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1999 Honda CR-V Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1999 Honda CR-V based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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20
Known Problems

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.

Some vehicles with an automatic transmission can have an issue with a harsh shift from first to second gear. Honda has released a service bulletin suggesting to flush the transmission using Honda ATF-Z1 and replace the linear solenoid. If that does not cure the problem the fault is internal and the transmission will require replacement or overhaul.

A worn speed sensor drive gear can cause a surge when using cruise control and illuminate the Check Engine light. Transmission replacement will be needed.

The engine valves can prematurely fail. The cylinder head will need to be replaced due to wear in the area where the valves seal. Intake or exhaust valve failure may illuminate the Check Engine Light. The car may have poor engine performance and fail emission tests.

A leaking cowl (at the base of the windshield) can leak water into the vehicle's cabin. The cowl has to be resealed to stop the leak.

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.

The front brake rotors can warp and cause a vibration when braking. The rotors will need to be machined or in cases where they are worn to thin, replaced to correct this issue.

Use of incorrect oil in the rear differential on AWD models will cause a "chattering" sound and vibration on turns. Use only Honda-approved differential oil.

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.

    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.

    Honda issued a recall of 1998 and 1999 models to inspect and repair the wiring harness under the dash and install a piece of tubing to protect the harness. Various electrical issues can develop if these wires have been damaged.

    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 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 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.