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2010 Honda making CRAZY noise--can't be the belt or brakes. I recorded it so you can hear

I have a 2010 Honda Civic with about 32K miles on it. Last fall, at around 23K miles, I needed new brake pads and rotors (because I waited too long on the pads). Got those replaced. A few weeks later (I think), it started making a kind of squealing noise when I make left turns. I mentioned it to my mechanic when I took it in for an oil change shortly thereafter, and he said it was probably the belt, but I could wait a bit on replacing it if I wanted to (as he knows I’m always broke).

Three weeks ago, I took the car in for another oil change and to have him change the belt. He put in a new belt, but alas, after driving the car about a mile the noise returned. I called my mechanic, and he said it might be my tensioner, but that such a new tensioner shouldn’t need replacing already and that it would still be under warranty. I needed to take it to the dealer anyway because my window mechanism was broken, so while I was there, I had him check out the tensioner. He also said the tensioner was fine, and said that since the belt wasn’t a HONDA belt (naturally), that might be making the noise. Last week, I took the car back to the mechanic, who ordered and installed a Honda factory belt free of charge.

Naturally, a mile later, the noise returned. I resisted every urge to drive into oncoming traffic.

I used my phone to record the sound so that I could e-mail it to the dealer and my mechanic, as well as anyone else who would listen, in hopes that I can stop driving all over hell’s creation in a car that sounds like a dying cat. If you have a moment and a lot of goodness in your heart, give it a listen:

The first is by far the worst, if you only have time for one! Thanks so much in advance for any insight you may have.

Sounds like something is causing the backing plate to contact the rotor. Something may have got bent during the brake and rotor replacement. It happens.

Thank you!! I’ll run that past my mechanic. I’m open to any and all possible ideas.

Did you buy this car new or used?

I’m actually leasing it, and it was brand new. I have a 25 mile commute to work every day, so I’ve put the 32K on it in a little under 2 years.

If it helps: the noise is much worse on left turns. There’s something about turning the wheel to the left that makes the noise worse, and also (as you heard) parallel parking. Turning or veering right isn’t nearly so bad. Also, the noise stops altogether when the car stops.

1st THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE VIDs THEY WERE GREAT !! I Agree with the backing plate idea, its not typical break noise and it is absolutly NOT belt noise… I have no idea how he got belt from that… It sounds like it could also be a loose heat shield on the cat converter… Did any of these mechanics actually drive the car to hear this sound??

Hmmm, interesting. The belt definitely DID need to be switched out, but maybe at some point there were two noises. I have no idea.

I don’t know if/how much they drove it… the weird thing is that each time I left the dealership, the noise had gone away, but only for a mile or so. That’s why I thought for sure it was the belt and/or tensioner, and that whatever they did to grease it up put a kind of band-aid on it.

Someone I spoke to at work thought that it might be a rock up in the drum. Any thoughts on that?

Could be… also could be that maybe the rear shoes are set too tight and are actually rubbing a little all the time…

PS why do you say the belt did need to be changed out? Did they show it to you? was it cracked?

They didn’t show it to me, but I have a very trustworthy mechanic who told me that he was glad I’d come in when I did because the belt was very thin by that point. I know, I know, most mechanics are bad guys, but this person is a legitimately good dude with totally reasonable prices. When I needed brake pads and rotors, I got that whole job done for 250, and when I needed the belt, he did an oil change, the after-market belt and labor for 100. When I said the dealer told me I needed a Honda factory belt, he put it in free of any charge at all. So, I think (hope) I can trust him!

“Someone I spoke to at work thought that it might be a rock up in the drum.”

Several years back, I rented a car in Seattle and drove through the Olympic Peninsula. On day two, a very similar noise began shreiking at us as we drove along in that crappy Ford Tempo. Fearing that it might be a wheel bearing about to seize, I did some investigating and diagnosing of the problem.

After crawling under the car, I found that a rock was securely lodged between one of the drive axles and…hmmm…I can’t recall what other component was involved. Anyway–once I determined that it was merely an errant rock, I just continued to drive. After about 6 hours, the rock finally shattered–most likely from the friction-induced heat.

While I don’t think that your case involves a rock that wound up inside the brake drum, there is a real possibility that there is a rock lodged somewhere in the area of one of the drive axles. The noise from your car and the noise from my rental car are eerily similar.

I agree that this is not a belt noise.

It could be caused by the power steering pump putting a load on the belt, but then
it would happen when the wheels were turned while stopped, as well as moving.

I would question this guy’s abilities or character. Sounds like a brake problem to me.
Maybe he doesn’t want to admit to making a mistake when he worked on the brakes.

If it’s just a bent back plate, he could have fixed it in a minute.

Sounds just like my Mini when the shield for the brakes got bent.

I don’t think that most mechanics are bad guys as you seem to think and I know quite a few of them.

If the environmental conditions where you live are harsh then I might (?) go along with an aging belt. The odds of a tensioner being bad are just about zero at that age and mileage.
You should be aware that Honda does not manufacture their own belts. They’re probably produced by the same company who manufactures the aftermarket belt you originally used. The only difference is the ink stamp on the belt and the packaging.

It was difficult for me to determine exactly what the problem is with PC speakers as I have about a 50% hearing loss in both ears but I’m in agreement that the problem may be related to the brakes; distorted rotor shield, errant brake pad vibration shim or spring clip, etc, etc.

Brake rotor shields can get bent during a brake job when a “worker” grabs what ever he can to turn the steering left or right to gain access to the caliper bolts. After a customer come back or two a mechanic will learn to avoid laying hand on the brake rotor shield and push/pull on the caliper/tie rod to turn the steering.

From your story your mechanic doesn’t impress me, I think he may bend many brake rotor shields.

When you take your car to a shop and ask that they check your belt tensioner they might just check you belt tensioner. If you ask them to identify a noise like this terrible squeak they might find the problem and correct it for a minimal charge or for free.

Since last fall has been a long time for this problem to continue. While I concur that a mechanic error is entirely possible there could be other factors involved.

Playing Devil’s Advocate for a minute, what about the possibility of road salt, snow/ice, or road debris being at fault along with the possibility of the driver’s braking habits?
Running both pads and rotors off of a 2010 model at the 23k miles mark points to a fair amount of braking going on.