Speed sensitive pulsing noise-dealer thinks it's a rotor issue.

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by 228ra, Jul 20, 2020.

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  1. 228ra

    228ra Member

    Back from a very frustrating appointment at my local Honda dealer to investigate a speed sensitive pulsing noise in my 2018 Clarity PHEV most noticeable at speeds from 20-40 mph. Sound is like "sh sh sh sh sh", is not audible until car has been driven for a few minutes. Cuts out when taking a turn, then returns after tracking straight. Has been present for at least 8 months, with no change in intensity or frequency. Tech determined it was a high point in one of the rear rotors that needed to be shaved down. I'm convinced it has nothing to do with that - especially since I feel as if the noise is coming from the front of the car. I declined the service because it's non-warranty and the car drives just fine. Left the dealer annoyed that I don't have a fix and they charged me $60 to diagnose the problem (again, b/c they felt it was brake related). Anyone experiencing anything similar with their Clarity?
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  3. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    I know that sound very well. I and others on this forum have had to have our rotors resurfaced due to rust. I've never had a car with such rust-prone rotors. The problem is worse if you don't drive your Clarity often to give the pads a shot at clearing off the rust.

    The rust problem may be worse with the Clarity because the car has a tendency to bring gallons of rain/road water with it into the garage before dumping them on the floor. Many of my yard tools have rusted since we bought our Clarity in November, 2017. I have to scrub the thick coating of Michigan road-salt off the garage floor every Spring--otherwise the floor stays wet with the hydrophilic salt. Of course, the salty winter water promotes rust even better than rainwater.

    Our absent mentor on sabbatical, @KentuckyKen, set up a dehumidifier in his garage to solve the problem. Now when I return home with a wet Clarity I leave it outside for a while to give it a chance to drain some of the road-water retained in the under-body panels. Later, I go back out and put it in the garage.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
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  4. Terry L Cripe

    Terry L Cripe New Member

    Yes. Same symptoms. I have noticed, however, that hitting a bump makes it go away until I need to brake again. I took it to the dealer but as I turned into the driveway, I hit a bump that caused it to stop, so the dealer didn't hear it. I will take it back with a better explanation when the next service is due.
    228ra likes this.
  5. Nemesis

    Nemesis Active Member

    I had a similar noise and my dealer said the rotors had rust on them. At first, I thought it was a wheel bearing but the tech sanded the rotors where he thought the noise was coming from and viola, noise is gone. He actually hand sanded lol.
    228ra likes this.
  6. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    To OP...I have no reason to believe the dealer is incorrect in their diagnosis. Rusted rear rotors is a common complaint on these cars, and will do exactly as you describe.

    For anyone mechanically inclined and capable of performing brake jobs...RockAuto has a multitude of name-brand rear rotors listed for this car available as low as $21.00 each, with most expensive being $79 each. Some claim to be coated for better rust resistance, but that only keeps the non-contact cosmetic surfaces looking pretty longer. Just beware there is no such thing as "coated" braking surfaces, so a "coated" rotor is an irrelevant marketing ploy from a function perspective. Anyway, swapping rotors is not hard, and super cheap. If my car ever starts making this noise, I'll throw less than $100 to Rock Auto for an average quality pair of aftermarket rotors, maybe even better than OEM, spend an hour in my shop swapping them, and throw the originals in the trash.

    For those who don't do their own maintenance, I'm sure a dealer will be happy to do the same for $600 or more...cuz that's just what dealers do to their customers for simple non-warranty repairs. OEM rotors list for about $145 each, and they obviously pretty much suck, so it's senseless for anybody to purchase rotors from Honda.

    Good independent mechanic will also do the same for half the price of a dealer with non-Honda parts, likely with better and longer lasting results.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
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  8. 228ra

    228ra Member

    Wow, thanks to all for the quick feedback. Dealer wanted $258 to clean up just one of the rear rotors!!! If this is not a safety issue, I'll probably just live with the noise, though it is hard to ignore now that I'm so tuned into it.
  9. Evfred

    Evfred Member

    In Canada, but my dealer resurfaced the rotors under warranty when I said there was noise from the brakes during service. They mentioned something about Clarity being specifically oked for brake resurfacing under warranty. As with all dealer talk take it with a grain of salt but it could be worth asking?
    228ra likes this.
  10. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    At the risk of being too simple, have you tried a few hard stops in a row? Make sure the friction brakes engage by stopping quickly enough (where safe) to get past the regen braking. Do it a few times in a row to heat things up a bit. Then make sure you drive for a few minutes without using the brakes to cool the brakes off. Then see if the sh-sh-sh- is still there.
  11. 228ra

    228ra Member

    Last night on a quiet highway, I made 3 hard stops from 60 mph within 10 min and I was not able to eliminate the noise.
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  13. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    Well, it's always good to do the easy things first! I guess it's time to either live with it or get that rotors cleaned up. The cost you were quoted from the dealer scared me. Call around to some well-reviewed brake shops and see if you can get them all front and rear smoothed out for that price. Unless of course @Evfred is on to something and the dealer will do it for free if you contact Honda?
  14. rodeknyt

    rodeknyt Active Member

    Put the car in Neutral and apply the brakes. Regardless of speed, that will use the friction brakes.
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  15. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    That was my experience, too. I made hard stops for two weeks and was worrying about premature front tire wear when I finally gave up and went to my dealer's service department to get the brakes resurfaced (or hand-sanded for all I know).
  16. Danks

    Danks Active Member

    Had same symptoms listed by OP. Was about time for maintenance anyway - near 15,000 miles - so I brought our car in to our trusted local shop and had them do the oil change and inspection. I told him the sound I was hearing and how it changed as I turned the car a bit one way or the other - very much like brake wear bars. He said that the rotors had a little bit of rust on them, but not enough to warrant doing anything. Brakes looked fine.
    228ra likes this.
  17. Breezy

    Breezy Member

    Same noise, same change when turning wheel a bit. I think (but not sure) the noise happens after I first use the brakes when driving. This all started during early covid when we rarely used the car, so my guess is rust induced. I'll be bringing the car for the A02 maintenance (mostly free from dealer where I bought the car since I'll replace the cabin filter myself) and will see what they say about it (and will take with grain of salt).
  18. aapitten

    aapitten Active Member

    I had my rotors turned for the first time after having the car just a few months. The dealer took a little convincing, but they did it under warranty. Happened again just a few months ago, and my car is about 2 years old, just before warranty expiration. The dealer this time did it without blinking an eye.

    I have done several hard stops to test and see if that helps when I am having the issue, it does not, even though I know the friction brakes are grabbing. I like the idea of trying it in neutral.

    I suspect another major contributing factor is the very low friction brake usage of our cars.
    gedwin likes this.

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