Popping Noise When Braking – Causes And Solutions

A popping noise when braking is a common problem that drivers encounter while driving. It originates from many subjective and objective reasons.

Let’s follow us to get more detail about the causes as well as the solution to this problem.

Why Do I Hear Popping Noise When Braking?

Popping Noise When Braking

Worn-out or rotor discs, loose and worn-out brake pads, and distorted brake backing plates are common causes of popping noise while braking.

In addition, incorrectly adjusted brakes, contaminated brake fluid, and strange objects trapped in brakes can be to blame.

Worn Out Rotor Discs & Hardware

Worn-out or rusted rotor discs can result from using low-quality brake pads, which scrape the rotor exterior.

After a period, the rotor’s protective coating will get warped, resulting in a popping or squeaking sound. The noises may be produced louder by severely damaged discs.

The next cause of rotor surface deflection is letting your rotors be exposed to cold water while they are still hot. For this reason, rotors making noise while driving also happen.

It causes the surface to distort, and you will hear an exact popping noise and vibrations while braking. These sounds can be sensed over the brake pedal.

Moreover, deteriorated hardware might produce a popping sound when your brakes are pressed. It is because the bolts holding the disc might get loose and begin to squeak.

If you’re encountering this trouble, you should update the rotor hardware as soon as possible.

Loose Brake Pad

loose Brake Pad

Brake pads are intended to remain firmly attached to the brake caliper seat. If your brake pads are under strain, they will bounce up and down when you press the pedal.

It is because the pads might begin to shift and make contact with the brake rotors.

You may hear a popping or air sound when braking, especially at low speeds. Thus, if you’re experiencing this, be sure to inspect the brake pads.

Brake Pad Rubbing On Discs

The popping noise when braking and turning is caused by a loose brake pad and the brake disc rubbing on your pads. It can also originate from wheel nuts or other interior elements vibrating around.

It is a typical root of brake sound while braking at slow speed. Signs of wear out will be noticeable over time, mainly due to rubbing on the disc.

Furthermore, when the metal covering of the rotors and the clippers interact, popping or clunking noises are also produced. The caliper might collide and generate cracks and damage.

Distorted Brake Backing Plates

Each car’s brakes have a backing plate linked to a brake’s rear. These plates are supposed to keep dirt and debris away from the brake.

If you bend the spot inside, it will scrape against the calipers or rotors.

Once you notice a loud popping noise from the rear of car when braking, it’s possible that one of your backing plates in the brake has been bent or distorted.

Incorrectly Adjusted Brakes

One of the sources of popping sounds that drivers might overlook is improperly fitted brake pads. The brake pads should always be parallel to the rotor.

If you see them tilting on one side or the other, it signifies they’re not properly aligned.

You can inspect how much of the pad is contacting your rotor easily. If it’s over 0,5 inches, the pad might not be positioned properly over its bracket.

Brake Calipers Are Not Adjusted Properly

Incorrectly adjusted brake calipers contribute to this problem by preventing appropriate cooling of the brakes.

You can detect loose calipers when there is a play between the piston rod and the mounting.

At that time, your brake fluid will not circulate as much as it should, resulting in inadequate energy used for braking.

It also leads to wonky wear on the brake pads, triggering premature malfunction or overheating accumulation inside of them. Moreover, it causes them to break and make sounds when it’s used.

Frozen Or Contaminated Brake Fluid

Frozen Or Contaminated Brake Fluid

Several substances, such as sand, dirt, grease, etc., accumulate in the braking system in the same way water does. The road regularly exposes brake pads, drum brakes, and rotors to several types of debris.

When you press the pedal slowly, these pollutants become trapped between the brake pad and rotor, producing the rear drum brake clicking noise or popping sounds.

Brake fluid, or hygroscopic fluid, can absorb the air’s moisture and induce the brake pads to start locking up.

It may end up with a popping sound if they do not correctly expose to the rotor. When brake fluid becomes polluted, the brake pads and the rotor could be frozen.

