fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
26,450 miles
Total Complaints:
28 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (14 reports)
  2. replace VTC Actuator (13 reports)
  3. honda has apparently re-engineered the vtc actuator (1 reports)
2013 Honda CR-V engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Honda CR-V Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #28

Apr 032014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles


Every time the weather gets cold, and I try to start the vehicle up, it grinds like the starter is going out. It is ridiculous. I have had the vehicle looked at, but nobody can provide an answer. It is going on 5 years of doing this.

- bcbtoothman, Barrackville, US

problem #27

Feb 222018

CR-V EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,990 miles

Upon start-up the engine makes a terrible grinding noise. My car is a 2013 and it started about 20,000 miles in and has continued. I've had it back and forth to the shop several times and last year they finally replaced a tension pulley - this did not solve the problem- and I've given up on getting a resolution after that $450. Seems to be a source of many complaints.

- Lisa R., Tracy, CA, US

problem #26

Oct 102016

CR-V EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,297 miles

I bought a used certified pre-owned Honda CR-V from my local Fox Honda in Sept. 2016, as my old car was having a bunch of car problems well over 100,000 miles. Initially excited to be driving a newer used car for once and was happy about it. Sometimes when winter hit about a couple months later, I started having these grinding noise. Low and behold, I googled the problem and the first thing I see is that it is a common problem on all models of Honda.

Like others have said, it only happens when it's cold out. But at a certain temperature. It was do it when it's 40-50 degrees, but doesn't when it reaches 20-30 degrees sometimes. It's embarrassing to say that the only remedy I've found that works half the time is to put your car on the ON position until the chime goes away and then start the car. This method works sometimes by reducing/eliminating the grinding sound. It doesn't however, get rid of the sound permanently.

My old car that was sold, never had this problem; even if it was 16 years old.

- Peter V., Grandville, US

problem #25

Jul 012015

CR-V EX-L 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


Contacted American Honda several times to report problem. They tried to influence me that given my location climate the problem could not occur. Dealership I purchased car used from admitted openly to being aware of the problem and the lack of any permanent solution from Honda to address it.

After repeated inquiries on my own over months I finally had the dealer tell me a fix was distributed by Honda. American Honda offered zero notification to me personally even though I opened a complaint with a case # and contacted them several times. I would not have received any notification from the dealer also unless I kept after them.

Upon dropping my vehicle off where this start up problem occurred religiously every day for over 2 years regardless of oil change frequency and permanent use of full synthetic, I decided to again contact American Honda to report my actions so they could update their records and confirm what the dealer was telling me about the fix. The "customer service" agent at American Honda in Torrance, CA was more than rude and uncooperative. She refused to offer any information nor alternatives regarding the problems which precisely sounded like internet accounts of the VTC-actuator problem because as she advise Honda has NOT acknowledged the problem or issued a TSB regarding my specific VIN or vehicle year/model. Quite convenient for Honda since they NEVER investigated my complaint.

The agent then REFUSED to offer me a supervisor or manager as I had requested during the call and advised that she could NOT have one contact me at their convenience to address my complaint. So Honda makes up their own definition of "customer service" and expects you to comply. Be advised that it will take you being a royal PITA with Honda corporate and potentially your dealer to get this fixed on their dime. Combined they are quite united in their collusion to hide this problem from the public and it will take a "responsible" shop' to admit to it's existence and extent.

Now I'm left with a vehicle that has suffered a well known problem and a fix that may or may not work along with "free" uncertainty as to whether future problems in this area may not be traced back to this original problem. Yet Honda has absolutely no offer for responsibility over the apparent design flaw or delay in accepting this a a major defect that SHOULD have triggered a recall.

Good luck to my fellow CR-V owners, it proves that manufacturers CAN engineer mechanical alternatives but have no clue on how to manufacture "integrity".

- Perry G., Arlington, US

problem #24

Sep 302013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles

This is such an shame that a company with such a reputation for quality can allow this to go on.

I had my neighbor who is a mechanic for the city hear this one time and he stopped me and said 'that start sounds horrible, do you want me to look at it'? Of course I said 'no, I'm taking it in for inspection soon, it is still in warranty'. Well low and behold I found out about the VTC!

The dealer knew of this and told me 'no damage, no recall, no fix!

I'm done with HONDA!!!!!!!!!!!!

- C U., Pittsburgh, PA, US

problem #23

Oct 262014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,546 miles

It started in the first winter only when it was cold over night. I would start up the CRV and a horrible grinding noise at start up. As the years gone on and visits to dealership. There are no fixes and the dealership says its a known problem with all Honda cars that the manufacturers have not changed the design of the VTC actuator and no plans to correct or recall problem.

Currently it make the HORRIBLE LOUD noise at every start up. So every time I start up my car I have people tell me I need to get that check out. The noise is loud enough to hear up to 8 lanes across in a parking lots. I will not be buying another HONDA.

