Why Do My Brake Pads Rattle When Going Over Bumps? (Explained)

If your brake pads are rattling when you go over a bump, then something is wrong. The braking system is designed to work quietly and efficiently.

You shouldn’t hear any squeak or rattle when you initiate the breaks. The only time you may hear a screeching sound is when you apply emergency brakes. And the screech should come from the friction the wheels make on the asphalt. Not from the brake pads.

Below we will explore some of the causes of rattling brake pads when you go over bumps and share possible solutions.

It’s essential to understand how crucial your car’s braking system is, and that’s why you should urgently deal with this rattling sound.

brake pads rattle over bumps

Causes of Rattling Brake Pads When Driving Over Bumps

1. Worn or Loose Caliper Bolts

When you closely examine the brake pads, there are calipers that squeeze the brake pads together. Inside these calipers are bolts that attach them to the braking system.

If you have installed new brakes, you may have loose caliper bolts, causing the rattling sound when you go over a bump.

Alternatively, if your brakes are pretty old, these bolts may have worn out, so the calipers lack support. You will hear them rattling when you drive over a bump.

The solution to this problem is pretty straightforward. You must get new bolts and ensure the calipers are firmly fastened to the system.

Please note that it’s hazardous for you to drive around with loose caliper bolts. When that happens, the caliper drops down and may eventually fully disengage.

2. Loose Brake Pad Spring Clips

Any loose components surrounding your brake pads will cause rattling sounds when you go over bumps. We have already seen how loose caliper bolts lead to these strange sounds.

Another common cause is loose brake pad clips. When you buy a new set of brake pads, they usually come with clips to hold them in place.

In case you or the technician installing the brake pads doesn’t correctly fit the clips, you should prepare to hear some rattling sounds. There is one thing that can help you identify if loose clips are the cause.

If the rattling sound goes away when you press the brakes as you drive over bumps. That means the pads are engaged and don’t need the support of the clips. It’s why the sound may go away when you press on the brake.

Suppose you aren’t well informed about the braking system. It’s best to have an expert examine the condition of the clips. If you forget to install these metal clips holding the pads, you will also hear rattling when you drive over bumps.

After driving for several miles, the spring clips can also get damaged or become bent. This will also lead to the production of a rattling sound when you go over bumps.

3. Installing Bigger or Smaller Aftermarket Pads

You are bound to replace brake pads after a while. Being a part subjected to a lot of friction, wear and tear are expected. However, as you shop for aftermarket brake pads, you must get the right fit.

Car owners often make the mistake of getting bigger or smaller aftermarket pads. After installation, they realize that the pads have excessive play, which produces a rattling sound when you drive over bumps or potholes.

Not only is the rattling noise annoying. But driving with the wrong size brake pads is risky. If it’s the wrong size, it may not be effective when you apply the brakes, and that’s a big risk.

As you shop for aftermarket brake pads, it’s crucial to find one that fits snugly without needing any modifications. If a pad requires modifications to fit, you would rather not install it.

Another pro-tip you should follow when buying brake pads is to go for quality and reliable brands.

Does Anti-Squeal Paste Help with Rattling?

The anti-squeal paste is a very popular product that deals with squealing noises in the braking system. It is a synthetic lubricant that minimizes noise between the brake lining and caliper.

Anti-squeal paste does a job similar to brake shims which are rubber adhesive pads that fill the space between brake calipers and pads to prevent squeaking.

However, you need to know that anti-squeal pastes and brake shims aren’t solutions for rattling. They only remedy squealing caused by the friction of moving mechanical parts.

You will still hear some rattling if you still have loose caliper bolts or damaged brake pad spring clips. Therefore, let no one mislead you that anti-squeal paste will get rid of the rattling of brake calipers. You must identify and fix the underlying problem.

Should New Brake Pads Rattle?

Absolutely not. New brake pads are not expected to rattle under whatever circumstance. However, there are many reports about new brake pads rattling when you drive over bumps.

The reason why these new brake pads rattle is that the installation was done incorrectly. The pads will not be securely held if you forgot to use the metal spring clips or bent them during installation.

Therefore, you can expect some rattling as you crossover bumps. You must perform the proper installation of brake pads. Or even better, you should have the installation done by an experienced mechanic. That will ensure there are no complications.

What Else Can Cause Rattling Noise in the Brake Pads?

Earlier, we focused on possible rattling causes when you go over bumps. To ensure that we have highlighted other culprits, here are more issues that cause rattling in the brake pads;

• Missing Brake Hardware

Thanks to the internet, installing new brake pads has become a simple process. However, if it’s your first or second attempt, you may make some mistakes unintentionally.

When you forget to install a piece of hardware such as the brake lining, you will notice some rattling. Failing to install some components is also a risk factor; if you doubt your abilities to install brake pads, you should take the car to an expert mechanic.

• Warped Rotor

Another culprit for rattling noises coming from your brake pads is a warped rotor. If the rotor in your braking system is warped, there will be uneven contact on the brake pads; therefore, you will notice some vibrations or rattling.

If you have a warped rotor, you will notice a pulse from the steering wheel. This is another sign that can help you diagnose the problem.

• Dirty Calipers

Sometimes, the rattling can be due to a simple issue: dirt. If your calipers are dirty, they will stick when you press on the brakes, creating a rattling sound.

A mechanic can clean the entire braking system and lubricate the moving parts. That should get rid of the rattling.

Should You Drive a Car with Rattling Brake Pads?

The moment you hear the first rattle of the brake pads is when you should look for possible causes and solutions. Many people ignore rattling sounds. Some are not even keen enough to hear them.

Rattling could signal a very serious issue with the brake pads. For instance, they could be very loose and fall off, leaving your car without brakes. Considering the braking system’s importance, you should never ignore rattling noises.

Should You Replace the Brake Pads When They Start to Rattle?

Most of the time, you don’t have to replace the entire braking system to deal with rattling. The first thing you should do when you hear rattling sounds is to look for the cause.

When you find that it’s a loose bolt or a damaged spring clip, that’s the only part that should be replaced. Unless the entire braking system is worn out, there is usually no need to replace the pads. Just find the cause, fix it, and the brakes will be super quiet.

Besides Rattling, Here are More Signs of Brake Issues

Rattling is only one of the signs of car brake problems. Please note that there are more signs you need to be on the lookout for.

We can’t emphasize enough how vital the braking system is. Therefore, you need to be on the lookout for these signs;

• Pulsating brake pedals – This is another common sign of a faulty brake system. You need to get new pads when you press on the brakes and feel a vibration or pulse. As mentioned earlier, brake pads are vulnerable to wear. Therefore, they ought to be replaced frequently.

• Car pulling to one side – Another sign you should always be looking for is pulling to one side. When your vehicle pulls to one side, that usually means that the brakes on different wheels are not applied evenly. You will need a mechanic to diagnose why.

• Squealing – This is an obvious sign of worn brake pads. Start planning on how you will replace the current ones.

• Grinding noises – These are the worst noises you can get from brake pads. If you hear grinding, that’s an indication that the pads are excessively worn out and what’s being ground is the rotors. This calls for an urgent replacement.