Brake Pad Rattle

Brake Pad Rattle

I can hear a brake pad rattle noise from my cars brakes and want to know what this is?


Brake pad rattle or rattling brakes can be caused by a number of things and the first thing is to carefully check that you have the correct parts for your car. Many brake pads look similar in design and it is easy to get supplied the wrong parts. Using the wrong parts that are undersize can be dangerous as the brake rattle if excessive could mean the pads moving in the caliper and becoming even jammed and not operating properly. Brake pad rattle can also lead to the pads skewing sideways and locking in the caliper causing the backing plates to be bent and the friction material to be broken away and cause immense problems.


So if you hear any rattling noises or brake pad rattle check you have the right pads in your car.


When changing brake pads you need to take care that you re use or replace the essential hardware that was on the original pads when the car was built. Hardware on original pads often includes stainless steel silver shims on the reverse of the pads and these CAN be re used IF THE NEW SET OF PADS YOU HAVE do not have any shims. Some manufacturers use a black rubberised shim instead of these stainless parts. DO NOT ever use BOTH shims as this will cause an over thickness situation and will cause pad drag and overheat. You only need the one shim set on brake pads.


However there are often anti rattle springs on the left and right sides of the pads similar to the picture above and if your original pad set had such shims they must be removed and carefully cleaned and re used. Do not bend the shims and make sure before replacing them you notice which way they were installed for the new install. Make sure whilst these end clips or anti rattle springs are off that you thoroughly clean the caliper sliders into which these parts will fit. Dirt or rust on those slide ways will prevent the shims from seating properly and could cause the pads to stick in the caliper. This will cause brake noise or brake squeal and cause the pads to overheat the brake rotor. Pads must slide freely on these pieces of hardware without jamming. Apply a very small coating of high temperature grease to the pad backing plate ears where the anti rattle clips locate to help the pads slide freely but DO NOT ever get greases anywhere near the friction surfaces of you brakes pads and again , apply the lube very sparingly.


Brake pad rattle can also lead to spongy brakes as the pads bounce around and knock the caliper pistons back, thereby requiring more pedal travel to snug the pads back up close to the disc.


Brake pad rattle can also be caused by lack or the appropriate claw clip on the pad reverse. These claw clips are really only for pad install on the production line but do have the affect of preventing pad rattle.


Brake rattle can also be caused by a loose disc which would mean a loose wheel and of course this is a serious issue which needs fixing immediately.


Basically if you hear any rattling noise from your brakes take the car quickly to a professional mechanic for advice.