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Even the most popular vehicles aren’t perfect. The Honda CR-V is one of the top-rated small crossovers for reliability, but owners still experience issues. What are some of the most common Honda CR-V problems, and are they worth facing when looking for your next compact SUV?

The most common Honda CR-V problems

An overhead shot of a red 2023 Honda CR-V EX-L, the most reliable compact SUV model, parked on top of a parking garage
2023 Honda CR-V EX-L | American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

The three most common Honda CR-V problems owners have reported to the consumer site RepairPal are the following:

  • Air conditioning blowing warm air
  • Door locks sticking
  • Groaning noises

The air-conditioning problem might be as simple as a leak in the system, the door locks might have worn tumbles from age, and the groaning noises are due to the breakdown of differential fluid.

The CR-V has been part of the compact SUV class for over 20 years. Could the age of some early models lead to these issues? It’s possible.

What’s the fix for the CR-V’s A/C blowing warm air?

2023 Honda CR-V dashboard controls.
2023 Honda CR-V | American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Unfortunately, the most common Honda CR-V problem is expensive to fix. The air conditioner blowing warm instead of cool could mean the A/C compressor might seize and fail. That results in debris spreading through the HVAC system.

This problem could cost about $900 to $1,400 to fix, making it one of the most expensive repairs for this Honda SUV.

The Honda CR-V locks won’t turn — what’s the fix?

If the door lock of your CR-V doesn’t turn, the tumblers are likely worn. The fix is to have the lock removed and the tumblers replaced. It’s a relatively affordable repair, with an average cost running about $100.

What should CR-V owners do when hearing a groaning noise from the rear?

When the rear differential fluid breaks down, a groaning noise occurs, requiring service. This is one of the most common Honda CR-V problems after 100,000 miles. Servicing the rear differential typically fixes this issue and costs about $50 to $150.

Is a Honda CR-V worth buying?

You’d be hard-pressed to find any expert worth their salt that tells you the CR-V isn’t worth buying. This Honda SUV has been a stalwart for many years. Honda wisely gave this crossover evolved changes rather than making radical shifts from one generation to another. Therefore, a used Honda CR-V is almost as enjoyable as a new model.

Is the Honda CR-V reliable?

Despite the reported CR-V problems, this Honda SUV boasts excellent reliability scores, making it one of the best crossovers in its class. The latest CR-V model year has a high rating from RepairPal. That’s enough to put it in the second spot out of 26 compact SUVs.

This rating is based on three factors:

  • The average cost of maintenance and repairs
  • The frequency of unscheduled repairs
  • The severity of those repairs

In all three categories, the Honda CR-V hits high marks for reliability, with below-average costs, frequency, and severity.

What are the best Honda CR-V model years?

The name of this Honda SUV is an acronym for “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle,” and several model years offer comfortable, dependable transportation. If you’re shopping for a used Honda CR-V, the best model years to look for are 2022, 2021, 2020, 2016, 2013, 2009, 2001, and 1998.

Conversely, the worst CR-V model years are 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2008, 2007, and 2002.

Is the Honda CR-V a good car?

Whether a used Honda CR-V or a brand-new model, this compact SUV is a fantastic daily driver at an affordable price.