2019 Honda CR-V - How to make the car more reliable

Oh, one with so many answers we feel not worthy to address you:

You have answered so may questions we never even knew we had. We are hoping you can guide our future automotive choice.

In January 2019, we bought a new Honda CR-V EX-L for long distance trips. No mechanical problems on our 10,000 mile road trip that summer.

Unlike the 2000 Chevy 1500, which could be started every month when not being used, the Honda battery died and was replaced so that began the weekly run to maintain battery health. (It still has around 15,000 miles)

Still happy with the CR-V, replaced 2006 GMC Envoy with a 2019 Honda CR-V EX-L in December 2019. Went to surgery in May, 9 days later would not start. Thought about what salesman had told us about the 2018 model, needs to be started regularly, so researched online and find apparently 2019 model batteries frequently die after only 3 days of not being used!

Fixes recommended include:
-software update (the dead battery can remain that way until driver is off crutches)
-keep gas tank at least 50% full
-turn back on and off immediately after shutting off so a diagnostics run does not deplete the battery
-drive at least 20 miles a day
-use the clicker rather than the auto lock, again this has something to do with halting a diagnostic run or otherwise shutting down the electronics

As we backpack on backroad trails (AAA does not go off pavement) leaving the cars for up to a week at a time, what are the alternatives to to assure the battery will start at the end of a fun week? Or what vehicle should we replace these uncertain vehicles with?

To my knowledge nobody has ever seen a post by Ray and I don’t know if he ever reads our posts. Anyway, I’d recommend buying a solar powered “trickle charger” to keep the battery at a decent level. You can find them on Amazon or at Harbor Freight.

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Along with @davepsinbox_157004 comments, I’d suggest carrying a jump pack in the back while camping. That is essentially a battery with jumper cables in a carrying case that can jump start a dead battery.


I’d get a micro jump starter.

They’re light weight, supply a number of jump starts on one charge easy to store, and can be be used with camping equipment.


Do you keep your key fob far from the car when it’s parked at your home? If it’s close by, the car never sleeps and kills its own battery. Far away means in another room and not right near the car or in the car.


Well, if the dealer and Honda agree that the battery dies on many cars then blaming all the owners on storing key fobs too close is a route to repair. Get Elon musk involved to write a software update. He’s smart.

If I owned a car that could not be allowed to sit for a week without the battery going down due to electronics that car would be gone.

This might well be a Lemon Law issue. You built it, you fix it, or…


I have this car, and never have this problem.
My key fob is stored far away.

I agree. If true, this borders on absurdity. I have let cars (from the 1980’s and 1990’s) sit unused for a month or more, and they started up without issue. In fact, my dad used to let his 1993 Caprice sit for months at a time, before he finally decided to sell it to save on insurance. It always started up without difficulty. I would certainly expect any properly functioning car to be able to sit for 2-3 weeks without any ill effect.

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What if you disconnect the battery at its negative terminal? There would be no drain by any circuit. When you reconnect and start, the radio would need resetting - a code keyed in. If it doesn’t start, the problem is within the battery.

You can buy a switch that mounts on the battery. You rotate it one way to disconnect and the other way to connect.

You shouldn’t have to do this - something is wrong with this car - but it may be less hassle than selling this car and buying another one, with its own good and bad features.

For some new cars, 2-3 weeks is a minimum! Modern cars have so much electrical stuff on them that “at-rest” current draw is a huge problem. Also a problem is getting enough current out of the alternator to recharge the battery as well as feed all the stuff that owners insist on using these days.

There are not many cars built that not only aren’t always recharging the battery but are drawing extra current FROM the battery at times. Electric power steering being a huge draw, electric seats, rear defroster grids, electric water pumps, drive-by-wire brakes, electric parking brakes and touch-screen multi-media displays. And, of course, all the junk we have plugged in like phones, nav systems, tablets, refrigerators, ect.

Imagine just driving your car to exercise it a bit during the shutdown on a rainy day. Lights on, radio going, defroster on with fans, wipers, and maybe even the seat heaters. A low speed cruise around the neighborhood will likely end up not recharging your battery but draining it further!

I agree with everyone who thinks this is unacceptable in a modern car, and I agree that if keeping the fob far away is critically important the Honda should make it clear. I own a 2016 and I have had dead battery experiences twice where I had to get out the lithium jumper to get it started. This should not happen. It is a mistake for Honda to expect that every owner will understand this strange new requirement. It certainly changes my opinion of the Honda corporate decision makers.

Privately owned petroleum combustion engine cars are going to be a lot less common in the future.

If I recall correctly, last-gen CR-V indeed has a problem of too much of at-rest draw, which Honda tried to make owners believe to be “normal”, but they acknowledged the fact few months back and in Canada they already started the recall for some kind of software updates, but it was nothing said about when and if this update will be available in US.

Crazy if this is related to how close key fob is to the vehicle. Come on, Honda, your engineers can not be THAT stupid.
My 15-years old Prius periodically rejects to open the door with the touch on the handle if fob was stored too close (counter on the wall next to garage), but it is specifically mentioned in the user manual that car deliberately shuts down proximity system “chatter” to avoid battery drain after few hours and the way to wake proximity system up is to press any button on the clicker.

My mom has a 2014 Civic with push-to-start and those doors that unlock when you touch the handle.

Anyways, the only battery problems were when a kid was sitting in the car and was playing with the radio and lights with the engine off. That’s the only time the car wouldn’t start. That’s a fairly modern car with tons of control modules, CAN bus, and so forth, all communicating. And leaving the car sitting for a few weeks has never been a problem.

She parks the car in the driveway and stores the key fob in the living room. No problem

Many cars are not happy after a battery disconnect.

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