Noise When Braking

noise when brakingI have a question regarding noises coming from my car when braking.

I am a relatively new driver and I recently had a new power steering rack put into my car. Since then, I have noticed a clunking sound on the front left hand side of the car when I brake.

It doesn’t happen all the time, mostly when I have to brake suddenly or when I am braking & turning or going in/out of driveways and over speed bumps.

I am not too sure what it could be and have had a mechanic look at it but he said that all seems fine and it could just be my brake calipers? Should I seek a second opinion or is this a common thing??



Hi Cheyenne

I think I would get a second opinion, or at least get another mechanic to take a test drive with you and hear the noise you are considered with.

If you were at my shop I would at least remove the TWO front wheels and recheck the brakes and the rack and pinion installation. Maybe the noise is caused by loose mounting bolts or worn out or missing steering linkage or grommets?

The brake caliper could be loose or the anti rattle clips on the brake pads could have broken or come loose causing the brake pads to move and make noise.

I don’t think you have a safety issue (at least not from what you mentioned in your email) but I would be concerned about a possible premature brake pad wear problem if left unattended.

Brake Noises

Grinding noise – USUALLY is caused by the brake pads or brake shoes being worn down so low that the metal backing on the pad or shoe is rubbing against the metal brake rotor. It just takes 1 or 2 good stops like this to totally destroy the brake rotor.

Thumping/Thudding noises – USUALLY this is due to either a warped brake rotor, or a loose brake caliper mounting bolt or missing/broken caliper mounting bushing allowing the brake caliper to move from side to side against the brake rotor.

High pitched squeal – USUALLY this is due to a brake pad that has too much metallic material in it or a brake pad that is “glazed” over and slick due to overheating. Smaller vehicles are usually more prone to this type of noise, and changing brands of brake pads usually solves the problem. Using a softer, not as aggressive brake pad will also help. I like to use brake pads from Toyota on Toyota’s, they tend to make less noise.

A brake pad that is adverting it will last a long time, or touts how tough their pads are will usually make more noise because they have so much more metallic material in them to last longer.

Please share this with your friends,

Austin Davis

Posted in: Brakes

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