Honda CRV Transmission Problems – Are These Problems Serious?

Honda CRV Transmission Problems – Are These Problems Serious?

Are you in the market for a Honda CR-V? In that case, you probably want to learn more about the problems with the CR-V, especially the Honda CRV transmission problems. If that’s the case, you came to the right place because we are going to cover a lot when it comes to the transmission in this Honda. Since the transmission repairs are rather expensive, you have to be aware that the problems exist and require a lot of research to understand them right.

But that’s not only for transmission issues. When you are on the market for a used vehicle, you need to learn all of the problems that this vehicle has. By knowing these potential issues, you will save thousands of dollars on possible repairs.

Why spend a lot of money on something that could be easily avoided? Avoiding potential problems not only that will save you a lot of money, but is also going to save you a lot of nerves in the process. Imagine that you have a broken transmission. You will have to wait for weeks to get it fixed. Since a lot of shops have already scheduled work and the waiting list is long. Also, the repair is going to take probably more than a week as well. And that is a lot!

In this article, we are going to learn more about transmissions and how do they work. What type of fluids they are using and how they should be maintained. Then, we are going to cover the Honda CRV transmission problems. So, follow along.

Car Transmission

The transmission is also called a gearbox. The transmission has the role of converting the energy from the engine into torque.

The crankshaft of the engine produces rotational energy. This rotational energy has to be converted into torque. The torque then is transferred from the transmission onto the driveshaft to the rear wheels.

If there weren’t transmissions, this power delivery would have been very inefficient and a lot of energy would have been lost during the process.

Not to mention that cars without a transmission would have been undrivable and they would be hard to control. That’s why even from the start when cars were first introduced more than 100 years ago, the people who invented them knew that something had to be done and this problem had to be solved.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems

That’s why now we have transmissions in our cars and we drive our cars with great ease and enjoyment. Also keeping everything fuel-efficient and good for the environment. Since most of the transmissions these days offer smooth shifting and also, they also make sure that no power loss occurs.

There were a few types of transmissions that were invented during these years. There are manual transmissions, where you engage and disengage the clutch by pressing the pedal. Manuals are still the transmission of choice in Europe where most of the cars are manual. But in the US, that role is taken by the automatics.

An automatic transmission is doing all the work by itself and you don’t have to do anything to change gears. The car is doing everything by itself.

But Honda has brought something new to the table and that is a CVT transmission. Before we discuss the Honda CRV transmission problems let’s learn more about the CVT.

Does Honda Use CVT Transmissions

The CVT transmission is an automatic transmission that many of the new cars come equipped with. CVT stands for continuously variable transmission.

The CVT transmission is unlike an automatic transmission, where that one has gears inside, and based on the gas input, it goes through these gears.

CVT, on the other hand, has an infinite number of gear ratios and because of this characteristic, the gear-changing operation on the CVT transmission is an unnoticeable experience that every driver enjoys. The CVT does not produce any stutter when it goes through the gears. Everything is done smoothly and unnoticeably.

Although ingenious, the CVT design is very simple and straightforward. It’s far simpler than the complex torque converter automatic transmissions that most cars use.

The CVT transmission is compromised out of two pulleys that are connected with a belt. There is an input pulley and an output pulley. They are laid out one on top of the other.

At the top, there is the input pulley and at the bottom, there is the output pulley. The input pulley turns the belt and then this energy is transferred to the output pulley.

How this works is pretty simple. The pulleys that are installed in the CVT are flexible and they squeeze and expand based on the input from the driver. This squeezing action increases the belt speed while when the pulley expands it decreases the belt speed.

The belt that this transmission uses is a steel belt which makes it extremely durable and long-lasting. Also, the CVT transmission is making all this shifting unnoticeable. And that’s why Honda chose the CVT as their transmission of choice. But what are the Honda CRV transmission problems? Well, we will see later, first let’s learn more about the CVT.

Honda CRV Transmission Fluid

Every transmission uses a different type of fluid since there is a different demand from the transmission. These fluids cannot be used interchangeably since they will ruin the transmission. Factory-recommended fluids are a must. But what are the types of fluids that transmissions are using?

Manual transmissions are the least sensitive and they run gear oil which is highly thick and works perfectly well with these transmissions since they are not sensitive at all.

The transmission fluid for manuals includes 75w-90, 80w-90, and SAE 90. These fluids are also rarely changed and the manual transmission can run more than 150,000 miles with no issues whatsoever.

Automatic transmissions, on the other hand, that the CR-V as well as together with the CVT is use transmission fluid also known as ATF. Otherwise, it’s called automatic transmission fluid. The ATF is bright red in color and is fairly thin compared to the fluid that manuals are using.

