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We're looking for a car for our kids to drive that would also be a good family trip car. I've been gravitating to Honda products, but nothing has gotten me to pull the trigger yet.

We're looking at a 2012 CRV, with 120K on it. It definitely fits the bill as a good car for a teen, and my wife loves the practicality of it. There's plenty of room but it's not big and unwieldy. It looks to have been a snowbird's vehicle, traveling between Phoenix and New York, so that 120K is probably a lot of highway miles.

The CRV's and Hondas overall have a really good reputation for longevity, so it's been a little odd reading about the issues among this generation. It's that internet thing though, where 99% of the cars built may be solid but you only read comments from that 1% of owners who had to deal with what is actually an uncommon problem.

Anyway, this one is very clean, and from the test drive doesn't seem to have any major mechanical issues, I drove it and found it a surprisingly peppy vehicle. It didn't shift as smoothly as the '12 Civic I last tested, but also didn't lurch or hesitate either. I couldn't see much underneath the engine for all the plastic (blech), but what little bit I saw looked dry apart from a seep from the left rear strut.

Noisewise, at idle, the motor is smooth but there's a buzzing coming from the front (left side) of the motor that's noticable because it's intermittent, on for a second or two, off for a few, back for a few more. I suspect it's an accessory, maybe the compressor cycling or something. If I were smarter I'd have turned the AC off and listened for it, duh.

The dealer's price isn't unreasonable, but at the upper end (he left himself some wiggle room).

BUT... my wife said she distinctly felt the shuddering under light acceleration at least once when driving it, and she is definitely not a person who researches mechanical aspects of cars to look for specific behaviors lol. She just gets in them and drives.
I've seen that these trannies can shudder for years and remain driveable, it'll just be something that happens occasionally. Then you also read that it might be an indication of an impending torque convertor failure.

Then there's the VTC issue to consider. I'm not sure if that short knocking only happens when started below a certain temperature or not. I can say it won't often be started at a truly cold temperature here in Phoenix, if that makes a difference. It was a New York car, but appears to have wintered in Phoenix most years, where it rarely gets below 40F. So if exposure makes a difference, it probably wasn't exposed to a lot of cold.
And again, some info indicates they'll go for a long while with the issue, and you just wait for it to throw a timing code before addressing it. Some say changing the VTC doesn't even fix the knock (apparently a stretched serpentine belt can cause the exact same sound, maybe that's being overlooked in some cases).

Some mechanics swear by the 2.4 I4's solidity, so an issue like the VTC means their opinion isn't backed by facts, or my impression of the engine is just wrong.

Regardless of my very UNexpert opinions, we're getting a buyer's inspection done on it early next week.

So I'm curious on how a wider range of long term CRV owners feel about the vehicle. Does the average owner like, have to ignore these things? Or is the average owner like "what problems?"

CRV's seem to be consistently praised for long life, which makes me wonder if these issues I see only occur for a small number of vehicles, and I'm inflating the issues because we live in an age where everybody with an issue can talk about it on the net, and also because it's my money on the line lol.
 

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I've got over 116,000 on my 2012 (bought new). Had the engine flushed due to no heat (Honda covered that), also had the alternator belt tensioner replaced (unusual for this car) and rear brake pads replaced, although the original front pads still have about 50% left.
Overall...been a trouble-free car; it is important to note that I have all the fluids/services done at their recommended intervals. If the service intervals are available...ensure everything has been done according to the schedule.
Good luck
 

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There was a TSB where the dealer could update the software that controls the transmission. It might help the shudder (see attachment). I would also ask whether the transmission oil was changed at 100,000 miles. To me the shudder is much more noticeable if you drive with the ECON mode ON as opposed to OFF. I think this is because the engine lugs more with ECON ON. The variable valve timing actuator actually isn't too difficult to replace but I believe a dealer or independent would need to be involved to do the software.
 

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Welcome to the forum! Moving to Shopping & Test Driving section.
 

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My 2012 is at 121,000, and it runs great! I usually drive with the stereo on, so I didn't notice anything before, but when I turned off the stereo, sure enough, I could hear that 'buzz'... goes away briefly... but it's been checked out by numerous ASE techs and they all said it was nothing to be concerned about. As for everything else, have the PCM scanned for any TSBs that haven't been updated. Also, the computer does adjust for new things -- and may take a few starts to fully learn, so I wouldn't be too worried about anything unless things start to get worse -- then get it checked out. As long as your D light isn't blinking, and no other codes are thrown on the dash, it's all good :)

ASE technicians all say these are great vehicles and are known for great reliability -- so long as the maintenance is all done :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Welcome to the forum! Moving to Shopping & Test Driving section.
Thanks for the welcome, and thanks everyone for their comments.

I was so focused on CRV's I didn't mention we drove a '99 Odyssey (bought at around 40K) to 200K with no mechanical issues. It did get a transmission rebuild under recall, had to fix the thing where that port in the head got clogged and it would throw an emissions code, and replaced the power steering pump, but nothing in the motor ever fussed. We stayed on top of the timing belt changes but other than that it was just fluids. It was seeping oil when we sold it (head gasket I believe) but it still started and ran like a Swiss watch. I believe that was the first year for the motorized side doors, which were a major selling point, and they did give out eventually but it was still good transportation.

So my experience with the van reflects what everyone here says. "Reliable if maintained."
It doesn't matter what make or model, if it's not maintained it's not gonna last.

The one we're looking at has detailed records up to around 80K, when it changed hands or something, then it's not as much on the radar. I'm hoping to get to talk to the tech after inspection and ask some questions.

Thanks again for the comments.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The next step was the in-depth buyer's inspection on the 2012. I got to have a long conversation with the tech, who said despite needing some fluids flushed and replaced, and the valve spec, it had a clean bill of health. No leaks, no codes in the history, etc. He also allayed some concerns I had after studying the CRV's.

The price on it was fair so we got into it. Drove it home today and it goes to the shop this weekend for some preventive maintenance.
I think my wife likes it a lot more than I do though lol. I prefer small cars and had sort of fallen in love with Civics after driving a ninth gen for a weekend, but this was more for her and the kids so what could I do?

So fingers crossed it'll give us lots of trouble free miles.
Thanks for the help.
 

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2018 EX-L fwd
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I think my wife likes it a lot more than I do though lol. I prefer small cars and had sort of fallen in love with Civics after driving a ninth gen for a weekend, but this was more for her and the kids so what could I do?
As many in this forum would agree: happy wife, happy life. Hope all of you enjoy the V.
 
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