Squealing Wheel - Michael Thomas
I had two new tyres and new pads put on the front of my Rover 620 on its last service & MOT. The balancing and tracking were also done as part of the job. Thing is I've noticed that the offside wheel makes an intermittent squeaking noise when pulling away but goes after reaching 10-15 mph. The steering wheel also starts to vibrate at 60mph but is gone by 70. It's also developed a very slight pull to the left.

I took the car back to have the balancing and tracking checked and everything was fine. I don't think it's the garage, they've serviced all my cars over the last 7 years to an excellent standard. I suspected it might be the wheel bearings but they confirmed they were fine as well.

Any ideas ? I'm stumped.
Re: Squealing Wheel - Andrew Moorey
Get your garage to check that the pads are not tight in the caliper. I have had several pads both OE and pattern that need to have the paint removed from the pad edge to ensure that they dont bind in the caliper. Also check that the sliding part of the caliper is not binding.
Re: Squealing Wheel - John Slaughter
Vibration at 60 -70 is absolutely typical of an out-of balance wheel, whatever the garage says.

Andrew is probably right about the pads. Also, now they are bedded in, try using them really hard a few times to break the glaze.


Re: Squealing Wheel - Alvin Booth
I think that both Andrew and John are both absolutely right. As regards your vibration through the steering wheel coming in at 60 and going at 70 this is a classic case of incorrect wheel balancing which can be either poorly done by your garage, a poor balancing machine or a weight has fallen off one of your wheels. As John says, whatever the garage says!!!!!!!!
Some front brakes have twin hydraulic pistons one each for the pads.
Many have a single piston and the other pad is forced on to the disk by means of a sliding bar which forces the other pad on to the disk.
The sliding part sometimes seizes resulting in only one pad coming into contact with the disk. I had this three times with a vauxhall Nova.
Your slight pull to one side is likely to be incorrect tracking being carried out which not only wears one side of your new tyres badly but will also pull the car to one side simply because the front wheels are not tracked parallel but are trying to steer to one side.
Disregard the garage saying all is well it most certainly isn't and I would say that they have fitted your pads badly. Misaligned your tracking and not balanced the wheels correctly.
As the Yanks would say Michael, go and kick ass. And I'm not talking about donkeys!!!!

Re: Squealing Wheel - Tristan Chaize
Michael Thomas.
I think the worst place in the country to go for tracking is "Kwikfit" and I speak from personal experience. Try "National". at least they have the right kit to do the job.
Re your pulling left problem, i also suspect a binding piston in the caliper. It can be "freed off" by any decent mechanic. Because it binds "on" all the time, it feels like tracking but is not. If that is the problem, it will disappear after a few miles on the motorway when the pad material wears down. If it is binding brakes and your car is automatic, you will burn out the auto box clutches as well as messing up the pads/discs and boiling the fluid. To check for binding brakes, try pushing the pistons back by hand (with a lever). if you can, it's not binding.
Get a second opinion from a different garage.
Re: Squealing Wheel - John Slaughter
I'd agree with Tristan. It's extremely difficult to get wheels aligned properly. I had a new Ford which destroyed the outside edge of one tyre in 2000 miles, and the supplying dealer said the tracking was fine - it must be the way I drove it. You can imagine my reaction! Angry letter to Ford got an appointment at the other local dealer, who made a minor adjustment. No improvement so more complaints. Finally they sent it out to a local specialist who did 'four wheel' alignment. Result - surprise surprise, one front wheel was well out of alignment. I was rather surprised that a large Ford main dealer only has very basic tracking equipment. Few garages recognise that if you just check the front wheels you're supposed to check that the toe in is equal both sides, using both the toe in gauge and something like 'Weaver Boards', as they were called when I last used them. I think few garages even know what they are.

Having said that my local ATS uses a system that aligns the front wheels with the rears, and does seem to pick up any onesidedness with the front toe in. Seems to work quite well, but doesn't check the rears though.

The answer seems to be to track down a local specialist with a proper system that checks all four wheels.


Re: Squealing Wheel - Michael Thomas
Thanks guys, I've taken into a specialist. It is an auto and that gearbox is more valuable than any brake pads !!!
Re: Squealing Wheel - Cliff Pope
I agree with all the points everyone has made.
I would only add a few tips from my own experience. In the old days when we checked our own tracking with a home-made set-up using a wooden jig and nails held with clothes pegs, it was always stressed that it was important to spin the wheel first to detect any run-out or imperfections at the rim, and then to position this at the top so that its effect on the tracking was neutralised.
Also, it is important that the car is brought to rest in a forward direction, with the brakes gently applied, and not grabbed so that the suspension richochets back on itself. This ensures that the wheels are aligned in their normal driving position.
I hardly ever see garages bothering about these, and as a consequence I too have suffered from prematurely worn tyres (Kwickfit the main culprits, strangely enough).

On squeaking brakes, I agree, file the paint off the pads, also it is worth using Copperease.
Another cause can be the new pads running on a section of disk not worn by the previous pads. It is worth running a finger over the disk to check for roughness on the extreme outer or inner section, and smoothing it down with a sanding disk.

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