- Samantha S., Stafford, VA, US

problem #22

Aug 012016

CR-V EX-L 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


Annoying sound every morning. We will be bringing this in to the dealership this week and hopefully wont get answers like the other post like "it wont damage the engine" BS or "there is no fix". This cant be normal for any car.

- Vern R., San Diego, CA, US

problem #21

Nov 142016

CR-V EX 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,654 miles

Purchased 2013 CRV (17000miles) about 3 months ago and never noticed grinding noise at startup until about 3 weeks ago. The car now makes the grinding noise every morning when I start it up. I scheduled an appt with local Honda service dept to check it out. Based on the number of complaints I will be surprised if they do anything to try and fix the problem.

Update from Dec 20, 2016: Took my CR V to local dealer and the service manager said Honda now has a fix and they would take care of the VTC actuator for me. No charge. It's been about one month since they did the work and it seems to have resolved the issue. I let my wife garage her car, so my CR V is outside in the weather most of the time. We have had some cold temperatures and so far no more grinding noise.

Thanks Honda

- mtanzyus, Lakewood, CO, US

problem #20

Feb 012014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

I bought this car in December of 2012, and around early 2014 (probably about a year later) I noticed a horrible grinding noise on a cold start. I took it to the dealer and of course, it was not making the noise when I had in the service department. It continued, so I brought it back and this time they told me it was a known issue with the engine and there was no fix for it yet, but Honda was working on it....nothing to worry about it, my car would not break down.

Months go by, I called Honda several times and got the same answer; it is the VTC actuator, no plans to correct it. How disappointing.

It's an extremely loud and embarrassing noise. I spent a lot of money on this vehicle, and have been a loyal Honda customer, but I'm done.

Shame on you Honda. I'm getting rid of it and buying American.

- julie_il, Schaumburg, IL, US

problem #19

Dec 032014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,436 miles

This is a problem Honda has known about for a long time. I understand from the Honda repair specialist that Honda has finally (Spring 2016) re-designed the part and that they don't expect any more problems with it.

- David B., Waco, US

problem #18

Apr 272013

CR-V EX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles


Have leased 2 Honda vehicles and was happy with them so decided to purchase my 3rd. Now almost every time I start my car whether at home, work, anywhere it makes the most ridiculous embarrassing sound. People in passing literally turn their heads like wth was that?? "Oh hey CFO sorry it's just me starting the 1st brand new vehicle I ever bought." So for 3 years every time I visit my Honda dealer I ask if there is a fix yet and get..."umm yeah no, sorry Honda is looking into it and will let you know as soon as they find a fix." It's BS and surprised there is no lawsuit against them by now. It's not fair to the consumer and is not acceptable. Either fix it or buy my car back and let me buy something else!!!!!!

- Jason B., Parma, OH, US

problem #17

Jan 132016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

I found out after this started happening to my vehicle that this has been a multiple year issue that Honda has known about and still hasn't developed a satisfactory repair. The CR-V and apparently other models of Honda have this grinding noise during cold startups after the vehicle sits for a period. The grinding is momentary and doesn't usually occur until another prolong cold sitting period. Knowing this deals with the timing, this has to have a lasting impact to the engine life. They have the engineers that can solve this, it' must be a money issue with taking the risk versus coming up with the fix. Maybe my last Honda and I currently own four.


- Scott H., Davidson, NC, US

problem #16

Dec 062014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,200 miles

Every time the weather gets cold, and I try to start the vehicle up, it grinds like the starter is going out. It is ridiculous. I have had the vehicle looked at, but nobody can provide an answer. It is going on two years of doing this. This year, the vehicle only has 39,000 miles on it.

- Crystal G., Gaithersburg, MD, US

problem #15

Jun 202014

CR-V LX 3.25

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles

I have been to the Honda dealership several times about this problem and a problem with the battery. After 3 visits they replaced the battery. The engine makes a grinding sound when it is first started for the day. Can't be because of cold weather because I live in California. I was finally told to bring the car in overnight so they could see what the engine was like in the morning. Went to take it in and was told it was the actuator and they didn't need to keep it overnight. I asked if there was a recall and they said no. They said it wasn't damaging the e

engine. Not sure I believe that. It seems as if it should be replaced for free. Worried about warranty running out.

- Char T., San Diego, CA, US

problem #14

Aug 142015

CR-V LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Called Honda and they said they are aware of the problem. Don't have a fix yet, but are hoping to have one in a couple of months. Never received a courtesy letter acknowledging there is even a problem. There are numerous Youtube videos with the same problem, but your video link won't accept any of them.

