Are you experiencing some strange sounds while you are driving your car? More precisely the car making squeaking noise when driving slow? This is not good news for you and your car. Any sound that your car makes needs to be checked and fixed accordingly. But the most important thing to do is to identify where the sound is coming from. And we are going to cover all that in this article.
If you are a car owner, you probably got used to your car making sounds or changing its driving characteristics. All these problems rise up because there is something wrong with some of the components inside of your vehicle.
The important thing is that when you hear some noises that your car makes, you need to act quickly and not wait for a long time. This will make you sure that the problem would not affect your car and yourself. That’s because some problems can be pretty dangerous for your health as well. Just like this problem when a car making squeaking noise when driving slow. This squeaking sound is a clear indication that something with your suspension is messed up and needs replacing. But what could that be?
In this article, we are going to learn more about the problem of the car making squeaking noise when driving slow. We will learn what this problem is, and then we will learn the possible reasons why this sound appears. Also, how you can troubleshoot the issue. Then, we are going to cover all of the costs that are involved in fixing this problem for all of the possibilities. So, let’s dive into the article.
What Is My Car Making Squeaking Noise When Driving Slow?
A squeaking sound is an audible information that you get from your car when something is wrong inside some of your components. This audible sound must not be ignored and you need to find out where the sound is coming from in the first place.
That’s why you have to learn how to troubleshoot. Troubleshooting will make you a car expert. Troubleshooting is a science by itself and you need to perfect this science to uncover all of the issues with your car by yourself.
In the long run, this is going to save you thousands of dollars. For example, with this sound. A mechanic may say the control arm is making this sound. You will replace the control arm and you will still experience this sound. This is called misdiagnosing, and this is a characteristic of incompetent mechanics.
That’s why you have to learn about your car and all the ins and outs of it, and you need to track its health. So, when you notice your car making squeaking noise when driving slow, you know where to look. Knowing where to look is important and will help you tremendously.
For this problem, you need to keep your ears open and try to hear from which side the sound is coming. Then, you need to perform a visual inspection of your car. It is also useful to jack up the car in the air and inspect the components. Give them a little wiggle and see what is loose and needs tightening up. After that, see if there is something that creates friction and so on.
But you shouldn’t worry. Because we are going to give you all the possible reasons why car making squeaking noise when driving slow occurs in the following chapters.
Possible Reasons Why Car Making Squeaking Noise When Driving Slow?
There can be multiple reasons why you started hearing this sound while you are driving your car and, in this chapter, we are going to discuss all of the possibilities and see what are the possible solutions for each of them. In the end, we are going to discuss the prices. This is for you to have a better idea of what you can expect to pay when replacing or repairing some of these components, and why your car making squeaking noise when driving slow in the first place. So, let’s discuss.
Bad Wheel Bearings
The wheel bearings are one of the first things that you need to take a look at before you do anything. These bearings basically allow your wheel to roll freely and without any play and hesitation.
These bearings in essence are steel balls that are installed in a housing. And they allow the housing to keep rolling freely. Inside of the bearing, there is a decent amount of grease. Grease is essential for your bearings to survive the harsh conditions while driving. If there is no grease, the steel balls will start to friction and cause your car to make squeaking noises when driving slow to happen and ruin your day.
There are two bearings on every wheel. Inner and outer bearings. If the wheel produces sound when it’s rolling, then the most probable culprit for this is the bearings. These bearings are not expensive, and you can often find a set for around $100 or less.
How can I tell if my bearings are the culprit? To find out if the bearings are making the noise, you need to listen very closely. Let someone drive your car at low speed and listen from where the sound comes. This will tell you which of the bearings is affected by the problem.
The next thing to do is to jack the car in the air. This is necessary to diagnose bad wheel bearings. Jack up the car and give the wheel a little wiggle. If there is play and the wheel moves when you apply pressure from each side, then you know that your bearings need replacement.
Also, driving with bad bearings like this is dangerous for you and your occupants. Make sure that you replace these components as soon as possible.
Worn Or Warped Rotors
Brake rotors can also cause the car making squeaking noise when driving slow to appear. This is the case because brake rotors wear down and this wear is affecting their performance on the road.
For example, a good brake rotor has a good and smooth surface. But as the rotor starts to wear, fine lines on the rotor are starting to appear. These lines are a clear sign that the rotor needs replacing. No matter if you change the pads, the rotor would still be the same, and changing the pads would not fix it.
This will alter the car making squeaking noise when driving slow, and make it unbearable. Also, on the edges of the rotor, there is an edge that will make braking almost impossible. That’s because the pad would not cover the rotor. So, if your rotors are having lines on them and there is an outer edge on the rotor, you know that they need replacing.
