CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2004 Accord; Help with Vibration Diagnosis

Car: 2004 Honda Accord EX 2.4L

Work that has been done within the last 2 weeks:

  • Power steering pump replaced (and belt)
  • Rack and pinion replaced
  • Wheel alignment
  • (2) New tires (currently on rear, fronts are close to new themselves)
  • All brake pads and rotors replaced

Observed Symptoms:
When driving on the highway this morning, I noticed vibration. It was there at various speeds (not just in a specific range of speed), however it was not 100% consistent in it’s amplitude (example: if driving 60, it may be more so intense or less so a few min later). I did not experience any pull to one side or the other, and it didn’t feel like the wheel was shaking back and forth, but there was a vibration coming through, and the sound to match it.
When I finally arrived at work, and parked the car, I noticed a strong smell. Thinking it was related I investigated each wheel and found the passenger front was extremely hot and the source of the smell. The heat was definitely coming off the rotor (spit on it and it sizzled). Compared against the driver side, there was nothing abnormal to the driver side wheel, no high heat.

Questions:

  1. Does this indicate an issue with the front passenger brake or caliper?
  2. Are there any additional actions or tests I can perform to narrow the issue if it is not already apparent?

Thanks you for your help.

The caliper is sticking badly. It may be the caliper piston, the slides or it could be a failing brake hose that is acting like a check valve. I’d replace all 3 as this is an incredibly irritating problem that will destroy the brake pads and rotor on that side if you don’t get it fixed right away.

1 Like

Sounds like your right front caliper slide pins are not sliding. This is causing your caliper to hang up and overheat the rotor. I am guessing the pads are pretty worn and/or damaged now. This could also be the source of your vibration.

I would highly recommend that you get the brakes fixed right away as this is a safety issue. Once the brakes are fixed you may find the vibration is gone. If it is still there then you can continue trouble shooting.

So I guess I’ll be getting some mail from rockauto soon. I’ll order up a passenger side front caliper to replace the current one. Hopefully that does the trick, if not I’ll also replace the hose.

You could try tearing the current caliper apart, cleaning and wire brushing the pins or replacing them, lubing the pins back up, and reassembling the caliper. It’s cheaper than a new caliper and often does the trick. If you order a caliper from Rockauto I do suggest not getting the cheapest “economy” model. Brakes are no place to penny pinch. A quality reman, especially with corrosion protection, will work better in the long run.

If I had more time, a better work space, and it wasn’t winter, I would probably take that approach. Unfortunately, I need the best bet to get it corrected in one shot. The caliper isn’t too pricey after the core is refunded, so I’ll just go with a new one. I do get the coated calipers when I buy them.

You’ll probably need new pads, unless you buy a loaded caliper, and a rotor as well. Most rotors don’t weather a stuck caliper very well. Good luck!!!

I’m hoping it isn’t too badly worn. From what I was able to see, it should be salvageable. It didn’t go through too many miles. Guess I’ll have to see once it is on there. Or I could just buy the rotor, they aren’t too expensive