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2015 Honda CR-V Vibration Fix may result in lower fuel economy

Honda has proposed a “Fix” for that nagging vibration reported by some 2015 Honda CR-V owners that may result in lower fuel economy.

2016 Honda CR-V, the best selling SUV in North America is a wondrous combination of fairly priced creature comfort meets safety and exceptional utility. It’s reasonably good looking, handles well in city and urban environments, while affording the driver and passenger the option of that occasional romp out to the country with the family and friends in tow.

I along with the majority of the 300,000 + folks that purchased CR-V in 2015, like Honda’s best selling urban utility vehicle for what it was intended to be, a fuel efficient, and dare I say it, fun to drive compact crossover, SUV.

2015 CR-V performs all those useful and truck-like duties expected from a tough compact SUV without the associated bulk and fuel thirsty attributes of the Chevy Suburbans of the world. But, as with all mass produced cars and light truck, albeit quality built, some, if not all 2015 Honda CR-Vs come with a nagging glitch.

A mild to very annoying vibration

O.K., I’ll admit it, I’m a Honda fan, -- have been so for the better part of 4 decades, and refuse to throw the Honda brand in the proverbial dumpster based on a mild to headache inducing vibration reported by a percentage of disgruntled 2015 Honda CR-V owners.

Don’t read my wrong here. If my brand new $33,400 CR-V AWD Touring developed a serious, unanticipated vibration within days or weeks of purchase, I’d be a bit more than pissed! And I do “feel the pain” of our readers that have reported this “ghost” vibration along with very little affirmative response from their Honda dealership of choice service advisor.

A swirling quagmire of “maybe, could be and what if”

I first drove 2015 Honda CR-V Touring well over a year ago in Huntington Beach , California. At that time, I was more than a bit taken by the new found engine power, interior refinement, quality of ride, and uptick good looks discovered in what was at the time, not may favorite Honda , Acura offering.

I mention Acura because the RDX crossover is a not too distant cousin of Honda CR-V. It’s actually my favorite 2-row, I drove to the CR-V Huntington Beach introduction in one, and frankly, I and the hundred or so journalist treated to the initial reveal of the major “refreshed” CR-V did not report a notable vibration in our pre-production vehicles, we didn’t detect one!

This is not to say that vibration wasn’t present. I believe vibration to be inherent to direct injection engine technology, and perhaps just a bit more noticeable when paired with a CVT transmission.

2015 Honda CR-V features both. Yet looking to Honda’s 19 page dealership repair bulletin of November 2015, due to the variety of consumer reported vibration, the possible remedy for the “buzz” was a variable one, and in some instances, would require multiple remedies.

2015 Honda CR-V comes in 11 trim variants

In short, what may be causing the noted vibration in your 2015 CR-V doesn’t necessarily apply to you neighbor’s CR-V, and that was a major challenge for Honda engineering, how to isolate the cause and effect of vibration while answering the individual consumer’s perception of that vibration?

Vibration’s a strange effect. According to several Torque News readers, In the case of CR-V, simply turning on or off the climate control, stereo, or changing one’s exceleration pattern reduced the reported vibration to nil.

It is that inglorious thing that happens when you take a problem to you friendly dealer for review, and the problem refuses to resurface under examination. In many cases, the service writer, technician, or service manager couldn’t duplicate the vibration, and that was a problem for CR-V owners and Honda engineering alike!

Your “fix” may effectively reduce fuel economy by 7/10 MPG

That equates to less than one mile per gallon, yet a real issue for many Honda CR-V driver’s who may have purchased CR-V for its “ best in class” fuel economy. So, after the radiator and transmission mounts are replaced, the rear tailgate vibration damper installed and transmission shift patterns “remapped.” more than a handful of historically “happy Honda owners” will remain just a bit unsatisfied, and that’s understandable.

I’m not tossing my 2015 CR-V in the crusher for ¼ cent per mile

With regular unleaded gasoline selling for $2.00 per gallon in much of North America, Honda’s remedy for vibration may cost the average 2015 CR-V owner pennies per day in lost fuel economy. The variable here is how you drive, where you drive, weather conditions, terrain, and seasonal changes in refined gasoline blends.

Some 2015 CR-V owners may never be satisfied with Honda’s fix, They believe that CR-V should not have come to market with a vibration concern, and that Honda was not timely in responding to their righteous concerns, a point well taken.

Regardless, Honda CR-V remains the #1 selling SUV in North America, there are several reasons for that. Do yourself a favor, before you opt-out of CR-V ownership based on Forum comments, test drive one, then you decide.


Frank Hall (not verified)    February 12, 2016 - 11:07AM

I bought. 2016 Accord 4 cyl -cvt in Nov and experienced vibration at 1100 -1200 rpm. Goes away at 1400 rpm. Have been disappointed in Honda response i.e., none and no apparent solution offered but seems to be a harmonic issue? Dealer found same issue in several not all Accords. With the class action suit against Honda for similar issue with CRVs can Accord be far behind? Is the acclaimed quality of Honda ar risk here?

