Will Honda Stand By the Quality of Their Cars?

August 29, 2008

Our Honda CRV had the compressor rod in the air conditioner shatter two days ago.  We took it into the dealer and apparently it’s a frequent problem with 2003 and 2004 CRV’s and will cost around $2100 to fix.

Paying for Quality
The reason we spend more to buy Honda’s is because they’re known for their quality and durability. Having an issue such as this isn’t something we expect from a Honda and is the reason we’ve only owned Honda vehicles to this point.

Asking Honda to Stand By Quality
I phoned American Honda about the issue and they let me know I had to take it up with the car dealer first. We took the CRV into the dealer and they filed for “Honda Goodwill” on our behalf. Honda offered to pay for the parts and although this was about 60% of the total cost, I was still hesitant to go forward.

Known Quality Problem
After talking with the Honda mechanics and researching online I discovered failure of the compressor on Honda CRV’s for 2003 and 2004 CRV’s is a frequent problem.  One reason the repair bill is so high is that the rod shattered and the metal shards destroyed many other parts of the cooling system.

I just had our 60,000 mile service done on the car and there was no mention of the potential issue.  Had I known about the problem we could have considered getting the part replaced and avoided a lot of the damage. For example, we knew the timing belt on our older Accord should be replaced at a certain mileage to avoid having it break and cause damage to the car. We had it replaced even sooner than the recommended mileage, just to be sure we wouldn’t encounter the issue.

Escalating the Issue
Since this is a known issue that Honda didn’t make me aware of, in addition to the fact it’s not an issue I expect out of a vehicle known for quality, I opened a case with American Honda to ask for assistance with the repair cost in addition to the cost of parts.

I should be contacted by a case worker today to follow up on my ticket so I’ll let you know how it turns out.  We’ve been really pleased with our Honda vehicles and Honda service to date so I’m hoping Honda will be willing to give further assistance on this matter.


Will this article help you save or earn more money? Get others like it simply by entering your email address below. Your email is used only for delivering daily money tips and you can opt out of delivery at any time. Click here to see all your free subscription options.


Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

All posts by


35 Responses to Will Honda Stand By the Quality of Their Cars?

  • pat

    I’m now doing the 2nd cracked compressor. $2,100.00. 2005 Honda CRV w/ 150,000 miles on it, w/ the a/c motor replaced last year for a few hundred. The 1st compressor was taken care of by the extra warranty (I paid $1,500+ for that warranty).

    It is a known Honda problem & they don’t really care. Even if you complain, you may only get a 15% or less for the repair reimbursement. I was way over the mileage on the last two items. Zippo.

    I would not buy a used Honda CRV at all, or even a new one at this point. I hope this thing lasts me another 3 years. I’ll buy anything but HONDA from now on.

    • Esther Zurcher

      I have a compressor failure too. I own a 2007 CRV with 119K on it. Just spent 1800
      to fix the failure and now I am going to small claims court to get help with the payment. I agree with you. No more CRV’s for me. Their “good will” is non-existent which is dishonest on their part.
      Esther Z.

  • Mike

    I have a 2007 CR-V from new with 49000 miles on the clock. It has been regularly serviced by Honda. The garage has just told me my a/c compressor has gone. They are writing to Honda to ask for a goodwill gesture. I wait to see what transpires.

    • Wayne

      Well I have you all beat I have bought 6 new brand new Honda Accords over the last 10 years and up until this time have had pretty good service and the cars have been great only needing oil changes and new tires but this 2011 is a nightmare from hell.It started out with the front end vibration and come to find out the new tire were dry rted and had to have new tires then the when they did replacement of the tires the messed up the the front and rear wheels and had to fix them. Now when the rains came I had a flood inside the car and come to find out the seam in the top of the car was never welded from the factory and they want to seal it off and call it a day on a brand new 30,000.00 car that’s fully loaded sunroof and all. What do you think of Honda now I will never buy another and that’s all I have ever driven. And they think I should be greatful and they were even the ones who went the extra mile to find out why the car was leaking.They said I left the windows which was wrong and stupid.