Another problem besides worn rotors is warped rotors. Rotors can warp and cause many issues for car owners, as well as your car making squeaking noise when driving slow to appear. If this happens, then you know that your rotors need changing.
The reason why they warp is driving through water and breaking hard. When you brake hard, the rotors heat up immensely. Then, you drive the car into a puddle and cold water is splashing the rotor. This cold water is going to cause the warping of the rotor. That’s since the hot metal would not like those cold-water splashes.
Replacing your rotors would be the only solution to your problems. New rotors can be pricey and you will have to pay between $300 to $600 to replace them with new OEM rotors.
Bad calipers can also cause the problem of car making squeaking noise when driving slow. This is the case because the brake calipers are working with the help of the master cylinder.
When you press the brake pedal (if you want to learn more, check out our explainer on which one is the brake), a vacuum is created in the master cylinder. And this vacuum moves the pistons in and out in the calipers. It is important not to confuse these pistons with engine pistons, they are not the same. The pistons on the calipers are small cylindrical components that move in and out when you press the gas pedal.
Over time and many miles later, these pistons can get stuck. This can cause them to stay open or stay close. If they are open, they will start the car making squeaking noise when driving slow problem to start to appear. This sound can be irritating, and will also hit you in the pocket. Because the piston is open it will cause the pad and rotor to wear down prematurely since they will friction all the time.
There are two ways that you can solve this problem. One of them is rebuilding the caliper. There are plenty of rebuild kits out there, and an experienced mechanic or even yourself can try to rebuild your caliper. Or, get a completely new caliper. The second option is the best since everything would be done by the factory and this is a much better option than doing it by yourself. The caliper is going to last much longer than some rebuild kit.
The important thing is to replace the caliper or rebuild the caliper and stop this annoyance. Driving in comfort is the most important thing in my opinion. Also, not forget about the safety aspect, your car will be much safer with new brakes.
Bad Brake Pads
One of the most common components that wear and cause the car making squeaking noise when driving slow are the brake pads. The brake pads are a crucial component that makes your car stop.
These pads are made out of special materials that help with your car’s braking. Different pads produce different noises. Quality pads should not produce any noise. That’s why if you replaced your pads recently and car making squeaking noise when driving slow happens, then you know that you have a problem. These bad quality pads squeak and they also worsen your braking distance. The bad braking distance can also put you in some unwanted situations on the road and involve you in an accident.
Also, worn brake pads are causing the car to squeak as well. These pads have no material left on them. This means that the plate is rubbing with the rotor. This can even be dangerous since the metal is rubbing with metal. In this case, you will have to replace the rotors as well.
And this job can be pretty expensive, and you will end up paying more than $600 for both sides. If you want to avoid these costly repairs, the best solution is to replace your pads regularly.
Personally, I used to always forget to replace my pads. And these bad pads always damaged my rotors. I replaced a few sets of rotors and I learned my lesson. That is why you should change the pads when you see that there is no material on the pads.
This will also improve your safety as well. Since the car would brake better and you will not have any issues stopping. And you will not listen to how the car making squeaking noise when driving slow.
Loose Engine Belt
A loose accessory belt can also make your car squeak when driving slow. A loose belt noise often happens when you are driving below 20 mph or when you started the car and you try to accelerate.
This sound is caused by untightened pulley or a bad tensioner pulley. Crankshaft pulleys can start to wobble and lose their rotating ability after many miles and they can make the belt start to squeak.
The only solution for this problem is replacing the pulley and replacing the belt with a new belt. After you perform this work, the belt should not squeak again.
Another problem is the tensioner. These tensioner pulleys are smaller and they apply pressure on the belt. Since the pressure on the belt is mandatory, if there is no pressure, it’s going to jump and you will be left without power to your system.
These pulleys can be tightened with a simple ratchet. Or if they are bad, they would need to be replaced with new ones. Fortunately, they do not cost a lot of money and you can get them for less than $30. But the labor can be costly and you may end up paying $100 or more to get this work done on your car.
Doing this work on your car will guarantee that you will not get be left without your accessories and your car would work fine. This belt is controlling the alternator, air conditioning, and water pump. Basically, everything that your car needs to keep working.
So, if your car making squeaking noise when driving slow try to access the problem and avoid other possible problems.
Timing Chain And Tensioner Noise
Timing chains can also cause the car make squeaking noise when driving slow problems to appear. So, why is this happening? This happens because the tensioner that is inside of your engine and makes sure that your chain is held tight breaks.
When the tensioner breaks, the chain gets loose. This can be extremely dangerous for your engine. If you noise squeaking or rattling coming from the engine, then you know that the chain is messed up.
