Just as the odometer rolled past 15,000 miles, the CR-V’s Maintenance Minder’s little wrench lit up on the dash with a message that the CR-V had about 10 percent of its oil remaining and that some of its routine maintenance was due soon. Coincidently, a few days later, the CR-V started struggling upon startup, as if it’s battery wasn’t fully charged. The weak battery also seemed to be affecting the power liftgate—it would open but would no longer close on its own, requiring some heavy-handed pulling to shut it against the friction of its unpowered motor. Three days later the battery died completely, leaving me stranded in my driveway. With a jump from my girlfriend’s car, I drove directly to my local Honda Dealer in Culver City, California.
The service adviser suspected that the CR-V might have a faulty cell in the battery, and sure enough, an inspection revealed that it was necessary to replace the battery with a new one, the cost of which was covered under warranty. In addition to the car’s maintenance minder requesting an oil/filter change, the dash also displayed a 6, which, per the manual, is code for the rear differential oil needing to be replaced. Changing the air filter and cabin air filter all felt timely and appropriate, but I was somewhat surprised that the rear differential oil needed to be replaced this soon into the vehicle’s life.
I asked my contact at American Honda Motors and was told that the differential fluid interval is actually 20,000 miles but that the maintenance minder system detects when the next oil change is needed. In order to prevent multiple service visits in a short amount of time, it lumps the differential service with the needed oil change service. Also keep in mind this is only for AWD CR-Vs because FWD CR-Vs do not have rear differentials.
À la carte, the differential fluid change was $177; $38 for the fluid and $139 for the labor. But the total cost for all service performed that day, including air filter ($60), cabin air filter ($60), and oil change ($41), tallied to a substantial $350 (tax included). The entire service was completed in less than two hours and without appointment.