CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2012 Honda Civic Brake Noise

I bought a 2012 honda civic HF, now has 1000 miles. I hear a clunk when I release the pedal. I heard the same noise on another car that was on the dealer’s lot. The dealership has not been helpful with fixing this issue; they said the clunk is normal. Honda has not been all that helpful. What is making this sound and what can I do about this?

When you apply the brakes you put pressure and stress forces into the entire suspension system of the car. When you release the brakes these pressures are released and some parts of the suspension can literally move as a result. Normally there are bushings and such designed into the suspension so there should be no clunking.

Find a way to drive the car and produce the “clunking” sound on a predictable basis. Then take a service department guy for a drive and make sure the clunk is heard. Get the service rep to write up that the clunk was heard, so you can document the problem was reported to Honda. The next step is to have a front end and/or suspension specialist mechanic go for a drive with you so you can produce the clunk again. Then let the tech investigate and fix the problem.

It could be a brake caliper shifting, a bad strut, or bad rubber bushing in a sway bar. These are pretty sophisticated suspensions and lots of parts that can move and make a noise so it can take time to track down the culprit. Sometimes it is something simple like the spare tire, jack, and/or tire changing hardware isn’t correctly fastened down in the trunk.

Thank you UncleTurbo. The sound is reliably produced and I drove with a dealership technician who acknowledged the sound. There was a write up, only the dealership said the noise was normal for this car. I have never heard a clunk after releasing the brake on any car I drove, other than my Civic and another I drove from the dealership. The dealership has been reluctant to explore possible fixes. I am currently waiting to hear back from Honda, but they keep rescheduling times to talk with me about this issue. I just wanted to get a sense of what this noise is so I can discuss it with either or both Honda reps and the dealership. The sound is heard when I release the brake quickly and the pedal is returning to it stationary position. The sound is heard inside but seems to be coming from the master brake cylinder, but I am not sure.

I have a squeaky clutch on my '03 Civic. Apparently it is coming from the brake master cylinder as determined by Honda dealer. I decided to live with it and it hasn’t changed for the better or worse over the last 8 years.

Try to figure out what is causing the noise then you can decide what to do about it. In my clutch case Honda would not replace it under warranty, hence it squeaks on.

This might just be normal if it is coming from the master cylinder area. There is a small gap at the end of the pushrod that comes out of the brake booster to the master cylinder. It could simply be when you lift off the brake suddenly, you are hearing the master cylinder piston hitting its stop. This noise is usually muffled in most vehicles, but the 2012 Civic was downrated to “Not Recommended” status by Consumers Report due to materials and finish issues with this model.

If they claim it’s “normal”, have them come with you on a test drive of a similar vehicle. If the clunk is heard in the other vehicle, than it’s normal. And in that case a vile letter to Honda is in order. If it can’t be heard in the other similar vehicle, than you’ve proved that it isn;t normal and the dealer’s shop has some diagnostic work to do,