Honda CR-V Won't Start - Common Causes and How to Fix Them

The Honda CR-V is a popular compact crossover SUV that has been in production since 1995. It's known for its reliability and fuel efficiency, but like any vehicle, it can have its share of problems. One common issue that Honda CR-V owners may experience is their vehicle not starting.

But what would cause a Honda CR-V not to start?

Considering you have fuel in your tank that is recommended for your model, there are several potential causes of a Honda CR-V not starting, including a dead battery, faulty starter motor, failed alternator, clogged fuel filter, and damaged ignition switch.

Honda CR-V won't start common causes

Common Reasons of the Honda CR-V Starting Problem:

There are several reasons why a Honda CR-V may not start. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Dead battery. A dead battery is one of the most common reasons why a vehicle won't start. Over time, the battery can lose its charge and may no longer be able to turn over the engine.

  • Faulty starter motor. The starter motor is responsible for turning over the engine when the key is turned. If the starter motor is faulty, the engine may not turn over.

  • Failed alternator. The alternator is responsible for charging the battery while the engine is running. If the alternator is faulty, the battery may not be able to hold a charge.

  • Clogged fuel filter. The fuel filter removes impurities from the fuel before it reaches the engine. If the fuel filter is clogged, the engine may not be able to get the fuel it needs to start.

  • Damaged ignition switch. The ignition switch is responsible for sending power to the starter motor. If the ignition switch is damaged, the starter motor may not receive power and the engine may not start.

  • Clogged fuel line. If the fuel lines are clogged, it can restrict the fuel flow to the engine, causing it not to start or run poorly.

  • Damaged fuel pump. A malfunctioning fuel pump can cause the engine not to receive enough fuel to start, resulting in the engine not starting.

  • Defective Spark Plugs. A common cause of starting issues and engine shut-off while driving is defective spark plugs. Even just one malfunctioning spark plug can prevent the car from starting.

In case you are interested how much it will cost you to replace the source of popular issues your CR-V won't start, check out the estimated cost range in the chart below. This includes the labor costs and parts prices.

Popular Problems for Honda CRV Estimated Cost
Battery Replacement $190 - $200
Fuel Pump Replacement $750 - $900
Ignition Switch Replacement $130 - $160
Starter Replacement $500 - $1000

By understanding how to diagnose and fix these problems, you can get your vehicle back on the road in no time. Read on to get acquainted with the most common reasons why your Honda CR-V won't start. Down the reading path, you will learn how to diagnose and fix these possible causes.

Drained Battery

One of the most common causes of a vehicle not starting is a dead battery. The battery is responsible for providing power to the starter motor, which in turn cranks the engine. If the battery dies, the starter motor won't have enough power to turn the engine over. To diagnose a dead battery, you can use a multimeter to check the voltage. If the reading is less than 12 volts, the battery needs to be replaced.

Check the battery

To check the battery's charge level, you will need to use a voltmeter. A fully charged battery should measure between 12.4 and 12.7 volts. If the battery measures less than 12.4 volts, it may be dead and need to be replaced.

Signs of a weak battery include slow or no turning of the starter when attempting to start the vehicle and only hearing a clicking noise when turning the ignition key. This is because an empty battery still has enough voltage for the starter's magnetic switch but not enough to start the engine. The starter, which is connected to the battery, requires a lot of power which leads to a voltage drop and causes the magnetic switch to disengage, resulting in a clicking noise.

Charge the battery

A weak battery can be revived using jump-starting from another vehicle or by charging it using a battery charger, which can take several hours. An alternative method is to use a start booster, which is a small device that can quickly charge the battery and is usually portable. However, if the battery is defective, it must be replaced.

Replace the battery

To replace the battery, you will need to remove the old battery from the vehicle and install a new one. Make sure to dispose of the old battery properly.

Failed alternator

Another potential cause of a vehicle not starting is a failed alternator. Once the engine is started, the alternator is responsible for supplying power to the battery and other electrical components in the vehicle. When the alternator is not working as expected, it can cause the battery not to charge correctly and quickly run out of power. If a new battery is consistently unable to hold a charge or the vehicle struggles to start, it could indicate a malfunctioning alternator. In such cases, several attempts may be required to start the car.

Check the alternator

To diagnose a failed alternator, you can use a multimeter to check the voltage at the battery while the engine is running. If the alternator is faulty, the multimeter will not show any continuity. If the voltage is less than 13.5 volts, the alternator must be replaced.

Replace the alternator

You will need to remove it from the vehicle and install a new one.

Faulty starter motor

Another common cause of a vehicle not starting is a faulty starter motor. The starter motor, in conjunction with the battery, is responsible for turning the engine over when the key is turned in the ignition.

