Honda Element Owners Club banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So...it's been a hell of a day.

7am this morning, my husband got into a rear end collision in our 2003 Galapagos Green Honda Element. He was driving down the road, the brakes suddenly seized up on their own (his foot on the gas), vibrating and shuddering the car. He moved to the brake, but it pushed to the floor and didn't do anything. He swerved and wound up driver front corner collision with passenger rear corner of the car ahead of him at about 40mph.

He's ok - really bruised up - but he walked away almost completely unscathed. The car on the other hand is a total loss.





So first off, props because the seatbelt and airbags worked brilliant and he's fine.

But...WTF?? We just had new brake pads May 7th. No problems whatsoever between then and now. (Heck, we drove 200 miles round trip out to Orlando last weekend!) It makes zero sense.

Has anyone heard of anything like this happening? Because to add insult to injury, he got a ticket for "careless driving" worth 4 points on his license because he was "following too close." Seriously?? No matter how many car lengths back you are, if you suddenly have ZERO brakes it really doesn't matter!

I am waiting to hear back from my mechanic to arrange to have him look at it to see if he can see any malfunction because legally, I really want to try to CYA. Especially since the other driver seems to be lawyering up.

Which is why I turned to the club here to see if anyone knows of any issues like this, has heard of any problems like this, if there's been any record of events like this or if there's anything we should be looking at specifically before we release the car to the insurance company.

Appreciate any feedback.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
861 Posts
Why are they "lawyering up"?

Isn't this normal business that your insurance company (and theirs) should take care of? Or, did you immediately claim (for lack of a better word) that you aren't responsible due to the brake failure? This is the last thing the other party would want to hear, of course...

What does "new brakes" mean? What exactly did you get done on May 7th? New Rotors, or pads, or both? On the fronts or the rears? Were the brakes bled? If not, how old is the brake fluid?

Sudden brake failure... Then it can't have happened on one individual wheel, could it? I've had the brakes go out on me before (completely stopped working)... that was the brake master cylinder dying... brake pedal stopped working completely. Other than that, I consider perhaps the linkage for the brake pedal. Unless you were going downhill (like down a mountain) and riding your brakes I don't think you'd have an issue like brake-fade...

Please fill us in on the details.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,444 Posts
Glad everyone is ok and sorry about the E.
I'm not sure I understand how the brakes can seize, but not slow the car down; and then his attempt at slowing the car by hitting the brakes produced no effect. The system operates via hydraulic pressure and would have required something(like a foot on a pedal) to produce that pressure in order to clamp the calipers onto the rotors. And if the pedal went to the floor when he stepped on the brakes, that would indicate to me that a loss of pressure occurred from a leak. Seems pretty mysterious to me, hopefully someone will be of more help then I've been.
In hindsight, pulling the emergency brake would have been a noble attempt at slowing down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Seems very confusing. Driving down the road and the brakes suddenly apply themselves and seize, car should be stopping now. Car in front stops now all of a sudden and you apply the brakes and nothing happens and can't stop soon enough. You crash into car.
Correct?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,898 Posts
Yes, please explain how if "the brakes suddenly seized up on their own," the car did not slow or stop.

+1 on the hand brake. Also turning off the engine while in gear should slow the car, and/or popping the transmission into Park (bad for the tranny, but worthwhile if it prevents a collision). Maybe the driver had no time to do any of those things.
 

·
Registered
2005 Honda Element EX AWD
Joined
·
619 Posts
I'm wondering if the rear caliper pins somehow got seized up. But brake pressure would have to have been done with brake pedal. Curious how dark the brake fluid might look. So glad to hear everyone is okay. So sorry to hear another E is history. So wish Honda would bring a similar vehicle back for the Element. We can only hope. VW did it for the bug. Why not Honda for the Element.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
I'm wondering if the rear caliper pins somehow got seized up. But brake pressure would have to have been done with brake pedal. Curious how dark the brake fluid might look. So glad to hear everyone is okay. So sorry to hear another E is history. So wish Honda would bring a similar vehicle back for the Element. We can only hope. VW did it for the bug. Why not Honda for the Element.
I wouldn't think the rear brakes would do much in locking up a wheel. When my caliper froze on me I couldn't even tell unless I was stopped on a slight incline, wouldn't roll as easily. Could feel it at all while driving. The hub almost glowing, could feel the heat about two feet away.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top