Groaning after brake job

I recently had my 2002 Honda Civic checked for maintenance on my brakes. I have about 53,000 miles on it. I was talked into a complete brake job - new pads, rotors, even drums.

I had to take the car back a few days after the brake job due to a terrible noise that I was later told was a loose heat shield (now fixed). Now I’ve driven the car about 200 miles since the work was done and I hear a groaning noise most of the time that I brake. The car service place told me that I need to drive 3,000 miles so the new equipment can “break in”.

Is this true, or should I take the car back to service yet again? I hate the thought of going back to that place yet again, but this noise worries me.



There is no break-in period for new brakes. They should work perfectly, and without unusual noises, every time you use them, just like they did when the car was new. Something is not right and they should fix it.

Was this some sort of chain shop?

Alas, I did take the car to a chain shop - Car-X - because a co-worker recommended them. Bad, bad idea. Maybe I should take the car in the next time i’m able (Tuesday) instead of waiting until the end of the week. Guess I learned my lesson with this experience. They are not going to be happy to see me again there.

Possibly the heat shield is rubbing on the rotor. Or, the whole caliper is loose and vibrating (bad).

Take it somewhere else and ask them to ride with you. They should be able to find the problem quickly.

Thank you, that’s very helpful.
As much as I hate the idea, I think I may go back to Car-X and ask (assertively) that they correct the problem. I am too broke to pay someone else now. I know they are going to go on and on about “breaking in” noise but I think I have to stand my ground on this issue.

The groaning noise could be caused from improper break-in of the friction surfaces of the brake components. Try this.

Get the vehicle up to 35-40 MPH. Then apply the brakes firmly to whoa the vehicle down as quickly as possible without activating the ABS. Repeat this a half a dozen times leaving over a minute between braking events to allow the brakes to cool down. See if that stops the groaning.


Ask the guy at the shop to put his explanation of the “break-in” noise in writing. He won’t.

If he won’t or can’t fix it, you could have it fixed elsewhere and sue him in small claims court for the cost.

Keep copies of all your receipts.

If the sound is similar to the way city buses sound when they brake, then it may not be a problem, just an annoyance. Some brake compounds do make noise. My experience is that brake pads that are noisy are also dirty - meaning that they turn your wheels black with dust as they wear.

If the problem is the pad material, I agree with Tester that you might be able to get rid of the noise by seating in the new pads. If that does not work, and the noise is really annoying, you are going to have try to make the shop put on different pads.

I took the car back - for the 2nd time - to CarX today. The mechanic drove around me and told me the groaning/rubbing sound was due to an issue with the placing of the drums. I also told him about a metallic chirp sound that comes and goes on the right drivers side since the brake job, but of course it wasn’t making that noise when i brought the car back. He worked on it -but- I was just driving the car and there is still a rubbing noise when I brake, although lighter now! The chirping also continues ( I think it might be a rotar issue). Should I bring the car back for a 3RD time? I’m not sure how they are going to react when they see me again!

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Ask him if they installed shims with the pads. Japanese cars make lots of noises when new pads are installed without shims.

This shows up top of search engine list so for future reference.

Anytime you install new breaks you have to take the car out and stomp on the breaks 6 or more times taking breaks in between if you do not seat the breaks this way it will cause all sorts of problems down the line.

hopefully after 7 years the OP got their brake problems fixed…also Tester already mentioned seating the brakes in a previous post…friggen necro-threads…:rage:

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Yep you are certainly sorry as you can’t be bothered to see why I posted. The thread helped me so I simply reiterated and clarified for future people who searched this just like me.
You you guns will certainly learn that information does not die.

I did see what you posted. It also wasn’t the solution to the OP’s problem. (also wasn’t necessarily the best explanation for how to seat the brakes, but that’s not really the issue here). I’m aware that information doesn’t die. I’ve used the search function before as well. There was just no reason to dig this thread back up. Most people are intelligent enough to read through the threads and take what they need out of them, then make a new post if they have any further questions.

I’ve never done this and I’ve never had “problems down the line.”

The secret is simply quality parts, correctly installed.


Because you don’t know better.

You’re not going to make friends, if you attack us

Are you saying that insightful’s advice “The secret is simply quality parts, correctly installed” is NOT good advice . . . ?

If so, you won’t get many people to agree with you

And that comment “Because you don’t know better.” sounds very smug, aggressive and insulting


@cdaquila Intervention Time.


Hey, now. Let’s take a minute here. When Kelly commented on this thread, a couple of the responses were flagged as inappropriate when a member thought that the two regulars who first responded not by addressing the substance of her comment but instead knocking her for violating a community preference she wouldn’t know about. We can’t bulk-close threads anymore, so I beg and plead that you not fault the less-frequent posters for commenting on old threads.

She’s been registered here for almost five years, so you can’t attribute this to coming in to stir up trouble. I agreed that the responses weren’t helpful, and predictably Kelly responded in a way that was also caustic. It’s fine to disagree with her - just say why, and let’s stay respectful of everyone, New or old. we want more discussion here, not less. Thank you!

A lot of high-perfomance brake pads do specify a bed-in procedure that involve hard stops from various speeds, with specific cool-down intervals in between. But I doubt this aplies here, and the procedure is a little more complicated than jus stomping on the brakes several times.