definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,925 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Honda CR-V engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Honda CR-V Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #29

Sep 282012

CR-V 4-cyl

  • 66,000 miles


On my 2003 Honda at around 66,000 miles the air conditioning quit working. Although I hardly use A/C since I only have a short drive to work. I took the vehicle into a Honda dealer. It was reported that the A/C blew up and was contaminated throughout the system. I had to replace everything including lines. Although they claim this happens, im concerned since the A/C was rarely used. Clearly a defect in the A/C. ive owned other vehicles with only having to do regular maintenace on the A/C with no problems. This repair costed $2,611.70. I had an extended warrenty which did not help much either. I have been told or read other problems with the A/C in Honda.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #28

Jan 062012

CR-V 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Heater core leaking into passenger side and dripping on passenger's foot. Passenger was not injured but potential for burn.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #27

Aug 282011

CR-V 4-cyl

  • 161,995 miles
On Sunday afternoon August 28th, my 2003 Honda CRV had an engine fire. The only warning, was a rubbing sound when the car was started but no dash lamps prior to seeing the smoke and subsequent fire. Fortunately I was able to safely get my family out of the CRV and put out the fire. Upon repairing the car at the local Honda dealer, they identified the ac compressor as the likely root cause of the fire based on melted clutch drive wires which appear to be the ignition source for the overheated drive belt. Since the 2 yr old ac compressor was a four seasons - everco 58881 replacement A/C compressor from auto zone, Honda was not interested in any further investigation but they did allow me to keep the damaged ac compressor and drive belt. I spoke with everco customer service however they said they would not deal with the public directly so I discussed this issue with the auto zone district service manager who made an internal inquiry and then said they could not initiate a claim because the component is outside the warranty period. I am disappointed that neither Honda, autozone nor everco are interested in a root cause investigation or providing any compensation. Fortunately no one was injured in this incident but other CRV owners may be less fortunate. I have the damaged hardware and photos which can support an investigation.

- Hagerstown, MD, USA

problem #26

Jun 192011


  • 114,700 miles


A/C compressor imploded and damaged the entire system as a replacement cost of $3400.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #25

May 012010


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda CR-V. the contact stated that the coolant leaked which caused the air conditioning compressor to fail. The steering column overheated. The passenger air bag light illuminated with or without a passenger in the seat. The cruise control activated suddenly at times. The oxygen sensor light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop but the exact causes of these failures could not be determined. The contact called the manufacturer who advised her to take the vehicle to an authorized dealer. The failure mileage was approximately 75,000 and the current mileage was approximately 77,000.

- Lafayette, GA, USA

problem #24

Jul 282010


  • 76,000 miles
While driving the 2003 CRV, I heard what sounded like marbles going through the ac vents, then saw a puff of smoke from under the hood, the ac quit blowing cold air. I contacted the dealer who said that this is a common occurrence with the CRV, he said contact american Honda since you are a loyal customer and the probably would cover it under a good will gesture. No such luck, the person we spoke to said that they would give us nothing, since this is not a Honda issue. I requested to speak to some one higher up and the gentleman, stated he makes the decisionso it does not have to go any further than him, I asked how can you be the only person who decides this, I then asked to speak to his supervisor and he stated he would not talk to me any further about this either, that the decision is with him. I requested one more time, he then hung up on me. I called back a day later and got the same results, as soon as you give them your VIN #, I got put on hold and sent to the same person as before. I wanted to talk to a different person. I got several estimates now to replace the ac, anywhere from $2900 to $4500 depending on where I take it. Honda dealers are requiring the whole system to be replaced, compressor, dryer unit, condenser and lines. Apparently it sends metal particles through out the whole system. If it is not flushed or replaced it will occur again. I have now tried to get the dealer to help the will cover 25% of the cost on parts only. I will probably get the system repaired or sell the vehicle as is. Unsure. Parts will be available when I do have it repaired, I will ask for them back. I will continue to call american Honda until I receive some type of resolution, my wife is writing a letter to Honda. I searched the internet and this seemed to be a major issue with 2002 to 2004 Honda CRV's. never buy again.

- Columbia, PA, USA

problem #23

Apr 252010


  • 64,000 miles


I recently purchased a 2003 Honda CR-V ex with 62K miles on it. After driving the car for less than 3K additional miles the air conditioner just stopped working. We were driving with the air conditioner on and then next thing you know it just stopped blowing cold air. I took in to be diagnosed and was told the air compressor needed to be replaced. The total repair cost is about $1200. I haven't had it repaired yet because I don't have the extra cash. Looks like this is a widespread problem with Honda.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #22

Jun 062010


  • 60,900 miles
The ac compressor on my 2003 Honda CR-V, 60917 miles, destroyed itself internally causing the engine to cut off. I had difficulty pulling the car off the road since there was no power steering. Local Honda dealer said the compressor came apart sending metal shavings throughout the system. This will require a complete A/C system replacement, cost $3300. After checking on the internet, this seems to be an ongoing problem with the CR-V.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #21