This is the case because this transmission fluid has to perform hard. If the fluid is thick and doesn’t move in the transmission lines. There will be gear slippage, jerking, and other problems that some of Honda CRV transmission problems include. That’s why maintaining this fluid regularly is key if you want to protect your vehicle in the long run.

Replacing the fluid every 50,000 miles will guarantee that your automatic transmission fluid will keep its characteristics and will not ruin the components that are inside of it.

CVT Transmission Fluid

The CVT on the other hand that most Hondas are fitted with is using a fully synthetic fluid designed for these transmissions only. They do not use regular transmission fluid. This fluid, as the manufacturer claims, has much better characteristics than the regular ATF and delivers better performance and longevity.

This, in other words, translates into fewer Honda CRV transmission problems. But what about the Honda CRV transmission problems? We are going to cover them later but first, let’s take a look at how to check the transmission fluid and also some input on the CR-V model.

How To Check Transmission Fluid

Similarly, to torque converter automatics, when you try to check the fluid on a CVT transmission, the fluid has to be hot. This means that the car should run for a while and the fluid needs to be properly disbursed into the transmission.

If you check the transmission fluid while the transmission is cold, you will very likely get a wrong reading and you will think that you have the wrong amount of fluid in the transmission. But the important thing is not to panic. Be patient and you will get the right reading from it. Turn on the car and let it run for a while.

It is useful to shift once into reverse and then shift into drive and then back into reverse before you get into Park. This, along with the proper working temperature, will guarantee that your fluid is evenly disbursed.

The next thing you should do is pull out your transmission fluid dipstick and see the level of the transmission fluid. Unfortunately, some of the CVT transmissions do not have a dipstick.

Most of them have plugs that are installed on the side of the transmission. And you have to unbolt these plugs to see the level of the transmission.

This can be tricky to do since you have to lift the car in the air and is extremely difficult to access this plug. That’s why if you are inexperienced, it’s not likely that you’ll be checking your transmission fluid. The best thing to do is to leave this job to a mechanic if you don’t want to mess things up.

But what about the Honda CRV transmission problems? Well, we are going to cover them next right after we discuss the common problems with CVT transmissions.

Bad Transmission Symptoms

Just like the torque converter automatic, the CVT has similar problems that are troubling it. The CVT transmissions that Honda is making are less prone to problems that can occur with the CVT transmission. But these common symptoms of bad CVTs are still present among all of the CVT transmissions, no matter the producer of the transmissions. It’s just that some manufacturers, like Honda, are making better CVT transmissions than others. So, what are these common symptoms of a bad CVT transmission?

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #1: Transmission Overheating

One of the first symptoms that every transmission has when it’s failing is the overheating issue. This is caused by dirty fluid that hasn’t been changed for a long time.

The dirtier the fluid, the more difficult for the transmission to work. Thus, more heat is created in the transmission. This heat can further impair the work of the transmission and ruin its performance.

That’s why replacing the fluid every 50,000 miles or less is going to prevent the overheating issue and as well it will also increase the lifespan of the transmission.

When you have a transmission that is overheating, you need to inspect the fluid and see if it’s good or not. If it has a lot of debris, it means that you have to replace it as soon as possible. The sooner you replace the fluid, the better the transmission will work.

Honda CRV transmission problems, when it comes to overheating, are not that big but it can happen to some transmissions that are poorly maintained. This is both for CVT and automatics from the earlier models. Maintenance is key when it comes to the longevity of a transmission. If you are in the market for a used Honda CRV, make sure that the transmission is good and the car shifts properly.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #2: Poor Acceleration

Another symptom of a failing transmission when it comes to CVTs is the poor acceleration. This transmission has only one gear that goes forward unlike the regular automatics and when the transmission is not working properly, it just doesn’t like to go quick anymore.

There are some interruptions because of worn-out components, especially if the belt or the pulleys are damaged. If they are damaged, the transmission will not function and you might have the trouble of accelerating too quickly if the pulley is not expanding quickly enough to allow the belt to tighten and allow the torque to be transferred to the wheels as it should.

This will result in an increase in RPM but slow speeds on the road. It will also worsen your fuel mileage since the car just doesn’t like to go fast anymore no matter how strong you are pushing on the gas pedal.

That’s why when you are experiencing symptoms like this, the best thing is to take your Honda to a mechanic. Since the transmission may have reached the end of the line and needs to be refreshed. By rebuilding the transmission, the technician will replace the damaged components that are inside of the transmission and your transmission should behave as it should.

