CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Honda CRV puzzler - Are you smarter than all of the mechanics in Hawaii?

Here is some strange behavior my 2005 CRV exhibits. Every so often, the “check engine”, “VSA”, and warning (triangle with a !) lights will all come on at once, and the engine RPMs will fluctuate back and forth between about 750 and 1100 while idling. When this happens, the car runs rough and threatens to stall. Once it is parked for a while, the CRV will have healed itself, and I will have no more problems for a month or so. I have taken this car to numerous mechanics in Hawaii, but they all say that they are stumped or claim that I must have pressed the VSA button, which I know that I did not. I suspect that since I am a young blonde lady they think that the problem is between the driver’s seat and the steering wheel, if you get my drift. Does anyone have any thoughts?

To get a better idea of what I am talking about, please view this video I made of the problem: Weird CRV Behavior.

You brought this thing to all the mechanics on Hawaii and not one of them thought of pulling the codes, after the check engine light was on?
The answer to your question is ‘yes’.

Since this is a transient condition, by the time I get it in to the mechanic all of the warning lights are off and the car is acting normally. So they usually cluck at me, change the oil, and send me on my way. I have not specifically asked them about checking the codes…

If the check engine light comes on, it usually stores a code related to the condition that caused it, even if the light goes back off.
They must have checked for that. Did they give you the codes or tell you it didn’t have any?

If there aren’t any codes, I’m wondering whether your car doesn’t think it is being turned off and back on in rapid succession.
In other words, maybe you have some sort of loose connection in your ignition switch.Those lights come on when the car is first started as a way of testing the lights.
Do you have a lot of keys on your keychain, by chance?

Probably Pineapple Fungus. I’ve heard that can be a problem there… :wink:

Sorry, just had to use that one. Someone who lives in Honolulu and has sold me antique Harley parts on occasion fed me that line once. :slight_smile:

The first step is pulling codes and those may exist no matter if any lights are on or not. In other U.S. states (CA excluded) many chain type auto parts stores will at least scan for codes and do this free. That can point you in the direction of a diagnosis anyway.
I’m pretty sure that Hawaii is like CA; the parts stores are forbidden to do this or may be required to charge for it. You might give an AutoZone, Checkers, or other outfit like that a call and ask anyway.

Have you done a Google internet search on this? Apparently it can be caused – at least the VSA triangle to light up – by accidentally putting your foot on the gas and the brake at the same time. This apparently confuses the stability system for some reason. You might try doing that on purpose & see if it causes the problem. Might provide a clue at least.

You only have one problem and the check engine light should lead you to it.

Whenever your Honda detects a fault that will turn on your check engine light, the car also disables the Vehicle Stability Assist and turns on your general warning indicator (the triangle). I don’t know why, they just do. So do Toyotas.

Anyway, when the problem presents itself have the car checked for engine fault codes as soon as possible. If you run through a few drive cycles without the problem occurring, your car will assume all is well and clear the fault memory, leaving your mechanics in the dark.

No, I’m not smarter than the mechanics in Hawaii . . . I live in Pennsylvania and they live in Hawaii, enough said. My advice is to find a decent independent mechanic and ask him/her to check the car for codes when it presents itself. Rocketman

MaestroWu…I am asking one simple question in regard to GeorgeSanJose’s comment. Do you ever apply the brakes with your left foot? If you do…that may be your problem.

LOL @Rocketman. Good point.