CR-V Fires and Explosions

Discussion in 'CR-V' started by fish, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. fish

    fish Guest

    27 Fires Linked To Oil Changes In Honda CR-V ( Fires
    Linked To Oil Changes In Honda CR-V

    By Greg Schneider
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, July 9, 2004; Page A01

    At least 27 Honda CR-V sport-utility vehicles from the 2003 and 2004 model
    years burst into flames shortly after getting their first oil changes,
    according to records provided to the federal government by the manufacturer.

    While no injuries were reported, many of the vehicles were destroyed,
    usually with 10,000 miles or fewer on their odometers.
    The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration investigated the
    situation and concluded July 1 that the cases were the fault of dealerships
    or others who improperly installed oil filters. The agency agreed with
    American Honda Motor Co. that oil from the filters most likely leaked onto
    the vehicles' hot exhaust systems, quickly igniting -- in some cases as the
    owners drove the small SUVs home from being serviced.

    "We consulted with Honda. Honda concluded it was a technician's error, and
    they have taken steps to make sure service technicians who work on this
    vehicle understand that they need to be particularly diligent when they
    replace the oil filter," NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson said.
    But auto safety advocates say they're dismayed that the agency didn't take a
    stronger stand. "Relatively new cars catching on fire? Running the risk of
    injuring their occupants? It's a very unusual and a very dangerous
    situation," said Sally Greenberg of Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer
    Reports. The fact that a routine oil change could have such catastrophic
    results suggests "a dire and a dangerous situation that both the automaker
    and the auto safety agency should have looked much more closely at," she

    Honda, whose products are consistently rated among the safest vehicles,
    doesn't know why the fires are happening in only the two most recent CR-V
    models, spokesman Andy Boyd said. "That's the part we're still
    investigating. Honestly, that's something we're still trying to understand,"
    he said, adding that there have been no major design changes.

    While Boyd said the problem is "absolutely not a design defect," he said the
    CR-V's engine is configured "such that there is a higher likelihood of oil
    spraying onto the manifold than . . . on other vehicles." Honda has no plan
    to recall the vehicles and install a barrier to block the oil from hitting
    the hot exhaust manifold, he said.

    "At this stage I don't believe we think a recall is warranted," Boyd said
    "We think with a little more communication and education with the dealers,
    the problem can be eliminated."

    About 140,000 CR-Vs were sold in the United States in 2003. Honda said 22 of
    them caught fire from the apparent oil filter problem. So far this year,
    five owners of 2004 CR-Vs have reported such fires to NHTSA.

    NHTSA's records relate the stories of drivers whose vehicles caught fire.
    Their names were blacked out. A woman driving on Braddock Road in Northern
    Virginia last January noticed smoke coming from under her 2003 CR-V. A
    passerby pulled up and told her it was on fire, so she swerved onto the
    shoulder, the electrical system shorted out and all the doors locked. She
    got out without injury.

    A North Carolina family driving to church one Sunday in May noticed smoke
    and had to rush to get their two small children unbuckled from safety seats
    before their 2004 CR-V went up in flames.

    A Georgia man coming home from a flea market stopped when he noticed smoke,
    tried to open his hood and "heard an explosion and the front end just burst
    into flames," according to records Honda supplied to NHTSA.

    All had recently had their oil changed for the first time. Honda recently
    warned its technicians about the need to be careful replacing oil filters in
    a regular newsletter mailed out to all 1,008 U.S. dealer service shops, Boyd

    Now the company is drafting a letter to the dealerships themselves, as well
    as preparing an article for a newsletter sent periodically to independent
    repair shops such as Jiffy Lube and Pep Boys. Honda also plans to change the
    language on the oil filter itself and its packaging, warning of the dangers
    of improper installation.

    There are no plans to send warnings to customers who might change the oil
    themselves, Boyd said.

