Earlier this evening, I locked up my car's brakes reacting to a wrong-way bicyclist. My tires generated a respectable cloud of smoke, but to my disappointment, the sound they produced was a dull scraping noise. I'd like something more dramatic: more of a "howl" or "screech".

I'm driving a 2004 Honda Civic; the tires have about half their tread life left. I was braking from 30 MPH on dry asphalt.


Tyres screech when they skid on a dry road surface. Your car will have ABS and probably some stability control too, which stop tyres from skidding by modulating the braking force around the tyres that have the most grip or by reducing the braking force just enough to prevent a skid.

Unfortunately it means you don't get the screeching sound of 70's police shows but it does mean you kill fewer cyclists.

  • 4
    + for killing fewer cyclists – Mauro Nov 12 '15 at 9:11
  • The OP said, he locked his tyres which probably means he does not have ABS, nevertheless, i consider this question pointless. – Shobin P Nov 12 '15 at 13:36

Brake hard on smoother pavement or cement

A smoother roadbed will have a better surface for you tires to slide across and in order to grab and release repeatedly to make the sound you are looking for.

Tires squeal when they are grabbing the road surface and letting go thousands, if not more, times a second. The vibrating tire emits the sound as it goes through the process.

As well, you might have anti-lock brakes which prevent a good squeal from occurring.

You can try:

  • Smoother surfaces

  • Disabling your anti-lock brakes

  • Softer tire compound for more friction

  • Making sure there's no gravel or dirt on the road you want to squeal on

As well, you can carry a broom with you to clean road surfaces before you drive on them to make sure you can get a good screach when you lock up your brakes. I think a great surface would be large cement slabs joined together with smooth concrete, just like a gas station or even the inside of a shopping mall (you'll want to get permission from the property owner I would think).

Good luck making noise with your tires and may they be as obnoxious and loud as you hope for!

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