Electrical system, steering, and window and windshield glass shattering issues are the main cause of complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
The Honda HR-V is an on-off model. It debuted in 1999 and was around until 2006. Then, in 2013, Honda reinvented it, introducing it to the U.S. market in 2016. The automaker identifies “a new generation of customers to Honda,” highlighting its “strong sense of adventure” in the 2023 model. For owners whose doors won’t open, who can’t see oncoming traffic because of the brightness of low beams, or who experience jerky steering, there are adventures they didn’t anticipate. Windows and windshield shattering certainly can’t be called an adventure by anyone’s standards.
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Most Common Problems
The problems reported to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) about the 2023 Honda HR-V are varied. Some people might call many of them minor or simply irritating. But for those who have bought into the 2023 HR-V, there are big irritations and some safety issues.
While the volume of complaints began as a trickle, by mid-September there were 103. Anyone anticipating buying a 2023 HR-V should be aware of these complaints.
From the start, visibility/wiper issues have been paramount, most coming from owners who report windshields popping and back windows shattering. More than 86% of the current complaints (a whopping 89) relate to visibility, with 24 listed as an “unknown or other” problem. Other components and systems highlighted are exterior lighting, the electrical system, steering, structure, suspension, and tire-related problems.
Another owner went to two Honda dealerships after smelling gas coming through the vents. But “they could not find a problem.” He also asked them to check out several electrical issues “caught on camera,” but they “will not even watch them.” The complaint goes on to say, “The windows will get stuck down and will not go back for around 3-5 minutes. When trying to roll them up they will continuously click like it is trying, but can not go up.”
2023 Honda HR-V Complaint Summary
|Number of Complaints
|Unknown Or Other
|Visibility:defroster/defogger/hvac System:rear Window
|Lane Departure: Warning
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Problems with the Electrical System
The very first complaint to the NHTSA was lodged in January 2023 by an owner in Vermont. It might seem like a minor complaint because the owner started by saying that “the car would randomly turn on and off when the vehicle is on and it will do this the whole time.” But then the “door wouldn’t unlock on the driver’s side. I had to get someone to open my door. The door was unlocked but physically wouldn’t open.” That’s a bit of a challenge for any driver hoping to get on the road!
Exterior lighting issues are also an electrical system problem. An owner from Michigan describes how when driving at dusk or after dark “I am being flashed by oncoming drivers as if I have my high beams on. Every time this happens I am using low beams.” He continues to say that he is “not usually prepared for their brights and it is difficult on my eyes. I have only had the car since November, but it has happened every time I drive at night. I am sure it is annoying for the oncoming traffic as well if they think I have my brights on.” And clearly, they do!
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Shattering Windows and Windshields
So many vehicles have problems with windows and windshields that shatter. But that doesn’t mean you should accept the probability. Many owners don’t know what to do and simply state the facts. For example, owners who have listed their problems with the NHTSA say things like, “My back window shattered while parked without any impact.” Or, my “back window shattered with no impact. Was told it is a flaw in the rear defrost.”
An owner from Ohio wanted answers. “My rear windshield popped/shattered as I was driving on a rural highway at roughly 60 mph. I did not go under an overpass and there were no other cars nearby. The window simply exploded seemingly spontaneously. I believe I had the rear window defroster going at the time or shortly before as it was a cold day. It has not been inspected by Honda. There were no warning lamps or messages and there were no apparent issues with the rear window before it broke.”
We don’t know if he got any kind of explanation or resolution.
There are also conversations about this burgeoning problem in the HRV forum and on Reddit, which both draw attention to a dealer message issued on May 1. This states: “American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (AHM) is searching for certain 2023 HR-Vs with a customer complaint of rear windshield shattering. To better understand the cause of this condition, AHM would like to collect specific parts from the vehicle prior to you attempting a repair of any kind.”
In September, 2023, forum members, some of whom had had their rear windshields replaced, were sharing their experiences.
Back Window Shattering Online Chatter
An owner from Florida had the rear windshield replaced under warranty. This was “almost 2K worth according to documents.” But “they did not cover the rental I had to get for 4 days or the tint I will have to have redone.” The dealer “said this was the first occurrence they had heard of. The new window looks like the defroster lines go the full width of the window and not just in the middle area, so maybe a redesign?”
Another owner said the same thing: “I believe my replacement windshield has a different defroster design.”
A New Jersey owner states, “My rear view window shattered 4 days ago at night while driving on the highway and no-one around me. Heard a loud pop and then what sounded like ice melting. The glass just shattered and after being covered for a few days with torrential rain and storms in NJ, I checked it out today and the glass bowed out and now there’s a hole. After it happened, I called my dealer the next morning (this is my FOURTH lease with them) and after speaking to service, finance and finally my salesman – no one heard about this and most they could do was order a new rear window that I would have to pay for completely, Over $1k. I declined and am now trying to go through insurance.”
Another one says, “My local dealership said they had never heard of it, but if you look at the Honda Service Bulletin posted in the thread, they have known for some time that something has been going on.”
Of course, there is also the point that replacement windows appear to be a different design. “If they never heard of it then how would they know what to fix in the redesign?”
An owner from Texas had a problem with the vehicle’s steering. No problem, says the dealer. They acknowledged the problem but said they didn’t have the part to fix it. Just keep driving!
Basically, the complaint states that the rack and pinion were failing. As a result, the steering was “hard and jerky.”
So, what did Honda say? “I took it into Honda and they told me it was the rack and pinion and the part wouldn’t be in until May 2023. They continued to have me drive it and told me it was safe to drive.”
Another owner experienced problems with both the steering and window glass shattering. The “steering wheel gets loose and (there is a) loud clonking noise from (the) rear of (the) vehicle.” This vehicle’s back window shattered while the car was parked with no one around.
What to do if your 2023 Honda HR-V is a Lemon?
It doesn’t matter how severe your 2023 Honda HR-V problems are, if they impact your use and the value of the vehicle and keep recurring, you might find that you’ve bought a lemon.
Lemberg Law has been helping vehicle owners who have found themselves with lemons for many years, and we have negotiated many settlements on their behalf. If you’d like us to assess your case, free of charge, contact us by calling our Helpline or filling out a contact form. The law says that Honda must pay the legal fees for lemon law cases, so it’s not going to cost you anything.