Car Makes Groaning Noise When Reversing [Reasons +Solutions]

It’s annoying to hear a groaning noise when reversing your vehicle. This noise can be caused by an overused brake pad, faulty wear tabs, stuck metal pieces, unlubricated grease shims, sway bar bushings, loose retainer clip, or transmission problems.

You can solve these problems by replacing the faulty parts, getting rid of the metal pieces, or lubricating the grease shims. Keep reading this article to find out more about each of these problems in detail.

Why Car Makes Groaning Noise When Reversing: 7 Reasons To Fix

We’ll discuss the most common causes why your car makes noise when reversing and turning in this section. The solution to each of the problems will be provided.

Note: You can also read how to clean brake fluid easily.

1. Overused Brake Pad

An old and worn-out brake pad is usually the most common cause of the groaning noise when braking in reverse. You’ll hear a high-pitched noise as the brake pads rub against the rotors.

The clicking sound can also occur if the brake pads have shifted in another direction. This happens when the pad’s surface and the brake calipers haven’t been maintained properly.

Most brake systems also have anti-vibration chips to stop the brakes from making noise. If these chips are damaged or you have a faulty button, you’ll hear a whirring sound when reversing.


The first thing you should try is to install disk brake caliper grease so that the brake pads can be lubricated. Wait and check if the noise goes away.

If the noise still remains, you should replace the brake pads. Make sure that the anti-vibration chips are properly installed when you change the brake pads. Otherwise, the noise won’t go away.

2. Faulty Wear Tabs

The wear tabs ensure that the brake system works smoothly. It’s responsible to stop the vehicle when you apply the brakes. You’ll find the wear tabs at the end of the brake tabs.

These wear tabs will make noise when they rub against the rotor of your car. That’s because the wear tabs have gone bad or changed their position.

Wear tabs can go bad if they are left idle for a long time. That’s why you shouldn’t reverse your car or drive long distances if your car has been inactive for a while.


Inspect the wear tabs of your car and see if the position of the wear tabs has changed. Fix it before you start your driving your car again. You should change the wear tabs from time to time to ensure the safety of your car.

3. Stuck Metal Pieces

If you hear a squealing noise when reversing, it’s likely that there are pieces of metal stuck between the rotor and the brake pads of your car. These pieces of metal will not let the brake pads work properly.

It would be best to not drive your car in this situation. It can permanently damage the rotor of your car if you don’t get it fixed right away. Metal pieces can also be stuck in the wheel of your vehicle. That’ll also cause noise when reversing your car.


Inspect the area between the rotor and brake pads and look for dirt or pieces of metal. If you find them, remove them and lubricate the area. Check whether any permanent damage has been done to the rotor or the brake pads before you start driving again.

4. Unlubricated Grease Shims

There’s a component between the brake pads and brake calipers called the grease shims. Its job is to minimize the noise when you use the brake by preventing the components from rubbing on each other.

You’ll hear a squealing sound when reversing your car if the grease shims aren’t lubricated properly. That’s because the components will rub against each other and create noise if the grease shims don’t prevent them.


Lubricate the grease shims on both sides to make the noise go away. Do it as much as you can for better performance of your car. It’ll ensure the longevity of the brake pads and brake calipers. Don’t use too much grease at a time because it’ll make it sticky and prevent it from functioning properly.

5. Sway Bar Bushings

The sway bar bushings located by your tire can cause a rumbling sound when reversing your car. Usually, the noise is increased in a warmer climate. Salt accumulates when you drive in the winter. This salt dries in the summer and causes the sway bar bushings to make an annoying noise.


You can either clean or replace the sway bar bushings to get rid of the noise. Follow this video to replace the sway bar bushings on your own. You’ll need to make sure that it’s well lubricated at all times to prevent noise.

6. Loose Retainer Clip

The job of the retainer clip is to create spring pressure and keep the brake calipers from bouncing around. If it gets loose, it’ll make a painful groaning noise.


You have to replace the retainer clip if the sound is bothering you too much. It usually doesn’t have a negative effect on your car except making noise.

7. Transmission Problem

There’s a possibility that the groaning noise from the rear when reversing is being caused by transmission issues instead of brake problems. It can be caused by faulty CV (Constant Velocity) joints, worn-out motor mounts, or a parking pawl.


Shifting into a forward gear before you reverse your car may solve this problem. If it doesn’t work, you’ll need to get the transmission or clutch checked by a mechanic. He’ll know what to do and how to fix it for you.

Maintain Your Car To Stop The Groaning Noise

The groaning noise in your car usually comes from the brake system. So, the proper maintenance of it will make sure that you won’t have to face this problem. Follow these simple steps to maintain your brake system:

  • Check the brake pads after every 12000 miles of driving or once per year.
  • Check the brake fluid after every six months of driving.
  • Bleed the brake lines every 2-3 years.
  • Slow your car down before applying the brake instead of braking suddenly.
  • Lubricate the grease shims at regular intervals.


How much does it cost to lubricate brakes?

Most of the braking lubricants are priced between $20 to $40. Keeping your brake system lubricated is important to drive your car safely.

Should brakes be cleaned?

The brakes should be cleaned as much as possible as dirt or metal pieces can build up in the brake pads of the car.

When should you service your brakes?

Brakes generally require servicing after 20000 to 50000 miles depending on your style of driving. Your brakes can go bad quickly if you live in a colder climate.

What factors determine the lifespan of the brakes?

The three factors that have the most impact on the health of your brakes are the weather conditions, frequency of driving, and your driving style. The condition of the road can also impact the lifespan of the brakes.


Now you know why your vehicle makes a groaning noise when reversing and how you can solve it. The problem is usually with the brake system or transmission. Maintain the brake system to avoid facing these problems.

We hope the tips we shared will help you solve your problem. Drop a comment below if you have any questions.

About John M

John contributed as a technical head at an automobile company just 2 years after his post-graduation in Automobile Engineering. He loves to lead a free life, so he left his job & started blogging. Now, he does research on every automotive problem, part & product and seeks a better solution & best products & shares his findings with his readers to help them as well as to minimize their struggle.

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