If either one of these components is malfunctioning, the engine may not start. However, it is essential to note that the starter's failure is not always immediate and can manifest gradually through symptoms such as clicking noises or the starter engaging but the engine not starting. In these cases, it may take several attempts to start the engine before it finally turns on. It is crucial to pay attention to these signs and address the issue as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the vehicle.

How do I know if my starter is bad on my Honda CR-V?

If the starter motor is faulty, it won't have the power to turn the engine over. To test a faulty starter motor, you can use a multimeter to check for continuity between the starter motor terminals. If there is no continuity, the starter motor needs to be replaced.

Replace the starter motor

You will need to remove it from the vehicle and install a new one.

Clogged fuel filter or fuel line

A clogged fuel filter can also cause a vehicle not to start. The fuel filter removes impurities from the fuel before it reaches the engine. If the fuel filter is clogged, the engine won't receive enough fuel to start. To diagnose a clogged fuel filter, you can check the fuel pressure at the fuel rail. If the pressure is low, the fuel filter needs to be replaced.

Inspect the fuel filter or fuel line

To inspect the fuel filter, you must remove it from the vehicle. If the filter is clogged, it will need to be replaced.

Clogged fuel lines can be detected through symptoms such as reduced engine performance, difficulty starting the engine, warning lights on the dashboard, and reduced fuel efficiency. To diagnose a clogged fuel line, you can check for these symptoms, use a fuel system cleaner, check the fuel filter and pressure, or take your car to a professional mechanic.

Clean or replace the fuel filter

To clean the fuel filter, you will need to remove it from the vehicle and clean it with a suitable solvent. If the filter is clogged, it will need to be replaced.

Fix a Clogged Fuel Line

A clogged fuel line is just one of the possible causes of why the Honda CR-V might not want to start. So make the diagnose is 100% correct.

  • The first step in fixing a clogged fuel line is to clean it. This can be done by using a fuel system cleaner, which can be added to the gas tank. This cleaner will help dissolve any build-up or debris in the fuel lines.

  • If the fuel lines are severely clogged, they may need to be replaced. This is a more complex and time-consuming task, and it is best to be done by a professional mechanic.

Problems with the Electrical system

The Honda CR-V may not start due to an interruption in the power supply.

Noticing the interrupted power supply

This can occur if there are no noises or lights on the dashboard when attempting to start the vehicle. Before diagnosing any electrical system issues, it is essential to rule out a deeply discharged battery as the cause (as we have highlighted before).

A blown main fuse or defective or oxidized cables can also interrupt the flow of electricity. Additionally, damage caused by a marten's sharp teeth can interrupt the power supply. One possible indication of damage to cables or wires is loose connections that can be seen under the hood.

Leave it to a specialist

If the engine does not respond at all when trying to start, it may be due to a defective ignition. While checking the ignition is something that can be done by oneself, it is recommended to leave it to a specialist if you are not familiar with the process. A specialist can also check if the distributor or ignition coil is malfunctioning.

Damaged ignition switch

Finally, a damaged ignition switch can cause a vehicle not to start. The ignition switch is responsible for providing power to the starter motor and engine controls. If the ignition switch is damaged, it won't have the power to turn the engine over. To diagnose a damaged ignition switch, you can use a multimeter to check for continuity between the ignition switch terminals. If there is no continuity, the ignition switch needs to be replaced.

Examine the ignition switch

To examine the ignition switch, you will need to remove it from the vehicle. If the switch is damaged, it will need to be replaced.

Replace the ignition switch

Replacing the ignition switch on a Honda CR-V can be a relatively simple process, but it will require some basic tools and a bit of mechanical knowledge. Before you begin, you'll need to gather the following tools:

  • A socket set

  • A Phillips head screwdriver

  • A flat-head screwdriver

  • A multimeter

  • A replacement ignition switch

The following is a general guide on how to replace the ignition switch on a Honda CR-V:

Step 1: Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery. This will help prevent any electrical shock or damage to the vehicle's electrical system.

Step 2: Locate the ignition switch. It is typically located in the steering column, near the top of the dashboard.

Step 3: Remove the screws or bolts that hold the ignition switch in place. Use the socket set or screwdrivers, as appropriate.

Step 4: Disconnect the electrical connectors from the ignition switch. Use a flathead screwdriver to pry the connectors out of their sockets gently.

Step 5: Test the continuity of the ignition switch with a multimeter. If there is no continuity, the switch needs to be replaced.

Step 6: Install the replacement ignition switch. Carefully connect the electrical connectors to their sockets, ensuring they are securely fastened.

