Why do my car’s brakes squeal so loud when I back up?

I have a 1991 Volvo 240 and my mechanic says he puts this brake powder in it to stop it. However, it only works for a little while but then again it is squeak-o-thon time! I wonder if he is not diagnosing correctly or just does not know how to fix it. Any suggestions? This is so embarassing!


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    Take it to another mechanic. Sounds urgent.

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    It could be that you have dust or dirt in your brakes I would go to another brake shop

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    In the old days, brake pads were made of asbestos, which, a few years ago, was outlawed by the federal government. Now most brake pads now are made of hard, semi-metallic materials. One result is that brake squeal has become common, as the hard brake pad grinds on the steel rotor. A vibration occurs which transmits as a squeal type noise. This is especially noticeable after wet weather. This is normal and is not necessarily an indication of brake failure. On the other hand, squealing/grinding brakes could also mean your pads are worn out, and the metal behind the pad is scraping against the rotor. A brake inspection is necessary to find out for sure.

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    You could have dirt on the surface of your breaks.


    The break pads are worn down and the caliper is rubbing on the drum wearing it out. Bad problem.

    Get a reputable mechanic at a different shop. Hint: If your a female take a confident man with you. Mechanics like to overcharge females because they think we don’t know any better.

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    I had a brake shop at one time, and was also ASE certified in brakes (among other things) and the most common reason for this at the time was an overly metallic compound in the in the semi-metallic friction material its-self. Cars on the higher end are more susceptible to squealing with this condition. Assuming you are running semi metallic pads, the best cure is a good clean re-surface (or replacement) of the rotors and OE pads (from Volvo).

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    Working on cars has always been a hobby of mine. I’ve rebuilt both disc and drum brake systems and done some other extensive work. I’ve never heard of brake powder, however. Generally you want a nice clean surface between the brakes and the pads (no oil, dust or anything else)… This squeaking is usually a sign that you need your brake pads changed (if you drive too far without changing them there will be significant damage to the rotors/drums). If significant damage were to occur, your mechanic will be charging you a lot of money to fix it. I would highly suggest getting a second opinion. I hate to say it but car mechanics are generally crooks unless you go to a dealer. You may pay more but they aren’t as crooked. You can also check out the better business bureau…. Now what confuses me is that you only have the problem when your car backs up. If the screeching is really bad then there is definitely something wrong…

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    Are the pads new? Sometimes you can take it up to the top of a long hill or mountain and apply the brakes a few times for a longer period of time and maybe a little harder than you normally do and effect a change.

    If that doesn’t work, try finding a straight, deserted road on a hill and back down a hundred or so feet and apply the brakes, again somewhat harder than normal. Of course, maybe then they’ll start squeaking in the forward direction! 😉

    Short of having the rotors resurfaced, there’s not much else I know of that would help. And even then, it might only be temporary, if, as another responder pointed out, it’s due to the new formulation of pad (which I have noticed as well).

    What is happening is called “stiction”, a word coined to combine friction with sticking. The pads stick and slip on the rotors several thousand times per second (usually at the resonant frequency of the rotor/pad structure, or some multiple of that frequency).

    In your case, it makes a good backup alarm.

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    Try a ceramic pad.Common with Mercedes too.

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    Hi these are all great answers except for the guy saying any mechanic that isnt in a dealership is a crook.Its actually quite the opposite.Anyways i work in a volvo specialty shop. This is a common problem we hear of.
    Use textar pads make sure there is a groove cut in the center of the pad in the rear.
    In the front just make sure the pistons arent tight and there should be grooves in the front pads as well.

    Good luck to ya.
    Good luck to you this will solve your problem.

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    90 percent of the time on a 2 series if the rear brakes are squealing in reverse one or more of the calipers has a frozen or binding piston rebuilt ones are fairly inexpensive.
    the other 10 percent is caused by pads with too hard of a compound in the friction material [i use either o.e. or bendix pads exclusively and have ceased in having problems or comebacks except for those who ride the brakes with their left foot [they glaze the pads and rotors and only changing their habbits help

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    Not to many answers i agree with here. The fact of the matter is if you are not using genuine volvo brake pads and rotors you will get squeaking no matter what. That is just a fact.

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    He is using the wrong kind of brake parts. Take it to someone who knows the Volvo braking system.

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