    The problem is believed to happen one of two ways: The O-ring gasket on the
    old oil filter sometimes sticks to the crankcase, and if the new filter is
    installed over it, oil can leak around it. Or, if the gasket on the new
    filter isn't lubricated properly, it might set incorrectly and allow oil to
    leak around it. Then it can spray onto the hot manifold and burn.

    Kay C. Brittain of Jacksonville, Fla., was driving to work from her first
    5,000-mile oil change when she noticed black smoke in her rearview mirror.
    She pulled onto the median to turn and go back to the dealership, but a
    passing motorist shouted that her 2004 CR-V was on fire.
    A week later, the elderly parents of one of Brittain's co-workers avoided
    injury when their 2003 CR-V burst into flames.

    Brittain, 56, who learned from Web site chat groups of other such incidents
    around the country, said she had no problems with the 2002 CR-V she drove
    for two years before trading it in for the new model. Now that she has
    gotten her dealer to replace the one that burned with another 2004 CR-V, she
    has lost her peace of mind.

    "It just scares me. Here I'm sitting with a brand new car, and come 5,000
    miles I'm going to have to go through it again," she said. "I don't want
    this to happen to somebody else. If there is a problem, I think Honda should
    acknowledge it and at least check this out and not write it off.
    "I'm just afraid something bad's going to happen. I just want them to take
    it seriously."

    © 2004 The Washington Post Company
    fish, Dec 28, 2006

  2. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane. Any reason you are posting
    this now?
    Gordon McGrew, Dec 28, 2006
  3. fish

    fish Guest

    Gordon McGrew sez...
    Yes - I am currently researching for my next motor vehicle and was very
    seriously considering a Honda CR-V because it is rated very high on Consumer
    Reports as well as Edmunds and Kelly's Blue Book.

    However, what I would like to know is this.

    Did Honda ever redesign the CR-V to prevent that type of disaster from ever
    happening again?

    As a consumer, I am currently afraid of the Honda product CR-V SUV motor
    fish, Dec 28, 2006
  4. The '07s are redesigned and I would think that they would do anything
    practical to reduce this risk.

    There were a few possible contributing causes:

    1. Oil filters installed too tight at the factory or some other
    problem that caused the gasket to stick to the mounting plate when the
    filter was removed at the first oil change.

    2. Service techs not noticing the sticking gasket and installing the
    new filter with its gasket on top of the old one. This caused massive
    and immediate leaks (which the tech also should have noticed.)

    3. Because of the layout in the engine compartment, the leaking oil
    landed on the exhaust which caused it to catch fire after a few miles.

    #1 can happen from time to time on any car, thus making it critical
    that service techs guard against #2. #3 is true of other Honda
    vehicles (and perhaps other makes.) Not clear why this caused CRVs to
    catch fire more than any other such car.

    This was a little mysterious, but the problem was easily avoidable
    with a little care. The problem was never very common (22 out of
    140,000 2003s = 1 per 6000+) and doesn't seem to have occurred
    recently indicating that the problem has been solved one way or the

    If the CRV meets your needs, you can buy it with confidence. This
    minor glitch from the past isn't a factor. (By minor, I mean that we
    are talking about a couple dozen vehicles out of millions that Honda
    has sold. I'm sure those few incidents were dramatic although calling
    it an explosion would be overstating it a bit.)
    Gordon McGrew, Dec 28, 2006
  5. fish

    Matt Ion Guest

    I was just thinking the same thing - doesn't matter HOW your car is designed, if
    someone does a half-assed job on the maintenance, you're going to have problems.
    Matt Ion, Dec 28, 2006
  6. fish

    E Meyer Guest

    The problem had to do with the gasket on the oil filter sticking to the
    engine when the filter was changed. It was not a design flaw with the
    vehicle itself, but rather a combination of defective oil filters installed
    at the factory and lazy mechanics in the dealer's garages who didn't clean
    the surface prior to installation of the replacement filter.