    • pat

      You should get something from Honda w/that mileage. But, they will balk. It’s a known defect, and they should provide a completely new compressor to each Honda CRV owner period. At least the first one, or subsequent one, if you paid for it.

      Again, I love my car. But, I would never buy a Honda of any kind again, after my 3rd very expensive air conditioner repair item. With zero warning from it as well. If it was something you could see coming, could fix this or that….nope, it leaks, it corrodes, it explodes, and the shards go into everything. On a whim.

      Lucky no one has died from an accident due to this….

  • Cheryl

    I have a 2003 Honda CRV, March 2010 the A/C compressor went out, cost me $1000 to have it fixed, Aug 2010 it went out again and was repaired under warranty but I was informed that the warranty was a 12 mo/12,000 mile limited warranty and come March 2011 would no longer be under warranty….well as you would guess it, Aug 2011 the darn thing has gone out AGAIN!I can’t afford to replace this default annually, thanks alot Honda. Needless to say, I will NEVER own another Honda. My mother in law also has a 2003 CRV….same problem, she is on her 3rd A/C compressor as well.


    2011 Honda Civic is JUNK, JUNK, JUNK. Bought this vehicle brand new less than 2 mos ago. While driving to work on a highway under construction, gravel kicked up and cracked the windshield.. well, at lunch time went out to vehicle and nothing but hot air was blowing from the AC. Dropped it off at dealership where I was told HONDA does not do rental vehicles while your vehicle is in the shop UNLESS you bought the overpriced extended warranty. Strike 1. Come to find out AC was broken because GRAVEL, YES GRAVEL, had kicked up under the vehicle and SHATTERED the COMPRESSOR. BUYER BEWARE. Honda has found a way to legally fleece its customers by offering an “affordable vehicle, affordable gas fill up” yet the customer gets the screwgie because Honda uses SUB PAR materials in construction and the CUSTOMER has to pay for the DESIGN FLAW. Apparently people have been having problems with the compressor for the last 8 years — amazing a RECALL HASN’T BEEN ISSUED.

    • David

      No offense but it sounds like this issue was caused by your driving and not a defect on the car. I own a 2011 Civic SI and I have never had any problems. My wife currently has a 2010 CRV and never a problem. Quality is only 1 reason we buy Honda’s. The other reason is the great resale value.

      I have owned a total of 9 Honda & Acura vehicles. Honda’s quality has always been great for us! I agree the dealers are less than desirable to work with. In fact, I hate the dealers but Honda makes a great car. That is why I put up with the crappy dealers.

      • Anonymous

        What the hell? We’re talking about CRV’s, notAccords. Until you’ve owned one and had to replace the compressor every year for 4 years, until you wait to put off a summer vacation until your AC blows and you have to shell out another $1,500 to get it fixed AGAIN, please shut it.

        Sincerely, a 2003 honda CRV OWNER!

  • JW

    Same story as all the rest. Very well maintained 2004 Accord V6 Automatic. At 82,000 miles, the transmission slipped a few times, and then just died. Out of warranty, I called Honda Corp, and they said to bring it to the Dealer for inspection ($120). I did. Like all the other Honda trannys, this had an ‘internal mechanical malfunction’. Dealer and corporate said, ‘Sorry, out of warranty, $5k please”. I pressed asking for some good faith, I mean seriously, I know dozens of friends with similar issues in Odysseys and Acuras with the same transmission era. The 04 Accord Recall did not include mine. Corp. response: “Since you have a non-Honda oil filter (no, not the tranny filter), and used an independent shop for maintenance – we’ll give you NOTHING.” I’d rather have cash, but it turns out they did give me something: 1. A great reason to never buy another Honda, a story to share for any thinking that Honda stands behind their vehicles, and a reason to post to every Honda website voicing my experience with Corp. and the dealer until such time a recall is in place.

  • Jan

    The compressor and dryer on my 2007 CRV at 49000 miles. Is this problem continuing on the newer models?
    The link referenced for the lawsuit is for civics. Any other information on the law suit?

