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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

With this cold weather I have noticed something new that my car has started to do which it hasn't been doing in the warmer months. Not sure if something other than the weather has set it off but that's all I can think it is.

My car will creak when starting to move in reverse gear. It sounds very similar to the rear drum brakes however I know what they sound like and I don't believe it's the drums.

This creaking happens when my foot and hand brakes have been taken off well before I start reversing.

It almost sounds as if it is coming directly from under the car as well.

If any of you know what this is or know how to fix, please let me know.

Cheers!
 

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Hi there,

Starting with the (not entirely) facetious answer: Are you sure no birds/squirrels/cats/etc. have gone looking for warmth under your car as the temperatures have fallen?

Is it only creaking in reverse gear? Or only creaking when the car has been sitting for a while (and reverse is the first gear engaged when you start moving)? Is someone available to drive the car in reverse for you while you stand outside and try to locate the noise? Given your observation of it coming from directly under the car, your front disc brakes are very close to you in the driver's seat and are probably the source of the squeak. Stationary disc rotors will form a thin layer of rust on them, especially in damp conditions (UK winters!), which is worn off when the wheels next move. The squeak comes from the rust particles getting stuck in the brake pads and then rubbing against the rotor. I have also known disc calipers to squeak when they aren't quite releasing properly, which can happen when the brake fluid traps air bubbles in the system (more likely in colder weather - I think south Wales had snow recently?). It's possible the rear drums are also sticking slightly after removing the handbrake (which is their primary purpose), but sounds like you've already thought of that one. If the squeaking continues as you drive, it's time to check the brake pad thicknesses - when the mounting plate of the pads starts rubbing on the rotors, you will squeak (and eventually cause irreperable damage to the rotors).

There's some very useful info on this website: https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/4-Common-Brake-Squeaks

Look forward to hearing how you get on!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Are you sure no birds/squirrels/cats/etc. have gone looking for warmth under your car as the temperatures have fallen?
Not sure how likely that is, however the car's been busy and only been still in the night recently, so I'm not sure what can be up there to cause the noise. Will check though!

Is it only creaking in reverse gear? Or only creaking when the car has been sitting for a while (and reverse is the first gear engaged when you start moving)?
I've just managed to take a quick video, the microphone is not as good as I expected but you can just about hear the creak when I reverse, and then you can hear the lack of this creak when I move forwards.

video
 

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Hi there,
Many thanks for the video. Since the squeaking is hard to hear, I've shown the video to a couple other people in a bid to get some consensus, and failed - we're all hearing slightly different things. On the plus side, it probably means that the problem is relatively minor, but it's worth checking a few things to be sure, and ensure it doesn't turn into something more major.
The most likely area to start squeaking in the winter is your front disc brakes. Reasons include:
  • rusting of the rotor, as mentioned before
  • brake pads remaining slightly in contact with the rotors when you park, and sticking when you next move
  • brake pads being slightly angled against the rotor due to lack of lubrication in their mounting grooves.
Depending on your available time and enthusiasm, here are some possible investigations and remedies:
  • if you can find a car wash that uses wands instead of the big brushes, aim the wand through the wheel at the brake calipers and wash away whatever brake dust, road muck, decaying leaves, etc. are stuck on the rotor and brake pads, making it harder for them to fuse together.
  • if you are willing to take the front wheels off, have a look at the surface of the rotors - can you see a ridge forming at the edges? If so, your rotors are worn and need to be changed (along with the pads).
  • also with the wheels off, are the pad contact surfaces parallel to the rotor, or slightly angled? If you can see a tilt, you can apply a screwdriver to the locating tabs of the pads, but I'll save that description for another post if you find it is necessary. If they are angled, you will probably need to apply lubricating grease to the locating grooves as well to let you adjust the pads.
  • any moving parts can find it harder to move (and release) as it gets colder; check with a local mechanic about what lubrication is appropriate for the calipers, and ensure you don't get anything on the brake pad or rotor contact surfaces.
Hope this helps!
 
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