How to Fix Your Squeaky Bike Brakes

Last week, we discussed the four common culprits of squeaky bike brakes – brake rub, gunk, glaze, and extreme elements.

mountain bike rentals available at Colorado Backcountry BikerWell, this week, we’ll be diving into how to fix your squeaky bike brakes. So, let’s get started.

Brake Rub – first, you want to make sure that everything is aligned correctly. It is difficult for your axel to be installed incorrectly, but weird things can happen. So, make sure all the parts are lined up. Once you know everything is in the correct spot, check the caliper alignment. Look to see that the caliper bolts are tightened equally and evenly. Now, spin your wheel and listen for that rubbing sound. If you’re still hearing the sound, your brake rotor could be the culprit. Look down through the spinning wheel and watch the rotor spin. If it is bent, you will be able to visually see it. Bending it back into place is easier with a rotor truing fork, patience, and a light hand. If you are gentle, a crescent wrench can be used in a pinch. You may not be able to get it perfect but at least improve it so it stops rubbing.

Gunk – if you think any grease or lube has gotten on your brakes, you need to clean it off immediately! Use a clean rag and isopropyl alcohol to clean the brake rotors. If you notice there is gunk on the brake pads, you can remove them and use fine-grained sandpaper to remove the layer of grease/oil. Always clean afterward with isopropyl alcohol. If the gunk is thick or a lot of oil was spilled on the brake pads, it is best to just replace them. we've got all the bike tools needed to fix your ride.

Glaze – as a reminder, this happens when your brake pads heat up quickly and leave a glaze over the brake pads. When you get new brake pads, you want to break them in slowly by riding around your neighborhood and lightly applying the brakes. Remember, it does no good to feather the brakes when breaking them in. If you’ve already got a glaze on your brake pads, you can lightly sand them with fine-grained sandpaper. Or you can replace them. Always clean with isopropyl alcohol.

Extreme Elements – if you get water on your brakes, the problem will solve itself, they just need time to dry out. If your brakes get too hot (usually from a long period of intense braking) you might need to replace your rotor. If the roto is discolored, you know you need to replace it. If you have this problem occasionally, you should look into getting a larger rotor. This will increase your braking power, and help you brake more efficiently. 

If you’re not ready to tackle this or any of the other fixes listed above, you can always bring your bike into our expert mechanics! We’re here to help make your bike run smoothly so you can get the most enjoyment out of every ride – just give us a call or stop into the shop

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