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2009 Honda CRV Intermittent A/C Failure

The A/C on my 2009 Honda CRV faile intermittently. I’ve had the system recharged, checked for leaks, and a relay replaced. Here’s what’s been happening… only during really warm weather sometimes the A/C just starts blowing hot air. Normally when this happens it resumes working the next day. One time I engaged the defrost and cold air blew out the windshield vents, when I then pushed the a/c button cold air came out the face vents. I was never able to reproduce this though. Also, a few days ago when the a/c failed I deselected the a/c control button and suddenly the air went from hot to ice cold - with the a/c off! Any ideas? Thanks!

It almost sounds like the problem is in the selector switch.
It IS functionally CORRECT for the a/c to run in the defrost mode ( you don’t usually notice this when you have the hot/cool selector on heat ) which is for de-humidifying purposes.
And it’s that back-and-forth selection change making it work or not that leads me to think ‘‘switch’’…or the wires going to it losing contact from corrosion.

Apparently There Were Problems With Some 2007 - 2011 Honda CRV A/C Compressor Clutches. Just In Case The Compressor Cutch Is The Culprit, A 7-Page May, 2014 Revised Honda Technical Service Bulletin (#12-072) Extends The A/C Compressor Clutch Warranty To 7 Years/100,000 Miles.

The bulletin doesn’t mention intermittent functioning, but stranger things have happened.

If the clutch isn’t working properly, Honda technicians are instructed to replace the clutch (armature plate & rotor pulley, and the field coil if necessary).

Who did you A/C work? It might be time to pay a Honda dealer to diagnose this if that is not who you used.


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It might be normal that cold air blows out the windshield vents in “defrost” mode. The AC system is able to remove moisture from the air, so something they use it for defrosting too, even in the winter.

Sounds like the blend door may not be functioning properly. I would take it to the dealer under the clutch warranty and see if they can fix it.

Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions! I’ve printed them out and will bring them with me to the repair shop. I had first gone to my local dealer and they replaced some sort of relay and recharged the system - $180 later and no change in conditions. They must have seen me coming and figured they would slowly replace every part of the system over time! I’ve since spoken to my regular mechanic, a real honest guy, and will bring the car into him when the AC is failing and I am in his area. I hope to be able to post the resolution here soon! Thanks again!

One year later… After giving up on the dealer, I finally brought it into my regular mechanic. He diagnosed and repaired it on the first try! It ended up being the compressor. Thanks again for educating me on car a/c components!

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Glad you got your “cool ride” back again TG! Best of luck, and thanks for telling us the final result.

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Thank you for posting this. I am running into the same A/C intermittent failure on my 2009 Honda CRV.

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Sal, I guess it’s a known problem that Ho day has failed to disclose. My mechanic said it’s due to the placement of the license plate. It blocks air circulation causing the unit to overheat. In some cases the the fan (if I’m remembering right) deteriorates and pieces that break off get into the other a/c components, causing them to also become damaged.

I’ve replaced mine again, since my first post. It seems I get 2 years out of it. The part is under warranty but the labor is not.

Best regards!

So you are getting only 2 years out of the new ones? I wonder why? I am about to have to replace the one in our car. I was told by the mechanic that it is not the relay, rather the compressor.

I have a 2003 Honda CRV and I have replaced the A/C compressor 4 times. 2 of those times I also replaced the expansion valve, condenser, and flushed the system. This seems to be a common problem with these cars. I just ride with the windows down now :laughing:.

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Fortunately, my mechanic’s vendor warranties the part for 2 years. I’ve had it replaced again and now have it on my calendar to have it replaced before the 2 years is up. It’s due to the design of the grill. Not enough fresh air can get in causing the mechanisms to overheat. Yes, I’m sure Honda is well aware!

Mine was also the compressor. I’m told that due to the design of the grill, there isnt adequate ventilation and the compressor overheats and disintegrates.

Sounds like someone is not making sure the compressor has the proper amount of the correct refrigerant oil.