    • Melissa

      Our 2007 Honda CRV compressor just went out.. we purchased 2 of these cars b/c we liked them so much. Now worried about the other one!

      • Lauren

        Our 2007 Honda CRV compressor just went out over the weekend. In May, we did all the maintenance scheduled for 60,000 miles. This CR-V has been fully cared for and we are VERY disappointed. Thankfully my husband is an attorney if we need it!

    • Richie

      I have a 2008 CR-V (44k mileage) that is also experiencing AC issues. Specifically, the issues are this: short duration squeal 2-10 seconds under acceleration and braking, and losing the AC while idling at a stoplight.

      Seems that this is a common problem for older CR-Vs, but it doesn’t seem that it’s been correctly fixed in new models such as ours. Honda doesn’t appear to have the quality that I remember. They’re built here now… Curious, but what does that potentially tell you??

      I’ve found a class action lawsuit site, located in NJ. Google ‘Honda compressor defect’, and you’ll get there. I haven’t heard back from them yet, but at least it might be something. Good luck!

  • ryan

    The newer Hondas 2003 and up are junk! We own a 2004 Civic and a 2003 Accord. The civic blew a head gasket at 60,000 miles. Of course Honda corporate nor the dealer would help. Now our 2003 Accord is eating 2 quarts of oil between each oil change. Dealer has no clue as to what is happening. Their response is check it every thousand! The car has also had AC troubles since new.
    Both cars are driven normal no abuse. I have had great luck with my recent GM company vehicles. No more Hondas! They lost us.

  • Robert Gravallese

    I have a 2009 Accord – had bought Honda products exclusively – not just cars but equipment too. Paid extra $$ for quality – never had to bring a car to service 4 anything major until I bought the 09 Accord. Valve job at 8K, transmission problems, radiator problems, cooling fan kicks on when car is cold, barkes went at 12k. Dealer strung me along “we’ll stand behind car…” until Lemon Law miles were passed – then they didnt want 2 no us. Paid premium $$$ 4 what I thought would b a premium product. No longer the case. THEY DONT STAND BEHIND THE PRODUCT EITHER. Warranty – they just say – we cant find a problem, so how can we fix it. This car is no better than a ford

  • Matt

    Just replaced the compressor, condenser & filter/drier on my 2003 CR-V with 69,000 miles. Honda America would not let me discuss my case with the individual who was actually making the decisions. I had to talk to my contact who relayed my concerns to the factory rep (the decision maker) who then rendered his decisions via the local dealership. When I asked to speak to the decision maker directly I was told that I couldn’t have his number but that he would be told that I would like to speak with him. The factory rep refused to speak with me directly.

    To make matters worse, the dealership told me that since I don’t have my car serviced there Honda would be less likely to offer me much for the repair. They actually said “since you haven’t given Honda anything in the past, they’re less likely to give you something now”. When I asked whether the car I bought counted for anything he didn’t have much to say.

    Honda offered me 40% of the total replacement cost which left me to pay over $1500. I also confirmed with them that they’d be installing the exact same compressor that failed…no upgrades or changes.

    I found a local mechanic to do the same work including an oil change for $1500. Samw warranty and a non-Honda compressor.

    I’m done with Honda.

  • Anonymous

    Just replaced my air conditioner and condenser dryer on my 2004 mechanic said new type compressor should fix problem

  • Gary Anderson

    The compressor on my 2003 CRV just locked up at 43,000 miles. I hear this has happened a lot with the 2003 CRV. Honda is losing their reputation for excellance.

  • GB

    I have a 2004 Honda CRV. Pretty much as I hit 60K miles the A/C compressor blew up. Honda wants nothing to do with me and the dealer told me over the phone the estimate would be about $1,500. Instead I added my name to honda-lawsuit.com where I found some CRV forums pointing to as well. I’m so irritated with this situation and I can’t believe how many other stories I’m finding online with the same problem. I bought the car certified used and haven’t even owned it for a year. It’s so disappointing.

