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The CR-V is Honda’s most successful vehicle, with annual sales of over 300,000. And the CR-V’s recall safety record looks decent, with six since 2021. But an ongoing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation could spell trouble for the automaker. 

What is the Honda CR-V investigation about?

2022 CR-V
2022 Honda CR-V | Honda

As we reported in December, the NHTSA launched a probe into the excessive number of reports it’s getting about CR-V engine failure. This abrupt loss of power at highway speeds can lead to serious accidents. Field reports the NHTSA obtained show that the cause is rear-end differentials locking up due to leaking lubricant.

That can cause the drive shaft to wrap around itself or fracture. Either way, the SUV immediately slows and stops. So the NHTSA says it’s looking at the number and severity of the incidents when this Honda CR-V problem happens. 

Are other CR-V investigations in the works?

A Honda CR-V recall affects various model years including 2022
2022 Honda CR-V | Honda

Honda is monitoring the probe and complying with the NHTSA’s requests, as well as conducting an independent review. The affected models are Honda CR-V and HR-V SUVs built from 2018 to 2022. That’s 1.72 million vehicles. These incidents occur on models with all-wheel drive. 

The federal government says all automakers must submit field reports and findings of defective components to the NHTSA. If the agency determines a reason to issue a recall, it notifies the manufacturer. This is the largest defect investigation the NHTSA has for 2022, Reuters reports.

In addition, the NHTSA has a concurrent investigation into 2017 to 2019 CR-V SUVs and 2018 and 2019 Accord sedans. This probe concerns reports of “sudden activation of the vehicle’s automatic-emergency-braking system” for those models. In this case, an alleged six injuries have occurred after collisions. The agency has received over 270 reports of these activation incidents. 

How long do NHTSA probes take?

Since December 2022, there has been no further word on where the NHTSA stands in these Honda investigations.

This year, three CR-V recalls have been issued. The first is for airbag system wiring causing a slower inflation rate than required. The second involves rusting frames. And the third concerns seat belts not latching properly in specific CR-V models.

The SUV’s only recall in 2022 was over a clip inside the gas tank that could become loose, causing irregular gas gauge readings.

And of the two recalls issued in 2021, one was because of improper seat belt tensioner releases, and the other was for fuel pump failures. 

NHTSA investigations typically take about a year to conduct. The agency closes probes if it determines no further reason to investigate or if the manufacturer decides a recall is necessary. So we’ll likely see it resolved by the end of 2023.