Honda CRV brakes

In February 2014 I purchased a 2011 Honda CRV. I live in Maryland. I often travel and am gone for about a week. Everytime I come back the rear brake are rusted. They have a loud thumping and grinding sound. I immediately took the car back to Honda dealership (2 time) both times they ‘shaved’ the roaters.
I then contacted Honda headquarters to report the issue. They told me to deal with the dealership and take it to a local mechanic for other opinions. Car Talk will be my second opinion. Honda dealership told me that this is just the way it is. This is my third Honda, I have NOT had this problem before. What do you know about this issue and what can I do?


There’s something wrong with the rear brakes. It’s normal for surface rust to form on the rotors after a week of sitting, and you should be able to hop in and drive off with no problems. Resurfacing the rotors should not be necessary. Something else is wrong, and the dealership obviously doesn’t know what to do.

Find a recommended independent local mechanic, preferably a trained Honda tech if possible, for another opinion. Do not go to a Midas-type brake chain shop. This should not be that hard to figure out.

On some older CRVs there was a problem with the brake caliper bracket and brake pad retainers rusting and grinding on each other:

This first happened to me with a Civic after a week sitting, and recently with my current Insight. The first time it happened, the noise and feel was so alarming I pulled to the side of the road and found nothing obviously wrong. My noise goes away after 5 - 10 miles and all is fine. Does your noise go away? If not, you might try aftermarket rotors.

This is a great place to ask about others’ experiences & opinions & ideas as to what might be going on, but for a true second opinion you should take these ideas & recommendations & talk to a good mechanic. The “Mechanic Files” link at the top can help you locate highly recommended shops in your area, perhaps even a Honda specialist. There are probably also Honda-specific chat sites where you can float this same topic to other Honda owners and maybe find more people experiencing this same phenomenon. Good luck figuring it out!

Rust on bare metal brake rotors after sitting for a few days is normal. Thats what metal does when exposed. A grinding sound is also normal for the first few brake applies after the rotors have rust on them. As soon as the rust is polished away, the sound should be normal. I don’t know about a clunking sound from rust. Never had that before. You don’t happen to have the parking brake on all the time it is parked do you? That might account for the clunking sound as it is trying to free itself. You’ve already been to the dealer about it so it sounds like it is all normal and just something mechanical parts do.

Hmmm…“loud thumping and grinding” doesn’t sound normal to me…also, OP says this is her third Honda and has never had this problem before…

It can be quite normal for rust to accumulate on brake rotors as they’re made of cast iron and especially so if you live in a high humidity or ocean environment Based on MD, I’d say you do.

The thumping could be the brake pads trying to grab and this could be a function more of the brake pad material rather than the rust on the rotors. Think of it as similar to the sole of a sneaker chattering on a gymnasium floor when it digs in and doesn’t slip.

At one time Subaru had a problem like this on which the brakes of brand new cars would randomly grind badly during the first few stops on a humid morning.
Maybe replacing the rear pads with a set of aftermarkets would cure this problem.

This is definitely not normal and safe

I’ve driven plenty of vehicles that have sat for months, and I know they had surface oxidation on the rotors and drums

But they didn’t make any thumping noise, not even during those few stops during which the brake pads were grinding away the rust

Are you leaving it parked outside or in the garage? You might can solve this problem just by parking it indoors, if that’s an option.

My Corolla has disc brakes on the front and sometimes sits for a couple of weeks. I’ve never had a problem such as described by the OP. hmmm … I’m wondering if at some point aftermarket rotors and/or pads got installed on this vehicle? Vendors can save money on the manufacture of parts if they use easier to work with materials. And those materials might tend to rust more than the OEM version. If the problem continues and is considered to be serious enough to be unacceptable, probably what I’d do is ask Honda to install new OEM Honda rotors and Honda pads. And to make sure the appropriate places where brake grease is supposed to be has a good coating of fresh brake grease.

The only other thing I can think of is that the problem is caused by road salt. But that would only occur in the winter. If this is a winter-only problem, you might try spraying the discs off with clean hose water and driving a short distance to dry things up before leaving it parked for longer periods.