Honda CR-V Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Honda CR-V as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

Worn door lock tumblers can cause the door lock to be sticky or not work at all. The lock has to be removed and the tumblers need to be replaced for this issue.

A sticking intake manifold runner solenoid can cause the Check Engine light (MIL) to illuminate. Replacing the solenoid will repair the issue.

The 1997-2002 Honda CR-V engine oil pressure sensor is known to leak from normal operation.

More information about the oil pressure sensor here.

To correct the leak, the sensor must be inspected, properly sealed and installed, or replaced with new.

The AC compressor may seize resulting in loss of cold air from the AC vents. Often when the compressor fails in the fashion, debris is spread through out the entire air conditioning system resulting in very expensive repairs.

The 1997-2002 Honda CR-V commonly have mechanical issues with the manual transaxle.

Drivers will notice that upon decelerating, the transmission will shift to neutral on its own, and some gears, normally second, will be difficult or impossible to select with the gear selector. Lastly, a grinding noise accompanies these issues. It changes with engine speed, and comes from the transmission.

The engine connects to the transmission with a clutch and shaft. The clutch engages or disengages the transmission input shaft, and the transmission input shaft drives the transmission. The input shaft is held in place by bearings which allow it to spin. When those bearings fail, the input shaft can move, and the problems noted above become very evident due to the loss of synchronization of the transmission.

To correct the situation, the transmission must be removed from the vehicle, disassembled, rebuilt, and reinstalled in the vehicle.

The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is proper maintenance of the transmission.

The 1997-2002 Honda CR-V, 2WD and AWD models, are known for premature alternator bearing failure. The alternator shaft bearing alerts of mechanical failure by making a howling or grinding noise, but other symptoms may appear, including:

  • Battery warning light illumination
  • Engine will not start
  • Engine stalling or hesitation
  • Power steering and A/C failure

    Continued use after the alternator makes these noises generally result in loss of the serpentine belt, power steering, air conditioning and battery power.

    The correction is to replace the alternator immediately.

  • The 1997-2002 Honda CR-V, both 2WD and AWD versions, commonly leak coolant from the radiator due to normal operation. The leak starts small, but may cause:

  • Coolant puddling under vehicle
  • Engine overheating
  • Unexplained coolant loss (only at first)
  • Vehicle in “limp mode”; loss of power
  • Cylinder head or head gasket failure
  • The coolant leaking can have a severe effect on your vehicle if left in disrepair. If the radiator is diagnosed as the leaky part, it will need to be replaced, or resealed if that is an option.

    Note: coolant is toxic to animals, but tastes sweet. Any coolant spills should be cleaned to protect animals and children.

     The 1997-2002 Honda CR-V, both 2WD and AWD models, has a known issue with alternator failure at high mileage, which causes:

  • Battery warning light while driving 
  • Loss of electrical/battery power 
  • Engine stalling or hesitation 
  • The remedy is simply to replace the alternator, and test the battery. Note: the battery must be disconnected prior to servicing the alternator to prevent electric shock and damage to electrical components.

    The 1997-2001 Honda CR-V, two and four-wheel drive models. has a known issue with ignition distributor shaft bearing failure, which causes:

  • Failure to start 
  • Engine randomly misfires 
  • Check Engine Light Illumination
  • OBD Trouble code(s) P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P1336, P1337 
  • Engine vibrations  
  • Hesitation or stalling 
  • Oil leak from distributor cap 
  • The ignition system uses the distributor to send high voltage electricity to the spark plugs at the right time. It accomplishes this timing mechanically by a shaft, which connects the crankshaft and ignition distributor, so they spin at the same rate. That shaft, part of the distributor, rests in a bearing inside the distributor.This bearing, the distributor shaft bearing, is known for failing, and allowing the shaft to move slightly.

    As the bearing fails, it allows the shaft to move away from the shaft seal, and oil pours into the distributor cap, causing misfires.

    The play in the shaft can also cause contact with the crankshaft position sensor, causing a no start problem.

    Total bearing failure will be most evident from the grinding noise that changes with engine speed, and oil in the ignition distributor cap.

    If the bearing is making noise, driving or running the vehicle can result in catastrophic engine failure.

    To correct this issue, the ignition distributor and shaft must be replaced. Any damage to the crankshaft position sensor will necessitate replacement as well.

     

    The 2012-2016 Honda CR-V engine oil pressure sensor may leak from normal operation.

    More information about the oil pressure sensor here.

    To correct the leak, the sensor must be inspected, properly sealed and installed, or replaced with new.

    The 1997-2002 Honda CR-V, two and four-wheel drive models has a known issue with engine oil leaking from the ignition distributor shaft seal.

    Leakage from the shaft seal coats the electrical components of the distributor with engine oil causing:

  • Failure to start 
  • Engine randomly misfires 
  • OBD Trouble code(s) P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P1336, P1337 
  • Engine vibrations  
  • Hesitation or stalling 
  • Cleaning the distributor cap and rotor can help or resolve driveability issues temporarily, but the mentioned issues will return shortly.

    Once this issue is diagnosed, the ignition distributor shaft seal must be replaced, and the distributor shaft bearing must be inspected.

    A binding fuel filler cap can cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate. Our technicians tell us this can be caused by a problem with the fuel filler neck which may require replacement.

    A groaning noise from the rear differential heard while going through turns can be caused by differential fluid break down. Servicing the rear differential will generally correct this concern.

    A maladjusted tailgate or tailgate switch can cause the rear tailgate light on the dash to flicker when driving. Adjusting the door and or switch will address this concern.

    Impact to the front bumper can cause the connector on the washer pump to come off and the windshield washers will not work. Depending upon the severity of the impact it could damage the washer motor and bottle.