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Brakes randomly squeak/grumble/grind 2010 Honda Civic

I got my car inspected this summer, and the front brakes were reported as 8 and my rear brakes 6. I got front brakes not too long ago, and my rear brakes are original to the car. Recently, my brakes have very randomly (maybe once per car ride) started making a gentle squeaking or light grinding / grumbling noise when I apply the brakes. It doesn’t seem to matter how hard I apply them or at what point during the car ride it is. Now, it will never squeak or grumble/grind at the same time, and the sound is never very loud. It also does not happen when my foot is off the brake or when the brake is released. Only when the brake is applied. I’ve had squeaking happen in my previous car’s rear brakes when some fluid was leaking, and my rear brakes had to be serviced, however, this sounds like it is coming from the front. I went looking in my owner’s manual for a service schedule (for a maintenance code not related to this issue) and noted in very small print underneath the schedule that I should have replaced my brake fluid about a year ago (thanks, Honda, for the fine print). I don’t know whether this could be related, and yes, I am going to get my car checked/serviced soon, but I cannot do it until next week. My questions are what might be causing the noise and also if it could be dangerous. I don’t think that my brake pads are worn. The brakes also function very well as far as I can tell. I have no issues stopping. Thanks for any input. Oh, and I have 75K miles on my car, if that matters.

My guess is that you have a caliper sticking. People doing state inspections don’t check both pads on each caliper. A sticky caliper will cause one pad to wear much faster than the other, wearing right through in many cases to where one pad is dragging its rivets or backplate, and that’ll make exactly the sound you describe. The other pad, same brake, probably looks fine.

The fluid is unrelated. I change mine out every 5 years, but you might as well get it done when you get the caliper changed. Note that on the end with the stuck caliper you’ll need to get both sides done so that the friction is balanced.

I doubt this is related to not changing the brake fluid on schedule.

Slides may need to be lubed, dust is getting between the pads and disc, rotor surface’s has oxidized, water is warped, pads are not Honda OEM, anti-squeal shims didn’t get replaced correctly on last service, all are possibilities. I think you are probably just going to have someone take a look. I doubt this will prove to be much of a problem to correct once you get an expert looking into the situation for you.

Haha, pads are not Honda (and never will be again). My first set of Honda brake pads went waaay too quickly for my liking, and I will likely never go to Honda for service again. I don’t trust them anymore. Thank you both for your input… is my car okay to drive until next week?

No way to tell without a visible inspection.

Agreed. Can’t see the pads from here.

I wouldn’t procrastinate too long, however. If there’s a pad dragging it could cause secondary damage from the heat.

I’ll call and try for an appointment this week then. I don’t like when it makes noises like this, no matter how sporadic and infrequent they are. Thanks.

Just an update, my brakes are fine. The rotors are not at their very best anymore, and have some surface rust, causing the noises (they were machined once already). I was instructed to wait to deal with them until it’s time for new pads again, so I don’t have unnecessary labor costs. The mechanic said to also hang in there for brake fluid changes, as they’re not necessary unless the fluid appears cruddy or I really aggressively use my brakes. I’m okay with that suggestion. I got away with only an oil change and engine filter, so I am pleased.

When you do decide to do the brakes, ask the mechanic to show you the pads. If they aren’t worn evenly, if on a caliper one pad is scrubbed off and the other far less worn, that’s a sure sign of a sticking caliper. Seeing as how the vehicle is only 4 years old, cleaning and lubing the slides would probably take car of it. If were older I’d suggest just changing the caliper.

Glad you got it taken care of OP! Happy Thanksgiving, & best of luck.

Glad to hear it. I would get the brake fluid done when you do the brakes. Brake fluid is only good for 3 years. Brake fluid absorbs water and rots out brake parts from the inside out. Also, can cause brake failure if it gets hot enough to boil. It’s cheap insurance on keeping your ABS system, Master cylinder, and calipers from failing.