Clicking Noise When Braking (Causes & Solutions)

Have you ever noticed a clicking noise when braking and wondered what caused this and how to fix this problem? If so, you are on the right page.

This article explains in detail the causes of a clicking noise when braking and how to fix it. There is also an FAQ section to answer some other related questions you might have.

Read on!

Causes of a Clicking Noise When Braking

Clicking Noise When Braking

When you apply a brake and hear a clicking sound, it could signify a worn or loose component of the suspension or braking system. Here are some major causes of a clicking noise when braking.

1. Rusty Anti-rattle Springs

A common cause of a clicking noise when braking is rusty anti-rattle springs. The function of the anti-rattle spring is to ensure your brake pads are in position and lessen the noise and vibrations when you apply brakes.

Since the springs are made with metal, the anti-rattle spring would get weaker due to the cooling cycles and heat and might rust in countries with humid Conditions.

When the anti-rattle or spring is weakened, your brake pad will begin to move and start making a clicking noise when braking. In addition, the pads would start to wear out and might even lead to premature wearing out of the rotor.

2. Worn-Out Brake Shims

Brake shims that are worn out are also another cause of a clicking noise when braking. The brake shims play the role of an insulator. It also reduces the vibrations and noise coming out of the brake pads when you are applying the brake.

It also plays the role of a thermal barrier. This would protect the pads when they get very hot from getting damaged.

And if the brake shims wear out, it might get weaker as time passes, which could cause clicking sounds.

3. Installing the Wrong Brake Pads

A clicking noise when braking might also be a result of improper installation of the brake pads. This can happen when you just have the brake pad replaced. Sadly, when some mechanics replace the brake pad, they don’t stake it down due to their lack of experience.

This will cause the pads to shift whenever you apply the brake. This doesn’t make it unsafe for you to drive your vehicle or make it hazardous. Regardless, as it is, making this clicking noise when you are applying a brake can be annoying.

The more you use it without repair, the more the sound will get louder anytime you want to use the brake.

4. Worn Calipers

Another cause of a clicking noise when braking is worn brake calipers. After driving your vehicle in wet circumstances for some years, the calipers may start to rust. And if neglected, it could cause your brake pads to join though there are clips that could prevent them from binding.

The caliper can start to make the clicking sound if they are loose. There are guide pins and bolts used to keep them tightened. As a result of corrosion, the guide pins and bolt could be weakened, which will let your caliper start moving.

5. Worn-Out Suspension Components

Another situation whereby you can hear this sound is when it comes from the suspension, and this is because of the weight shift whenever you are braking.

The worn suspension parts that can make this clicking noise when braking are:

  • worn ball joint
  • worn sway bar links
  • worn struts

Ball Joints

The ball joints are also a part of the car’s suspension, which allows and connects various joints so they can move. To be precise, they join the steering knuckle together with the control arms, making it possible for you to steer your vehicle.

Worn-out ball joints would make the steering less precise, leading to various noises or vibrations through your steering wheel.

Sway Bar Links

The sway bar, also called the anti-roll bar, is part of the car’s suspension; it decreases the body lean whenever you are braking or taking bends.

Since the car would shift the weight, the sway bar link could start to make the clicking sound whenever you’re braking.

The Struts

The struts act as a support system for your vehicle, reduces any vibrations that potholes or bumps might cause and allows your vehicle to steer properly when you whirl the wheel.

Though it’s not common, when one of the struts begins to develop a fault, it can lead to clicking noises whenever you apply a brake.

6. The Brake Backing Plates Are Bent

The brakes on the vehicle have a backing place fixed to the back. These plates are constructed in a way that they guide your brake from damage and dirt. When these plates are bent, they can scratch the rotor or caliper.

When you hear a clicking noise when braking, the plates are rubbing against the rotor or caliper.

Also Read: Clunking Noise When Braking (Causes & Solutions)

How Do You Fix a Clicking Noise When Braking?

How Do You Fix a Clicking Noise When Braking

Repairing the clicking sound can be cheap and easy but also expensive and difficult. Replacing the anti-rattle spring would cost you about $10 for the parts and labor around $30, except if you want to do the fixing yourself.

Changing worn-out brake shims would cost the same amount the anti-rattle spring cost you, though I suggest you get a different set of brake pads. Normally, the most low-priced brake pads come with inferior shims, which would become noisy as time goes on. So I suggest you go for more expensive brake pads since they offer better quality.

When the brake pads are not installed properly, you can also go to a better-experienced mechanic to reinstall the brake pads properly.

You can remove and clean the calipers using a metal brush if the calipers are corroded. If one or any of the guide pins or bolts need replacing, it would cost you about $10, for both the labor cost, it can be about $50 for one caliper.

Changing the worn-out suspension component is more expensive. It is about $150 for a sway bar or ball joint and $700 or more for changing a Faulty strut.

While replacing or cleaning your anti-rattle spring can be done by oneself. I suggest you allow a mechanic with experience to repair any of the suspension components damage.

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

Is It Safe to Drive if Your Car Makes a Clicking Noise When Braking?

Driving your car would not be dangerous if you could ensure that the sound is either from the brake pads or the rusty anti-rattle spring.

Regardless, if the sound results from worn-out suspension components, I suggest you have the problem inspected and repaired immediately. You won’t be able to control your car properly if you have a damaged suspension, which will be risky for you and other drivers on the road.

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

Frequently Asked Questions – Clicking Noise When Braking

Why does my car make a clicking sound when I brake?

Whenever you release or press the brake pedal and you hear a clicking sound, it simply means that the parts designed to keep the brake pads in a position, called the brake calipers, are slack and need to be repaired or replaced.

Why does my car make a clicking sound whenever I slow down?

The clicking noises that occur when driving slowly, especially when you’re braking, can indicate a slack brake pad. The pad can move around if it’s not secured properly to its caliper, especially if you’re driving slowly, which then results in the clicking noise whenever you apply brakes.

What could result in a clunking or clicking noise when you apply brakes?

This sound could be a result of loose guide pins or bolts. Examine the bolts if they’re tightened. If the issue continues, there are a lot of components that can cause these sounds. It can be a loose caliper that requires to be tightened.

Can rotors make a clicking noise?

If the rotor is completely or a little bit warped, at any time the high rotor point comes around, it pushes your brake pads against your caliper. And as a result, makes a clicking noise.

Conclusion – Clicking Noise When Braking

If you hear a clicking noise when braking, it means that your brake pads are damaged and need replacing. The clicking noise or rattling is caused by vibrations of loose or worn components in your braking system.

We hope this post was of help to you. Please feel free to check out our other blog articles if you want to get more tips for fixing and preventing car troubles!

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