What is causing a single metallic pop when braking?
July 25, 2010 7:44 PM   Subscribe

My 2002 Toyota Camry (~103k miles) has recently (after a state inspection done be the dealer - but not immediately after) started making a single metallic pop (from the front right of the car) when I apply my brakes to come to a stop from city driving speeds (~25mph) I don't notice this on the highway. Does anyone know what causes this and if I need to take it in right away or if I can wait until my next oil change?
posted by stevechemist to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sounds like it might either be a suspension problem (very dangerous.) Take it in ASP.
posted by Brent Parker at 8:17 PM on July 25, 2010

Sounds to me like one of your brake calipers is sticking. There's pins that the caliper slides on, and when those pins don't have enough lube on them, they 'pop' as you apply or remove pressure from the hydraulics. This is not a huge worry, and you can wait, but it's going to take some deeper maintenance than an oil change place would typically do -- the caliper will have to be disassembled, lubed, etc. There's a risk that the caliper is frozen on the pins and it won't come apart and they'll need to replace it... there's also a risk that it will wear through your brake pads on that caliper rapidly.

If it does it when you're moving at such a slow speed that your suspension doesn't have much to compensate for, then I'd say it's not suspension. If it only does it when you nail your brakes, then it's suspension and take it to a dealer or good full-service shop now.
posted by SpecialK at 10:29 PM on July 25, 2010

It sounds like the little spring clip on a brake pad broke off, allowing the pad to shift around a bit, and the noise you're hearing is it slamming back into place when the brake is applied. As things go that's pretty inconsequential but brakes are kind of important so you should have it looked at soon anyway.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:35 PM on July 25, 2010

Brake pads often have a number of vibration reducing shims. After a while, it's not unusual that those shims crap out. Symptoms include increased brake squeak or squeal and sometimes a click or clunk as the pad shifts in the bracket when the brakes are applied. Do you feel anything telegraph throught the brake pedal when you apply the brakes? It's common for problems with the brake hardware to generate vibrations that pass through the brake hydraulics an are felt through the pedal.

Can you reproduce this metallic noise by driving over bumps or rough roads? If you can, then there could be a suspension failure that they overlooked. Toyotas are notoriously hard on struts and shocks and it's common for the upper strut bearings to wear out and make some nasty clunking noises.

Of course, for your safety, I would get it checked out sooner than later. If it's a ball joint or tie rod end with unusual symptoms, I'd hate it if you put it off and something broke while you were driving.
posted by Jon-o at 3:44 AM on July 26, 2010

I also vote for brakes, you should probably have them checked out.
posted by gjc at 5:45 AM on July 26, 2010

Brakes are really important. For your own safety and that of anyone else on the road near you. Do us all a favor and have them checked. Could be something simple like a sticking caliper. But it could be a lot worse and pose a genuine safety risk. Have a shop give it a look over.
posted by wkearney99 at 5:36 PM on July 26, 2010

@Jon-o It doesn't happen on bumps or rough roads, just when coming to a stop slowly. And I also feel the pop through the brake pedal. I will go in and have it checked soon though.
posted by stevechemist at 7:13 PM on July 26, 2010

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