CR-V Parasitic Drains and Battery Charging Problems

The 4th and 5th generation CR-V chews through batteries. Leave one of these sitting a couple days and there's a good chance it won't start due to long-running issues parasitic drains and an ineffective battery charging system.

Over the years, Honda has released multiple technical service bulletins (TSB) outlining potential software fixes for battery problems. However, those fixes aren’t always effective and have been limited to the 2012 and 2017 model years.

Battery problems have been a drain on Honda’s reliability for well over a decade. Even 2019 owners are waking up to dead batteries with only 1,000 miles under their timing belts.

Last Year Problem Count
CR-V 2019 Dead Battery 10
  2018 Electrical Drains 2
  2017 Battery Keeps Going Dead 17
  2016 Won’t Start or Turn Over 3
    Battery Dead 1
  2015 Battery Dies 20
  2014 Dead Battery 4
    Won’t Start 3
  2013 Dead Battery 19
    Engine Won’t Turn Over, Won’t Start 7
  2012 Battery Goes Dead 77
    Won’t Turn Over 20

Parasitic Drain

A parasitic drain is when an electrical component continues to draw power from the battery even after the vehicle is turned off. Even a slight draw can empty the battery if left unattended for a couple days.

Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) Drain

The vehicle stability assist (VSA) software in the 5th generation CR-V may continue to draw power from the battery after the vehicle is turned off.

In TSB #17-032, titled Parasitic battery draw from VSA modulator (vehicle will not start), Honda says the VSA software logic may not shut down correctly when:

  1. The electronic parking (EPB) is applied within 3 to 4 seconds of the vehicle being shut off, or…
  2. The EPB switch is held for a 3 to 4 second duration when the vehicle is off

The VSA modulator will continue to draw 350mA of power after the vehicle is shut off. More than enough to drain the battery after a day or two.

Honda recommends technicians install a software update to the VSA modulator-control unit and perform a VSA sensor neutral position memorization procedure. Unfortunately this TSB only applies to a specific VIN range of 2017 CR-Vs.

  • Failed part: #57114-TLA-A04
  • Defect Code: 03214
  • Symptom Code: 03203

A/C Relay Drain

The A/C relay in 4th generation CR-Vs may stay engaged after the engine is shut off, according to TSB #A11090M.

An electrical short and failed resistor means the relay gets stuck in the open position, draining the battery through the multiplexing system.

The relay (part #39794-SDA) is a $9 part and an easy DIY repair.

The A/C relay is inexpensive and easy to replace

Other Battery Problems

It’s not just parasitic drains that are killing off CR-V batteries. Here’s a look at a couple other common problems in post-2010 CR-Vs.

Wrong battery management charge mode

In November of 2012, Honda released SB #12-041 titled The Battery is Dead and Needs Multiple Jump Starts. Two years later they released SB #14-071 titled  Battery Management Software Update. Both service bulletins describe an issue in the powertrain control module (PCM) where the proper charge mode for the battery is not selected when the vehicle is turned off.

The system’s computers need a software update with a functional battery present.

  • Failed part: #37820-R5A-A65
  • Defect Code: 5JS00
  • Symptom Code: JL500

Defective alternator

When the engine is running, the alternator charges the battery. But the CR-V’s alternator can sometimes over or under charge the battery, reducing its performance either way.

In February of 2013, Honda released TSB #12-002 outlining procedures for alternator testing with a GR8 Diagnostic Battery Station.

Vehicles That Might Have This Problem

Model Generation Years PainRank
CR-V 4th Gen 2012–2016 33.33
5th Gen 2017–2019 21.12

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, you can help make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

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  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify the CAS

  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA

  4. Contact Honda

    Honda Support

    1919 Torrance Blvd. Torrance CA 90501-2746 USA

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