Clunking Noise When Braking (Causes & Solutions)

If you are an experienced driver, you will always be alerted by any unusual sounds your vehicle makes.

To avoid further problems, you should always pay attention to unusual noises coming from your car. One of such noises you hear is a clunking noise when braking.

This article will explain everything about a clunking noise when braking, its causes, and how to fix it.

Clunking noise when braking can also be caused by a faulty vehicle suspension. For example, if the shock absorber or strut is faulty, you often hear Clunking or thumping sounds when applying brakes. If you experience this, it indicates you have a faulty suspension.

Also, if you hear clunking or knocking noise when braking, there’s a slim chance that it’s probably just loose bolts, so check and confirm that your bolts are tight, and if they are not, tighten them properly.

Also Read: Low Rumbling Sound When Braking (Causes & Solutions)

What Causes a Clunking Noise When Braking?

What Causes a Clunking Noise When Braking

Clunking noise when braking may indicate a problem with the brakes. It is essential to identify the source of the rattle to find a solution and prevent further damage. The common causes of clunking noise when braking is:

1. Damaged Control Arms

The control arm can wear over time, even worse for off-road adventurers. These worn control arms can cause the wheels to shift and cause clunking noise when braking.

2. Loose Bolts

The bolts may be loose if you hear a clunking noise when braking. Make sure that all screws are tightened.

3. Loose Or Seized Brake Caliper

Suppose you idle your car for long periods without using it; corrosion and rusting become predominant on your vehicle. Even the mechanism of the handbrake cable may get stuck, and the brakes may not work.

Therefore, wires and other components need to be further lubricated to avoid clunking noise when braking.

4. Damaged Shock Absorbers

Rough driving on uneven roads can damage or wear the shock absorbers over time. This can cause clunking noise when braking.

5. Worn Brake Pads

The most common cause of a clunking noise when braking is worn on the brake pads. If the brake pads wear, they will not be able to grab the brake discs properly, and you will hear a clunking noise when braking.

6. Low Brake Fluid

The brake fluid is entirely incompressible, and the braking system will fail in the presence of compressible fluids such as air. Therefore, if too much air in the brake fluid, it may make a clunking noise when braking.

This action happens when the air bubbles are compressed and released during braking.

7. Worn Brake Calipers

Accurate alignment of additives in an automobile is paramount to the operating capacity of every device that makes up a vehicle.

Therefore If the brake calipers aren’t neatly aligned, they could make a clanking noise while braking.

Bad Rotors & Discs

If the rotor is distorted, you may also hear a clunking noise when braking. If the rotor is worn, you may also hear a popping sound when braking.

If the discs are loose or damaged, it could also cause a clunking noise when braking.

Also Read: Car Shakes When Braking (Why & How To Fix)

How Dangerous Is a Clunking Noise When Braking?

Brakes are one of the many essential components of your vehicle, and If it develops a fault, it could be dangerous and have dire consequences if not handled immediately.

So it’s no wonder that even the slightest brake noise can be a reason for much concern.

Hearing noises while applying brakes would indefinitely indicate an issue with your vehicle’s braking system. The problem may be minor, but it needs to be fixed to always be safe by reducing the risk of a brake failure.

Although the brake can function properly if you experience clunking noise when braking, the brakes are vital to the driver’s safety and should be inspected and repaired as soon as possible.

Furthermore, if it’s your first time hearing the clunking noise when braking, it’s not an issue that you should worry about much.

As long as you can feel the brakes working and slowing down, minor issues may need to be adjusted.

The clunking noise when braking may result from the brake pads as they rattle in the bracket. If you want to confirm that the brake pads are the problem, you could try applying the breaks while driving on a road with potholes.

If the sound disappears, the brake pads have gone back to normal and are moving correctly. However, if the noise persists, you’ll have to repair it soon, or it could cause additional issues if you continue ignoring it.

Even if the problem is small, it needs to be fixed immediately to prevent it from escalating.

How to Fix Clunking Noise When Braking

How to Fix Clunking Noise When Braking

Suppose you hear a clunking noise when braking. There are several steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem. Here’s what to do if your car makes a clunking noise when braking.