Normally, this work is performed by professional rebuilders who use factory OEM components that will last for a long time. If it’s done by technicians who are poorly experienced and use low-quality parts, your transmission will fail sooner or later once again and again you will experience some issues.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #3: Noises From The Transmission

Although CVT transmissions are famous for making noises, there are still some noises that are not normal. I’m saying this because everything has a limit and if your CVT transmission in your Honda is producing too much noise, then there is something wrong with it.

These noises that the CVT is producing may sound like whining or grinding noises. This is mostly caused by a bad belt that is worn or the lack of lubrication inside of the transmission.

If there is a lack of lubrication this can be damaging for your transmission. Most of the CVT transmission fails because of this because not all of them have dipsticks to check the fluid.

And if there are leaks, owners are not aware of them and these leaks will possibly leave your transmission dry of fluid.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems

This will result in increased friction between the belt and the pulleys. This increased friction will destroy them pretty quickly and noises should start to be produced by the transmission.

These noises can also be caused by wear and tear. For example, if your transmission is high mileage, this is expected. These symptoms will be more and more frequent.

They are an indicator that your transmission desperately needs a refresh. This means that the transmission has to be opened and checked. The parts that need replacing should be replaced and hopefully, the transmission should return to proper working order once again. As we said, you need to visit a professional shop that deals with CVTs. By doing this, you will be sure that you are not going to experience more problems.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #4: Transmission Fluid Leaks

If the CVT transmission is running too hot, it is clear that it will develop leaks as well. These leaks are caused because of the worn seals that are on the CVT transmission.

The leakage can be extremely excessive and cause the transmission to fail. Since there will be less and less lubrification of the internals of the CVT transmission.

It is good to notice these leaks on time. It is a good idea to check the undercarriage every once in a while when you take your car for service. This will somewhat make you sure that there are no leaks that could possibly damage the transmission.

Another way to check is to inspect the floor in your garage. If there are drops of fluid right below your transmission, it means that the transmission is leaking fluid and this has to be resolved on time before the problem becomes bigger.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #5: Check Engine Light

Check engine light is also another symptom of a bad transmission. When the light first shows up, you probably don’t know what is all about. But when you investigate and diagnose the problem using computer diagnostics, you might get some codes connected with the transmission.

These codes mean that there is something wrong with it and has to be checked as soon as possible. If not, you are exposed to a big risk and your transmission could fail all of a sudden. And that is something that we are going to cover next.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #6: Transmission Shuts Down All Of A Sudden

The CVT transmission can also fail all of a sudden when you are driving. The transmission will simply switch into limp mode and will only provide the amount of power that will only be enough for you to get to the mechanic’s shop or to load the car on a roadside assistance truck.

This can be scary, especially if it happens somewhere in the middle of nowhere. This can be tricky to tackle since there will be little help.

That’s why you need to follow the symptoms and avoid this terrible issue from happening. This is something that nobody wants.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #7: Car Refuses To Go In Gear Or Reverse

Another problem that can appear is the car that doesn’t like to go into gear or reverse. This means that the transmission won’t let you drive it.

Some CVT transmissions, when they fail, can cause this symptom to appear. This is not characteristic of the Honda CRV transmission problems and is less likely that will happen to your Honda. But there is still a possibility since other transmissions have failed like this in the past.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #8: Delayed Gear Engagement

A noticeable delay before the car actually starts moving when shifted into drive or reverse is a clear symptom of a transmission problem. Ideally, when you shift out of park, the car should start moving almost immediately. However, if there’s a lag before the car starts moving, that’s a telltale sign something’s off. This delay is often caused by low transmission fluid or worn-out clutch bands.

For Honda CRV owners, it’s essential to be observant. Addressing this early on can prevent more severe issues from arising, potentially saving you hefty repair bills in the future.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #9: Erratic Shifting

Erratic shifting is when the transmission unexpectedly changes gears and shifts too early, or too late. For instance, you might find your Honda CRV suddenly jumping gears without a clear reason. This erratic behavior can be due to electronic malfunctions, issues with transmission fluid, or wear and tear of transmission components.

Although this symptom can be disturbing while driving, it serves as an urgent reminder to get your vehicle checked. Prolonged driving with erratic shifting can cause extensive damage to the transmission and the overall driving experience.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #10: Unusual Vibrations

Unwanted vibrations or a shuddering sensation, especially when shifting gears, should raise alarms. These vibrations may indicate a problem with the torque converter, among other transmission components.

When you feel these vibrations, it’s crucial not to ignore them. The sooner you have a professional diagnose the problem, the better. In many cases, catching this early can mean a simple repair rather than a more extensive overhaul.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #11: Transmission Slipping

Transmission slipping is when the engine revs, but the car doesn’t respond to it effectively. It might feel like the car momentarily loses power before catching and accelerating. This slipping can be due to worn clutches, solenoid problems, or issues with the transmission fluid.

