Ever since switching to the 1.5L “Earth Dreams” engine, the newest generation of Honda CR-Vs stinks in the most literal way.
High oil levels and an inability to properly properly burn off contaminates has led to serious allegations of gas smells inside the cabin that are so strong, they’re making people sick. Considering the “Earth Dreams” engine is also known for shaking so bad it makes riders nauseous, the new CR-Vs sound like a real joy to ride in.
Excess Fuel Build Up in the Oil Pan
Honda says the vapors are caused by excess fuel building up in the oil pan. The issue appears to be particularly bad in cold-weather climates. In a letter to consumers, Honda impressively skirted blame by placing it on the drivers. They even patted themselves on the back in the process, saying the problem is likely due to an engine that is too efficient.
With minimal wasted heat your engine can develop condensation and excess fuel vapors than combustion if not driven in a manner that allows the engines to fully reach operating temperature which would normally burn off the contaminates.
Honda, you’re the greatest ❤️ _swoon_.
Now, to be fair they have a point in that lots of short driving trips are bad for everything from the battery to the engine. Longer trips with higher engine revolutions help evaporate and eliminate the contaminates in the engine.
However, the Earth Dreams engine seems to have an unusually high amount of un-combusted fuel collecting in the oil pan.
What the high oil levels will and won’t do
- It will cause strong, sickening odors in the cabin that cause headaches, dizziness, and upper respiratory concerns.
- It will trigger the check engine warning light if the oil level rises 21mm about the dipstick limit.
- It won’t create abnormal engine wear or damage to your vehicle.
In other words, your engine will be fine. You? Not so much.
Lawsuits Concerning Gas Smells Inside the CR-V
In September 2016, an Illinois CR-V owner sued Honda for dangerous fuel odors that were apparent within a few days of purchasing their 2016 CR-V.
“[the smell] wouldn’t go away no matter how fast the SUV was traveling. A trip to the dealership allegedly didn’t help because the dealer didn’t do anything to the SUV, although an employee allegedly admitted other CR-V owners had complained about the same problem.”
The plaintiffs in the case, Beehler et al, v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., want the gas smell problem covered under warranty.
Another gas smells lawsuit popped up in May of 2017 for owners of the 2015-2017 model years.
According to the plaintiffs, Honda deceived them with national marketing campaigns promoting the SUVs as reliable and safe, misleading the plaintiffs to buy vehicles that in fact make people too sick to drive.
The complaints are much the same as the first lawsuit: gas smells show up early, Honda refuses to fix the problem under warranty, owners complain about medical problems from the fumes.
The case, Carol Miles et al, v. American Honda Motor Company, Inc. accuses Honda of breaching warranties and consumer fraud laws.
Did Honda Figure it Out?
Complaints about the problem became so widespread in northern China that Honda planned on a series of recalls to update the CR-V’s gasoline injection software, specifically:
- Adjusting the ignition timing and speed of the engines
- Updating the fuel injection timing to burn off more of the excess fuel
- In addition to the recalls, Honda planned on extending the warranty to 6 years.
The recalls, however, were deemed insufficient by a consumer watchdog group in China. Until Honda can come up with a more comprehensive plan, sales of new CR-Vs have been halted.
Honda’s tips for reducing fuel vapors
- Limit extended idling periods
- Avoid multiple, short trips. Go on longer trips to create higher engine revolutions which help proper evaporation of
- Use a block heater
- Drive in a lower gear, especially to start, to cause the engine to heat up faster