Randy (not verified)    February 19, 2016 - 2:16PM

I own a 2015 CRV EX AWD. Today makes the 4th time I've had the car in for the vibration problem. Each time they do something different. My complaint is only for what Honda describes as Mode 1 (vibration when stopped, at idle). Today the dealer did an ECM flash to update the software from a different version they just flashed a couple of months ago and added some dampener to the rear hatch. The documentation said it was for Mode 2 vibration problem. In any case, it hasn't totally resolved the problem. Although the initial fix for the Mode 1 fix did help a lot to reduce the vibration when stopped, the vibration is still there, albeit not nearly as bad as before the official fix. That's why I took it in again today. Once the engine is completely warmed up and you don't have any accessories on like the fan or headlights, once you stop the vehicle while in drive and you keep your foot on the brake, the RPM's drop to around 600 and the vibration starts again (easily seen by the passenger headrest shaking). You can easily test it by engaging the parking brake while the car is in drive and taking your foot off brake, the RPM's will increase a bit and the vibration will go away. Place your foot on the brake again and watch the RPM's drop to around 600 or so and the vibrations will start (make sure you're in a safe place before you try this). If you turn on the blower fan past midway or turn the headlights on, then the RPM's don't drop when you stop. In any case, since the mods were done, I've dropped about 1-2 MPG. Needless to say, I'm disappointed.

Linda (not verified)    December 8, 2016 - 1:37PM

In reply to by Randy (not verified)

Check with your state's atty general about the "Lemon Law" I'd also watch out for the descriptions they are putting on the service write ups - make sure that they are consistent. Honda seems to be non - responsive on the vibration issue and they need to be more proactive - maybe a few bought back vehicles and mad dealerships will get them moving.

Tony Bingman (not verified)    January 12, 2017 - 4:25PM

In reply to by Linda (not verified)

Out CR-V has went as far as they're pulling the motor out and trying to resink it . The last update of putting in new seats with softer foam and many other things done has only made the vibration seem worse.
Is there really a solution?

Parks McCants    January 12, 2017 - 8:03PM

In reply to by Tony Bingman (not verified)

Sure, insist on Honda replacing your specific CR-V for lack of resolution. There are provisions in most states as to "Lemon Law." compensation. 1. How many times has your CR-V been in the shop for mitigation? 2. Has the dealership made a concerted effort to follow Honda's vibration mitigation guidelines? 3. Has Honda acknowledged the legitimacy of you claim? Please define "resink," as it applies to your vehicle. Are you referring to the replacement of engine mounts? Thank you.

Belisarius (not verified)    February 20, 2016 - 11:52AM

As a former Honda owner, two cars, when I walked away I had no regrets. Since Honda started feeling the Korean and Big 3 pressure, its best response has been to lower QC and cut corners.

What is mind boggling is that people pay 30-40,000$ for a CRV and not even consider a CPO barely used BMW X or Audi Q series. Or a Swedish model. They are TANKS! Over engineered, never rusty, reliable and world class performers. Not to mention, evolution has pushed them on par or even better reliability that the japanes. In Europe, the 1 hr J.D. Survey rightfully places European brands on top of the Japanese- they are subsidized by neither.

I feel the pain for people to pay BMW AUDI or even Mercedes prices for a non-stop nagging headache.

Yet- Honda has a LOONG history of vibrations: chassis, windows, frame rattling, from Civic all the way to the CRV... Forums described these QC issues going back to 2000-2004.

As a former Honda owner, (one whose brother just bought a vibrating CRV), do yourself a favor- try German then compare.

anju dhull (not verified)    June 10, 2016 - 4:31PM


Parks McCants    June 11, 2016 - 5:42AM

In reply to by anju dhull (not verified)

Welcome Anju. Yes, I have a suggestion. Follow through with a cooperating dealer and have the 2015 CR-V upgraded as directed by the vibration related service bulletin. Please remember that all Honda dealers are independent businesses. If you're not happy with your service advisor, seek out another dealership. Take care and best of luck to you.

Brian Stevenson (not verified)    July 26, 2016 - 8:27AM

I have a 2015 Honda CRV, returned to the dealer within 2 weeks of purchase with an annoying vibration when gently accelerating. They said :Sorry it is a characteristic of the CVT, they all do it:. NO THEY DON"T. I had 2 Nissans and 1 Jeep with CVT and none did this. Note for the testers, the vibration is much worse in winter weather, don't notice it much in warm weather. Have just had another fix, we'll see when the winter arrives. My biggest complaint is they just say "Too Bad". They knew of the problem when they sold me the vehicle but failed to mention it. If that isn't a slimy car dealership I don't know what is.

Ann (not verified)    October 4, 2016 - 10:06AM

Just received a letter from Honda that says the CVT transmission is likely to fail under certain conditions. Owners are to bring their '15 CRV into the dealer ASAP!

M. Thompson (not verified)    December 24, 2016 - 12:35PM

It would be nice if you got straight to the point per the title of the article. Skip the vehicle review, accolades and your comparison with other vehicles you experienced. Those who bought the vehicle already know all of this.