Clunking Noise When Braking? (9 Reasons Why)

In most cars, you can expect a fairly quiet drive when the car is in good condition. Therefore, suddenly hearing odd noises while using your car could be cause for concern, especially whenever you hear sounds while you brake.

If you hear clunking noises when braking, you may be wondering what causes it. I did some research, and here is what I found!

Clunking Noise When Braking?

Normally, cars make a clunking noise when braking because there is an issue with the brake system, such as loose bolts in the calipers or worn out brake shoes for drum brakes. Additionally, you could have an issue with your suspension system, such as your control arm or sway bar links.

Are you curious to learn about more reasons why your car makes a clunking noise while you brake? I made a list of possible reasons below, so keep reading!

1. Damaged Or Worn-Out Struts

Normally, a common reason why your car makes a clunking sound while you brake is that your struts were worn-out or damaged.

Struts are supports for your car that control the body roll, make the ride smooth, and keep the ride stable.

Once the struts wear out or have damage, there is a clunking sound, and you may also notice that your steering wheel moves a lot more.

2. Suspension System

Similar to your car’s struts, the suspension system keeps your car ride smooth while absorbing any shocks your car may get while driving.

Usually, your suspension keeps your car steady while you break because the suspension system will absorb the shocks from your brakes.

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When your suspension system has an issue, you can expect to hear a clunking noise while also experience rougher and harder to control brakes.

3. Ball Joints

Generally, your car has ball joints that help the steering system and control arm pivot, allowing your wheels to move side to side and up and down.

However, worn-out ball joints can make your car make a clunking sound when you brake, and you would also feel vibrations in your steering wheel.

Usually, having worn-out ball joints can also be dangerous since the wheels can move incorrectly.

4. Control Arms

Normally, your car has control arms that keep your car’s suspension system connected, and they should be very silent when they are in good condition.

Unfortunately, your control arms will likely be wearing out if you can hear clunking noises and feel vibrations in your steering wheel.

Moreover, you may find out that you have an issue with your control arms if your tires are not moving normally.

5. Sway Bar Links

Sway Bar Links

Typically, sway bar links, which may also be called stabilizer bar links, are a part of your suspension system that keep your drive smooth under various driving conditions.

Usually, having a faulty sway bar link will cause a clunking noise near your tires, especially when turn corners or go over speed bumps.

Additionally, sway bar links will make your car sway a lot more while making your steering loose.

6. Shock Absorbers

As you can guess from the name, shock absorbers are in charge of absorbing shock while controlling your suspension system’s movement.

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As such, the shock absorbers help keep your car’s tires planted on the road so the tires do not bounce around.

However, bad shock absorbers can make it harder for you to control your car, and you could even lose control of your car while hearing clunking sounds while you brake.

Additionally, it can be dangerous to drive with faulty shock absorbers because your ability to stop your car will lessen.

Usually, you can tell that you have got bad shock absorbers when there is cupping on your car’s tire treads.

7. Loose Bolts

Generally, there are tons of bolts that keep your car together, and having a few loose bolts can make you hear clunking noises whenever you brake.

Normally, various factors from driving like vibrations can make your bolts become loose, which are meant to be tightened each time you get your car serviced.

Usually, the clunking noise may occur because bolts in your caliper could have become loose, making your caliper move around.

Your car’s caliper holds your brake system’s brake pads then squeezes the brake pads when you hit the brakes, hence the clunking sounds.

8. Worn Out Brake Shoes

Instead of disc brakes, a lot of cars today have drum brakes, which you can find at the back parts of your car.

If you have drum brakes, you will not have brake pads, rotors, or calipers that you would normally find in cars with disc brakes.

So, drum brakes have a wheel cylinder that utilizes pistons to press brake shoes against a spinning drum to make the wheels stop turning.

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If the brake shoes are not smooth, the shoes can move around and hit a backing plate, which will make a clunking noise.

9. Body Mounts

There are body mount bushings or body mounts that hold your car’s body to the frame to keep your car in the correct position.

If you have a bad body mount, your car’s body will not sit properly or look like it is sagging, putting your car in a bind or a bad position.

When you have bad body mounts, your car can make noise when you brake because the car body will not be properly mounted on the car, causing the car to make clunking sounds.

Usually, you will see that you have a bad body mount if your fenders or doors do not line up properly with the body of your car.

To know more, you can also read our posts on why 4Runners are so expensive, why Superchargers are so expensive, and why car manufacturers offer car dealers incentives.


Usually, your car is meant to be quiet whenevver you hit the brakes, so hearing a clunking noise when braking could mean you have a problem.

Some common reasons why your car makes a clunking noise when braking includes bad body mounts, loose bolts, and faulty shock absorbers.

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