The Honda CRV is one of the most popular compact crossovers SUVs from the Japanese automaker. Hitting the market in 1995, the Honda CRV is a mid-range utility vehicle, slotted between the smaller Honda HRV and the larger North American marketed Honda Pilot. But despite the popularity of this versatile vehicle, do Honda CRV have transmission problems?
In this article, we will explore all of the transmission problems that may pose as a concern for your Honda CRV, some signs and symptoms of these issues, ways to troubleshoot them, and how to get the most mileage out of your Honda CRV.
All About Your Honda CRV Transmission
Your Honda CRV’s job is to ensure that the right amount of power is getting to your vehicle’s wheels to drive at a given speed. Your SUV’s transmission works by shifting gears much like a multi-speed bicycle. On a bike, if the chain is off, it won’t go, and if the chain is in too high a gear, you’ll have a tough time getting started from a complete stop. This same principle applies to your CRV’s transmission. If you don’t keep it well maintained, your car won’t get great fuel efficiency or may not even be able to drive at all.
There are two main types of transmissions cars have, including manual and automatic.
A manual transmission is basically a more powerful version of a pedal bike’s gear shifter. Even though your car does not have a chain like a bicycle, its engine and transmission have to be temporarily disconnected just like a bike chain is temporarily lifted off of its gears when you shift down or up. When you push the clutch pedal in your car, it will disconnect the engine and the transmission. When you shift into a different gear, it has the same effect as moving the bicycle chain and will move your vehicle into a new gear. Once you’re in a new gear, you can slowly release the clutch pedal and continue to drive.
An automatic transmission is basically an automatic gear shifter. Instead of manually shifting the gears by pushing down on the clutch with your foot, an automatic transmission will do all of the work for you.
Now that you better understand how your Honda CRV’s transmission works, let’s explore the potential problems that might plague your small SUV.
Potential Honda CRV Transmission Problems
Are you thinking about buying a Honda CRV or already own one? There are a few serious Honda CRV transmission issues that you should be aware of.
According to an article published by Consumer Reports Magazine, some Honda CRVs can leak gasoline into the vehicle’s engine oil. This can eventually lead to your SUV’s engine losing power or completely stalling.
Another issue that Honda CRV owners have reported is a strong odor of unburned gasoline as the result of fuel getting into the car engine’s lubricating oil.
These issues have occurred in 2017 and 2018 Honda CRVs that are equipped with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces up to 190 horsepower. For some reason, gas is leaking into the vehicle’s lubricating oil, which should not normally happen. This dilutes the engine oil and makes it less efficient at lubricating the engine. Over time, this defect can lead to serious engine damage, stalling, and loss of power, especially in heavy traffic or in super frigid temperatures.
The automaker has reported that this issue has happened mostly in northern parts of the United States during short drives in extremely cold weather. However, there have been reports of the problem occurring as far south as New Mexico and Texas.
And this is only the beginning. Back in 2010, Honda had to recall 1.5 million vehicles across the United States and another one-million Honda CRVs in China and Canada due to automatic transmission problems.
The 2010 recall was one of the largest made by the Japanese automaker ever, and was the equivalent in size to 70% of the 3.5 million vehicles they sold that year.
Drivers reported that the Honda CRV’s secondary shaft broke while they were quickly shifting between drive and reverse modes. The Honda CRV automatic transmission issue could have caused a misalignment of the gear shaft, causing the vehicle to make weird noises or stalling its engine.
Additionally, in 2015, Honda was hit with a class action lawsuit that alleged the automaker’s 2015 CRV suffered from a defect that caused violent vibrating and rattling. This issue was only found in that model year because of the new continuously variable transmission (CVT) and direct-injection “Earth Dreams” engine that Honda installed into its 2015 CRV SUVs. According to the lawsuit, the new features, combined with some other engineering changes, caused the vehicles to excessively vibrate while in the idle mode.
Honda CRV SUVs made in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 with 133,710 miles on the odometer have been reported to suffer from a transmission issue that includes a harsh shift from first gear into second gear. If flushing the transmission with Honda ATF-Z1 and replacing the linear solenoid does not fix the problem, owner will need a transmission overhaul or replacement.
Other common problems with Honda CRV transmissions may include:
- A lack of response
- Leaking or low fluid
- Clunking, humming, or whining noises
- Refusal to go into gear
- Torque converter problems
- Valve body problems
- A noisy transmission while in neutral
- Not shifting from 1st gear to 2nd gear
- Not properly shifting from 3rd gear to 4th gear
- Not reversing properly
- A dragging clutch
- Trouble codes
- Your check engine light is on
Top Three Honda CRV Problems
In addition to Honda CRV transmission issues, here are the top problems found in these vehicles:
- Unwanted Acceleration: This issue is predominantly found in 2011 CRV models with 16,000 miles racked up on the odometer. The average cost to fix this issue is $5,000.
