I own a Nissan ZX For the past six months...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1996

Dear Tom and Ray:

I own a 1986 Nissan 300ZX. For the past six months, the brakes have been
squealing when applied at slow speeds. And while backing up, there is a
popping sound. I have had the brakes checked twice over the past six
months, and each time the technician tells me I don't need brake pads, that
the ones on the car are Wagner brake pads, and are heavy duty, and that's
what causes the noise. Do you agree? I'm tired of sounding like a bus every
time I stop. -- Judy

TOM: I agree that those Wagner pads are what's causing the noise. We've
found that "aftermarket" (i.e., not made by Nissan in this case) brake pads
are more likely to be noisy.

RAY: Why? Because they don't fit as well. And while pads purchased from the
dealership come with shims and clips to make them fit just like the
original equipment pads they're replacing, the aftermarket pads don't. And
a tiny bit of movement by pads that don't quite fit is enough to make your
car squeal like a downtown bus!

TOM: Surprisingly, the original-equipment brake pads don't cost much, if
any, more than these lesser-quality substitutes.

RAY: So here's what I'd do, Judy. First, I'd ask the mechanic to see if
Wagner has an anti-squeal kit. That's a generic kit that has shims and
clips and stuff to try to make the pads fit better and stop squealing.

TOM: The other option is a paste that goes on the back of the pads called
"Disc Brake Quiet," that serves a similar purpose.

RAY: If neither of those approaches quiet the brakes to your satisfaction,
go back to your mechanic and ask him to put in a set of Nissan brake pads
for you.

TOM: And then those commuters with their briefcases and umbrellas should
stop lining up at your passenger door every time you stop at a red light in
the morning. Good luck, Judy.

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