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2005 Honda Accord brake question

Hi all,

My 2005 Honda Accord (approx 48,000 miles) has had squeaky/grinding brakes for the last few months. The brakes make a horrible grinding noise for the first few times that I brake each time that I drive it, and then as the car warms up the noise seems to go away. It also shakes a little bit when it’s making the grinding noise - not a ton, but enough that I think there must be something wrong. It’s worse (during those first few brakings) if I brake hard, but even if I’m really gently applying the brake it makes the same unsettling noise. The squeaking noise doesn’t go away ever, but I don’t think it’s as serious as the grinding noise (but I could be wrong - that’s why I’m here!).

I took it to a brake specialty place in November or December and they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Other than regular oil changes and tire rotations, the car hasn’t had any repairs. Any suggestions? I just want my car to be safe!

Thanks for your advice!
-Manders

Surface rust builds up on brake rotors and drums really fast. After the car has been sitting the first few brake applications can be quite noisy - grind and/or squeak. Its the pads grinding off the surface rust.

Often brake noises are kept under control with various anti-vibration measures - little hardware bits and some well placed brake grease. Was the place you took it to a chain-type brake operation? If so, avoid those. Find a locally owned, independent shop with decent reputation to check out the brakes again. Describe the symptoms and if they find no obvious issues inquire about what they might be able to do in terms of anti-vibration.

Thanks Cigroller! Yes, it was a chain-type place. I don’t have a good mechanic here, but I’m tempted to go to the dealer (who I’ve always had good luck with and I know several people - even car-smart types - who swear by them).

I drive my car mostly short distances (maybe 3 miles each way to work during the week, maybe slightly more on the weekends). I don’t know if that makes a difference in the way that the brakes perform…

Dealer service shops often do operate on fairly iffy principles and inflated prices. But no two are the same, and some are just excellent car service places all around. If your local dealer shop has a good reputation then there’s no reason not to ask them to have a look.

Regular short trip driving tends to be bad for everything. Hopefully you are following service recommendations for “severe service.” Severe service will apply to just about everything from oil changes to filters, and it is likely that the brakes will need more frequent attention. Brake parts will get dirty and corroded. There’s no way around that. Using them a lot tends to keep things moving. Having it sit a lot and see relatively light use while driving will tend to allow things to stiffen up, and gunk to build up. Short trips normally also go with more braking, so more wear per mile.

I don’t usually recommend dealers, but if you’ve had good experiences with your dealer by all means take it there. Chain places are far less reputable overall than a good dealership IMHO. Your problem is not rocket science and a competant shop should be able to solve it without intellectual heavy lifting.

Thanks everyone! I’ve personally had good experiences at our local dealer, and several other friends have as well, so I think I’ll stick to them. I try to take good care of this car because I would like to own it forever. The brake stuff aside, the car drives great, is super comfortable, and in amazingly good condition considering I don’t have a garage (just a carport). The fact is, I just don’t know anything about cars and feel even dumber when I take it in to a place and they can’t find anything wrong with it. Thanks for your help!

Ask people you know where they take their cars for maintenance and repairs. After a while, you will find a few that are recommended by several people. That’s a good place to start. Your Honda is common enough that almost all garages should be familiar with it. You probably shouldn’t delay your trip for brake service, but this will help for future work.

I took my car to the dealership, and I got the same answer as previously - nothing is wrong with my brakes. They said that dirt and grime can build up over time, and a powerful spray in the carwash should help. They washed the car after servicing it, and lo and behold, it did the trick! No more grinding!

That is up there among weird things I’ve heard. It does make sense to wash down brakes. In fact, part of checking or working on brakes involves liberally blasting stuff with brake cleaner. So cleaning the brakes makes sense. I’m not sure I’m on board with the method. But I suppose if it works it works.

Glad to hear that you had a good outcome. I only want to add that Honda uses ceramic brake pads and they also can be a little noisy when cold. Combine that with the surface rust and the build up of brake dust and the noise can be audible.

I expect that the noise will come back as brake dust eventually builds up again. When it does, if you decide to hose the brakes down yourself, I would caution you not to do it if the brakes are hot, that could warp or damage the rotors. When it does come back, it might be a good idea to have the brakes looked at anyway as they do wear down eventually.

Thanks again for the input. Safety is really my #1 priority, and they deemed my brakes to be safe and relatively unworn - just like the previous place did. It wasn’t just the audible grinding that concerned me, I could also feel the grinding while braking. Again, it was only the first few times that I braked during a car trip, and then after that I didn’t hear or feel anything abnormal. If I parked my car for only a short time, say 5 minutes, and then started it again, I didn’t hear any grinding. But if I let my car sit for a while, maybe 30 minutes, the grinding would start again. Anyway, I’m glad it seems to be resolved. I appreciate everyone’s comments!