Clunking Noise When Braking; Causes and Possible Fixes

Braking is a complex process that involves the interaction of many different parts of a vehicle. There are many components involved in any given braking system, and each of these components can cause a clunking noise when braking. The noise often sounds like a metallic thud or grinding metal sound when the brakes hit or rub against the rotor.

But the big question has always been, what really causes clunking noise when braking?

Clunking noises when braking in most cases indicate damage or wear to various parts of the braking system. The clunking noises can be caused by a number of things, including a very loose wheel bearing, a seized brake caliper, worn-out steering components, or ball joints.

Additionally, it is good to lose bolts if you hear a knocking or clunking sound when braking. It’s important to check and see whether the bolts are tightened. You should also ensure that the brake calipers are tightened.

Clunking Noise When Braking Causes?

If you are experiencing a clunking noise when braking, it is important to have the issue checked out as soon as possible. This type of noise can indicate several different problems, all of which require immediate attention. A few of the most common issues that can cause a clunking noise when braking are:

  • Worn brake pads or rotors
  • Brake fluid leak
  • Loose or damaged suspension components
  • Damaged wheel bearings

Each of these problems can cause serious safety concerns if left unchecked, so you must have them diagnosed & repaired as soon as possible.

Worn Out Brake Pads

Brake pads are an important safety components of your vehicle. By maintaining your brake pads in good condition, you can help prevent accidents and ensure that your car operates at its best.

Worn-out brake pads can cause a clunking noise when the brake pedal is depressed. If this is the case, it is important to have the pads replaced as soon as possible to avoid further damage. Worn-out brake pads can cause extensive damage to your vehicle if left unchecked, so it’s important to address the problem ASAP.

Symptoms of worn-out brake pads include a squealing noise when braking and decreased stopping power. Have your brakes inspected regularly to ensure they are in good condition.

Worn Out Rotors

If you’re experiencing a clunking noise every time you brake, your rotors are likely worn out.

Rotors wear down over time as they come into contact with the brake pads. If you don’t replace them when they start to show signs of wear, you could end up with a much more serious problem down the road.

A quick way to test this is to apply the brakes at high speed and see if the noise gets louder. If it does, then it’s time for new rotors. You can also check for rotor wear by looking at them closely. If they’re significantly thinner than they used to be, or if they’re covered in grooves, they need to be replaced.

Replacing your rotors can be a bit costly, but it’s definitely better than risking an accident because of faulty brakes.

If you’re unsure whether your rotors are worn out or not, it’s best to take your car to a mechanic and have them take a look. They can test the brakes and tell you if it’s time for new rotors.

Brake Fluid Leak

Brake fluid is used in brakes and clutch applications in cars, motorcycles, trucks, as well as in some bicycles. Its purpose is to transfer pressure from the controlling mechanism to the braking mechanism.

When a brake pedal or lever is applied, brake fluid is forced into the wheel cylinders or calipers, where it exerts pressure on the pistons or pads, causing them to clamp the brake discs or drums, slowing down or stopping the vehicle.

A brake fluid leak can cause a clunking noise when braking. If the brake fluid level falls too low, the brake pedal will feel spongy, and you may not be able to stop as quickly.

You may also notice that your brakes are becoming less effective over time. Have the brake system inspected for leaks and repaired as necessary to fix this problem.

Damaged Wheel Bearings

Wheel bearings are integral parts of wheels and axles. The bearings allow the wheels to rotate smoothly and with as little friction as possible.

Whether they are in your car’s wheels or in your home’s ceiling fan, all bearings operate on the same principle: they use small metal balls that roll in a circular track inside a metal ring.

This design reduces friction between the moving parts and allows them to rotate freely.

Misaligned brake calipers are a common cause of a clunking noise when braking. When the brake pads rub on the rotor, they create heat.

If the caliper is not aligned correctly, it can cause the pads to rub against the rotor at an angle, which creates more heat and results in a louder noise.

In addition, the calipers may also become seized, which will cause a clunking noise when braking as well.

Damaged Brake Discs

This is common with older cars but can also occur with newer models if the brakes are not properly maintained.

Brake discs are the metal discs located between the brake pads and the wheel. When you apply pressure to the brake pedal, the brake pads clamp onto the discs and slow the car down.

If the discs are damaged, they will cause a clunking noise every time they come into contact with the brake pads.

The most common cause of brake disc damage is wear and tear. Over time, the friction between the brake pads and discs can cause tiny cracks to develop on the disc’s surface. These cracks will eventually grow larger and deeper, eventually causing the disc to shatter.

Another common cause of brake disc damage is improper maintenance. If the brake pads are not replaced when they wear out, they will grind away at the discs, causing them to become thinner and weaker. Eventually, this can lead to the discs cracking or shattering.

There are two main types of brake discs: solid and vented. Vented brake discs have small holes drilled into them to allow air to flow through and cool them down faster.

Solid brake discs don’t have these holes, but they are usually thicker and can withstand more heat.

Braking Noises That You Shouldn’t Ignore

Grinding Noises: When the brake pads are all worn out, the disc & caliper will grind against one another. Your brake pads operate as a buffer to prevent the rotors from being scratched by the rubbing of these two components. If these components continue to grind against one another and scuff the discs, your braking system may sustain more damage, necessitating costly repairs.

Squealing Noises: Nothing is more irritating to the ears than squealing brakes. This high-pitched sound will cause you to squirm, however it will also warn you to a problem. There are really a number of potential causes for this irritating noise. It is possible that the brake pads have become worn. It may possibly be rust accumulation on your rotors. Due to the placement of your rotors, it is normal for water to splatter up, and with time, they will rust and wear out. These are just few potential causes for squealing brakes.

Knocking Noise: If you hear knocking noise, there is a good likelihood that loose bolts are the cause. Verify that your nuts and screws are tightened. If the issue persist, a number of different components may be responsible for the clunking sounds. There may be loosened calipers that require tightening. If the problem is your vehicle’s shock absorbers, they will likely need  replacement The issue might potentially be the result of worn constant velocity joints. A reliable service expert will be able to diagnose the issue, allowing you to drive and brake safely.

Final thoughts

If you’re hearing a clunking noise every time you hit the brakes, chances are good that there’s an issue with your braking system. It could be something as simple as damaged brake discs or drums, brake pads that have become detached from their calipers, or a loose wheel hub. Any of these issues can cause a clunking noise when you brake.

If you’re concerned about the noise, the best thing to do is to take your car to a qualified mechanic and have them take a look. They’ll be able to diagnose.

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