What’s that squeaking sound coming from my car?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader whose Buick keeps making a strange noise.

The Buick logo on a 2019 Regal GS AWD automobile on display at the 2019 Pittsburgh International Auto Show in Pittsburgh.
The Buick logo on a 2019 Regal GS AWD automobile on display at the 2019 Pittsburgh International Auto Show in Pittsburgh. –AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

 Q. My Buick makes a terrible squeaking noise when I drive it slowly, but it goes away when I use the brakes. I don’t hear the noise while on the highway. I heard the noise more when it was cold than I do now that the temperatures have warmed up. What do you think the problem could be?

A. More than likely it’s just time for new brakes. Nearly every disc brake pad has a metal tab that rubs on the brake rotors and makes a loud, obnoxious noise. In some applications, as you apply the brakes, the brake pad deflects just enough to cause the metal tab to lose contact with the brake rotor, and the noise dissipates. My advice is to replace the brakes now before the brakes begin to grind and become more costly to repair. As a side note, anytime you hear a brake noise, have the vehicle inspected as soon as possible. Your safety — and the safety of others — depends on your car having good brakes.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.