Squealing or squeaking brakes are a common occurrence when you’re at the track, but when you’re sitting in peak hour traffic on your way to work or in the city for a night out, the high pitched squeal can not only be annoying but even a little embarrassing!



Common Causes of Squealing Brakes

1. Worn Brake Pads

Squealing brakes can occur for a variety of reasons, with the first and foremost being worn out brake pads. Most brake pads have a small metal finger on the side of them which protrudes about 2mm past the backing plate. Once your brake pads have worn out, the metal finger begins to contact the brake disc. This results in that high pitched squeak we’ve all heard at one time or another. The manufacturer does this so that you’re prompted to have your brakes looked at and changed.


how to tell when brake discs are worn



2. Glazed Brake Pads

The other very common cause of squeaking brakes is the pads becoming ‘glazed’. All brake pads are constructed with an optimum operating temperature range. A good road pad that would be well suited to commuting to and from work or in start-stop traffic would have a low operating temperature (approx. 0-300 degrees Celsius). Performance orientated pads operate around the 400-800 degrees Celsius range, while dedicated race pads operate from 1000 degrees Celsius and up.


When a brake pad is forced to work beyond its ideal temperature range, this can lead to glazing. The brake pads material begins to break down and crystallise or harden. This results in a surface of very similar hardness and very low friction coefficient contacting each other, producing that same squealing noise. Performance brake pads are typically made of a different compound with a higher friction coefficient. This is why they are prone to squealing at low temperatures and are known for being harsh on brake discs.


Hot performance brakes


During this glazing process, the brake pads friction material can break down causing the friction material to adhere to the discs surface. This results in a pulsating brake pedal when slowing from speed as the discs typically flat surface now has high and low spots. Contrary to popular belief this is a common cause of brake run out, and as long as your discs are not below their specified minimum thickness they can be machined or cleaned to rectify this.


Glazed brake discs



3. Stones/Contaminants

A less common cause of brake squeal (although not uncommon) is when small stones/contaminants become stuck between the brake pad and disc. It’s easily fixed by quickly removing the pads and making sure they are free of grit. However, if you leave it unattended, this can result in the stone/contaminant cutting a groove into your disc as it pushes into the disc itself.


So there you have it. An in-depth look into the reasons why your brakes may be squeaking. Think it might be time for a tune-up? Head on over to Spares Box and check out our range of brakes and our Mid-Year Mega Sale! Saving up to 20% off!



Brembo brakes are world-renowned. With roots in the Italian city of Bergamo, Brembo are the holy grail of the braking universe – a brand that is the most recognisable, and highly respected. Pioneers of quality braking engineering, they have forged a hugely loyal base of admirers from every pocket of the planet. So if you’re investing in a piece of superior engineering, suitable for the most sought-after vehicles on earth, you don’t want to feel like you’re missing out. You want to get the absolute best out of those brakes, right? One crucial way of ensuring your brakes are prepared for their new environment is to bed them in.




Bedding in Brembo Brakes: What’s the Point?

When you fit Brembo brake pads, the first few applications of the brakes aren’t going to result in stopping power that will leave you lifting your jaw off the floor. Until they are bedded, brakes simply do not work as well as they should.


The purpose of bedding in your brakes is to have the rotor compatible with the pads, creating a stable transfer film that allows optimum friction over long periods. This is achieved through temperature, rubbing speed and line pressure, which allows an even layer of brake pad material to form on the rubbing surface of the rotor disc.


The rotor is heat treated, which eliminates any shock in the rotor. This heat also burns off moisture from the resin at the pad’s surface, avoiding the dreaded “green fade”. This phenomenon is where resin evaporates at the high temperatures involved in heavy braking and the pressurised gas that develops pulls the brake lining away from the disk, reducing friction. A loss of friction is no good thing.


Of course, the benefits of doing this has great overall results. Well-performed bedding greatly improves pedal feel, reduces brake judder and brake dust, and – importantly – lengthens pad and rotor life. Why pay for Brembo and miss out on all the good stuff?


brembo brakes


Bedding in Brembo Brakes: How To

Bedding in is a complicated process that must be performed correctly. Doing it right does have incredible results though, so it’s pretty vital to follow the procedure closely.


