Clunking Noise When Braking: 5 Causes And Solutions

You might come across a clunking noise when braking due to problems in the braking system. It can be that the brake pads are worn out or the brake calipers are misaligned. To fix it, replace a few damaged parts or adjust them properly. 

To get a detailed idea of the overall fixing process, keep reading this article. 

5 Common Causes of a Clunking Noise When Braking and the Solutions

Just like the knocking noise, clunking Noise when braking can be an indication of a problem with your brakes. It’s important to identify the source of the clunking to find a solution and prevent further damage. 

Before you go on and identify the main reason for the clunking noise check your tires. If any of your tire treads are worn down too low or have large cracks, they could be catching on your brake pads or calipers and causing a clunking noise. If there’s any damage to the tires, you should replace them as soon as possible.

Here are five common causes of a clunking noise when braking:

Worn Brake Pads

The most common cause of a clunking noise when braking is worn brake pads. When the brake pads are worn, they can’t grip the rotor as well, which causes a clunking noise. 

Solution: Replace Brake Pads

Check your brake pads next. Inspect the wheels and check the brake pad visibility through the wheel spokes. If you notice brake dust building up on the wheel, that’s a normal sign of wear.

Worn Brake Pads

Additionally, some brake pads have a wear indicator slot in the middle. If the slot is no longer visible or barely noticeable, it indicates that it’s time to replace the brake pads.

You can also check the brake pads by taking off the wheel. 

Once you find out that the brake pad is the main reason, replace it. Check this video for a detailed guideline. You can also go to professionals for more help. 

Brake Fluid: 

Brake fluid is a special type of hydraulic liquid that helps transfer power in the braking system. It plays a crucial role in making sure your brakes work correctly. 

If the brake fluid has a lot of water in it, it can lead to corrosion in the brake system. This corrosion can lessen the effectiveness of the brakes and cause a clunking noise when you apply them. Regularly checking and maintaining your brake fluid is important to keep your brakes in good working condition.

Solution: Flush Braking Fluid

When brake fluid contains excessive water or remains unchanged for an extended period, you need to flush and replace the braking fluid. This process requires a few tools such as new brake fluid, a wrench, a turkey baster or syringe, a clear plastic hose, and a container for the old fluid. 

Following is the process of flushing out the braking fluid.

  • Locate the brake master cylinder, remove its cap, and drain out as much old fluid as possible.
  • Release the bleed nipple at the back of each brake caliper or wheel cylinder to let out the old brake fluid.
  • Fill the master cylinder up to the FULL line with the new brake fluid.
  • Bleed the brakes by going to each caliper or wheel cylinder, and opening the bleed nipple to complete the brake fluid replacement.
  • Top up the master cylinder and repeat the process, checking and maintaining the brake fluid level as you go through each caliper or wheel cylinder.

Brake Calipers: 

If the brake calipers aren’t properly aligned, they can cause a clunking noise when braking.

Solution: Adjust brake calipers

If the brake calipers are misaligned, they can cause a clunking noise when braking. You can adjust them yourself or take them to a mechanic to have them aligned properly.

Warped Rotors: 

Warped rotors can also cause a clunking noise when braking. worn-out rotors can also make a popping noise when braking.

Solution: Replace Warped Rotors

Following are the steps for replacing the warped rotors. 

  • Lift the wheels off the ground using a jack and secure them on jack stands after removing the wheel.
  • Unbolt the caliper and bracket, and hang the caliper to prevent damage to the brake hose.
  • Take off the old rotor, and if needed, remove any set screw or retainer clip holding it in place.
  • Clean the new rotor with brake cleaner to get rid of the protective coating, and then install it.
  • Put the caliper and bracket back in place, and after that reattach the wheel.

Bonus: Find out how you can fix single pop noise when braking

Clunking Noises from the Front Wheels & How To Fix

If your front wheel is making clunking noises after you replace the brakes or rotors, this might be due to a few things. Here are some of them:

  • The bearing in the rotor was not replaced during the brake replacement process and it is bad now.
  • Your car has one-directional cast aluminum alloy wheels and the rotor was installed incorrectly.
  • There is too much space between the brake caliper and the rotor.
  • The bolts that hold the brake caliper in place are loose.
  • You need to tighten the lug nuts on your alloy wheels.

This is how you can fix clunking noises from your front wheel. There are more ways to stop this noise, but these are the most common.

  • Tighten all of the bolts that hold your brake caliper in place (the one connected to the brake rotor).
  • Check to see if there is too much space between your brake caliper and the rotor. If so, try filing down the edges of the brake caliper until it fits snugly against the rotor.
  • Have a professional check out your bearings in the rotors to make sure they are still in good shape.
  • Replace the one-directional cast aluminum alloy wheels with cast steel or forged versions of these kinds of wheels. If you have to replace them, do so before installing new rotors on your car.

Why does my car make a noise when I brake slowly?

There are several reasons why your car may make a noise when you brake slowly. One possible reason is that the brake parts have surfaces that have an impact with dirt or muddy paint.

The resulting residue can get trapped inside the rotors and brake pads, creating a squealing and hissing sound on braking. Another potential culprit could be worn-out brake pads, which create a similar noise when the metal backing of the pad rubs against the rotor.

If your car has recently been serviced and you’re still experiencing this problem, there may be something caught in the braking system, such as a pebble or piece of debris.

Now that you know the different types of clunky noises, what could be causing them, and how to fix them, you can rest assured that your car is in safe hands next time it starts making those strange sounds. So don’t hesitate to take it to a mechanic if you’re not sure what’s wrong.


You may hear a clunking noise when braking when components of the braking system such as the brake pad or brake calipers are not working properly. But keep an eye out on the braking fluid quality as well. Finally, before you dive into solving the problem, check the tires.

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