The car makes a clunk noise in reverse. What are the causes and solutions

Vehicles tend to make some noises while reversing or even driving backward for parking. While some noises can be expected and less alarming, some noises are signs of car problems. A clunking noise is not something you should take for granted but instead repair with immediate effect.

The most common culprit of this clunking noise is the brake problem. Besides this noise, the vehicle can start to shudder and produce a squealing noise while shifting a gear stick to reverse. If you have experienced such, know that the problem is common, and you are not alone.

Why is the car making clunking noises when reversing?

1. Problems with the brake pad

Worn-out brake pads that rub against the rotor can lead to clunks when reversing. This usually happens when the car does not have proper maintenance or the brake pad and caliper’s surfaces have undergone a lot of movement. Therefore, whenever the brake faults, it produces a lot of noise. Moreover, if the brakes’ anti-rattle chips are destroyed, you are likely to hear rattling sounds.


Lubrication. To solve these noise problems, you first need to apply a disc brake caliper lubricant. If the clunks persist, install the anti-clunk chips. Be careful, these chips will need to be properly installed because, if you fail to install them correctly, the noises will continue even when the brakes are new.

Inspect the brake’s wear tabs and repair them appropriately

Your car is likely to produce clunk noises because of the brake’s wear tabs. To prevent that, it is essential to scrutinize the wear tabs. These tabs are located at the edge of your vehicle’s brakes.

The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that the braking system is effectively working in that when stepping on the brake pedals, the car will stop. However, if these tabs begin rubbing against the rotor, the sounds will start coming out again.

2. Check the car to ascertain if there is any metal stuck in the braking system or wheels.

Clunk noises can be also emitted when metals rub against one another. Hearing this kind of noise from your car while reversing can suggest that a metallic object might be stuck between the brake pads and the rotor. An object in between the two keeps the brakes from working correctly.

Whenever this happens, the pads and rotor are precisely inspected and cleansed to ensure that any alien object and the braking system will begin working as expected.

3. Lubricate the grease shims

The grease shims are located between the brake pads and brake calipers. The main reason for this is to prevent any noise from the breaks when in use.

4. Problem with constant velocity or transmission problem

Issues with constant velocity or transmission problems are the significant causes of clunk noise from a car while reversing. This can be shrunk CV parts in need of a new boot or even replacing the entire part. There might be several problems related to this, but if the transmission is the problem, it could be the parking pawl. The purpose of a parking pawl is to secure transmission automatically.


To prevent these kinds of sounds, it is advisable to halt the vehicle entirely before parking it. If you are in a hurry, engage the transmission into the park even if the car is in motion because it can affect the parking pawl, and a damaged one can cause clunking.

5. Worn out motor mounts and poorly secured engine

A poorly secured engine and worn-out engine mounts can lead to the production of clunking sounds. This is also one of the most common causes why you hear a single knock or pop when you shift in reverse and start moving the car. Also, you will hear the same sound when braking, and the car move in reverse.

The single knock that you hear when the car is moving or you hit the brake pedal in reverse can also be caused by worn axles that help to transmit power from the transmission to the wheels.


Ensure that you regularly inspect these parts and make the necessary amendments.

6. Problems with the parking pawl

A parking pawl is a pin bolting a nicked wheel on the output beam to stop it from twisting. If your car produces such noises, then there might be problems with the parking pawl. A damaged parking pawl can cause clunking noise when reversing.


The parking pawl needs assistance when the car is parked at an inclination. Use an emergency brake when you park it on an incline.


Clunking sounds can occur while reversing if your car has problems with the parking pawl, has worn out, has a poorly secured engine, and has other brake issues. To solve these problems, you need to identify the actual cause of the sounds and find a better solution to them.

Scroll to Top