- Debra F., Carol Stream, IL, US

problem #13

Jul 162013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles

My 2013 Honda CRV has made a grinding noise almost since I bought it when I start it. This has been going on for three years and when you call the service dept they state "No fix yet" That is absolutely ridiculous. I have spent $26,000 on a new vehicle and I have to be ashamed every time I start my vehicle. That might not seem like a lot of money to some people but to a hard working single parent, it is a lot of money. They say it is not harming the vehicle but how can a loud grinding noise every time you start your vehicle not be harming anything? Then when the warranty runs out will it just be my problem? Come on, it has been three years and they have not found a fix yet? Is it because they are not looking for one? We can do amazing things in this world and we can't fix a simple noise in three years? I am so upset and it seems like there is not one darn thing I can do about it !

- Vicki T., North Las Vegas, NV, US

problem #12

Oct 162013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles

Good news - Honda Canada notified me of an upgrade to the VTC Actuator. It was installed yesterday. I have been test starting my CRV a couple times a day. The grind is back in -12c weather. I will notify Honda Canada their re-engineered part is a flop. So Beware.

- northernman, great lakes, ON, Canada

problem #11

Oct 012015

CR-V EX-L 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,678 miles

To give some context to my complaint. This is my second Honda CRV lease and I have been very loyal up until this point. For me to complain about anything takes quite a bit. Most days I am filled with gratitude and go with the flow. But everyone has a breaking point and especially since I am paying over $600 a month for a lease. I expect the vehicle to work properly.

My Experience: As the weather has changed to cooler fall temperatures as of recent. I started hearing on almost all cold start ups of my Honda CRV (2013) a grinding sound. As the temperature dropped the grinding noise got worse. I took my CRV into Honda three weeks ago. The dealership's response was that the VCT actuator needs replacing but they were instructed by Honda head office not to replace it until a new actuator is developed. Expected delivery date sometime in late January 2016.. "hopefully". The dealership service manager said Honda is aware of this problem but there is nothing they can do for me at the moment. I was quickly escorted to my vehicle and that was it from the dealership. I was asked to call them to see if there are any updates in late January. I received a survey a few days later to rate my recent service appointment. I explained that I was unhappy with their service. Shortly after I received an email apologizing with the Honda hotline that I could call to complain.

I called the Honda hotline and after waiting 10 minutes to talk to a customer service rep. I finally had the opportunity to explain my situation. The rep said she would get back to me with some answers. It has been 5 business days and no response from Honda.

The worst part of this terrible experience is as a Honda owner I have been left in the dark and there has been no compensation for breaking the lease terms. I am a real estate agent and transport my clients to showings. The look on my client's faces when I start my car is unnerving to say the least. They ask me questions like "is this car safe?" or "do have the money to fix it?" Very embarrassing.

My lease is up in Dec 2016 and I can't wait to drop off my CRV. "Goodnight Honda".

- andrewyyz, Toronto, ON, Canada

problem #10

Apr 012015

CR-V Touring 2.4L I4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,418 miles





Update from Apr 7, 2016: SO one day our dealer contacted us and said that they have received the part (VCT ACTUATOR) for our 2013 HONDA CR V, the next my dad took the car to the dealer and it took approx. 2 hours to replace the VCT ACTUATOR and done. THE GRINDING NOISE WAS GONE. PROBLEM IS FIXED

- srtlife, Mississauga, ON, Canada

problem #9

Sep 292015

CR-V EX 2.3L 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

I have always changed oil before it reaches the 15% level according to maintenance monitor.I have used only MOBIL 1 0W-20 SYNTHETIC AND Honda filters from the dealer. I was very surprised when my wife told me about the grinding noise during a cold start. I had to hear it for myself first which I did the first week of October.

We made inquiries about it with our local dealer but were discouraged from having them look at it because it was no longer in warranty We decided to get a second opinion from Eisinger Honda in Kalispell MT. We left the car with them overnight so they could cold start it and diagnose the problem. After hearing it they immediately notified Honda.The response from Honda stated that it was a known problem and would be repaired free of charge by Honda when they had a satisfactory fix for the problem. This just happened October 19.

We feel a little relieved that Honda has owned up to it as a factory defect but we have no idea when it will be repaired or what the cause of the problem is. They really need to take a sample engine apart and scrutinize every part to find the failure. I notice this engine noise is getting a lot of play on the internet and eventually it will call into question both their reliability and their integrity. Don't get me wrong, we like our CRV but we bought in the hope of not having any engine problems like 2003 Subaru Outback, which needed head gaskets at 40,000 miles and again when we decided to sell it at 167,000 miles. May trade in still not fixed for 2016 CRV with new Earth dreams engine design if the defect doesn't lower its value

Update from Nov 21, 2015: Tried procedure listed by other on the Internet,turn key full on and full off 2-4 times and it works sometimes but not always.This morning it was 12 deg F but did not make the usual noise.

Go figure.Was going to trade in on 2016 with new Earth Dreams 4-cyl but will keep until 100,000 miles which will be 2 more years.Car averaged 28.9 MPG on a 1400 mile trip to Oregon and back last weekend and so far uses 1/4 qt of oil in 8000 miles.Have nothing negative to say about this car except unusual noise.

- mrtimberjack, Huson, MT, US

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