Honda CR-V: What Are the Common Problems?

Honda CR-V: What are the common problems?The Honda CR-V has been leading the compact SUV market since launching in that late 1990s. The CR-V is one of the most reliable cars in its class. Winning safety awards year after year makes this a popular car to own and drive. Honda sells hundreds of thousands of these SUV’s every year, making it the best-selling vehicle in its class.

No car is without its problems though. Not even the beloved CR-V.

Here is a list of the problems reported with the CR-V:

  • The A/C system does not blow cold air.
  • A groaning or rubbing noise heard from the rear differential when turning.
  • Front brake rotors are warped, causing vibration while braking.
  • Shifting from first to second gear on automatic transmission feels harsh.
  • Binding fuel cap causes the check engine light to illuminate.
  • Leaking cowl at the base of the windshield allows water to leak into the interior cabin.
  • Grinding noise from rear disc brakes.
  • Growl-like noise from the front of the engine.
  • Engine oil pressure sensor may leak from normal operation.
  • Vibration is felt when braking.
  • Windshield wipers do not turn off or return to their correct position when not in use.
  • Sticking intake manifold runner control (IMRC) causes the check engine light to illuminate.
  • Rattle noise heard from the rear of the car when driving over bumps.
  • Brake system indicator illuminates after a cold start and then goes off.
  • The A/C system doesn’t blow cold air and has a refrigerant leak.
  • Check engine light illuminates caused by a faulty fuel tank pressure (FTP) sensor.
  • Faulty air conditioning compressors
  • Weak sway bar links.
  • Locking mechanisms cycle between unlocked and locked or don’t unlock at all.
  • Vibration in the driver’s seat and steering wheel at idle and low speeds.
  • Oil dilution issues on the 1.5-liter turbo engine in the Honda EX and EXL models.

We’ve visited owner forums and repair sites to gather information on the topic of the common problems for the Honda CR-V. If you are a current owner or in the market for a new or previously owned CR-V, this post could be an important resource for you.

Honda CR-V Common Problems

Honda, like all car manufacturers, refers to the design lifecycle of their vehicles as a generation. The CR-V is in its fifth generation. That means that literally hundreds of thousands of consumers like you have road-tested the CR-V.

We break down the common problems in two ways: Model years affected by the problem and problems by generation. Each section delivers a different set of issues to be aware of with the CR-V.

First, let’s get started with a list of the common CR-V problems that stretch across its five generations.

CR-V Common Problems by Model Years

Problem: The A/C system does not blow cold air.

Solution: The A/C compressor needs to be replaced.

Cost: $750–$1000.

Model years reporting the problem:

1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012,

2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Problem: A groaning or rubbing noise heard from rear differential when turning.

Solution: Fluid breakdown causes noise. The differential fluid should be changed.

Cost:  $60 – $160.

Model years reporting the problem:

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016

Problem: Front brake rotors are warped, causing vibration while braking.

Solution: A brake pad replacement is required.

Cost: $350 – 450.

Model years reporting the problem:

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Problem: Shifting from first to second gear with an automatic transmission feels harsh.

Solution: The transmission fluid should be flushed. And, the linear solenoid should be replaced.

Cost: Transmission flush: $125 to $250. Linear solenoid replacement: $150 and $400.

Model years reporting the problem:

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Problem: Binding fuel cap causes the check engine light to illuminate.

Solution: Check engine light diagnosis & testing is the first step. It’s possible the fuel filler neck needs to be replaced.

Cost: Diagnosis: $80 – $100. Fuel filler replacement: $200 – $300.

Model years reporting the problem:

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015

Problem: Leaking cowl at the base of the windshield allows water to leak into the interior cabin.

Solution: Reseal the cowl.

Cost: $100 – 200.

Model years reporting the problem: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015

Problem: Grinding noise from rear disc brakes.

Solution: First have the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) diagnosed. Then, clean and lubricate the caliper bracket and pad retainers.

Cost: $150 – $250.

Model years affected: 9 model years affected:

2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016

Problem: Growl-like noise heard near the front of the engine.

Solution: Water pump replacement.

Cost: $350 – $500.

Model years reporting the problem:

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2014

Problem: Engine oil pressure sensor may leak from normal operation.

Solution: Have sensor inspected, properly sealed and installed, or replaced with new.

Cost: $50 – $100.

Model years reporting the problem:

2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Problem: Vibration is felt when braking.

Solution: Replace the brake pad.

Cost: $250 – $300.