  1. Reach 80km/h and feather your brakes a couple of times to raise their temperature – we don’t want to shock the rotors and pads.
  2. From 80km/h, make 8-10 hard near-stops in a row. It’s important to note that you never fully stop. You’re just firmly and quickly reducing your speed without grinding to a halt. At the end of each brake, quickly resume your 80km/h pace.
  3. After the last near-stop, come back up to speed and cruise for 15 minutes, using the brakes as rarely as possible to let them cool.


Seeing the Results

After, if performed correctly, there will be a blue tint and a grey film on each rotor face. The blue means the rotor has got to the break-in temperature, the grey is evidence the pad material has transferred to the surface of the rotor face. If you have that, you’re on to a winner! It’s now time live your life as the owner of fully-bedded Brembos.

Brake pads have a wear indicator on them, which indicate that they’re wearing too thin to be safely used anymore. As the material on the brake pad slowly wears down, this indicator gradually becomes more exposed. When the brakes are applied, the indicator squeals against the brake disc rotor, creating the squeaky brakes most people are familiar with. Many european cars also have electronic sensors on them which will indicate on the dashboard that the brake pads need replacing.

European-made brake pads (and brake pads made for all European cars) have to meet certain performance requirements as decreed by the EU Government. In short, they should not differentiate from the OEM counterpart by any more than 15%. As such, they generally have a higher friction co-efficient than other brake pads, meaning superior stopping power at the cost of increased noise/brake dust. For all the details you need on brake pads for European cars, check out this article.

Brake pads aren’t nearly as simple as they first appear. You know what they look like and what they do, and of course you want to make sure you’re getting the best possible fit for you and your vehicle, but it can be complicated.


Not to worry! This very simple guide is going to help you cut through all the complexity, and give you the tools you need to choose the most suitable brake pads for what you do. In this stage, we’re looking at the differences between European and conventional brake pads.


Anyone who’s ever driven in Europe will be quite quick in telling you that their roads are vastly different from pretty much anywhere else in the world, as are the cars they produce. European roads are among the most diverse in the world, from the Autobahns of Germany, to the tight streets of renaissance-era Italian villages, to windy mountain passes and highways running through the Alps and Carpathian mountains. In a similar fashion, European cars range from hot hatchbacks through executive german saloons, all the way to the world’s fastest supercars.


Europe: AKA Driving Heaven


As you could imagine, European governments generally take a rather dull view of all this fun stuff, and in turn a set of regulations – known rather intriguingly as regulation 90 – are imposed on brakes manufactured in Europe (and placed on European cars) which don’t apply anywhere else in the world.


“ECE Regulation 90 (abbreviated “ECE R90″) is an ECE Regulation specifying design, construction, and performance requirements and test protocols for replacement brake linings for road-going motor vehicles and trailers. R90 calls for linings to be tested for speed sensitivity, cold performance, and replacement Brake pads and brake shoes are permitted to deviate from the frictional characteristics of their original-equipment counterparts by not more than 15%. In addition, R90 requires tamper-evident, sealed packaging for replacement brake linings.” – Wikipedia


What this means for you, is that if you’re using European-specific brake pads, you can expect a certain degree of quality that you don’t get in the standard brake pads for cars made elsewhere in the world. European brake pads prioritise stopping power over all else, ensuring a higher degree of safety and more consistent stopping power in a huge range of different driving conditions.


Being more technologically advanced than a lot of cars around the world, European brake pads also often come with additional sensors that measure how much they’re wearing, alerting you when it’s time to get a replacement.


There are some downsides to this. With a higher amount of friction generated by the brake pads, they also create a larger amount of brake dust and noise than more conventional pads produced elsewhere. If you have pretty rims or are willing to forego some stopping power for the convenience of not having to clean your wheels quite as often, European pads probably aren’t your best bet.


If you value stopping power above all else though, European-oriented brake pads are the best choice for you. We stock a wide range of Ferodo and Bendix European-oriented brake pads, all designed to meet the standards set out above.



For all the additional info you need, make sure you check out our detailed articles on the brands and ranges of brake pads that Sparesbox carries.

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