really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
76,123 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 #25

Dec 182015


  • 164,000 miles


On December 18 my youngest daughter was returning from a babbysitting job..her 2003 CRV accelerator stuck open..for 5 to 7 miles she pressed on brakes as car was accelerating over 100 mph..she managed to slow to 60 and engage neutral while car still revving..and shut off vehicle..no dash or warning lights..the car is now at a Honda dealership in chattanooga..the dealer has pics of what happened and brakes were fried as they were new..im 2 1/2 weekks waiting on a reply or investigation from Honda..im out a car and my daughter needs to get to college..she was on a long stretch of highway at incident.which is what likely saved her by the grace of god..or could have been serious injury or death.

- Hixson, TN, USA

problem #24

Aug 102014


  • 116,400 miles
Driving with speed control on I tapped the brakes to release it. The car sped up as if the accelerator had been pressed to the floor and held there. I continued to tap the brakes, but the speed control would not release. I applied the brakes and it would not release. Now I am flying down the apron of the road just missing stopped cars still going 65 being jostled violently. The speed control disengages after I pass about 20 cars. The car finally is able to stop. My hand was at no point close to the steering wheel controls of the speed control. My foot never hit or held the accelerator. A right rear tire was impaled by debris.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #23

Jul 082015


  • 85,000 miles
I was at a public aquatic center and while pulling into a parking space, the car accelerated up to about 15 miles per hour or more. I ended up hitting the building head on causing damage to the front end end of my car and to myself as well.

- Lauderhill, FL, USA

problem #22

Dec 162014

CR-V 4-cyl

  • 140,000 miles


I had just taken the car into the dealership the week before, and they had replaced the starter as well as doing routine maintenance. One week later, I had just left the house and was driving toward a major intersection at 55 mph when the vehicle started to accelerate on its own. I pushed down on the brake and was able to slow the vehicle down somewhat but the engine was still racing. I tried to pull the accelerator up but with the top of my foot, but this did nothing. Putting all of my weight on the brake I slowed it enough to turn into a parking lot at about 10 mph, at which point I jammed it into park. The engine continued to race until I turned it off. When the tow truck arrived, the driver started the car which again caused the engine to rev extremely high, and he immediately turned it off. After towing to the dealership, the mechanics there were unable to reproduce the problem. They kept the car for several weeks, during which time they drove it for about 80 miles. Then they called us and said that they could not find anything wrong or reproduce the problem, and they have asked us to come pick up the vehicle. I am worried the problem could recur, and do not wish to drive the vehicle any longer.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #21

Jan 022015

CR-V 4-cyl

  • 143,000 miles
While using 'cruise control' in freeway traffic, the cars ahead began to slow, suddenly while I had cruise control engaged, in fifth gear. A black prius was the car immediately ahead of mine. The slowing of the traffic was significant enough so that I used light braking to disengage the cruise control and slow the vehicle. Just a 'tap' on the brake is all that has ever been necessary to disengage the cruise control in this type of situation. "light' braking and then 'very heavy' braking did nothing whatsoever to disengage the cruise control or to slow the vehicle whatsoever. I almost collided with the rear end of the prius. The only way I could resume control and slow my vehicle was to reach over and slap-off the master, cruise control switch at the far left of the instrument panel. This was very scary as I've heard of it happening but has never happened in this vehicle and I've owned it since new. When I first attempted to tap the brake to disengage the cruise control, and slow; my vehicle also seemed to accelerate at the same time... I think that this, probably, was not actually the case as the closure rate to the other vehicle and my inability to slow the vehicle, probably just made it seem like the car was accelerating... I honestly do not know. I cannot reproduce the anomaly.....

- Eugene, OR, USA

problem #20

Dec 042013

CR-V 4-cyl

  • 138,900 miles
My wife was accelerating her 2003 Honda CR-V onto the Massachusetts turnpike from the on-ramp, but the car continued to accelerate well above normal highway speed. The brake only slowed it partially, so she tried tapping the accelerator which released. Alarmed by this she got it serviced where mechanic blamed the problem on buildup of deposits on the throttle plate, which they cleaned, and did other preventive maintenance. Several weeks later I was leaving the supermarket on an very cold day of about 10F. I started the car in park, at which point the throttle went to maximum by itself, at very high revs. Fortunately it was still in park. I tried all kinds of tapping on and around the accelerator. I inspected the accelerator area for a stuck floor mat or a foreign object, but found nothing. I turned the car off, but when I turned it on, it continued to rev as if floored. The second time I turned it off and on, it returned to normal operation. It drove normally for the next few weeks. Finally, my wife was driving on a busy divided highway with many businesses when the accelerator stuck open again. The car sped up to dangerous speed, and stomping on the brake only partly slowed it. She shifted into low gear which actually made it speed up. She was approaching a traffic light with stopped cars. Not wanting to hit a column of stopped cars, she steered into a thick snowbank by the side of the road, hoping to stop it non-destructively. But the Honda did not stop until it hit a telephone pole very hard, with airbag deployment and total vehicle loss. She escaped with only minor bruises.

