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What does it mean when you hear a faint high pitched squeak noise when you step on the brakes?

I can barely hear my car do it when I come to a stop, I'm assuming it's coming from the brakes themselves. Just noticed it today.

Also, since the start, my brakes have made a light "thrumming" noise if I stop lifting my foot just short of fully releasing the brake pedal. I assume this is the uh, idle power the automatic transmission puts out which is causing the wheels to rub against the brakes, which in turn rattles them.

How serious are each of these conditions?
 
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