Faint, mechanical, rubbing noise in front end - 2018 Honda Clarity Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Faint, mechanical, rubbing noise in front end

When I'm driving around town in my base 2018 PHEV Clarity, I hear a faint, mechanical, rubbing noise that sounds like it is coming from the front tires. I don't hear the sound when I'm stopped nor does it get worse when I brake. At first, I thought it might be a stuck brake caliper but neither set of brakes are hot. I have about 10,000 miles on the car and mpg does not seem to be affected. The sound does appear to be getting louder, however. I thought I'd post in this forum before I make a service appointment with my nearest Honda dealer, which is 60 miles away. Anybody know what this could be? /Anybody experienced the same problem?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 07:17 AM
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Yes, that has happened to mine. Seems related to the brakes. Whenever it stops, it starts again after I have applied the brakes. Took it to the dealer, but as I drove into the shop, I hit a bump that caused it to stop, so obviously, nothing was found. Made the same kind of sound after I hadn't driven it for awhile and then applied the brakes. Dealer said that rust build-up was the culprit. They cleaned it off and the noise went away.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 09:46 AM
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When I test drove my Clarity I could hear a faint tapping sound from what seemed to be the wheels. The salesperson in the passenger seat said he couldn't hear it, well at least he claimed he couldn't hear it. I asked to have a mechanic take a look, the mechanic test drove, heard the sound, cleaned off brake rust and that eliminated the sound. Since then I occasionally hear it briefly usually after it has rained and the car has sat overnight, it goes away after a few miles and a few stops.

Our brakes actually get used very little because most braking is done with regen, even when you step on the brake pedal only a small amount of force goes onto the actual brakes, unless you brake really hard. One way to clear it more quickly would be to do some hard braking, but not sure anyone really wants to do that, so in most cases it might be better to just let it naturally clear itself. I have heard that if you put it in neutral then press the brakes that all of the braking is done by the pads. Whether that is true or not I don't know, and of course you would only want to do that if no other cars are around because it is not always safe to coast in neutral although that is more of an issue on a downhill where the brakes might overheat.

If the sound doesn't go away though then it might be something else.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-03-2020, 12:19 AM
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I have a 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Touring, purchased new in April 2019, and have put about 8500 miles on it. I am loving the car but I have heard a similar sound which I think I am hearing from the right front wheel also. I start to hear it when I get up to 30 to 40 mph and when I am in EV mode. In HV mode, it was still there but not as noticeable over the engine sound. It is a very dull, low volume "whomp-whomp" type sound that increases in frequency the faster you go. I don't feel any vibration in the steering wheel or unusual handling of the car in turns or going straight. In fact, I can take my hands off the wheel on a straight drive and car stays straight, no pulls to either side. Tried opening the passenger window to see if I could hear it better but it does not sound any louder plus the wind noise probably covers it up anyway. I thought it could be tire sounds or just wind noise or just maybe the car runs so quiet that I am picking up on a normal sound that would not be noticeable otherwise. I was concerned that it could also be the beginning of a bad front axle or bearing problem. So after, I had the car for about 1 month and about 550 miles, I took it back to the dealer and explained what I was hearing. They checked the brakes and tires and could find no problem. They even offered to go with me on a road test, which I did and pointed out the sound I was hearing and the technician said that was normal sound for the car. So 8000 miles and over 1 year later, the sound is still there but not getting any worse and the handling, braking and steering are fine so far. I tried to do some research on the issue and do recall reading somewhere that the electric motor may be making the sound but that it is a normal sound for the motor. So I am just keeping an "ear" on the sound and if it gets worse, I will bring it up when the car goes in for its next maintenance.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-03-2020, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marschja View Post
When I'm driving around town in my base 2018 PHEV Clarity, I hear a faint, mechanical, rubbing noise that sounds like it is coming from the front tires. I don't hear the sound when I'm stopped nor does it get worse when I brake.
If it doesn't eventually go away then it could possibly be a bad wheel bearing. There have been a few Clarity that had a front wheel bearing that went out after a few thousand miles. Replacing a wheel bearing is a relatively simple repair for a dealer service department, and apparently the wheel bearing is shared with other Honda vehicles so it's not hard for them to get the parts. The repair is covered under the general three-year 36,000 mile warranty.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthondo View Post
I have heard a similar sound which I think I am hearing from the right front wheel also. I start to hear it when I get up to 30 to 40 mph.... It is a very dull, low volume "whomp-whomp" type sound that increases in frequency the faster you go. .....the technician said that was normal sound for the car.
If it's a bad wheel bearing it will eventually get louder and it will become obvious to a technician what it is. Although it's apparently hard to tell just from the sound which wheel it is, sometimes they replace one wheel bearing and the sound is still there so they replace the other one and the sound goes away.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-03-2020, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Rust

I think FastTrack19 may be on to something. I wonder if the issue may be rust on the brakes. I bought my 2018 Clarity in Madison, Wisconsin in June of 2019. It had been sitting on the showroom floor of the Honda dealer for about a year. It only had a few miles on it. Not that I think about it, the brakes sound loud as I brake down my driveway as I exit to the street. Would taking the car to my local mechanic to deal with any rust build up risk voiding the warranty? I live in Northeast Iowa. My closest Honda dealer is 60 miles away.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 11:00 PM
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Easiest way to clean the surface rust off your brake rotors is to take the car up to 60 and then brake sharply and firmly, as if you were making an emergency stop for an animal running into the road, for example. Obviously, you want to do this with due caution in an appropriate time and place. Best to let off the brakes at about 10 mph, before coming to a complete stop (unless you really need to stop of course). On the county highways where I live, I get to do this for real from time to time (it was sandhill cranes today), and you can really feel the friction brakes working. Not something you want to do every day, but once in a while cleans and quiets the brakes. Otherwise, in normal driving, regen is doing 99 percent of the braking, and the friction brakes don't get used enough to wipe the surface rust.

Last edited by 60Hertz; 07-08-2020 at 11:23 PM. Reason: added detail
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-29-2020, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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I tried this 2-3 times--got it up to 60 and then hit the brakes hard. I left some rubber on the pavement but the sound is still there and it seems to be getting louder. Any other ideas? What does the sound of a wheel bearing out sound like?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by marschja View Post
I tried this 2-3 times--got it up to 60 and then hit the brakes hard. I left some rubber on the pavement but the sound is still there and it seems to be getting louder. Any other ideas? What does the sound of a wheel bearing out sound like?
Some people have had rust that even hard braking didn't fix and the only thing that fixed it was having the rust ground off. You said you have a local mechanic, they can likely determine which it is. You asked earlier about it voiding the warranty to have a local mechanic remove rust, no it wouldn't. Although if it turns out to be a wheel bearing and you have your mechanic replace it Honda won't reimburse you, the only way to get a wheel bearing replaced for free under warranty is at a dealership.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2020, 07:45 AM
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The rust on the rotors may not be on the breaking pad section.
The breaking surface is limited to the area the pads actually contact.

There is the area on the outer and inner diameter that continues to rust regardless of how hard you activate the brakes.

When we had these complaints we routinely would knock the rust of the areas that had the build up.
It generally was the outer diameter rust that would hit the caliper carrier and make the noise.

Gently hitting the area of the build up rust scales will flake it off the rotor rather easily from the area effected.

I doubt anyone still bothers to do this as replacement rotors looks to be what repair shops will do instead.
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