Squeaking Noise While Driving But Not Brakes Applied: Why?

In many cases, when your car is facing some issues, it lets you know about it by making certain noises. The type of noise can determine what kind of issue your car is facing. Some noises like engine humming or any particular shakes or vibrations are quite normal. But there can be some unusual noises too like squeaking noise while driving but not brakes applied. This article analyzes the common causes of why such an issue can happen so read on!

What To Do When I Hear Unusual Noises From My Car?

There can be several unusual sounds your car can make like grinding sounds, squeaking sounds, whining sounds, etc. You can hear these sounds while driving slowly or quickly or while applying brakes. These all are an indication of some issues and you can diagnose the problem by observing when you hear such sounds from your vehicle. You can also get the help of a mechanic to diagnose the issue and get the issue fixed. If you are hearing a squeaking noise while driving but not brakes applied, then here we have narrowed the common causes of the problem to help you diagnose and fix the issue. 

What Causes Squeaking Noise While Driving But Not Brakes Applied?

In most situations, when you hear squeaking noise while driving but not brakes applied, it may be an indicator of a brake issue. It could be because of poorly fitted brake pads or discs. The noise can also be because of worn wheel bearings. 

It is quite unusual for braes to make squeaks when they are not under extreme stress or even applied. So this is a situation which needs fast attention and must be fixed as soon as possible. Here are the common reasons for the issue, squeaking noise while driving but not brakes applied

1. Poor Lubrication

Your var’s brake setup consists of something called the show brake backing plate. This requires constant lubrication to perform well. When the lubrication is not enough, you may hear squeaks while driving even if you are not braking. This is because the shoe scrapes make a squealing when it rubs against the backing plate. Without a properly working lubrication, you are going to get a buildup of rust which leads to the metal on metal squeaking. 

How To Fix?

Luckily, this is not a very hard issue to fix. You have to use an appropriate lubricant compound on the shoe brake backing plate to get it to work well again. You will need something like an anti-seize compound designed to operate at high temperatures or something called moly paste 60. Apply this on the back of the brake pad shoe contact points. Putting on the brake pads themselves would be very dangerous and cause the brakes to function more poorly. Putting on the brake pads themselves would be very dangerous and cause the brakes to function more poorly.

2. Brake pad material

The brake pads themselves may be the culprits when your car make squeaky noises while driving even though the brakes are not applied. The issue may not be the alignment of the brake pads or any issue in them. The noise can happen just because of the material which is used to make the brake pads. Brake pads will be subject to a lot of heat and the material used to make them must be heat resistant. Brake pads must absorb heat and friction effectively. There are materials in modern brake pads such as Kevlar, ceramics, various composite materials and so on.

Lower-grade and quality brake pads are embedded with metals. This is not a very safe material to be in a brake pad. As brake pads start to wear down, the metal will start scraping loudly on the rotors of your brakes and creates bothersome sounds. 

How To Fix?

When your brake pads wear or if you find that the material used in the brake pad is not good, it is best to replace it with new good ones. You must be aware of what material the brake pad is made of when you get a new one. Get the help of your trusted mechanic if you have to, when you are buying new brake pads for your vehicle. 

3. Failing Brake Pads

If your brake pads are failing, a squeaking sound is usual when driving. The squeaks mostly happen when you apply brakes but it can happen otherwise too in the worst scenarios. This happens because of the metal present inside the brake pads. So when the brake pads wear down, the metal comes in contact with the rotor which results in the squeaking noise to let you know that your pads are worn and that they must be changed.

4. Moisture

Another common cause of squeaking noise from your car while driving even if you are not braking is when moisture enters the brake pads. This mostly happens on humid mornings when you head out for work. If there’s a lot of dew on the grass then that same moisture may form on your brakes as well. But this is not a situation to be highly concerned about. And completely avoiding moisture entering the brakes is impossible. 

This dampness can cause a thin layer of rust to form on your rotor. When you apply the brakes, the rust scrapes off causing a squeaky sound while driving. 

5. Dirt And Debris

Sometimes foreign substance can reach your brake system. This will prevent the brakes from the way they should work. Dirt and debris prevent the brake pads and rotors from making effective contact to slow your car down without any difficulties. Dirt and debris between brake pads can thus create squealing or any similar noises while driving your car even if you are not applying brakes. 


The sound or squeaks while driving your car can be quite bothersome and frustrating. In most cases these sounds are an indication of some serious damage, so diagnosing the problem and getting your vehicle fixed must be your top priority. Taking risks with your brakes is never a good idea, so you need to find out as soon as you can if it’s either a simple problem such as the presence of moisture causing it that will go away as they dry out or if it is a more serious problem like failing brake pads or misaligned callipers.

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