    The fact that you had to dig back to 2004 to find a write up of this should
    indicate to you that its not a current problem.
    E Meyer, Dec 29, 2006
  7. fish

    fish Guest

    E Meyer respectfully sez...

    A major part of researching motor vehicles involves investigating it's
    recent past to see what issues have occurred and how it could relate to my
    confidence in their (highly rated) products.

    I am thankful for all the responses to my postings here.

    I am not going to choose a vehicle based on one single finding, but on a
    combination of things that together will help me decide which vehicle I feel
    confident that would provide a pleasant driving experience for a great many

    My current vehicle, a 1997 Saturn (10½ years old, bought it in Summer '96) =
    reliable and I am hoping with proper research to find the same in my next
    motor vehicle.

    An educated customer = the best customer because I walk in with my printout,
    like I did 10½ years ago saying, this is what I want.

    fish, Dec 29, 2006
  8. fish

    fish Guest

    Gordon McGrew sez...
    Not when there are reports of fires and explosions!!

    You take your own advice - for my hard earned money, my research has yielded
    shocking results.
    Oh, I beg to differ!!

    Let's see you pay for a motor vehicle knowing the risks from the past.

    Listen to me: I will be doing more research into this!!

    I want answers from Honda if they expect me to even look in their direction
    as I drive past their lot on the way to the Toyota dealership.
    I want to ask you to re-read the report of the explosion as the gentleman
    was attempting to open the hood and the entire front end exploded into

    I just can't ignore the RECENT past - it was only a few years ago!

    Yes, Honda redesigned the CR-V - but I want answers. I want to know
    specifics of this redesign.
    fish, Dec 29, 2006
  9. fish

    Bob Jones Guest

    I am not at all surprised that the dealers can screw up something as simple
    as oil change.

    I took my brand new car in for its first oil change. When it was all done
    and I started the car, there was a lot of smoke coming out of the hood. They
    said the mechanic spilled some oil on the engine. So they flush the oil off
    but I could still smell oil burning the next 30 miles. Later I also found
    the engine was overfilled.

    Now I do my own oil change and never have the same problem.
    Bob Jones, Dec 29, 2006
  10. If you consider a couple dozen incidents from two years ago to be
    shocking, you are going to have a hard time finding any car that
    measures up to your standards.

    If you are concerned about safety I would pay a lot more attention to
    crash test results and insurance loss records. Your chances of being
    in a serious accident are much greater than suffering injury as a
    result of this "defect." 50,000 people are killed in traffic
    accidents each year. No one was even injured as a result of these CRV

    If your concern is financial loss, Honda and/or the dealer would be
    liable for this type of damage as well as any injuries which might
    result. That is there incentive to make sure the problem isn't

    If I was in the market for a new car and the CRV met my needs, I
    wouldn't even consider these reports as a factor. The problem is just
    too obscure.
    Please do. We love informative posts because it increases our
    knowledge and helps other Honda owners. However, the issue you have
    raised is known and does not appear to be currently relevant. If you
    find new information to the contrary, please do post it.
    Since the new CRV is selling gangbusters, I doubt that they are going
    to spend much time on a personal reply to you. That goes double if
    you come off as a nut, which you are dangerously close to doing.

    Your tone and unrealistic expectations lead me to guess that you are
    going to run into a dealership and demand that the salesman give you a
    full accounting of this matter. If you are this naive, I will tell
    you right now that you are unlikely to find anyone at the dealership
    that knows as much as you do already.
    And he apparently suffered not even singed eyebrows. There is very
    limited amount of stuff in the front which can explode. Maybe a pint
    of well contained gasoline. I don't doubt that at least some of these
    cars burned to the ground, but the driver in each of these occurrences
    got enough warning to stop the car and get everyone out. That is
    almost always the case with engine fires.
    But they don't seem to be happening anymore, are they? Something has
    changed and it isn't an issue anymore, not even for owners of 2003 and
    2004 CRVs. Are you going to buy a '03 or '04? If so, you might want
    to do more research, but I don't think you are going to find anything
    else on this. If you are going to buy a 2007 CRV, it is a completely
    different vehicle. The incidents from 2003 are completely irrelevant.
    I'm sure Honda will send the chief engineer right over to explain it
    to you.
    Gordon McGrew, Dec 29, 2006
  11. LOL, you chose a Saturn after extensive research? Did the hundreds of
    first person reports in the Saturn newsgroup of oil burning, failed
    timing chains, transmission failures, cracked heads, blown head
    gaskets, high temp readings, failed motor mounts and inoperative tail
    lights factor into your decision?

