Clunking Noise When Putting Car In Reverse? (9 Reasons Why)

In most modern cars, driving the car in most gears should be fairly quiet. Therefore, any noises like a clunking sound when you shift gears can be very alarming to most car owners.

If you hear a clunking noise when putting your car in reverse, you may be wondering what the problem is. I did some digging, and here is what I found!

Clunking Noise When Putting Car In Reverse?

1. You Are Hitting Something

Typically, the simplest reason why you hear a clunking noise while our car is being put in reverse is that you have hit something with your car.

Generally, most cars are made out of various types of steel, rubber, and plastic, and these parts can get hit by its surroundings if you are not careful.

Some of the things you could hit, like a rock or a can, can make a clunking noise if the item is hitting your car.

2. Loose Exhaust

Another common reason why there is a clunking sound coming from your car is that part of your exhaust system has gotten loose.

For instance, the exhaust pipe could have gotten loose and fallen into a hanging-like position.

When this occurs, you may only notice the clunking noise as the exhaust hits the pipe when you are reversing.

3. Low Transmission Fluid

Sometimes, the reason why you would hear a clunking sound, especially in reverse, is that you are low on transmission fluid.

Transmission fluid is in charge of lubricating the parts of your transmission to reduce friction and keep the parts moving smoothly.

Read More:  Why Is My Engine Shaking? (15 Reasons Why)

Normally, low transmission fluid can make a clunking noise when you are in the drive gear as well, but it may be more noticeable when you are putting your car in reverse. 

Since you will not have enough transmission fluid in your engine, the moving parts of your engine can make loud clunking noises when you put your car into reverse.

Usually, you can tell that you are low on transmission fluid when the clunking noise sounds like it is coming from your engine.

4. Suspension System

Generally, your car has a suspension system that is in charge of keeping your drive as smooth as possible.

As such, the suspension system will also distribute and absorb any vibrations and sounds that your car would make while you drive.

When there is something wrong with the suspension system, you will likely hear a clunking sound while you reverse.

Moreover, the sound will be more noticeable when you try to go over a curb, speed bump, or pothole since your suspension system will not properly absorb the noise.

5. Brake Pads

Brake Pads

Typically, another common reason why you would hear loud clunking noises when your car is in reverse is your brake pads.

Your brake pads are a part of your disc brakes, and the brake pads apply friction and pressure to the brake rotors to help the car slow down.

When the brake pads shift a lot, it can cause excessive movement when you hit your brakes, which will lead to a lot of loud, clunky noises.

As such, if you are putting your car in reverse and hit your brakes, you will likely hear the clunking sound because of the brake pads.

Read More:  Water In Diesel Fuel Filter Symptoms (9 Things To Be Aware Of)

6. Wear Tabs

If you happen to use your car to drive long distances frequently, chances are that you need to check your wear tabs, which are also called wear bars.

Wear tabs can be found at the ends of your car’s brake tabs, and they are meant to rub on the car’s rotors to make a loud noise.

When you hear the loud sound, it is meant to let the driver know that the car needs to be serviced to have the wheels checked.

7. A Loose Bolt

A common reason why you would hear clunking sounds coming from your car is that there is a loose bolt.

Your car is covered in various bolts that keep your car’s parts together, and bolts can be found in the car’s engine, chassis, frame, and more.

As you use your car, your car is going to move around a lot, which can cause some of the bolts to become loose.

If a bolt becomes loose, it can clunk around to where is should be screwed on whenever you reverse your car.

Moreover, the bolt can completely fall off and get stuck in your car, and you may only hear the clunking sounds when you put your car in reverse.

8. Faulty Parking Pawl

A parking pawl is a device found in automatic transmissions that locks your car’s wheels and transmission output shaft when you put your car in park.

If the parking pawl goes bad, it can make loud noises when you shift your car into a different gear, including reverse.

Read More:  Why Is My Car AC Control Panel Not Working? (11 Reasons Why)

9. Dry Grease Shins

Usually, you will use your brakes while you are using your car while it is in reverse, so loud noises while your car is in reverse could be due to dry grease shins.

Grease shins are supposed to be lubricated since they absorb noise made from the brake calipers and brake pads.


Since most cars are meant to drive quietly, hearing a clunking noise when puting your car in reverse means that you have a problem.

Generally, clunking sounds while you are in reverse mean that you have a transmission issue, dry grease shins, a bad parking pawl, and more.

Leave a Comment