No matter how annoying brake noises are, they indicate something wrong with your brakes.
Therefore, it is vital to have your car regularly serviced as it helps to identify problems and solve them before they become huge.
One of the strange sounds coming from the brakes is a thumping noise. The good news is that there are solutions to it. This article takes you through the causes of thumping noises when braking and how to solve them.
Causes And Solutions Of Thumping Noise When Braking
If the thumping noise comes from the front brakes, this could indicate a problem with the rotors. In such a case, rust is most likely the cause.
Rotors are prone to rust if you leave your car outside for long or you haven’t driven it for some time. This rust residue on the rotor or disc is what causes the thumping.
If left unserviced, this corrosion starts to affect other parts. The rotors weaken out after some time and also damage the brake pad.
- Moisture – Exposure to moisture or high humidity causes these metals to rust. To be specific, rotors are made of metal: stainless steel and cast iron. So if you leave outside, moisture from the rain or dew falls on the rotor surface, causing them to rust.
- Salt – Road salt is common, especially in cold climate areas that experience snowfall. Salt accelerates rusting due to the car’s proximity to the ground.
- Poor rotor material – If you have rotors made of poor quality, the chances are that they will rust and wear out faster when exposed to the conditions explained above.
The more straightforward solution to a rusty rotor is to drive the car regularly. When you engage the brakes, you remove rust on the surface and are not given time to accumulate and cause damage.
But if the rotor is too rusty, the parts are not moving, and you may need to clean it or replace it.
You can also keep your rotors from rusting by parking your car in a dry and enclosed space such as a temperature-controlled garage.
It prevents your car from coming into contact with moisture or humidity that corrodes the rotors.
Regularly clean your car. It will help remove salt deposits and other contaminants, eroding the rotors if left to accumulate.
Also, if you need to have your rotors replaced, ensure that you have quality rotors. Quality rotors are coated with zinc or GEOMET as they offer maximum protection from rust.
When braking, you hear thumping noises at the front wheels, which could indicate that brake rotors are warped. Brake rotors get warped due to massive heat.
Braking, especially at high speeds, generates a lot of heat. It causes the rotor to become hot, which softens the rotor surface, and they end up becoming uneven or warped.
Warped discs or rotors may make it hard for you to brake effectively. It would be best if you serviced warped discs urgently because they cause the brake pads to wear out more quickly than they should.
They also subject damage to calipers, all of which will become expensive to repair.
You may know that the brake discs of your car are warped through the following symptoms:
- Grooves on the surface of the rotor
- Burning rubber smell
- Vibrations when braking
- Inconsistent braking
As discussed earlier, warped discs are a result of excessive heat. When braking, a lot of heat is generated, and the rotors have to withstand this heat and disperse it quickly so that you may be able to press the brake pads.
With time, this heat causes the brake rotors to become rough and uneven in shape. It results in the thumping noises you hear when braking.
Excessive heat causes the warping of discs in two ways. One, the heat causes the rotor surface to wear out.
It exposes other metal parts, making them raise slightly above the surface. Usually, the rotor is made of metal more rigid and robust than the brake pad.
When the pads wear out or are damaged, the rotor remains intact. If the rotor is damaged and made soft by the heart, it won’t withstand friction inflicted by the brake pad.
Glazing of the rotor surface by material from the brake pad causes the same effects.
Excessive heat can be generated from braking at high speeds and increased stopping distances. It mainly occurs while driving down a hilly terrain or during traffic jams.
It affects brake performance by accumulating excessive heat, which causes the warping of discs.
Be mindful of your braking habits. Avoid braking at high speeds as this generates a lot of heat, damaging the rotors.
If you are driving down hilly terrain, you should shift into a lower gear.
Also, ensure that the brake pads are correctly installed. It ensures that no brake pad materials can glaze the overheated rotor, causing it to warp.
Bad Speed Sensors
Vehicle speed sensors (VSS) are used to measure how fast your car is moving.
When they become faulty, speed sensors affect the speedometer operation and the transmission control system, which depends on the data provided by the VSS.
Bad VSS, therefore, reduces your car’s ability to operate effectively, including the braking system. That’s why, when the VSS goes bad, you may hear the thumping when braking.
Speed sensors can get damaged and worn out after being used for a long time. They can also get damaged when exposed to harsh driving conditions such as road salt.
Fortunately, speed sensors let you know that something is wrong through symptoms such as:
- Difficulty setting your vehicle to cruise control
- Transmission issues such as delays when shifting gears
- Poor fuel economy
- Erratic speedometer behavior
It’s recommended to have your car checked by someone who understands your car’s braking system. If there is a problem with the speed sensors, ensure they are replaced.
Failure to replace them will result in severe damages beyond quick fixes.
However, if your speed sensors keep going bad even after replacing them, then the issue could be with the transmission.
It is why it’s important to have issues addressed by a professional since they will be able to identify what is going on with your car.
With comprehensive experience in writing exceptional quality articles and blogs about cars and related stuff, Daniel is one of the finest bloggers and a hardcore car lover we have. He is an ASE certified technician with an across-the-board experience of 10 years in the industry. He could not help tinkering with anything he got his hands on from a young age, which led to his remarkable career in the automotive repair industry.
When he is not under any hood, you can find him on the water or in the woods to pursue his passion for hunting and fishing. He has been writing for multiple sectors and is a regular contributor to several publications.
He currently owns a Nissan 300ZX TT and a Pearl Yellow but plans to upgrade it to 550 HP. His favorites include the Koenigsegg CCX and Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 VT, but for him, the Ferrari 360 Spider is one of the sexiest cars that exists to date.
Being an avid world traveler, he has spent most of his time analyzing the automotive markets, latest technology, and local favorites to enhance his knowledge base. He is currently living in North Caroline, where it’s all about food and coffee and, of course, cars.