  • william

    I have a 2008 Honda CRv. The compressor runs and stop frequently and also cause the light to dim when compressor is running. Definitely a problem there but don’t know what. Looking for any advice and even speculation what it might be. Thanks, William

    p.s. Service is terrible at Honda dealer.

  • Ben


    I’m sorry to hear about your bad luck with your Honda. Other than this air conditioner issue, we’ve had great luck with the Honda’s we’ve owned…. knock on wood.

    In our case, Honda ended up paying for parts and we paid for the labor for the AC.

    • kim

      When you asked for “goodwill” from Honda how exactly is that done? I am sure mine will not qualify as my 04 crv’s air just “died” today–no noise..no warning. I have 107000 and just had an oil change a week ago..

    • Jim

      Ben my stepdad has a 2004 CRV and I might add he loves it but none the less back in August this year his compressor shelled out and the dealer did not go to Honda for him they replaced the compressor the lines the dryer they replaced the whole system because that was the only way to be sure there was no trash left in the system he still has all the paper work he paid almost 4,000 dollars do you think Honda might reimburse him for any of that.Thanks Jim

      • Ben

        Hey Jim, my guess is if he didn’t get it approved ahead of time then he won’t see any money for it. I guess it doesn’t hurt to try though. Especially if he’s bought several cars from the dealer, he could make the case that they might lose his future business if they’re not willing to work with him.

  • Charlie Tang

    My first Honda is the 2002 CR-V. I regreted because so many problems with the car. The doom light, SRS sensor, door latch sensor, brake locked-up, battery, and A/C compressor. Now the lawsuit with the fire. Whatelse can go wrong with Honda? I keep telling other how bad Honda cars can be untill Honda repair my car free of charge. I will not buy any Honda unless they standby their quality. I did not see other cars have so many problems.

  • Ethan

    My mother has a Honda CR-V, and has had to replace and compressor or otherwise have the A/C fixed multiple times already. Sadly, until I looked online today, we didn’t realize this was a common problem. SHAME on Honda for not recalling this part and doing something about this lack of quality. My mom has spent thousands over the past few years repeatedly fixing the a/c, thinking it was just a fluke. Now I know she shouldn’t of had to do that, that Honda was sucking up her money in cold blood! I am going to recommend my mom trade it in and get a Toyota ASAP!

  • Ranger

    My 2004 Honda CRV’s compressor just failed. Honda refused to pay for more than 50% even though the mere fact that they are even offering to pay indicates that they know there’s a problem. They refuse to recall the part. Replacing the compressor now does not guarantee that this failure will not occur again. This is a faulty design. Many people have reported multiple failures with the same car. Because of my experience with them, I will never buy another Honda again and will look into a class action lawsuit. http://www.honda-lawsuit.com/

  • Theresa Lynch

    Right now I’m very very fustrated, I can’t even begin to tell you the troube I’ve had with my 2004 Honda CRV only 6400 k on her, still new. Radiator, cooling fan, cylender head, manafold, stalling, etc. etc. etc. Little or nothing is covered under my STILL Honda warrenty.

  • FFB

    I definitely want to hear the outcome! We just bought an Odyssey and I’d love to hear how stand up Honda is. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

  • marci

    Thanks for letting us know that this Goodwill case application is even possible.
    Who’da thought!
    Great to know!

  • MoneyGrubbingLawyer

    The reason we spend more to buy Honda’s is because they’re known for their quality and durability.

    I think there’s something to be found hidden in this statement. You pay more for Hondas because they’re known for quality and durability, but this doesn’t mean that they are actually any more durable or reliable. It’s the perception that costs you money. Honda has been resting on its laurels for some time, and that legendary reputation for unsurpassed quality doesn’t necessarily still hold true. While Honda still makes a well made vehicle they are not without problems, despite what that near-mythic reputation may say.

    Good luck dealing with the case worker- hopefully he can do something for you.


  • linklings, gone couch gone edition | brip blap
  • Car Repair and Cashback Cards - Big Spender Edition | Money Smart Life