In the worst-case scenario, the chain could jump from its position and the valves will get bent. Bent valves will scrap your engine, and make the engine be beyond repair. Since the repairs would be extremely expensive, sometimes it’s better to get a good used engine.
Replacing the chain will also cost you more than $1,000 to do. This is the case because the engine has to come out from the engine bay, and this work requires a lot of man-hours. This is another problem that torments a lot of owners of chain-driven cars.
But the good thing when driving a chain is that it could never break like timing belts can break. Sometimes, the chain can jump, but this doesn’t happen on every engine since most of the engines have protection to prevent this from happening.
Although this sound is more like a rattle than a squeak, some people get confused and I thought is good to list this problem as well. Since you never know what could go wrong. These sounds with the chain also happen when the car is driving slow.
Is It Safe To Drive Like This?
You can drive like this but is not recommended to do so. I’m saying this because you never know what could be the real problem. It could be something important that will make your vehicle not stop, for example. The rotors can be warped or just worn out.
If your rotors are worn to the point that there are even holes in them, then this is not good and you are risking your life as well the lives of other people. Imagine that a pedestrian crosses your way and you apply the brakes but the car doesn’t want to brake.
This situation can end up with tragic consequences. On the other hand, if your brakes are working properly, you would be able to stop and avoid hitting the pedestrian.
This is why squeaks and rattles should be taken care of in a speedy manner. You don’t want to drive like this for long and put other people’s lives in danger as well as your life. That’s why when a car making squeaking noise, take the car to a mechanic and sort these problems out.
Cost To Fix These Problems
The cost to fix the problem depends much on which problem you have because as we learned the squeaking sound that your car makes could be caused by many different components. Every component has a different market value and also a different labor price. So, prices may vary.
For example, if you only need to replace the pads you can expect to pay up to $50 for the pads alone. But to install them, you will also have to pay around $150. This is because the labor is expensive and we will see in the next examples how it can be even pricier.
Brake Repairs Will Be Very Expensive
Another example is the rotors. Rotors wear and get warped; this means that they also need to be replaced. And when you replace the rotors, you also do the pads. A single rotor is around $150 and two rotors can cost $300, plus $50 for the pads and the labor will be between $300 to $500. In total, you can expect to pay around $700 to $900 for this. Or if you do it by yourself, you will only pay for the parts only.
Or, if the accessory belt is squeaking it will set you back around $150 for the belt alone. Also, the parts can cost a lot, depending on which pulley needs to be replaced to solve the issue. These are not expensive and can cost up to $50 each. Thus, the crankshaft pulley can be a bit pricier. The labor for this work is going to cost you between $300 to $400 to do the belt and pulleys.
If the timing chain is producing these noises, then things are pretty serious. Because you will have to replace the timing chain and the tensioners. All this work can cost between $1,000 to $1,500. The price is so high because there is a lot of work involved in this process and it requires a lot of experience as well.
Conclusion – Car Making Squeaking Noise When Driving Slow
In this article, we covered a lot when it comes to car making squeaking noise when driving slow. We learned why these sounds happen in the first place.
Then, we learned how to track and diagnose a problem by yourself. You need to train your ears to get the diagnosing done right.
And then, we have covered all of the possibilities when it comes to this. The most common things that wear and cause this sound are the rotors, calipers, and pads. Other components that can squeak are the belts and pulleys as well. So, a car squealing noise while driving is something that you should never ignore, and if you can, have it checked immediately to avoid any headaches in the future.
Car Making Squeaking Noise When Driving Slow Essential Knowledge
- Squealing brakes at low speed can be a safety issue and should be taken seriously.
- The high-frequency vibration caused by the rubbing of the brake pads against the rotating disc is the reason behind the squealing noise.
- Road conditions, weather conditions, and the condition of the brake pad material can affect the frequency and intensity of the vibration.
- Bad road conditions such as muddy or dusty roads can create more noise.
- Squealing brakes could also be caused by a stone stuck in the brakes, which can be removed with a pressure wash or checking the brake rotor and pads.
- Sometimes, the materials used in the brake parts could be the reason for the noise.
- The problem could arise after the installation of new brakes if old glazed rotors are not replaced or cleaned.
- Securing the pads more tightly onto the caliper will only make the noise louder.
- Changing the brake pads and rotor is a good solution if the materials of these parts are worn out.
- Pad shims can be changed and high-temperature grease can be applied between the caliper and pads to isolate the vibration and decrease the noise.
I’ve had this problem with my car too! It seems to happen when I’m driving slowly and the car is making a squeaking noise. I’m not sure what the cause is, but I’m going to try to fix it!