- Sherborn, MA, USA

problem #19

Oct 062013


  • 52,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Honda CR-V. the contact stated that while attempting to park, the vehicle suddenly accelerated. The vehicle crashed into four parked vehicles and then into a bus shelter. A police report was filed and no injuries were reported. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The current and failure mileage was 52,000.

- Forest Park , IL, USA

problem #18

Aug 152013


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda CR-V. the contact stated that while driving 50 mph and attempting to accelerate to 55 mph, the vehicle abnormally accelerated to 80 mph. The vehicle did not respond as the contact applied the brakes. The contact was able to move onto the shoulder and turned the engine off. The vehicle was towed to the dealer to have a diagnostic performed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure and current mileage was 77,000.

- Mcminnville, OR, USA

problem #17

Mar 162013

CR-V 4-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
My family and I were driving on an interstate, traveling up a slight hill at 65 mph. I stepped on the accelerator to increase power, and the pedal suddenly went right to the floor and the engine rpms increased from 3K to about 5.5K. The CRV accelerated rapidly, approaching 80 mph, and I removed my foot from the pedal. The engine was completely unresponsive, and the CRV continued to accelerate to 85 mph. At this point, I made sure that the cruise control was turned off. I quickly realized something was wrong, so I began to apply the brakes, gently at first, but the engine was racing and accelerating the CRV, so I had to smash on the brake with both feet. I was able to bring the CRV down to about 45 mph and exit the interstate at a rest area. Once on the off-ramp, I put the transmission into neutral because the brakes were under a lot of stress. The engine rpms shot even higher, so I cut the ignition and coasted into the rest area. We had to call for a tow truck. A mechanic confirmed (as I suspected) that the butterfly valve in the engine throttle body was stuck in the open position. A few days later, a Honda parts inspector reviewed the CRV and determined that the problem was caused by normal wear and tear, and that we were responsible for paying for a new throttle body. A series of calls with corporate Honda ensued, wherein they refused to acknowledge any responsibility for the defective part. After much complaining on my part, Honda agreed to pay for a new throttle as long as I would sign a waiver absolving them of all future legal liability. I refused to do so. Ultimately, I worked with my local dealership to trade-in the CRV for a newer model. I do not know the fate of the 2003 CRV. The incident on the road was horrifying, and then to be treated poorly by corporate Honda was infuriating. The national safety database shows that this is not a new problem.

- Livingston, MT, USA

problem #16

Apr 082003


  • 96,000 miles
When I placed the CR-V in reverse to back out of my drive way my foot slip from the brake and hit the accelerator the car catapulted hitting my Honda Accord on the rear panel of the driver side, my Accord was parked perpendicular to the driving path I informed Honda recommended design changes.. I remember that I used to own a Toyota Camry where the brake and accelerator pedal had enough gap that I could place my foot between the two pedals. Will gladly furnished pictures of the damage and the brake pedal.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #15

Dec 082007

CR-V 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


I had stopped for a blocked roadway on the interstate. Once I could go, I accelerated. My vehicle continued to accelerate out of control, reaching over 90 mph. I pumped the brake, gas, and was unable to bring the vehicle to a lower speed for over a mile on the interstate. I checked the floor mat and ensured that nothing was in the way. Luckily, traffic had been stopped previous to the out of control acceleration. I took it to Honda and reported the problem. They said the throttle cable was junky and I paid to fix it. I reported the incident then. Today my vehicle accelerated out of control while on the interstate. I was unable to bring the vehicle back down to speed. I applied the brake, emergency brake, put it in neutral, and then took the key out.

- Chapin, SC, USA

problem #14

May 012012

CR-V 4-cyl

  • miles
2003 Honda CRV. Consumer writes in regards to throttle body issues the consumer stated the check engine light illuminated. The dealer replaced the throttle body.

- Dupont, PA, USA

problem #13

Apr 302012

CR-V 4-cyl

  • 70,500 miles
Sudden acceleration due to gas pedal getting "stuck". once a red light turned green vehicle was put into motion from completely stopped position. After a few yards driver had to brake not to hit the truck in front of it, which was going slower than vehicle in question. Instead of reducing speed, driver faced a sudden acceleration that made the vehicle crash into the truck. Even with the impact, the acceleration continued and vehicle crashed again into the same truck. Driver realized the vehicle was not reducing its speed by applying the brake pedal and therefore vehicle was put into parking and turned off. In an attempt to turn the vehicle on again the vehicle made a very loud accelerated noise but driver could not take vehicle from parking position and noticed brake and gas pedals were stiff. Vehicle had to be towed. Honda was contacted and requested to go see the vehicle before it is taken apart (in order to find evidence), but its representative said the only thing they can do is take the vehicle for a test drive to try to reproduce the problem once the vehicle is repaired and safe to be driven again. Basically, Honda doesn't show interest in investigating further and will wash its hands if problem cannot be reproduced, which will likely be the case, or else the vehicle won't even be able to leave the repair center where it currently is and taken for such "test drive". sadly, Honda just lost a loyal customer.