1. Check All Four Tires for Damage

If one tire’s treads are too worn or have large cracks, they can get caught in the brake pads or calipers and rattle. If the tire is damaged, it should be replaced as soon as possible.

2. Check for Fluid Leaks

Leaks in the hydraulic system can cause excessive air pressure, leading to bladder compression and awkward braking noise. If you suspect a leak in your system, you should ask a mechanic to inspect your car.

3. Adjust Brake Calipers

If the brake calipers are asymmetrical, you may hear a clunking noise when braking. You can adjust it yourself or take it to a mechanic and arrange it properly.

4. Replace Warped Rotors

If the rotors are damaged or warped, that can cause the clunking noise when applying brakes, so have a technician look at them and have them replaced.

5. Check Brake Pads

If you still hear a clunking noise when braking after checking all four tires, leaks, and calipers, you should check your brake pads. Your vehicle handbook will tell you how to do this and how often you need to replace them.

If you still hear a noise when you apply the brakes, it is recommended that you go for a vehicle checkup at an auto repair shop. The sooner you diagnose and fix a problem, the minor damage it will cause.

Safety Measures to Follow When Fixing Clunking Noise When Braking

Safety Measures to Follow When Fixing Clunking Noise When Braking

1. Replace Old Pads with Correct Pads for Your Car’s Brake

If you use a brake caliper or another element of the braking system that is incompatible with the vehicle, you may hear a knocking noise when braking.

Many brake pads look similar, and buying the wrong component is easy. However, it is dangerous to use the lousy parts that are too small.

If you apply the brakes too hard, the brake pads may move inside the caliper and get stuck and not function properly.

Therefore, if you hear an impact or rattling of the pads, make sure your car has the correct brake pads.

2. Clean the Parts from Dirt or Rust

If the slideway is clogged with dirt or corrosion, the shims will not lock properly, and the pads will bond to the calipers.

This action causes braking, knocking, and overheating of the brake disc pads.

3. Do Not Put on a Lot of Lubrication

Working with the brakes means that you don’t want to put too much grease on the brakes as it can affect their performance.

This hardware should allow the pads to slide freely without touching each other. You also need to apply a small amount of hot oil to the ears of the pad backing plate where the anti-rattle clip is located.

In this way, the part will be able to support the pad at high speeds. As always, follow the rules of thumb to prevent lubrication from sticking to the contact areas of the brake pads and only lightly lubricate.

4. Clean the Old Parts That You’ll Retain

If you have old parts and want to keep them once in a while, clean them and remove rust and debris so they can use them to replace worn or missing parts of your current braking system.

Anti-rattle springs are usually located on the left and right sides of the brake pads. Therefore, if the original handset had such washers, they should be removed and cleaned before they can reuse.

Also Read: Squeaking Noise While Driving but Not Brakes Applied (Solved)

Frequently Asked Questions – Clunking Noise When Braking

Why Do I Hear a Clunk Noise When I Brake?

The most common cause of a clunking sound when braking is worn on the brake pads. If the brake pads wear, you will not be able to grab the brake discs, and you will hear a clunking noise. Brake fluid-Too much air in the brake fluid can cause a rattling noise.

Why Does My Car Clunk When Slowing Down?

Check the braking system to see if the caliper or rotor on the driver’s side is damaged. There may be a problem with the brakes, as the noise will only be heard when the brakes are applied and stopped.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Brake Problem?

Prices can vary significantly depending on the vehicle you drive. For example, the average brake pad replacement cost is about $ 150 per axle, but depending on the material of the vehicle’s brake pads, that cost can increase to about $ 300 per axle. The cheapest brake pads use organic materials.

Why Does My Brake Make Noise When Stopping?

If the noise is generated just before the vehicle stops entirely and the entire braking range does not squeeze, it may be because the brake pads are vibrating against the brake discs. A vibration damping device eliminates squeaks, but there is no guarantee.

Conclusion

When you hear a clunking noise when the brakes are applied, it usually means that several parts are worn or damaged.

The clunking noise when braking can be caused by a seized brake caliper, an extremely loose wheel bearing, worn-out ball joints, or other steering components that are loose and require tightening.

If your notice your car making a clunking noise when braking, take your car to a brake specialist for proper inspection and repair

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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