Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've tried sanding them down just a bit, cleaning the brake surface on the wheels, and this does stop them from squealing for a day or two, but it always comes back. I'm using Kool-stop pads if it matters.

share|improve this question
    
Are these rim brakes? –  Neil Fein Aug 26 '10 at 3:22
    
The Kool-Stop brand pad (as the poster mentioned) are rim brakes. –  Dustin Aug 26 '10 at 16:03
    
Correct, Rim brakes. Thanks for the answers folks, I got what I needed. –  M. Converse Aug 26 '10 at 16:21
    
I'm havein the same problem. I have Aluminum Shimano DEore Wheels and Promax Alloy Pads. it started squealing before 2 hours :O it rained night before so i think it is cause of moisture and water on my rim. i'll have to clean it up and i'll reply again if it doesent work. –  user5868 Jan 10 '13 at 11:56
    
Kool-Stop brand pads for discs also exist. But I doubt anyone would sand them, and while a disc could technically be described as a "brake surface on the wheels", that's also unlikely. –  armb Jul 17 '13 at 9:18
add comment

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

There are a few causes for brake 'squealing':

  1. New pads. After a bit of wear (or sandpapering), the squealing will stop.
  2. Misalignment. As some others have mentioned, misalignment may cause squealing (although it would be reduced with some wear). Check out Sheldon Brown's tips for alignment suggestions.
  3. Oil or water on the rim. Either of these substances, even in small portions, combined with dirt or debris on the rim can create squealing. Wipe the rims thoroughly on the braking surface, as well as the pads, with a dry cloth.
  4. Incompatible rims/pads. No one else has mentioned this, but this is often the most common cause. Rims are generally made from one of two materials: steel or alloy. (You can tell the difference by seeing if a magnet will attract (steel) or not (alloy)). Incidentally, brake pads are made of specific compounds to work on one or the other. Often, using pads designed for alloy rims (like most Kool-Stops) will squeal if used on steel (which I'm guessing you have).
share|improve this answer
add comment

Brakes have to be toed in. What that means is that the front of the brake pad has to touch the rim before the back of the brake pad. It does not have to be an extreme variance but it will make a world of difference when properly adjusted.

Hopefully you have aluminum rims. I have had the misfortune of working on some bikes with steel rims from which I could not remove the squealing.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Take a look at the adjustment of your pads. Sheldon Brown has a great article on how to do this.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The major cause of squealing is oil on your rotors/pads. Could be just from touching or leaking braking fluid.

Use rubbing alcohol on pads (after sanding) and on rotors. That's how I fixed mine a year ago and never heard a squeal again.

share|improve this answer
    
Kool-stop pads are rim brakes. Don't think the disc fixes will work too well. –  Jack M. Aug 26 '10 at 0:41
    
why do you say oil is the major cause? almost all breaks that squeal can be fixed by toeing in except in the less common cases when sanding is required (this may be partly related to oily crud) or the brake/rim combo is bad. –  David Nov 30 '10 at 13:16
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.