General Tips Archives

Fixing Honda Rear License Plate Rattle

Is your rear license plate rattling when you close your trunk/hatch or when you are just driving down the road?  There is a fairly simple fix to prevent that annoying rattle.

The main cause of the noise is the license plate frame is not being held close enough to the license plate, allowing both to rattle against each other.  One way of eliminating this is to apply a couple strips of automotive sealer along the top and bottom of the license plate holder.  The sealer will pad the frame and get rid of that annoying rattle.

Causes of Honda Brake Click or Groan

Brake Click

Have you noticed your brakes making a click noise when going in reverse then again when in drive?

A clearance between the brake caliper brackets and the ends of the brake pads allows for heat expansion and avoids corrosion between the caliper bracket and the brake pads. So, the next time you back up and apply the brakes and then drive forward and apply the brakes, the single “click” noise you hear is just a normal characteristic of the braking system.

Brake Groan

After starting your vehicle, have you ever wondered what that groaning noise is when you first begin to drive in forward or reverse?

On models with a compact anti-lock brake system (ABS) unit, your vehicle’s ABS emits a brief grunt or groan when it does a self-check. The self-check occurs when a vehicle is backed up or driven forward after being started. This noise is associated with the ABS self-check and doesn’t mean there’s a problem with the ABS.

Fuel Mileage and your Honda – Things You Should Know

Set Correct Tire Pressures – Use an accurate tire gauge to set the tire pressures to the recommended values listed on the driver’s doorjamb sticker. These values are the recommended cold inflation pressures that are the best compromise for ride quality, steering feel, handling, and fuel economy. When replacing tires, always go with OEM tires, they’re optimized for low rolling resistance.

Use the Correct Engine Oil – A higher viscosity engine oil increases internal engine drag, and that reduces fuel mileage. Always use the recommended engine oil for your vehicle.

Accelerate Moderately and Smoothly – Avoid pressing the accelerator pedal excessively. Hard acceleration burns a lot of fuel. Very slow acceleration keeps the transmission in its lower gears too long, which also increases fuel consumption. Moderate, smooth acceleration gives the best fuel economy. If the vehicle has an M/T, you can boost your fuel economy by upshifting as early as possible.

Avoid Stop-and-Go Driving – Anticipate traffic signals to keep the vehicle’s momentum going. Avoid unnecessary stops and starts. Don’t tailgate; hugging the bumper in front of you forces you to make the same stops and starts as the vehicle that bumper’s bolted to. Use the cruise control as much as possible to keep your speed consistent.

Minimize Braking – Every time you brake while driving, you have to accelerate again, and that uses fuel. When decelerating, take your foot off of the accelerator pedal or use light braking. In hybrid vehicles, decelerating or light braking charges up the IMA battery so the kinetic energy can be used again when accelerating.

Use the ECON Button (Insight and Civic

Hybrid models only) – Make use of the ECON button. When you’re in ECON mode, and with the A/C running, the Auto Idle Stop feature is active.

Use A/C Sparingly – The engine works harder when the A/C is running, and that reduces your fuel mileage. Turn on the A/C only when you really need it. If the vehicle has climate control, select the warmest temperature that’s still comfortable.

Reduce Speed – Aerodynamic drag has a big effect on fuel mileage at speeds above 45 mph. Reduce your speed and you reduce the drag. Trailers, cartop carriers, roof racks, and bike racks are also big contributors to increased drag.

Reduce Vehicle Weight – Unnecessary items in the vehicle add weight. That makes the engine work harder and use more fuel. Remove the stuff you don’t need from the passenger compartment, trunk, or cargo area.

Use a Block Heater in Cold Weather – As the air temperature drops, more fuel is wasted heating up the engine to its normal operating temperature after a cold start, and the engine oil is thicker, increasing internal engine drag. Also, at temperatures below 40° to 50°F, fuel doesn’t vaporize properly, so more of it must be used for the engine to run properly during warm-up. A block heater helps keep both the engine and the engine oil warm and reduces the extra fuel needed at colder temperatures.

Avoid Short Trips If Possible – The engine uses a lot of fuel to warm up to its normal operating temperature (about 180°F), and it has to deal with higher internal friction before it does. The shorter the trip, the more fuel that’s wasted warming up the engine and is lost to higher internal engine friction. For short trips, try walking or bicycling if you can. If you need to drive, keep in mind your fuel economy will drop quite a bit. This is especially true if you’re making those short trips on a cold day or if you’re making them on a hot day and you’re running the A/C to quickly cool down the vehicle. Such conditions can easily reduce your fuel economy by more than 25 percent.

Causes of Honda Brake Squeal

My brakes are squealing.  Why?

Brake squeal is caused by the vibration of the brake pads against the rotating brake disc when they are applied.  Brake shims and high-temp grease usually will dampen or eliminate the squeal however sometimes the sound may not be able to be eliminated all together.

If the squealing is abnormally loud it is recommended that the brakes be inspected.  It is possible that your brakes do not have enough usable life remaining or the shims/grease may need replaced.

As always, refer to your owner’s manual for recommended brake inspection and service intervals.  Keeping up on regular maintenance can help keep your brake repairs to a minimum.