Honda Pilot Grinding Noise: Starting, Accelerating, Turning, Braking

I hate when my knee grinds, but you know what I hate even more than that? When I hear a grinding noise in my car. I know I have a bad knee, but at least I thought my Honda Pilot was doing fine. Well, I guess I was wrong!

Leaving my bad humor aside, if your Honda Pilot is experiencing some of that nasty grinding noise, don’t worry, I got you covered. Here are the top 4 situations when it can happen and how to fix the underlying cause to stop the noise for good.

1. Grinding Noise When Starting

There are a couple of reasons why this can happen. It’s most likely coming from the AC compressor due to liquid migration. During startup it’s compressing a small amount of liquid and that’s what’s causing the grinding noise. You can test for this by starting the car with the AC on and off. See if it makes a difference. Now, here’s that terrifying noise:

For some owners this happens only when the cars been parked and off for a longer period of time. If that’s your situation, starting your Honda Pilot every day can prevent this type of liquid migration from happening and eliminate the noise.

Many Honda Pilot owners have noticed the same noise happening ever since they bought their brand new Honda Pilot and it hasn’t caused any real issues after many miles, aside from being annoying of course.

2. Grinding Noise When Accelerating

This is probably happening due to a damaged wheel bearing. This can happen if you drive with imbalanced tires and/or have a bad wheel alignment. Bad wheel bearings are typically replaced, rather than fixed. According to these are the expected costs:

The average cost for a Honda Pilot wheel bearing replacement is between $266 and $366. Labor costs are estimated between $190 and $239 while parts are priced between $77 and $127.

I’ve provided full instructions for replacing a Honda Pilot wheel bearing in this article, so check it out if you’re interested in doing that.

Related: Clunking Noise When the Pressing Gas Pedal? 6 Causes and Fixes!

3. Grinding Noise When Turning

A grinding noise when turning can also be an indicator of a bad wheel bearing. Other potential reasons are a leaky axle and a misaligned brake guard.

If it happens during sharp U-turns it’s likely a bad CV joint. It’s also worth mentioning that if you replace the CV joints but don’t replace the axle, if grease from the CV leaks out it can screw up the axle.

You should also check out the power steering fluid level. If it’s below normal, it is an indicator of a leak in the system and should be addressed.

This video shows regular folks how to check power steering fluid level and change the fluid if necessary. It helped some viewers eliminate the noise altogether:

4. Grinding Noise When Braking

First and most common reason is a worn brake pad. Once the surface material from the braking plate has worn off there will be metal-on-metal interaction which is bound to cause grinding noise.

It’s important to get this fixed because the backing plate can damage the rotor, causing grooves and serious damage to it. The rotor will also damage the metal of the caliper and vice-versa. This could require replacements which are not cheap. For example, the average cost for Honda Pilot brake rotors replacement is $435.

Here’s a video showing how to replace brake pads on a newer Honda Pilot model:

Another common reason is foreign object or debris stuck in the brakes. For example, if this started happening when you were taking that trip over rough mountain terrain, it could be a rock caught between the caliper and the rotor.

With foreign objects/debris the noise can sometimes be heard even when you’re not braking. This video shows how to inspect your brakes for foreign objects:

The third common reason are low quality brake pads. Not all brake pads are created equal! That’s why it’s recommended to get OEM quality brake pads. If the noise started happening after you replaced your brake pads, it could be that they are semi-metallic, not ceramic. These types of pads can contain metallic chunks that can damage the rotors and cause the grinding noise in the process.

The fourth most common reason is the wear indicator from the pads connecting with the rotor. As the name suggests, a wear indicator is preinstalled on many brake pads and is designed to warn the driver that the pad material is getting low and should soon be replaced. Sometimes this is heard as more of a squealing than a grinding noise. Here are 5 more signs that you just might need new brake pads.

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