Popping Noise When Braking – Causes & How To Fix

Are you tired of that annoying popping noise every time you hit the brakes? You’re not alone. In fact, this common issue is something you should pay close attention to. Sometimes, it’s a single pop noise when braking.

Not only is it a nuisance, but it could also be a sign of a potentially dangerous problem. As a responsible driver, it’s important to understand the causes of this noise and how to fix it.

So, if you’re ready to stop the pop noise when braking and keep your vehicle in top condition, keep reading!

In this post, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about the popping noise when braking and why it should be a top priority.

popping noise when braking

What Does The Popping Noise When Braking Mean?

If you experience a popping sound when braking, this could mean that there is air in your brake system.

The air can build up in the master cylinder or calipers causing them not to function properly. In this case, you would need to have the brake system bled out by a professional mechanic.

If there is no air in your brake system but you still hear a popping noise when braking, then it’s likely that something else is wrong with your brakes. In the following section, we’ll have a look at other possible reasons for the brakes popping.

Possible Causes of the Popping Noise When Braking

1. Disc Rubbing Against Brake Pads

If you’re hearing a popping or clicking sound when braking, it could be caused by the disc rubbing against your brake pads. This can happen because of loose wheel bolts or other parts that are rattling around the inside of your disc. If you’re equally wondering – “why is my car making a whining noise?” This could also be the culprit.

It’s important to have this issue addressed as soon as possible so that it doesn’t lead to further damage and cause an even louder sound in the future.

2. Foreign Objects Caught in The Brakes

A popping sound when braking could be a result of a foreign object present in your brake pad. If there are any foreign objects caught in your brakes, they can rub against each other and create a lot of friction which makes a lot of noise. You should also check for any plastic or rubber pieces or twigs that may have fallen off one of your tires and gotten stuck under one of your brakes.

This happens because as the object rubs against the brake pads and rotor, it creates friction which produces noise.
After checking all these areas where foreign objects might be caught in your brakes, if no problems turn up then it’s time to move on to another potential cause of popping noises while braking.

3. Improperly Adjusted Brakes

Brake Pads Are Not Adjusted Properly

The pads should be parallel to the rotor, and they need to be even with each other. If you see them leaning in one direction or the other, that means they’re not aligned correctly.

A quick check is to look at how much of the pad is touching your rotor—if there’s a lot more than half an inch, then it could be because the pad isn’t sitting properly on its bracket.

Brake Calipers Are Not Adjusted Properly

This might sound like it has nothing to do with popping noises when braking, but it does indirectly affect this issue by preventing proper cooling for your brakes.

If you have loose calipers which can happen if there’s enough play between the piston rod and its mounting, this will cause your brake fluid from flowing through as well as possible, which means less energy being used for braking.

This causes uneven wear of your brake pads which may lead to premature failure or excessive heat buildup within themselves which causes them to crack while making noise when applied during use. Neither situation is ideal so make sure everything’s securely bolted together before proceeding further down this list of potential causes.

4. Contaminated Brake Fluid

Popping noises when braking could be due to contaminated brake fluid. Brake fluid is a hygroscopic liquid that can absorb water from the air and cause the brake pads to lock up, leading to a grinding noise when they do not engage properly with the rotor.

The same process will occur if your car has been exposed to high humidity and you have recently changed your brake pads or rotors. In situations like this, you’d need to bleed your brakes. you can check out our post on ‘no brake fluid coming out when bleeding‘ to understand the processes involved in bleeding brakes.

3. Loose or Worn Out Brake Pads

Brake pads are made of a soft material that wears down over time, and when it wears down, the brake pad can start to move around and come into contact with your rotor. This causes an unpleasant sound.

If you suspect this might be the problem, there’s good news: brake pads are easy to replace yourself.

4. Brake Caliper is Sticking

If you hear a popping noise when you press the brakes, it could be that the caliper is sticking. The brake caliper houses the brake pads and presses them against rotors.

As you press on your brake pedal, this causes friction between the rotor and rubber pad. If there are any issues with the braking system, such as dirt or rust buildup inside of your calipers, then they may stick or rub together as you push down on your pedal.

This makes for an unpleasant noise when pressing down on your brakes and can even cause damage to other parts of your braking system if left unchecked.

Is It Safe to Drive with a Popping Noise in the Brakes?

Yes, it’s safe to drive with a popping noise in the brakes. As long as you are able to stop the vehicle, there is no immediate danger. If you have difficulty stopping the vehicle or if there is a grinding sound accompanying the popping noise, then we recommend having your brakes checked by a professional mechanic.


If you hear a popping noise when braking, it is important that you have your brakes inspected by a professional. The popping noise could be caused by one of the following issues: foreign objects trapped in your brake fluid, improperly adjusted brakes, the brake caliper sticking, loose or worn out brake pads, discs rubbing against brake pads, or contaminated brake fluid.

Once your car starts making a popping sound while braking, check out the causes as soon as possible and do whatever needs to be done to get it fixed. If these problems are not remedied, they can cause serious damage to your vehicle and put you at risk for an accident.