When faced with this symptom, immediate attention is required. Driving with a slipping transmission not only harms the transmission further but also poses a safety risk.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #12: Burning Smell

A burnt odor coming from your car can indicate overheating transmission fluid. This fluid is vital for lubricating and cooling the transmission. When it overheats, its efficacy diminishes, leading to increased friction and wear in the transmission components.

Regularly checking the state and level of the transmission fluid can prevent this issue. If you ever notice a burning smell, it’s wise to stop driving and check things out to avoid more severe complications.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #13: Transmission Warning Light

Most modern Honda CRVs come equipped with a transmission warning light. This light serves as a direct signal that something might be amiss with the transmission. While this is a more straightforward indication compared to other symptoms, it still requires immediate action.

Always refer to your vehicle’s manual to understand the warning lights better. When this light illuminates, it’s best to consult with a professional to diagnose the exact problem.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #14: Difficulty in Shifting Gears

If you find it challenging to shift gears, either because it feels too tight or too loose, it could signal a transmission problem. Issues with the shift cables, clutch linkage, or the hydraulic system can be the culprits.

Timely maintenance and ensuring all components are in good working order can help you avoid this problem.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems, Symptoms #15: Grinding or Shaking

A healthy transmission will provide a smooth transition when changing gears. If you start to feel a grinding sensation or the whole vehicle shakes during a shift, it’s a strong indication that something’s wrong.

This could be due to worn gears or perhaps issues with synchronizers. Whichever the case, it’s imperative to get it checked by a professional.

In conclusion, while the Honda CRV is renowned for its reliability, like all vehicles, it’s susceptible to wear and tear. Regular maintenance, prompt attention to issues, and understanding the signs of transmission problems can help prolong the life of your car and keep you safe on the road.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems

Honda’s CVT transmissions are pretty much bulletproof and they are one of the best on the market. There were not many reports of these transmissions failing all of a sudden except a small recall that was reported in 2015 when the production was started. A Honda CVT transmission is going to last around 150,000 miles before some of the symptoms that we have discussed above will start to appear and ruin your day.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems

The automatics, on the other hand, are also good and the Honda CRV transmission problem list is relatively small. Usually, these transmissions suffer from poor maintenance like not frequently changing the fluids. The infrequent fluid changes are attributing the wear and tear the most. If you run the automatic transmissions without regular fluid changes, you can for sure have problems with them sooner or later.

And the Honda CRV transmission problems will be more frequent for you and you will probably pay thousands of dollars to fix these issues. Since a rebuild is between $1,500 to $2,500, and a new transmission costs you at least $3,000.

Honda CRV Transmission Problems: In Conclusion…

In this article, we have covered a lot when it comes to the Honda CRV transmission problems. We have discussed what is a transmission and how does it work.

We covered mostly the CVT transmissions since they are widely used on the Honda CR-V. Then we covered the possible symptoms of a bad CVT transmission so you to have a better idea of what to pay attention to when you are trying to go and inspect a car that you are planning to purchase. Knowing these symptoms will save you thousands on possible repairs that you may stumble upon.

And lastly, we have covered the Honda CRV transmission problems. Fortunately, Honda transmissions are pretty much bulletproof and they do not have any serious defects on the later models.

Gearbox Issues to Know About Facts:

  1. There have been three recalls involving Honda CR-V transmissions, issued in 2003, 2011, and 2013.
  2. The 2015 CR-V was manufactured with a defective continuously variable transmission (CVT) that caused powerful vibrating and rattling.
  3. Complaints regarding the Honda CR-V transmission included clunking, humming, or whining noises, refusal to go into gear, and not shifting properly.
  4. Owners of the model year 2002-2003 Honda CR-V have complained of several issues with the vehicle’s automatic transmission.
  5. Model year 2007-2010 owners have complained that the transmission is faulty and the vehicle shudders in low gears, and the vehicle stalls and accelerates and decelerates on its own.
  6. The model year 2012-2013 owners have complained that the transmission is faulty and the vehicle shudders when moving through gears, and the shifter could not be moved out of park.
  7. The NHTSA issued recall #13V143000 for the 2012-2013 model years, due to the brake-shift interlock blocking mechanism becoming slow during sub-freezing temperatures.
  8. Honda notified affected owners of each recall and offered solutions such as software updates and installing an updated brake shift interlock blocking mechanism free of charge.
  9. To find out if a Honda CR-V is part of an open recall, owners can go to the NHTSA website and enter their car’s VIN number.
  10. Some owners have reported issues such as transmission shuddering, power loss, and grinding noise, and suggest checking complete Vehicle History before purchasing a pre-owned Honda CR-V.

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