Another case is when your car has been subjected to high moisture, and you have to replace your brake pads or rotors with new ones, the same noise will appear. You’d need to bleed the brakes in such cases.

Strange Items Trapped In The Brakes

Debris captured in the brakes, such as leaves, tree branches, nuts, and rivets, can also create a popping noise when pressing the brake pedal.

This sound occurs due to the friction created whenever the component rubs against the rotors and brake pads.

How To Deal With Popping Noise When Braking?

Change The Worn-Out Brake

You need to replace the worn-out brake as soon as possible to avoid further problems in the future.

Start by removing the wheel, the caliper bolts, motor mounts, and worn bushings around. It is now very simple to check the width of the brake pads to determine whether they need to be replaced or not.

If it’s worn out, raise the caliper and remove the old brake pads before replacing the clips.

After that, you can replace the old brake pads with new ones and take back the valves.

You may find that the new clips are somewhat tighter, but you can slide the new pads into position just after the old ones were removed. Also, it will be best to ensure that the pads’ ears fit snugly into the brake grease.

Finally, reinstall the sliding bolt and readjust the caliper on the opposite side. Then you can do a drive test to ensure your brake is properly installed.

Clean The Calipers

As mentioned above, calipers are very susceptible to dirt, so cleaning it will help avoid popping noise when braking.

To begin, brush dirt on the calipers. Remember to wet the brushes by dipping them into the water before removing dirt and spots. Then, use detail brushes to go over the more complex places.

Next, you should splatter clean water all over the brake calipers. A power washer may be the best choice to remove the remaining dirt. You also need to get the water into all the tight spots.

Finally, you need to thoroughly dry brake calipers. Park the car in the sun to dry out all wet components. You can use a dryer as an alternative, as long as there’s no remaining water.

Change Brake Fluid

First, remove the old contaminated fluid from the cylinder reservoir to replace or flush the brake fluid.

Wash the tank with a lint-free fabric. Next, change the reservoir cap after adding new fluid to the reservoir till it achieves the “Full” line.

When you bleed your brakes, the old fluid will be pushed by the new one. Keep bleeding the brakes till it is clean, and the clear fluid will emerge from the bleeder rivet.

Cover Brake Anti-Squeal

Covering the brake with brake anti-squeal is another good option to prevent and eliminate popping noises.

It protects the entire braking and keeps the rims upon the wheel hubs from seizing or rusting.

Furthermore, you can apply a little silicone lubricant or grease on the caliper wires to enable more moves.


Is It Safe to Drive If My Car Has Popping Noise When Braking?

It won’t be dangerous while driving if you determine whether rusted anti-rattle wells or brake pads cause popping or clicking sounds.

Suppose a worn suspension system causes the sounds; you should get the problem checked and repaired as quickly as possible.

A damaged suspension makes your car less manageable while driving, putting you and other road users in danger.

How To Maintain Brakes Properly?

Instead of taking your car to auto mechanics only when facing an issue, you should maintain your car to save your money.

When the car is inspected regularly, you can be confident that the brakes are in good condition.

Replace the brake discs as needed based on the driving style and the environment.

Normally, you should check your fluid levels every 3 months. The brake fluid in your vehicle should be changed every 30,000 miles or every 2 years.

Can I Repair My Own Brake?

I noticed the cracking noise when I brake. Can I fix it myself? Yes. You can fix your brakes the same way as you would for any other repairs.

You should note that a popping noise in the brakes can be caused by more than just problems related to the pads.

There are also various guidelines online, such as the one we mentioned above, providing a thorough procedure for repairing your brakes and ensuring you don’t skip any step.


In summary, worn-out rotor discs, brake pads, and damaged brake backing plates are common causes of the popping noise when braking.

Also, if your brake is not installed correctly, brake fluid is contaminated, and strange objects are trapped in brakes, they’ll yield the popping noise as well.

Hope you find this article useful. See you in the next posts.

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