May 022009


  • 73,100 miles
I have a 2003 Honda CR-V. while driving on the interstate, the air conditioning stopped cooling. I took the car to my mechanic who said the compressor blew up and most likely contaminated the entire ac system. He referred me to the local dealership for further diagnosis and assistance. The Honda dealership confirmed the diagnosis. The entire ac system must be replaced. The local mechanic and dealership acknowledged that this is a known problem with Honda Cr-vs of the age of my vehicle. They even have a name for it which they put on the ticket - "black death". this is a safety issue because if I were going slow enough the engine could have stopped when the compressor broke apart. If I were on snow I could have skidded the tires or the belt could have broken or maybe slipped. The serpentine belt is very strong so there are times when this very well could be a safety issue. In my case, none of these circumstances happened but I felt this was a situation that must be reported since it is a known issue with these cars.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #20

Sep 272008


  • 97,600 miles
2003 Honda CR-V air conditioner/compressor blew up at approx 97,600 miles. Mechanic said because of debris, filings, etc., cost for repair is $3800.

- Boulder Creek, CA, USA

problem #19

Jun 302008


  • 100,000 miles


My 2003 CRV was making a strange faint squealing sound. Shortly after that the air conditioner stopped working, and was running funny. I took it straight to my mechanic. He had to replace the entire unit, at an overall cost of $1,200 a week later the same thing happened to my friend with her CRV and as I began to search on line, it has happened to 100's of others with the '03 and '04 CRV's. I am angry that Honda hasn't issued a recall after covering the cost for most of these persons. Clearly they are aware of the consistent problem with the air compressor. I am currently waiting to hear back from Honda.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #18

Jul 032008


  • 65,000 miles
My wife's 2003 CR-V has had 3 compressors explode. The first time was at 17,000 miles, the second was at 41,000 miles, and the third was 3 weeks ago at around 65,000. The entire system was replaced 2 times by Honda at no cost (once under warranty and the second time as a ┐goodwill┐ gesture). Though they deny any knowledge of a history of air conditioner problems with Cr-vs, they have agreed to replace the entire system this third time for only the cost of labor ($699).

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #17

Jul 192008


  • 72,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda CRV. While driving between 25-30 mph, the compressor seized. The contact was able to continue to her destination. The dealer stated that due to a lack of lubrication, the compressor seized and caused damage to the air conditioning unit. She was first informed that this was an isolated failure with vehicles from another country with specific vehicle identification numbers. Her vehicle is no longer under warranty; however, the dealer is willing to pay for half of the repair. The current mileage was 73,000 and failure mileage was 72,000.

- Rising Sun, MD, USA

problem #16

Dec 142007

CR-V 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda CR-V. the contact noticed that the engine warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. When releasing pressure off the brake without applying pressure to the accelerator pedal, the vehicle dramatically lunged forward. She took the vehicle to a local mechanic and they stated that the throttle position sensor caused the failure. The manufacturer did not provide any assistance. The powertrain was unknown. The failure and current mileages were 74,500.

- Ponderay, ID, USA

problem #15

Mar 132006

(reported on)


  • miles
Fax E-mail from (mt) re defective computer in their 2003 Honda CRV, causes the engine light to come on. A computer read out indicated that al four cylinders were misfiring.

- Fairfield, MT, USA

problem #14

Aug 042005

CR-V 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 44,300 miles
2003 Honda CR-V 44,200 miles: Bad bearing or pump noise starting coming from engine compartment, stopped and checked (noise varied with engine speed). Narrowed noise to area around ac compressor/alternator/belt tensioner. Operated vehicle less than 30 minutes from first appearance of noise, then there was a thud, and a clunk looked out the passenger side rearview mirror and saw a something rolling down the street. Noise went away, and ac stopped cooling. Went back to see what had fallen off, and found part of the clutch assembly. No apparent damage, vehicle operates minus ac. Took vehicle to dealer, was told that he has seen this a four or five times recently, and that he would contact Honda, to see what can be done. Was later told that Honda would cover the repairs.

- Norman, OK, USA

problem #13

Jan 052005


  • 14,601 miles
'recall campaign' consumer received recall for SRS cable reel and CR-V shift cable update. The valve cover gasket was leaking in the right front corner of the vehicle. There were many occasions in which the vehicle would have no oil. The vehicle would burn oil every 500 miles or less. The consumer requested a new engine or a new vehicle due to her fear that oil may drip and cause the vehicle to catch fire. The problem remained the same.

- Montgomery, NY, USA

problem #12

Dec 062004

CR-V 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle is leaking oil excessively out of the engine, especially after oil changes. Taken to dealer multiple times, but the cause is still undetermined. The consumer stated that he has spoken to dealer several times in reference to the oil leaking on driveway several days after an oil change. The underside of the vehicle remains wet with oil. The consumer stated that there is difficulty gaining access to the oil filter and removing it without spilling the oil. Problem still exists.

- Stuart, FL, USA

problem #11

Nov 212004


  • 13,880 miles
The consumer noticed oil leaking from the vehicle. The dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem. Oil was burnig every 500 miles.

- Montgomery, NY, USA

problem #10

Nov 012004


  • miles
Complaint concerning oil leaked all over driveway after oil change. Worried about fires caused by oil filter problem. * bf while getting an oil change the consumer noticed a U shaped metal member located directly below the oil filter. When the oil filter was removed the oil splashes over this member as well as other structural members.

- Washington, DC, USA

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