How to stop rim brakes from squeaking - London Bike Show
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How to stop rim brakes from squeaking

Rim brakes are a type of bicycle brake system that uses pads to contact the inner surface of the wheel rim in order to slow or stop the bike. These brakes can be prone to squeaking, particularly if they have not been properly maintained or if there is debris on the rim surface that is causing friction.

Stopping your bike’s rim brakes from squeaking is a simple process that can be completed in just a few minutes.  Below are five steps to achieve it.

  1. Check The Brake Pads For Wear And Tear

Checking the brake pads for wear and tear is an important step in keeping your bike running smoothly. If the pads are worn out, they can cause a lot of noise as you ride, which can be very annoying. Additionally, worn-out pads can also compromise your braking ability.

There are a few things that you can look for when checking the brake pads for wear and tear. First, you should pay attention to any signs of surface damage or cracks on the pad. Additionally, check the spring mechanism and make sure that it is still in good working order.

If your brake pads are worn out, they will need to be replaced as soon as possible. You can buy replacement brake pads online or at your local bike shop. To install the new pads, you will need to remove the old ones first. Depending on your bike model and style of brakes, this may be a relatively simple process or more involved.

If you notice that your brake pads are worn out, take action right away to replace them. This simple maintenance step will help ensure that you can always brake safely and easily on your bike. And with your brakes working properly, you won’t have to deal with the annoyance of squeaky or otherwise noisy brakes!

  1. Clean The Brake Pads And Rim With A Wet Rag

If your bike’s brakes are screeching and squealing noisily every time you apply them, the first thing you should do is clean the brake pads and rim with a wet rag. This will help eliminate any dirt or debris that may be causing the noise.

Begin by applying some water to a softer, damp rag. Then, use the rag to gently clean the brake pads and rim. Be sure to scrub all around the edges of the pad and between the spokes on the wheel. You should also give special attention to any grooves or cracks in the metal surface of your rims.

If you notice that there is any dirt or debris, clean cloth or paper towel, then use it to wipe down the brake pads and rim. Be sure to rub gently in a circular motion so that you don’t damage the surface of your bike’s parts.

If you clean your brakes regularly, they should be less likely to make noise as they wear down over time. If the squeaking doesn’t subside after cleaning, however, you may need to bring your bike into a local bike shop for servicing.

Keep your brakes in good working order by cleaning them regularly and taking care of any other issues that may arise. With regular maintenance and care, your bike will be safer and more enjoyable to ride.​

  1. Apply A Light Coating Of Grease To The Brake Pads

Applying a light coating of grease to your brake pads can help stop them from squeaking.

Brake pads often develop small amounts of friction and heat as they come into contact with the rim of your bike’s wheels. This friction and heat can cause the pad material to become dry, which in turn can lead to annoying squealing noises coming from your brakes.

Fortunately, this squeaking can easily be stopped by applying a light coating of grease to the surface of your brake pads. Make sure that you choose an appropriate type of grease – some greases may damage or otherwise take away the effectiveness of your bike’s braking system, so it’s important to do a bit of research before selecting a grease to use.

Once you’ve selected a suitable “slippery” lubricant, be sure to apply it to the surfaces of your brake pads that come into contact with the rim of your wheels. You may want to take your bike for a quick test ride after applying this grease so that you can make sure that there are no issues with the braking performance of your bike.

Wipe away any excess lubricant and store any leftover grease in an airtight container. Some bike mechanics recommend reapplying this grease to your brake pads every few months, however, doing so is not always necessary if you’re careful not to let the surface of your pads become too dry again.

If all else fails, it may be time to consider replacing your brake pads entirely. While this isn’t always necessary, it does help to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your bike and its braking system. When shopping for new brake pads, be sure to take note of their material type (ceramic vs. organic, for example), their thickness, and any other specifications outlined by the manufacturer. Many retailers also offer online tools and guides to help you select the right brake pads for your bike and riding style.

So if your brake pads are squeaking, start by applying a light coating of grease on their surface. This should prevent them from becoming dry, which can lead to annoying squealing noises every time you hit the brakes.

  1. Tighten The Screws On The Brake Pad Holders

If your rim brakes are squeaking and making it difficult to ride smoothly, there may be an issue with the brake pads or the brake pad holders. In order to fix this problem, you’ll need to tighten up the screws on the brake pad holders. This will help secure the brake pads in place so that they don’t move around when you apply pressure to the brakes.


To tighten up your rim brake’s screws, start by placing the bike on a stand or in an area where you can easily access all four wheels. Use a wrench to loosen the bolts that hold the brake pad holders onto each wheel. You may need to give these bolts a few good turns in order to loosen them up.

Once the bolts are loose, use your fingers or a flathead screwdriver to gently push the brake pad holders away from the rim. Be careful not to force them too far away, as this can damage the brake pads and jeopardize your safety when riding. Once you have moved the pad holders enough so that you can access the screws, use your wrench to tighten them up. Again, you’ll want to give these screws a few turns in order to ensure that they are securely fastened.

When you’re finished tightening the brake pad holders on all four wheels, take a test ride and see if your brakes still squeak. If so, you may need to adjust your brake pads so that they are closer or further away from the rim. This can be done by gently bending the pad holders in one direction or another until you achieve the desired results.

  1. Spin The Wheel To Make Sure It’s Moving Freely

After completing all the steps above, it’s important to check that your bike is working properly. One way to do this is by spinning the wheel and making sure it moves freely without any squeaking or other noises. Rim brakes can also sometimes make noises as they rub against the rim of the wheel, so you should also make sure these are functioning properly. If you’re not sure, you can take your bike to a local bike shop for an inspection or maintenance.


If your rim brakes are squeaking and making it difficult to ride smoothly, there may be several issues at play. One potential cause is that the pads are not aligned properly with the rim or have become dry or worn down.

You can try applying a layer of lubricant to these pads or tightening the screws on the brake pad holders to see if this helps reduce the noise. If these steps do not work, you may need to consider replacing your brake pads entirely or taking your bike in for an inspection at a local bike shop.

Overall, keeping your brakes properly maintained and aligned is key to enjoying a smooth, safe ride every time you hop on your bike.