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Honda CRV hesitating

My 2004 CRV sometimes hesitates to start and twice now has stalled seconds after starting. When driving it feels as if it is dragging, like the brake is on or the car is in wrong gear (automatic). I just got a new battery a month ago. Mileage is 197K. I am told it could be the starter or alternator and that it will be costly. Could this be the problem or could it be something else?

“it feels as if it is dragging” – that would indicate something other than the starter or alternator. Or you may have two different problems.

If it is cranking fast (the whirr-whirr sound) than it is probably not the starter or alternator. It could be any number of things, plugs, fuel filter, air filter, spark, CAT, etc. You need to take it to a mechanic for a check.

Have the valves ever been adjusted?

As stated, it could be many things. Low fuel pressure would be my first guess.

What if you park it on a level surface, put it in neutral, engine off, and ask someone strong to try to push it. It should push fairly easily as long as the brake are off. If it pushes ok like that, then start the engine and try it again, in neutral. If it still pushes ok, then there’s nothing dragging on the car that’s making it stall or accelerate slowly.

A new battery doesn’t necessarily imply the battery is fully charged. Suggest to have its charge state tested since you think the alternator might be involved. A faulty alternator will allow a new, fully charged battery to eventually discharge. Usually that would first show up as a no-crank problem, but it could cause poor engine performance possibly too. That’s easy for a shop to check, so worth the effort.

Transmission: Does you feel it shifting through all the gears as you accelerate from 0 to 35 mph? Try to count the shifts, see if that matches the number of gears your transmission has. Also try starting in “1” rather than “D”, see if that helps. If the symptom goes away when starting in “1”, that would be diagnostic.

Replacement starters and alternators are not particularly costly. Maybe $350 to $600 each, parts and labor. Almost any auto repair is going to run in that price range, often conserably more. Depends somewhat whether you purchase aftermarket or OEM parts. If the car cranks ok, and starts and runs eventually, the problem isn’t likely the starter.

My 3 guesses if you just told me the symptom and nothing else – stalls occasionally and when running feels like the brake is on when accelerating – routine engine maintenance is not up to date, there’s an air/fuel mixture problem, or the exhaust system is plugged, most likely from a faulty catalytic converter.