Common Causes of Brake Noises While in Reverse

What You'll Need
Disk break caliper grease
Anti-rattle clips
Shim grease

When you hear any kind of brake noise, you can safely assume there is an issue. The noise may or may not be an indication of a serious brake issue, however, whether the issue is minor or severe, it still requires attention and investigation. When you hear brake noise while your car is in reverse, this can be a sign that there is one of a few possible issues occurring.

Clicking Noises

A common noise heard from brakes while a vehicle is in reverse is clicking. Most commonly, this clicking noise can be attributed to the brake pads moving or shifting into the new direction of travel. A repeated noise, however, is likely caused by too much movement between the surfaces of the pad abutments and caliper. This noise does not necessarily mean there is a larger issue going on. You can minimize and often eliminate this clicking noise by applying a disk brake caliper grease. The grease should lubricate the brakes and help eliminate the noise. After applying the grease, you should investigate further if you still hear it at the same frequency or level as before.

This clicking can also be caused by a lack of anti-rattle clips. During your brake change these clips were removed and possibly never replaced, particularly if you performed your own brake change and didn't have a replacement set. Simply buy some new clips and put them back on your brakes to solve this issue.

Squealing – Wear Tabs

Squealing and squeaking when driving in reverse can be caused by several different issues, so after investigating one issue you should research more if the sound still persists.

If your vehicle is not new or does not have many miles on the brakes, then the first thing you should check is your wear tabs. If your brakes squeal in both forward and reverse, these may be the source of the problem. Your wear tabs, located at the end of the brake pads, can rub against the rotor to create this noise, and this can be an indication that your brakes need replacing.

Squealing – Check for Metal

Sometimes, squealing occurs when metal touches metal. The next thing to check is between your rotors and pads. If any small fragments or pieces of metal are between these two parts, the effect will create a squealing or squeaking sound. By cleaning the rotors and pads, you might be able to free any fragments causing the noise.

Squealing – Grease Shims

If your vehicle is newer or you have already checked the wear tabs, the next thing to do is check your shims to see if they need greasing. The shims, attached to the back of the brake pads, need to have lubrication. Shims should have a light layer of grease applied on either side to eliminate any movement problems causing noise. However, if the pads didn't come with grease when they were installed, lubrication may not be the solution and may actually cause problems. Also, do not put too much grease in these areas or you risk creating a large, sticky build-up as the grease ages.

Squealing – Resurfacing Rotors

If the previous methods have not helped, you can take a more extreme measure to eliminate the squealing by lightly sanding your rotors. Since you must take care to be sure the rotors are sanded evenly across the entire surface, lest you risk issues with brake pulsation, this is best left to a professional during a brake check.