- Lewisville, TX, USA

problem #12

Oct 312011


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda CR-V. the contact was driving 65 mph with the cruise control engaged when the vehicle abnormally accelerated to 80 mph. The contact canceled the cruise control and engaged the brakes, but the vehicle continued to surge forward. The vehicle continued to surge forward until the ignition was turned off. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 85,000.

- Burlington, NC, USA

problem #11

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 #10

Jul 242008


  • 51,000 miles
Traveling on interstate with vehicle set on cruise-control at 65 mph; cruise-control malfunctioned losing all vehicle speed in heavy traffic. Dealership said that the cruise-control unit physically separated from it's mounting, that the vehicle had low mileage and incident should never have happened. Indicated that there were other incidents of this nature with other vehicle's, however, no recalls. Vehicle out of warranty, dealership stated they would check and possibly buy the part if I paid for the labor. Two years later, still no answer from the dealership.

- Elmira, NY, USA

problem #9

Jun 292009


  • 59,504 miles
We are writing to report NHTSA in addressing a critical safety issue in Honda automobiles and serious negligence on the part of the american Honda automobile company. We own a 2003 Honda CR-V (VIN: [xxx] ). this vehicle has serious manufacturing defects that have resulted in several instances of engine racing, where the vehicle continuously accelerates uncontrollably. Only my husband's considerable automotive engineering experience was able to prevent potentially fatal accidents that could have killed our entire family. We have contacted the american Honda automobile customer service many times to report critically dangerous vehicle malfunctions after these instances occurred, but to no avail. We requested that the Honda company allow us to return this car to them so that they can research the problem. We are afraid to drive this car right now, and we do not want to resell this car to others, as it could cause fatal accidents for someone else. My husband experienced engine racing for the first time on April 28, 2009. The engine suddenly started revving to over 7000 RPM, quickly bringing the vehicle to 75mph and overcoming its own brakes. Thankfully, he was able to disengage the gear, shut down the car, and maneuver it by unpowered steering, bringing it to a stop before a serious accident occurred. Without the knowledge to safely control the car or the good fortune of an open road and light traffic, he might not have survived. We called aaa to tow the car to an aaa authorized repair shop nearby. The repair shop checked the engine and found that the device that controls engine idling had malfunctioned. Both my husband and I missed work that morning. Afterwards I called and emailed the Honda dealer and american Honda automobile customer service to report a critically dangerous vehicle malfunction (case #[xxx]). we requested that they reimburse our costs of repairing this engine ctrl malfunction and investigate. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #8

Mar 142010


  • 92,280 miles
2003 Honda CR-V sudden acceleration due to gas pedal getting stuck. While making left turn from completely stopped position, cars picked up sudden acceleration and would barely stop after using both normal and emergency brakes. After incident, car gear was put into parking and car was turned off. While turning on car in parking gear, RPM line jumped to 4500 RPM and car continued to make acceleration noise. This continued for sometime. Problem disappeared on in its own after 30 minutes and repeated attempts to start car. Car drove normally after problem disappeared. Exact rootcause of problem is unknown and there is uncertainty that it may come back and could result in injuries if car does not stop.

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #7

Jun 142007


  • 65,000 miles
Sudden acceleration also occurred with my 2003 Honda CRV on at least two occasions in 2007. Both times I took the car to the dealer ship and was told they were unable to find any problem. The second incident almost caused me to hit some one even though I applied the brakes with both feet and damaged the brakes in the process. I was terrified to drive the car, not knowing when the sudden acceleration and lunging would happen. I returned to the dealership and demanded to find the cause or I would refuse to drive a car that is possessed. I was never given a satisfactory explanation of the cause and was just told it was something with the computer. I had no problem since, but it is always in the back of my mind, especially sine the Toyota issues with sudden acceleration. I do not believe I am the only person who had this problem.

- Bringhurst, IN, USA

problem #6

Jun 012005

CR-V 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda CR-V. while driving 55 mph the vehicle automatically accelerated to approximately 80 mph. The contact was able to decrease in speed by depressing the brake pedal. The dealer stated that there was a defect with the throttle cap and made the repair. No other failures have occurred since the repair was performed. The current and failure mileages were 75,000. The consumer stated when bringing the vehicle in for scheduled maintenance the recall was performed for issues with the cruise control. The consumer stated while reporting to the dealer in 2005 that the vehicle would suddenly accelerate but upon braking the issue would resolve and could not be duplicated by the dealer. On the 2nd incident is where the vehicle accelerated to 80 mph by flooring the brake the consumer was able to get the vehicle to decelerate but the vehicle would not stop eventually stopping the vehicle by putting it into park. The dealer stated the throttle plate was sticking. Updated 08/03/07

- Atkinson, NH, USA

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