer to the rotor. To address this issue, it's necessary to remove the glazed layer from the pads. This can be done by lightly sanding the surface or replacing the pads if the glazing is severe.


Misalignment or uneven wear of the brake pads can also result in squeaky brakes. Misalignment may occur due to loose calipers, improperly aligned brake mounts, or uneven piston retraction. Signs of misalignment or uneven wear include uneven brake pad contact, uneven rotor wear, or noise from only one side of the brake. Rectifying misalignment involves adjusting the caliper position, ensuring proper alignment of the brake mounts, or replacing worn-out components.

Low-quality brake pads

Using low-quality brake pads or rotors can contribute to squeaky disc brakes. Cheap or poorly constructed brake components may lack proper materials and manufacturing techniques, leading to noise issues. Investing in high-quality brake pads and rotors from reputable manufacturers can significantly reduce the chances of experiencing squeaky brakes.

Other potential causes of squeaky brakes include loose brake calipers or mounting hardware, damaged or warped rotors, and worn-out brake pads or rotors. Loose components can cause vibrations and noise during braking. Make sure all the brake system components are properly tightened and that damaged or worn-out components are promptly replaced.

How to fix squeaky bike disc brakes

To resolve squeaky bike disc brakes, a systematic approach can be followed. Start by cleaning the entire brake system, ensuring all components are contaminant-free. Inspect for glazing, misalignment, or uneven wear and take appropriate steps to rectify these issues. Check for loose or damaged components and tighten or replace them as necessary.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of the brake system are crucial for preventing squeaky brakes and enjoying your ride to the fullest.Follow proper cleaning techniques to avoid damage to the brake system, and after cleaning, lubricate the appropriate parts and reassemble the brake system according to the manufacturer's instructions.

If the squeaky brake issue persists despite cleaning and maintenance efforts, it may be necessary to take your bike to a professional bike shop. A qualified bike mechanic can perform a thorough inspection, identify any underlying issues, and provide the best course of action to resolve the problem.

It's important to emphasize the significance of using high-quality brake pads and rotors from reputable manufacturers. Investing in reliable components can significantly reduce the chances of encountering noisy bike brakes. 

Carles Carrera

Co-Founder, Product&Marketing

Carles' passion for Enduro MTB ignited the creation of AMS. Nowadays, you're more likely to find him speeding along scenic gravel paths, enjoying the thrill of his gravel bike.