How to Fix Squeaky Bike Brakes

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An idyllic bike ride can quickly be ruined by squeaky bike brakes. Here’s a checklist of common squeaky brake culprits and how to fix them.

Step 1: Clean the pads
Clean the brake pads and rims with a clean rag dampened with an oil-free cleaner, such as rubbing alcohol, to remove debris. You may need to remove the wheel for access.

Bike brakes may be cantilever, side-pull, or disk. Determine which type of brakes you have to learn how to best maintain them.

Step 2: Check alignment
Check the alignment of your brake pads. The brake pads should make contact only with the rim, not the tire, and the pads should not be able to slip under the rim.

Step 3: Adjust the brakes
Adjust the brakes with a toe-in. Loosen the pads with an Allen or socket wrench and use a piece of cardboard to create a half-millimeter gap at the back of the pad. This angles the front of the brake pad to ensure that it hits the rim first.

Bike brake pads may be cartridge pads that easily slip out, or bolt-on pads that require loosening a bolt, spacers, and washers.

Step 4: Remove the old pads
Consider replacing the pads if nothing seems to eliminate the squeaking. Buy the appropriate cantilever, pull, or disk brake pad.

Step 5: Install new brake pads
Remove the bolt or pin holding the old pad in place and install the new pads. Align the new pads with the rim with a toe-in.

Did You Know?
The first two-wheeled, working bicycle was developed by a German inventor in 1817.


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Category: General

25 Responses to “How to Fix Squeaky Bike Brakes”

  1. You failed to mention that cleaning the rims are an important step as well.


  3. Thank you

  4. Duh, yes i knew that. And so did Sherlock Holmes.


  6. If all fails (especially on Huffy's) go to KMart and grab yourself a pair of Schwinn "brake pads" like I did……my brakes never squealed again! both front and back pairs will run you $12 at most with tax……install it yourself since all you'll need are Allen Wrenches (not metric)……happy trails!

  7. Wow OK This helps a lot too! 🙂
    Youtube is full of helpful ppl ..a lot of angry, helpful ppl..
    Thnx guys!

  8. …Im not

  9. Maybe he's thining of the 12 yr old who's reading this shit!

  10. thnx 4 the info dude, i'll try tht.
    If it works ur comment will b worth more than this whole video!

  11. Doesn't change that he was being a faggot. 

  12. Ignore him, he's just a 12 year old who thinks he has to censor himself on YouTube. what kind of little shit does someone have to be to actually CENSOR THEMSELVES? 

  13. Schmucks. The cardboard is there simply to assist you in properly toeing in the brake pad. Once in the correct position, tighten down the 5mm nut to secure that position and remove the cardboard. I use a matchbook, works like a champ. Wanna nay say? Fine. Go get yourselves some WD40, spray down your rims liberally and then go take a ride down a steep hill. Snoogins.

  14. my Brakes are grabby when I go Downhill,I got new Brakes. (Kool Stop brakes ) Help??payed 40 dollars for 2 sets

  15. Please understand that the cardboard(or anything else) is just used as a temporary spacer until you secure the adjustment(correct toe-in) and is not meant to be there permanently.

  16. Im not gona put a freaken piece of cardboard o my brakes! Im not homeless you know.

  17. I am out of cardboard what about blotting paper?

  18. voted down for 30 sec advertisement. sorry.

  19. @mastermagicianzack Are you actually retarded.
    I so hope no novice rider read that and thought, hmm ill try it.

    You basically need the front part of the pad to hit the rim just before the back bit by a couple of mm. Cardboard was suggested in this vid but a bit of plastic would work best, or you could try bending it.


  20. i have the exact freaking bike

  21. @DrMacnCheese or just dont fucking censor

  22. @scripttester Thanks Dude! It works!

  23. @DrMacnCheese oh, youre right. now i see it too. my fail. ;D

  24. @pongman If you dont have Mozilla firefox then get it (just google it) then while using Firefox google AdBlock Plus…..You wont have ads anywhere

  25. How to can you show us how to block the commercials that start up when we click on your videos?