Funky brake noise

Hi all,

My wife’s civic hybrid has 200,000 miles on it.

Lately, we have noticed that when the brakes are applied firmly at a high speed (45 mph), we hear a grinding noise. It goes rrrROH…rrrROH…rrrROH. There is a direct correlation to rotation of the wheels. You only hear the sound when the car has nearly stopped. Sounds like it is in the front end. We don’t hear it when slowing down more gradually.

Any thoughts on what it could be?

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The front brake pads have what are called wear indicators.

These are metal tabs on the brake pads that come in contact with the rotors when the brake pads wear to a certain point, causing any kind of noise.

I see a front brake job in your future.


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Front pads wore out as Tester suggests is the most likely. If your Civic Hybrid uses electric drive motor assisted braking, could be something to do with that too. But have the front pads and rotors checked to see if they’re past the wear limit first.

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Most likely brakes, as you suspect. However, your symptoms sound a lot like a noise a Honda Fit we have made before we found out it needed CV joints. If you can’t find a brake problem I would check the CVs and also the wheel bearings. The correlation to braking could be due to loading and unloading the rotating part that is failing. George San Jose makes a good observation too. Regen could be a cause. I hope you will re-post the diagnosis and fix!