Step 7: Reinstall the screws or bolts that hold the ignition switch in place. Make sure they are tightened securely.

Step 8: Reconnect the negative battery cable to the battery.

Step 9: Test the new ignition switch by turning the key in the ignition. The engine should start usually.

It is always recommended to consult the vehicle's manual for the exact location, type of screws and bolts, and precautions for your specific model and make of the vehicle before starting the replacement process.

Defective spark plugs

If familiar noises are heard during the ignition process, but the engine fails to start, the problem likely lies with the spark plugs or the fuel pump. The engine may not start because the fuel pump is not delivering fuel to the combustion chamber or there is a lack of ignition spark for the combustion process. In this scenario, it is recommended to take the car to a professional workshop for further diagnosis and repair.

Symptoms of Bad spark plugs

Signs of defective spark plugs include a rough-running engine, increased fuel consumption, or misfiring.

Even a single faulty spark plug can prevent the car from starting. Defective spark plugs are a common cause of starting difficulties or the engine shutting off while driving.

Regular Replacement

Regular replacement of spark plugs is crucial for the proper functioning of the gasoline engine. Typically, spark plugs should be replaced every 30,000 to 60,000 kilometers, although some can last up to 100,000 kilometers.

Misfiring can also lead to unburned fuel accumulating in the catalytic converter, potentially damaging it. It is important to investigate and address this issue as soon as possible by replacing the spark plugs if necessary. Additionally, replacing spark plugs is a relatively straightforward task.

Malfunctioning fuel pump

The fuel pump is responsible for delivering fuel from the tank to the engine, so if it is not working as usual, the engine may not receive enough fuel to start.

Detect a malfunctioning fuel pump

If the fuel pump is not working as expected, the engine may not receive enough fuel to start. This can cause the engine to crank but not start. You may see a warning light that illuminates when the fuel pressure is low, which can indicate a malfunctioning fuel pump.

How to fix a malfunctioning fuel pump:

  • If the fuel pump is malfunctions, it will need to be replaced. This is a complex task, and it is best to be done by a professional mechanic.

  • Check the wiring and connections. An electrical circuit powers the fuel pump. If the wiring or connections are loose or corroded, it can cause the fuel pump to malfunction.

  • Check the relay. The fuel pump relay is responsible for turning on the fuel pump when the engine is started. If the relay is faulty, the fuel pump may not receive power and will not function properly.

Drained Fuel Tank (CAP!)

If the fuel tank is empty or near empty, the engine will not start. The fix for this is to refuel the vehicle with gasoline.

Check the Fuel Level

There are several ways to check if the gas tank of your Honda CR-V is not empty:

  • Fuel Gauge. The most obvious and easiest way to check the fuel level is to look at the gauge on the dashboard. The fuel gauge will give you an accurate reading of how much fuel is left in the tank.

  • Trip Odometer. Some cars have a trip odometer that can be used to estimate the miles remaining before the vehicle runs out of fuel.

  • Low Fuel Warning Light. Many cars have a low fuel warning light that will come on when the fuel level is low.

  • Fuel Door Release. If you can't find the fuel gauge, you can try to look for the fuel door release on the driver's side. When you push it, it will open the door to the gas tank, and you can look inside and see if there is any gas in there.

  • Manual Check. You can always manually check the fuel level by removing the fuel filler cap and looking inside the tank.

It is important to note that these methods may not be 100% accurate, so it's always best to keep an eye on your fuel level and refuel when necessary.

It's also good to remember that if the car has been parked long, the fuel gauge may not give an accurate reading. You can check the last time you refueled or check the fuel level using the manual check method.

Wrong fuel type

Suppose you accidentally put the wrong fuel in your car and drive it. In that case, it can cause significant damage to the engine, fuel system, and other components, so it's essential to act quickly and get the vehicle to a professional as soon as possible.

If the wrong type of gasoline or diesel is used, it can cause the engine not to start or run poorly. The fix for this is to drain the tank and refill it with the correct fuel type. If the fuel is mixed, it could cause damage to the engine.

It's always a good idea to check the fuel level and type before starting your vehicle to prevent these types of issues. It's also a good practice to always use high-quality gasoline and to check the owner's manual for recommended fuel types for your specific Honda CR-V model.

Final Note

When your Honda CR-V won't start, it can be a frustrating and stressful experience. However, by understanding the potential causes of the problem and how to diagnose and fix them, you can get back on the road in no time.

As a final note, it is always good to keep a record of the fuel consumption type, mileage, and the date of replacement of parts, as it will make it easy for you to track the performance of your vehicle and plan for any further maintenance or replacements.