- Excessive Oil Consumption: This problem was widely reported on 2010 Honda CRVs with 80,000 miles. The average price to fix it was $2,500.
- Air Conditioner Stopped Working: Found in 2002 Honda CRVs with over 110,000 miles on the odometer, this issue costs $1,700 on average to fix.
When it comes to model years, the 2015 Honda CRV has the most overall complaints, closely followed by the 2014 CRV and the 2012 Honda CRV.
If your Honda CVR is experiencing any of the aforementioned problems, it is best to take it to your local certified Honda mechanic right away. While the AC problem is just a nuisance, the other two issues can be extremely dangerous.
Honda CRV Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
If you have a new Honda CRV that is experiencing transmission problems, your vehicle may be covered under warranty. The limited warranty covers your vehicle for three years or 36,000 miles while the powertrain warranty will cover your Honda CRV for five years or 60,000 miles.
Signs of Transmission Troubles
Here are some common signs and symptoms of transmission problems in your Honda CRV:
- A Lack of Response: Your SUV may be suffering from a transmission issue if it does not change gears instantly.
- Burning Smell: While a burning odor coming from your car may be caused by any number of things, it’s most commonly associated with overheated transmission fluid.
- Grinding Gears: This transmission symptom can manifest differently in manual and automatic CRVs. In manual transmissions, you will notice grinding when you go to change gears. For automatic transmissions, you’ll notice a rough shift.
- Noisy in Neutral: If you notice your Honda CRV feels bumpy when it’s in neutral, take it to a certified Honda mechanic to be properly diagnosed.
- Illuminated Dashboard Lights: If your service engine light is on, you may have a transmission problem.
Can I Drive My Honda CRV with a Transmission Problem?
If your Honda CRV can still drive down the highway, you may think that it is perfectly fine to drive your CRV until you get its faulty transmission fixed. However, this isn’t a good, or safe, idea. Your transmission includes a lot of (and very expensive) moving parts. If something isn’t right with your transmission and you continue to drive your Honda CRV, it could lead to very pricey problems down the road.
How Often Should I Replace My Honda CRV Transmission?
The lifespan of your vehicle’s transmission largely depends upon how well it was maintained. Factory design flaws, such as the ones we already mentioned, also play a role, along with how and how hard you drive your Honda CRV. On average, a Honda CRV transmission can last between 130,000 and 180,000 miles.
How is a Honda CRV Transmission Problem Diagnosed?
You can never really get to the root of your Honda CRV transmission problem without the right tools and training. If you think your CRV is suffering from a transmission issue, take it to a certified Honda mechanic right away. They can hook your CRV to a computer and find out which diagnostic trouble codes (DTC’s) are affecting your vehicle. Once they know exactly what to look for, they can then perform a thorough visual inspection and then remediate the problem.
How is a Honda CRV Transmission Repaired or Replaced?
In order for the mechanic to replace your Honda CRV’s transmission, the vehicle has to be lifted up off of the ground in order for them to get access to all of the parts that need to be unbolted. After this, the transmission can then be lowered to the ground with a transmission jack to be repaired or for a new one to be installed.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Honda CRV Transmission Repaired or Replaced?
Your transmission is one of the most expensive repairs or replacements to be done by a mechanic. The average cost to replace a transmission will range from $1,800 to $3,400.
A used or salvaged transmission can cost you between $800 to $1,500, while a transmission rebuild will cost between $1,100 to $2,800.
And that’s just for the parts. The labor costs to remove and replace a transmission typically ranges from $500 to $1,200 for four to 10 hours worth of work.
How Can I Solve My Honda CRV Transmission Troubles?
There are three ways to solve your Honda CRV transmission problems, including:
- Buy a Used Honda CRV Transmission: The quickest, and simplest, way to fix your Honda CRV’s transmission troubles is to buy a used transmission. You can find used ones at most junkyards, and they typically come with a 30- to 90-day warranty.
- Purchase a Rebuilt Honda CRV Transmission: Another option is to buy a rebuilt Honda CRV transmission. If you take your vehicle to a local repair shop, the mechanic will remove your transmission and then install a bunch of new parts during the rebuild.
- Buy a Remanufactured Honda CRV Transmission: The third option is to invest in a remanufactured Honda CRV transmission.
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Honda CRVs are notorious from suffering from transmission problems. If you think your Honda CRV has a transmission issue, take it into a certified mechanic right away. If you don’t, it could lead to bigger (and costlier) issues down the road. It can also be unsafe to drive a car with transmission troubles. If you don’t want to pay the cost of a transmission replacement, consider selling your car to Cash Cars Buyers for up to $500 on the spot.