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I recently had my brake pads on the front replaced. . . around Christmas. . .since then they've been squeaking like crazy. I took the car back twice. The first time they replaced the drums. . .said that missed that when they Fixed all the brake problems the first time. The second time they said it would simply work itself out. Last week I took it to another car repair place. He said, that my Dodge Caravan recommends ceramic brake pads and that they didn't put on ceramic brake pads and that's why they squeak and will continue to squeak. If I go back to the original repair place, are they required to put replace with ceramic brake pads?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Hi Deb, Squeaking brakes are soooo annoying. Modern semi-metallic brake pads are no longer made of asbestos (thanks to the EPA), but of tiny metal shavings and other materials compressed tightly together. These have excellent stopping power and long wear life, but, unfortunately, they often make noise because of the metal fibers contained in them. Cheaper pads are made of softer material and are sometimes quieter than premium quality pads, but do not wear as well. Picture an Oreo cookie. The white filling is your brake rotor, and the cookies are your brake pads. The rotor is made from a metal that has a smooth, slick finish to it, and the pads made up of the tiny metal shavings also have a smooth, slick finish. If you rub, metal on metal, even if it’s nearly microscopic metal fibers, you can imagine how you’re going to hear some squealing. In such cases, it’s not a major problem and not worth worrying about as a driver. Ceramic pads represent the latest in aftermarket brake pad design. They offer excellent performance and superior service life while minimizing brake dust and noise. If your vehicle requires semi-metallic brake pads, you can often upgrade to ceramic materials, but it will cost you more money. “If I go back to the original repair place, are they required to put replace with ceramic brake pads?” you ask. No they are not required to replace the pads with ceramic ones. But, you could tell the shop that you are not happy about the squeaking noise your brakes are making. Tell them you are not happy that they did not give you an option of putting on a more expensive ceramic pad. Ask them to replace the metal pads with ceramic ones and not charge you labor. You will pay the difference of the pads they originally put in and the ceramic ones which will cost more. That would be fair. Best of Luck! Amy Mattinat

Gayle Clark, Owner at Motor City Sales & Services Hi Deb, Without a doubt - I think the original repair center should correct this. I do not understand why the mechanic did not simply re-order the same type of brake pads they removed. Gayle Clark

Jenny Trostel, Partner at Anderson of Hunt Valley The original repair place used brake pads that were less expensive to save you some money. Sometimes those discounts can cost you in the long run, in time and money. You could go back to the first repair facility and ask for the proper pads to be put on, but they might not have them in stock and they might cost you more money. Go to a repair facility that has experience in working on Dodge Caravan's and have the work done there. I am not sure that I would trust the first repair facility. Good Luck!

Patty Streeter,  at AskPatty.com Deb, Check out our answers!

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