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2013 Honda CR-V wouldn't start in cold weather

I got a 2013 Honda CR-V EX-L w/ AWD in June 2013. It is equipped with an after market remote engine starter installed by the dealer & includes heated seats. I do not have a garage, so it is parked outside. I have a 1+ hour commute to / from work. This past weekend I had to have the car jump started because it wouldn’t turn over. The temperature at the time was a frigid -10 degrees F. Because of the extreme cold, I did not even attempt to start it remotely…I used the key. I also had the heated seats off; however, the radio was on & the headlights were set to “auto”. The ECO button was not activated (and had not been used for 2 - 3 weeks). It started easily once jump started & each time after that it has started w/o a problem (of course, temps have moderated - today it was close to 50 degrees). I was surprised that a new car wouldn’t start, even under those cold weather conditions. I contacted the dealer & they did not seem overly surprised or concerned that the car didn’t start under the circumstances. Is this unusual? Should I insist on having the battery tested? I’ve read in other forums that other CR-V owners have had battery problems & that the batteries used by Honda may not be of the best quality.

When the weather gets this cold and there is ice or snow on the road, people sometimes drive with their fan on high for defrost and/or heat, the headlights on and at slow speeds. This will discharge the battery and after parking overnight, the battery will simply not be able to start the vehicle.

Once you get the vehicle warmed up a little, turn the fan speed down one notch from high, it makes a big difference and turn everything off and let the engine run for a coupel minutes before shutting down.

Maybe they’re not surprised because the batteries ARE marginal and they’ve had a lot of customers having problems. No way a 7-month-old battery should die like that unless htere is a significant parasitic drain.

This may or may not be your problem but most new vehicles come with the lowest quality of battery possible. When the temperatures stop dropping the weak batteries will begin to show up rapidly. They may be perfectly suited for temperatures in the 30’s and up but when the temps start dropping so does the dependability.

-10 F certainly challenges the battery, but it should still start no problem, at least for an almost new car. I lived in a climate where -20 F wasn’t normal, but not that unusual either, and my Ford truck started every single time, for years. If the dealership implies it is normal for a new car like this to fail to start just b/c it is -10 deg, maybe find a new dealership to work with. Probably what I’d do is take the battery in to a place that will do a load test. If it passes, I’d just put it back in, and clean the connections best I could, and hope for the best. That might well fix the problem. If it didn’t pass, or all that prior stuff didn’t fix the problem, that would mean something else is wrong: either the battery is bad, the charging system is bad, the starter is bad, or there’s an unexplained parasitic drain. Or the original OEM battery could simply be undersized for your car and options. Most of your local inde shops will have the qualifications to determine what exactly is wrong. But there is something wrong. It is dangerous to you for your car not to start, esp in sub-zero weather like this. You’ll have to find or pay someone who will side up with you and concur with the urgency to addresses and fix whatever is broken.

I’m in the camp of those saying that this is not “normal” and should not be expected. The only thing I’d say would moderate that would be if you do a lot of short trip driving and do put heavy loads on accessories. Starting up gives a battery a good punch and the alternator needs time to top it off and will take longer to do so if it have tons of load on it. But generally speaking - a relatively new battery of today should have little trouble with -10.

Have the battery tested with a conductance battery tester. This will reveal the actual condition of the battery.

If a vehicle sits on a dealers lot for an extended period of time without being driven, this can cause the battery in the vehicle to sulfate. Which turns the battery into crap.


Take the car back to the dealer and whine and complain, nicely. Let them do the labor for free and tell you if you need a new battery or not. If it’s anything but the battery, it should be covered. If they aren’t nice enough to put a new one in for free, which I feel they should though some initial bumper to bumper(s) don’t cover it, take it elsewhere for a cheaper alternative.

I took my CRV in for an oil change last week and conveniently the original battery died while in the shop ( I was with the car the whole time and do not suspect anything of the garage!) My mechanic confirmed that orignal CRV batteries are small for the job and more resemble a motorcycle battery than a car battery. While there is not a heavy duty option, an aftermarket battery will at least be somewhat stronger than the OEM version. We replaced it and with the current temperatures in the low single digits today it started up quickly and strongly.

Thanks for your suggestions. The car had to be jump started tonight when I got to the parking garage to leave work. I immediately called the dealer & brought the car right in. They tested the battery & said it was okay, but replaced it anyway (as I noted when I called, I was about 1 hour from them, so the battery would likely recharge some during the drive). I’m hoping this resolves the problem…if not, further investigation will be needed by the dealer to figure out what’s going on.

Car companies and dealers have reputations they have to maintain. It’s not wise for them to put a substandard battery in a car in cold weather areas . It’s not good advertising to have a new car that fails to start. If they are poor from the manufacturer, dealer would be wise to put better ones in. Heck they ask enough for it. Just add a few more bucks to the prep fee that we can refuse to pay.
@wtp100 Good for you getting a new battery…we hope at their cost.

If problem continues after new battery install, try turning off the heated seats about 15 minutes prior to your arrival at your destination, see if that helps. Could provide a clue that the seat heating circuit is maxing out your alternator. If so, there may be a heavy duty alternator available for your car.


Your battery was probably in marginal shape already

5 minutes radio on after engine shut off or 1 cold night will kill a marginal battery

New car batteries are the lowest quality possible? My 2004 PT Cruiser had a 71/2 year old original battery when it was totaled by an idiot talking on his cell phone and the battery had never shown any sign of weakening. That car was parked outside all year.