No Heat While Idling
This popular SUV is terrible at producing heat while idling. In fact, many owners say it won’t produce any at all until they start driving.
If you’ve ever had to scrape ice off your windshield you understand how powerful of an ally the defroster can be. So it’s no wonder CR-V owners in cold-weather climates feel betrayed.
This vehicle is absolutely unsuitable to be driven in cold temps and climates. It's a definite safety hazard to drive with your windows fogged up and the vehicle can't create enough heat to defrost them. I am now carrying an adapter plug and a hair dryer in case of emergency. Who spends over $40 000 to do this? – 2017 CR-V Owner in Alberta, CA
From reports, the heater core will eventually warm up once you start driving. Now this isn’t much different from most other vehicles, the engine heats up, the heater core heats up, the warm air starts flowing.
What’s odd is the moment you find yourself idling, or even coasting down a hill, you can see the engine temperature gauge drop into chilly oblivion.
Even once it is completely warmed up, temperature gauge will drop back to cold and air out of vents will be cold when idling for any amount of time. You must be driving to get any heat. – 2017 CR-V Owner in USA
There’s a theory going around that whatever is going on, Honda fixed it for the 2018 model year and owners should look to trade up. We’re not so sure about that.
A varied array of unhelpful suggestions from Honda dealerships
In addition to complaints being submitted to CarComplaints.com and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), owners have been taking their cars to local dealerships looking for help. Unfortunately, all they’re getting back is a chilled, depressing gazpacho of suggestions. Things like:
- Turn the heat all the way up, but keep the fan on the lowest setting only.
- Never use the vehicle’s eco-mode, maybe try the sport mode instead?
- This engine is smaller to be more fuel efficient, and therefore doesn’t produce enough heat.
One common point of emphasis from dealerships has been, I’m sorry but there’s nothing we can do because there’s no official recognition of the problem or a solution from Honda.
Most Common Reasons the Heat Runs Cold
So what are the factors that could cause a vehicle’s heat not to work properly?
The most common is a busted heater blower motor. The motor brings air in using a fan, warms the air by blowing it across the heater core, and then pushes the warmed air through the ducts to the active vents.
If the blower motor is not effectively moving air, the heat may still work but the amount of hot air will be drastically reduced in the vehicle. However, that doesn’t necessarily appear to be the case here as the heat seems to work fine once the car is moving.
So it could potentially be a clogged or defective heater core. As we mentioned above, the blower motor pushes air over the heater core to warm it up before distributing it to the active vents. So if the heater core isn’t hot, than guess what – neither is the air.
To heat itself, the heater core relies on residual heat from the engine. So is it possible the engine is just not producing enough heat at idle? It could be if it has a busted thermostat. We all know what a thermostat is, but the one I’m referring to here is a valve that blocks the flow of coolant to the radiator until the engine is nice and toasty. If the thermostat isn’t working, the engine might run colder than normal.
Is this another “Earth Dreams” nightmare for people in cold climates?
Speaking of engines, the newest CR-Vs have what Honda calls the 1.5L “Earth Dreams” engine which has already been tied to excess fuel build-up and gas fumes in the cabin for CR-Vs in cold weather climates.
Is this heater problem another Earth Dreams defect?
Actions You Can Take
This step is crucial, don't just complain on forums! The sites below will actively manage your complaints and turn them into useful statistics. Both CarComplaints.com and the CAS will report dangerous trends to the authorities and are often called upon by law firms for help with Class Action lawsuits. Make sure to file your complaint on all three sites, we can't stress that enough.
Step 1: File Your Complaint at CarComplaints.com
CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases. Add a Complaint
Step 2: Notify the Center for Auto Safety
The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits. Notify the CAS
Step 3: Report a Safety Concern to NHTSA
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues. Report to NHTSA