Modern vehicles are equipped with a bazillion of technologies and features that make everyday journeys easier and more comfortable. However, the evolution of the internal combustion engine and its ever-improving efficiency means some new car owners could be dealing with long-forgotten heating problems. Don’t believe it? Just ask some 2016-2018 Civic and 2017-18 CR-V owners.
First reports about certain model years Civics and CR-Vs equipped with the 1.5-liter turbo engine not warming up properly emerged back in October 2018, when Consumer Reports reported the four-cylinder unit might have some problems. Those problems included the engines not warming up and consequently, the heating system not ensuring the cabin is warm at outside temperatures of about 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9.5 degrees Celsius) or lower.
As The Drive reports, hundreds of drivers have been vocal about the issue posting pages of complaints to CarComplaints.com. In Canada, hundreds more Honda owners complained to Transport Canada, and the country’s transport department told The Drive a total of 26 heater complaints have been received so far.
Eventually, Honda acknowledged the problems and issued a recall in the United States to try and fix some of them. The campaign, in some cases, included a software update, an oil change, and a new climate control unit. The result, however, was inadequate as many owners said the recall didn’t solve the heating problems.
“The car wasn’t better,” Jean-François Beaulieu, a 2017 CR-V owner, commented to the CBC. “I tried to get ahold of a Honda, I sent them multiple emails and they said they would check in with my local dealership and get back to me and they never did… It seemed they just didn’t want to deal with the problem.”
Honda reportedly told another CR-V owner that it’s best to try “not to stop and start while driving.” Apparently, the turbocharged engine’s high thermal efficiency is the reason why the affected cars don’t warm up properly in winter conditions. The automaker even tried to explain the defect is actually an effect.
“Those who drive a vehicle equipped with a 1.5L Turbo engine for short periods or sit with the vehicle idling in extremely cold temperatures may feel that it is not as warm or heating up as quickly or intensely as a vehicle with a less efficient engine,” a Honda Canada spokesperson told The Drive. “Those that put heavier loads on the engine (e.g. extended trips and/or highway driving) tend not to experience the same issue.”