New Brake Pads Rubbing on Rotor

Have your new brakes been squeaky after you’ve got new pads recently? Don’t worry, as all it takes are a few simple steps that you can do at home to reduce brake pads rubbing on the rotor.

Follow along as I’ll give you some tips and tricks on how to fix your bike’s brake system without running into bigger issues.

Most importantly, I’ll help you spot a catastrophe from a mile away to seek professional assistance before your issue gets out of hand!

Front wheel Brake system with rotor

Understanding How Your Bike’s Brake System Works

Touring and off-road bikes come with disc brakes. Such a brake system uses a caliper to press a metal disc, known as a rotor, against the bike’s wheel to bring it to a stop. This system should only kick into action when you squeeze the brake lever.

However, if your brake pads are rubbing on the rotor all the time, you’ll get a squeaky noise and uneven performance from your bike. Now that we covered what causes the issue, let’s get you ready for your DIY mission to fix your bike’s brakes.

How to fix the problem of brake pads rubbing on the rotor

Step One: Get Your Tools Ready

You’ll need a 10mm ring spanner and preferably a Park Piston Press. A pair of pliers, Allen keys, and an adjustable wrench will all come in handy while checking your disc brakes.

Step Two: Reset the Calipers

Next up, use the Park Piston Press to remove the brake pads without damaging their friction surface. Once done, you’ll get access to the brake caliper pistons underneath. Use the 10mm spanner to reset the pistons.

You’ll know you’re onto something as long as your pistons remain flat once they’re pushed down. If your pistons revert to their original position, your brake system is housing extra brake fluid.

To even things out, open the bleeding plug on the brake lever while adjusting the pistons. This time, the caliper pistons should remain flat, giving you a heads-up that you’re on the right track.

Now that the pistons are all reset, reinstall the plug first, then move on to loosen the caliper bolts using your trusty Allen key.

Step Three: Reinstall Brake Pads.

The trick here lies in adjusting the distance between the brake pads on each side and their corresponding rotor face.

You need to ensure the gap is even on both sides. This is easier said than done, especially when dealing with a bent rotor.

However, if everything goes smoothly, it’s time to tighten your caliper’s mounting bolts, and you’re all set!

Step Four: Double Check Your Brake System.

Take a moment to marvel at your DIY skills. You deserve it! Now let’s check that everything is working as expected. 

Pump the brake lever a couple of times, then recheck the alignment of the brake pads and the caliper. If the system tends to slip to one side, loosen the caliper bolts, realign, fasten them again and repeat. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal for new pads and rotors to rub?

It is normal for new pads and rotors to rub against each other when installed. This rubbing will cause a squealing sound, often referred to as a “pad squeal.” The reason for this is that the new parts have not yet been broken in, and the coating on the brake pad has not been

Why do my brakes sound like metal rubbing?

This usually indicates a problem with the brake pads or calipers. It may indicate that the brake pads are worn down and need to be replaced or that the calipers are loose or misaligned. It could also be that there is some foreign object between brake pads and rotor. Brakes might just need some cleaning.

Bottom Line

Fixing noisy brake pads is an easy task, provided you have the right tools and know exactly what to look for. I am confident my step-by-step guide will be a great aid in your DIY quest. Any questions, please let me know.