Under the Hood: CRV startup noise likely due to faulty, and replaceable, part

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

January 21, 2019

Q: I have a 2012 Honda CRV with a four-cylinder engine; the manufacturer recommends using 0W20 oil. Every time it starts (since the beginning) it makes sounds like noisy lifters for a few seconds and then settles down. I use synthetic oil and have had it changed per the manufacturerís recommendation for years. So, to satisfy my curiosity at one point when it was in for service, I checked with the dealership and they said itís normal. Iíve also been listening to other four-cylinder cars starting up and they seem to be quite noisy too for the first few seconds. Now Iím an old codger and that sound used to be associated with oil problems and was a cause for concern in terms of wear.

ó Mike

A: This is a pretty common complaint with CRVs, Accords and Crosstours built around that time. The cause of the noise is likely a faulty variable timing control actuator, per Honda technical service bulletin 09-010, revised February 2017. While the start-up rattle has been claimed to be normal in the past, replacement of the part is a good idea, particularly if one can twist Hondaís arm to do the job under warranty, or at least with a policy adjustment (mention the TSB). Some have reported the noise can return, particularly in cold weather, even with the revised part installed.

Q: My neighbor was complaining loudly about the cost to have his tire monitoring sensors replaced due to the batteries beginning to poop out. It got me thinking, so I went online to price sensors for my car, but there arenít any? It has the tire inflation system. How can this be? Itís a 2014 Accord.

ó Sal

A: Your Accord employs the indirect tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), which does not use in-wheel pressure sensors. Instead, careful analysis of the anti-lock brake system wheel speed and ambient temperature sensor signals allows the TPMS module to infer incorrect tire pressure based on wheel speed differential and peak tire resonance. Say what?

Following a quick/easy calibration procedure, which should be performed whenever tires are rotated or replaced, or air is added, wheel speed characteristics are noted during normal straight-line steady-speed driving. Information from the lateral acceleration sensor, yaw sensor, steering angle sensor, master cylinder pressure sensor, and data from the powertrain control module are used to check wheel speed status under just the right conditions. A low tire pressure condition results in a smaller tire diameter, which increases wheel speed. Iím not smart enough to understand or explain how peak tire resonance frequency is gleaned from the wheel speed sensor signals, but it decreases with a low tire! Indirect TPMS systems are not as accurate as a direct system using sensors and can occasionally suffer from false alarms. If one brandishes a manual tire pressure gauge regularly, I think indirect systems are cool due to less hardware to maintain and easier recalibration.

The calibration process is an easy DIY procedure employing the TPMS reset button and indicator. Please refer to ownerís manual or YouTube demos for details.