Model years reporting the problem:

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Problem: Windshield wipers do not turn off or return to their correct position when not in use.

Solution: Replace the windshield wiper motor.

Cost: $235 – $350.

Model years reporting the problem: 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Problem: Sticking intake manifold runner control (IMRC) causes the check engine light to illuminate.

Solution: Replace the solenoid.

Cost: $700 -$800.

Model years reporting the problem: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

Problem: Rattle noise heard from the rear of the car when driving over bumps.

Solution: Replace rear trailing arm bushings.

Cost: $350 – $400.

Model years reporting the problem: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005

Problem: Brake system indicator illuminates after a cold start and then goes off.

Solution: Brake master cylinder replacement.

Cost: $500 – $600.

Model years reporting the problem:

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001

Problem:  The A/C system doesn’t blow cold air and has a refrigerant leak.

Solution: Replace the A/C evaporator.

Cost: $500 – $750.

Model years reporting the problem:

1997, 2001, 2005, 2010, 2011

Problem: Check-engine light illuminates caused by a faulty fuel tank pressure (FTP) sensor.

Solution: Replace the FTP sensor.

Cost: $350 – $450.

Model years reporting the problem:

2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2013, 2015

Common Problems by Generation

So far, we’ve discussed common problems of the CR-V that have been reported by consumers throughout the years and throughout five generations of the CR-V. Specific issues have been identified with each generation. These problems are still common but are isolated to certain years and generally resolved before the next generation of the CR-V is released.

Read on, as we look at the problems by generation, starting with the second generation of the CR-V. If you are wondering why we skip the first generation, well, it’s good news—we couldn’t find any major issue to mention.

Honda CR-V – Second Generation—2002 to 2006

Faulty air conditioning compressors from 2002-2004 CR-V models topped the list of complaints. And, this is an expensive fix.

Generation problem: Air conditioner failed as the compressor would seize.

Solution: Replace the A/C system.

Cost: $1500-$3000.

What to look for: If you are in the market for a 2002, 2003 or 2004 CR-V, make sure the A/C system was replaced. Or, be prepared to replace it at some point.

Honda CR-V – Third Generation—2007 to 2011

The CR-V got a bigger body and that caused some problems for this generation.

Generation problem: Weak sway bar links.

Solution: Replace sway bar links.

Cost: $150 – $250.

What to look for: Test drive the CR-V. If the car makes a clicking or knocking noise when going over bumps, the sway link bars are bad. If the car handles poorly in a turn or feels unstable, the sway link bars need to be replaced.

Generation problem: Locking mechanisms cycle between unlocked and locked or don’t unlock at all.

Solution: Replace lock actuators.

Cost: Honda replaced at no cost.

What to look for: Confirm lock actuators were replaced. Try all of the locks on all the doors and make sure they lock and unlock.

Honda CR-V – Fourth Generation—2012 to 2016

One major complaint tops the list during the fourth generation. Vibrations…and we are not talking good vibrations as the Beach Boys might.

Year: 2015

Generation Problem: Vibration felt in the driver’s seat and steering wheel at idle and low speeds.

Solution: Install new radiator lower cushions, transmission mount, and front head restraints, Update the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) software and install the tailgate damper kit.

Cost: Honda repaired at no cost.

What to look for: If vibrations are felt in the driver’s seat while stopped with the CR-V in gear, or while between 1,000–1,200 rpm at takeoff or while driving around 40–50 mph, there is a problem.

Honda CRV – Fifth Generation—2017 to present

Years: 2017 and 2018 models

Problem: Oil dilution issues on the 1.5-liter turbo engine in the Honda EX and EXL models.

What to look for: The smell of gas fumes inside the car and oil levels above the full mark on the dipstick.

Solution: Transmission and engine software changes that allow the engine to warm up quicker is a possible cure. Make sure to have your CR-V checked out by a Honda dealer.

Cost: Honda added an extra year of warranty coverage, six years from the time of purchase, with no mileage limits. Check with your Honda dealer.

Performing regular maintenance on your Honda CR-V will keep it in excellent running condition. It’s best to stick with the factory-recommended maintenance schedule.

If you are in the market for a previously owned CR-V—it is, after all, one of the most sought-after pre-owned cars—make sure you take it for a spin and read up on the year it was manufactured. Also, have it inspected by a Honda dealer or your trusty mechanic.

Honda has an impressive reliability record. But, you should still be aware of the common problems listed in this post. We hope you feel armed with the information you need to keep you and your CR-V rolling for many miles to come.

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