Single pop noise when braking. Reasons and fixes

A single pop when braking could mean several different things, including the following most common causes listed below,

  • Worn-out or warped rotors
  • Improperly adjusted brakes
  • Foreign objects caught in the brakes
  • Brake caliper sticking

Here’s a brief description of each.

Worn-out or warped rotors

Whenever a car’s rotor is worn out or warped due to excessive wear and tear, it can cause this popping noise. This popping noise usually occurs when the brakes are applied by the driver.

Since the bolts hold the brake disc in place, they can easily start to rattle because they are loose.

The driver may also be able to identify this problem easily, especially as the warping of the rotors gets progressively worse. For instance, the driver may feel pulsating in the brake pedal as they come to a complete stop.

Improperly adjusted brakes

Improperly adjusted brakes are also a common cause of a single pop sound. If the brakes have not been adjusted properly, the brake pads can shake until they come into contact with the brake rotors. And, when this happens, it makes a single pop sound.

Foreign objects caught in the brakes

The cause of popping noises when braking may also be due to foreign objects getting caught in the braking system. For instance, if leaves, branches, or twigs get between the rotors and the brake pads, it can lead to friction that produces this popping noise.

Brake caliper sticking

The brake calipers can also produce the single popping noises that the driver hears. This noise usually occurs when the brake pedal sticks when it is pressed down.

For example, if the caliper cannot move freely when the brake pedal is pressed, it is because the brakes are rubbing against the rotor.

How to fix the pop noise when braking?

To stop this single pop braking sound, you will most likely need a mechanic to help identify the exact cause. Specifically, since the repairs for this sound usually varies from one car and situation to another, the brakes will need to be inspected to find the exact cause.

Fix to Worn out or warped rotor

Because the rotors can be damaged by worn brake pads, corrosion or rust, sometimes the rotors may need to be resurfaced. Or, based on the severity of these problems, they may need to be replaced.

Fix Improperly Adjusted brakes

If the popping noise is caused by improperly adjusted brakes, the brakes will need to be readjusted. For example, there are step-by-step guides that walk the car owner through the process.

From explaining where to park the car to complete the job to describing how to remove the drum to back out the adjustment, the fix is to readjust the brakes.

Remove Foreign objects from the brakes

Occasionally, different types of debris (i.e. small rocks, twigs) get trapped between the braking system and cause a single popping sound to occur.

To get rid of these sounds, the driver or a mechanic will need to disassemble the brakes so that these foreign objects can be removed.

Fix to Brake caliper sticking

If the brake calipers are sticking, you may have the choice of either replacing the caliper or rebuilding it. Either way, the easiest route to take is to install a new brake caliper.

How much does it cost to fix these causes

A worn-out or warped rotor

If the rotors on your car are worn or warped, it’s usually best to replace these parts. The average cost for parts can range between $200 to $400 with labor costs estimated at $150 to $250.

Improperly adjusted brakes

At a professional brake shop, you can expect to pay around $200 to $500 per axle. Aftermarket rotor prices can range from $30 to $75. The labor for these services can also range from about $90 to $200 an hour.

Foreign objects caught in the brakes

To get rid of the popping noises caused by foreign objects between the braking system, the average price can range from about $235 to $329. The breakdown of parts and cost and labor is listed as follows:

  • Parts priced between $77 to $129
  • Labor costs are estimated at $158 to $200

Brake caliper sticking

To fix a brake caliper sticking problem, the brake calipers may need to be replaced. The average price for these types of services is estimated at around $523 to $829.

  • Labor costs can range between $130 and $164
  • The cost of parts is usually estimated at $393 and $665.


The cause of a single pop when braking could mean several different things, including worn out or warped rotors, improperly adjusted brakes, foreign objects caught in the brakes, or brake calipers sticking.

Whatever the case or situation, the exact source must be identified and repaired. The cost of the repairs can also vary based on the price of the parts and the labor involved.

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