    Is it the single cam or the double cam engine?
    Gordon McGrew, Dec 29, 2006
  12. fish

    fish Guest

    Gordon McGrew sez...
    Internet research, yes.
    I recall reading about that!

    I have been fortunate to have the pleasure of a worry-free experience.

    Yes, I am planning on test driving the CR-V.

    I am just researching and looking for answers.

    On the positive side, I like the design of the CR-V.

    The instrumentation cluster looks very attractive and well thought out.

    Of course, in a few months, the 2008 Saturn Vue Hybrid V6 is coming.

    Gordon, you do have a valid point and I understand what it is you are

    For the CR-V to maintain their position at the top of the Consumer Reports
    list is an achievement, as well as the Toyota RAV-4.

    This will be a test of what I like about each and what I decide will be
    ultimately based on those decisions.

    I'm sure the test drive will help highlight what I need to know.
    fish, Dec 29, 2006
  13. fish

    Matt Ion Guest

    Yes: of incompetent or lazy service techs. That shouldn't deter you from buying
    the vehicle, it should only deter you from having it serviced anywhere but a
    shop that you fully trust.
    Matt Ion, Dec 29, 2006
  14. I don't think you can go wrong with either the Toyota or the Honda.
    Choose whichever fits your needs best. There is no guaranty that
    either will be reliable and defect-free for you, but you have to go
    with the odds. Subaru would also be worthy of consideration. The
    differences in reliability and durability between these cars would be
    small and it really isn't predictable which might turn out to be best
    over the course of the next ten years. The bet strategy IMO is to
    consider only cars from the manufacturers with the best reliability
    histories and then pick the one that is best suited to your wants and

    Good luck and please do give us a report on what you find and how you
    Gordon McGrew, Dec 29, 2006
  15. fish

    jim beam Guest

    fish wrote:
    <snip troll>

    didn't you pop up this time last year? how much do you get paid to do
    this stuff?
    jim beam, Dec 30, 2006
  16. fish

    jim beam Guest

    fish wrote:
    how do you know this?
    you know that contradicts your first statement, right?

    here's how it is kiddo; time you did some homework. details are all
    available on the net if you know where to look. they're even available
    in dead tree format if you want to pay for it. so, go away, find out
    what the hell you're talking about, then get back to us. if you don't
    know what you're talking about, you're just being an ass.
    jim beam, Dec 30, 2006
  17. fish

    fish Guest

    jim beam
    <-entire worthless crap snipped->

    If you can't offer any constructive dialog, then you are trolling for a
    flame war.
    fish, Dec 30, 2006
  18. fish

    jim beam Guest

    what's constructive about a post titled "CR-V Fires and Explosions"?
    jim beam, Dec 30, 2006
  19. fish

    fish Guest

    jim beam typed:
    It was an article from the Washington Post.

    Geesh! I post a newpaper article and suddenly the trolls start coming out
    like roaches!
    fish, Dec 31, 2006
  20. fish

    jim beam Guest

    correction: you post a scare story with the title "CR-V Fires and
    Explosions". which is "based" on an article 2 years old and proven to
    be sensationalist nonsense. on top of that, you have the temerity to
    dress this up as a request for easily accessible information that you're
    too damned lazy [or stupid] to find for yourself. i say you're a
    trolling dumb-ass.
    jim beam, Dec 31, 2006
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