Why is My Ebike Squeaking? And Other Ebike Noise Questions Answered
February 3, 2023
Nothing lasts forever, and it’s not surprising that the parts on an ebike will wear down and even break over time. Your ebike making squeaky noises is a sign that something may be wrong and the sooner that you identify the source of the problem the sooner you can fix it, and hopefully prevent it becoming a bigger problem in the future. Squeaking isn’t the only noise that your ebike might make. Maybe your ebike is clicking or creaking when pedaling. Some such noises can come when the drivetrain is in motion, i.e. when you are pedaling. But these noises may persist when you’re not pedaling too.
We’ve organized this article by noise, and then listed the parts that could be producing that noise, and then detailed how best to fix it. If you can recognize the noise and find out where it’s coming from on your ebike then you should be able to find the fix below!
Squeaking: Why Is my Ebike Squeaking?
A squeaking noise can come from many parts of your ebike, so locating where it’s coming from is key to informing you how to go about fixing the squeak. Once you’ve identified the source look for the applicable component below.
Squeaking brakes are one of the worst sounds and is often caused by the wheel not being seated properly or the wheel not being “true” (meaning that there’s a wobble in it). The cause of the squeak is a part of the wheel rubbing against the brake pad.
Firstly, make sure that your wheel is properly seated in the dropouts, the part where the axle of the wheel secures it to the ebike frame. If it’s not seated properly it will be out of line and will rub against one of the brake pads. Loosen the wheel, seat it snuggly into the dropouts, and tighten the quick release clamp.
If that isn’t the solution, next check to see if your wheel is true. To do this either put it in a bike stand or have someone raise the squeaky wheel off the floor for you. This allows you to spin the wheel freely, and watch it head on to see if there is any wobble in it. If there is, then watch the brakes on your ebike and see if the wobble touches the brake pad. If it does, then take your wheel to your local bike shop where they can true your wheel for you.
If it passes the above tests then there may be dirt on the brakes or your pads might need replacing. Brake pads, wheel rims, and brake rotors can all be cleaned with rubbing alcohol or a specially designed brake cleaner. If you have rim brakes they could be misaligned and that could be causing your squeak. Take a close look at your brake as you pull the brake lever. The front of the pad should hit the rim just before the back of the pad. If it doesn’t this could be a source of squeaking. Reposition your brake pads using a hex wrench and the bolts on the side of the pads.
Note: Ebike brakes should never be lubricated, not even to fix a squeak.
A squeaking chain can mean a dry chain that could just need a good bit of cleaning and lubricating. Follow our simple guide How To Clean and Lube Ebike Chain to fix this squeak (we’d recommend a deep clean).
If the squeaking is coming from your crank then a loose bolt could be the culprit. To test this grab the crank arm (the arm that connects your pedals to your ebike) and try to wiggle it. If it moves from side to side then it needs tightening. Use the appropriate sized hex wrench to do so.
If your derailleur is squeaking this is often because of dry pulley wheels. These can be cleaned by rubbing them down thoroughly with a clean dry rag. Then lubricate them by putting a drop of lubricant on the axis of each pulley wheel. Lubricate the hinges of the derailleur at this time too. Rotate the pedals to work the lube in.
Why does my ebike squeak when I pedal is one of the most common questions we get asked regarding noises on ebikes and the answer could be the pedals themselves. Simply remove your pedals and grease them so they are well lubricated. When doing this you should also make sure that the washer between the pedal and the crank arm is in good condition. If not then replace the washers before reattaching the pedals.
Your saddle is attached to a clamp by two rails and a squeaking noise indicates that the saddle clamp needs tightening. Simply use the appropriately sized hex wrench to tighten the bolt or bolts that attach the saddle to the saddle clamps. If it squeaks and tips backward and forward then take it to your local ebike shop as it may be broken or defective and will need replacing.
Thru Axle or Quick Release
The thru axle and quick release are the components that go through the hub of each wheel and secures it to the frame. Creaking and/or squeaking sounds can signal a dry or dirty through axle or quick release. To fix these remove the thru axle, clean it with a clean, dry cloth and grease it.
Clicking: Why Does My Ebike Click When I Pedal?
There can be multiple reasons why an ebike makes a clicking noise when pedaling, and when you’re not. Here are the potential sources of that sound.
If the clicking doesn’t come from the drivetrain then it is likely the cups on your bottom bracket. The cups are the part of the bottom bracket that contains the bearings. If this is the source of the sound then take your ebike to your local ebike mechanic for them to fix it for you.
A misaligned or bent derailleur hanger can produce a clicking sound whilst pedaling. A bent derailleur hanger might not always be visible to the naked eye, but can be the source of the clicking. To fix a bent hanger take it to your local ebike shop where they can check and properly align your derailleur hanger.
If there’s a constant clicking coming from your gears, especially specific gears, then your shifter cable may have stretched. This can pull the derailleur out of alignment and cause the chain to ride between gears or to rub on the derailleur cage. If this fits the description of your noise then take it to your local ebike professional and they can check and realign your derailleur. They may need to replace the cable if it’s been over stretched.
Thru Axle or Quick Release
A clicking sound from this part of your ebike can mean that it is cracked or broken and should be replaced. Take it to your local ebike mechanic to get a professional opinion on this.
Creaking: Why is My Ebike Creaking?
If your ebike is creaking when pedaling hard, or just creaking at all, there are a few easy to fix culprits and some not so.
Stand beside your ebike and grip both brakes. Now put your weight on the pedal closest to you. If it creaks it is probably the bottom bracket (where the pedals go through) or the chainring, see below. This may mean that your bearings in your bottom bracket need replacing. Your local ebike store should be able to help you with this.
This is the cog your pedals are attached to. The cause of chainring creaking will be that the blots on the chainring have come slightly loose. These should ideally be tightened to the proper torque so that they’re not under or over tightened. You can use a torque wrench to do this or your local ebike shop may be able to help you out with theirs.
A creaking noise can occur when the derailleur rubs against part of the frame it is mounted to. To fix this remove the derailleur hanger and thoroughly clean the parts of the frame and the hanger that touch each other. Apply some anti-seize to these surfaces before securely reattaching the derailleur hanger.
A cracked or defective frame lets itself be known through a creaking sound. The source of this sound can, however, be very hard to spot with the naked eye. Take your ebike to your local ebike mechanic to have them rule out any other sources of creaking, and then they should give the frame a thorough going over to try and find any defects in it.
If your headset, where the shaft holding the handlebars goes into the frame, is creaking it could be the headset bearing. It is best to take this to your local ebike mechanic to diagnose and fix as there are multiple reasons this could be happening.
If one of your wheel hubs is the culprit of the creaking then take it into your local ebike mechanic to have a look at. Chances are that the bearings inside it will need replacing.
The noise might be coming from your seatpost, the adjustable tube your saddle is on top of. To fix this remove the seatpost from your ebike, wipe it down with a clean dry cloth to remove any dirt or grit that may have worked its way in there, and apply a very thin layer of grease to prevent it from continuing to creak. Reinsert at your chosen height and tighten it securely.
Talk To an Expert
If you don’t feel comfortable performing a repair yourself, or still can’t locate the source of the sound, then the best thing to do is to take your ebike to your local ebike technician and have them take a look at why your ebike makes noises. Regularly cleaning, lubricating, and servicing your ebike can go a long way to helping prevent these noises from occurring and doing so can also prolong the lifespan of many ebike components, having a positive impact on your riding experience and your wallet.
Thank you for all the very important information on identifying noises and suggested remedies.
Videos in the future would be very helpful.
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