Driving in the Mountains - Honda CRZ Forum: Honda CR-Z Hybrid Car Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Driving in the Mountains

Hey there,

100% new to this forum and my lack of knowledge about cars is pretty astounding. I bought a 2012 automatic Honda CR-Z with under 35,000 KMs about a year ago. I was planning a trip to the mountains and was due for an oil change, so I booked the car in to get fully serviced before hitting the dusty trail. I drove from Edmonton, Alberta to the mountains in Jasper, Alberta, which is about a four hour drive. I took at least a two hour break in Jasper then attempted to get to Icefields Parkway, which is about another hour and a half of mountain driving.

I got about 10 minutes from the Icefields and my RPMs were revving so high I didn't feel comfortable driving. I understand this was some pretty demanding driving conditions. It was a hot day, driving about five and half hours total through the mountains with the A/C on, but I was surprised that this seemed to be too much for the car to handle. I pulled over since my CR-Z was pretty well refusing to go any further. I checked the oil and there was no issue, there were no engine or other lights on indicating any issues on the dash, and I was thoroughly confused. I ended up never making it to the Icefields, let it sit for an hour or so, and nursed it back down the mountain.

I am planning another trip to the mountains this year but I'm very hesitant to take my CR-Z after what happened last time. I felt like this was probably unreasonable and so I took it to my Honda dealer here in Saskatchewan, Canada and explained what happened in hopes of getting some advice. They said it probably was too much for the CVT to handle and wouldn't recommend driving in the mountains. They said its a little hybrid with a small engine that isn't meant for mountain driving. I'm a little unsatisfied with this answer and I'm wondering if anyone has any experiences driving CR-Zs in the mountains? Is this true? Any insights would be so greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 12:59 PM
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I'm a bit unsatisfied by the Dealer's response to your dilemma--by the way, welcome to the forum, too. I figure the CVT transmission was just finding the proper rev range for the diving conditions and throttle input, according to the elevation/grade that you were traversing. The high revving may have worried you, since in normal, flat terrain, the revs stay pretty low too, and/but it isn't necessarily a sign of a problem, and I wouldn't worry about it if you have had your CVT fluid changed recently and topped-off at the proper level. The mountains in you area may be steeper and more demanding than what's in my area, but I have actually driven in steep mountains up and down hills with the transmission in "L" low gear, which does send the rev range up a lot higher than normal, but certainly wont hurt the engine (it does, however, sound like it's working much harder with the revs up in the 4,000-5,000 rpm range, but mostly it's because you've probably never let the revs go up that high in normal driving and it's more of something of an adjustment in your own acknowledgement that it's really okay, and not going to blow up or anything like that.) It's possible that I misunderstand your description of the problem, but it sounds like you were saying that the car is running okay, otherwise, and it's just the situation in the mountains that has you worried, even though it wasn't losing power, misfiring, or anything like that, right?
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for getting back to me! You have given me some great insight and I think you are correct. I am used to driving in the prairies where the terrain is so flat, and just the contrast of the terrain causing the RPMs to rev so high was unsettling even though there was probably nothing wrong, it just felt foreign.

I wish I would have posted this when the memory was a little bit more fresh in my mind, but I don't remember there being any other problems. As I mentioned, the oil and CVT fluid was fine as the car was just serviced, there were no indicator lights on, but I know I felt like as I was driving up a hill, I couldn't get as much power as I needed to get up the hill, like I just couldn't gain enough speed. However, I think it was more just me feeling uncomfortable that I felt like I was pushing the car too hard. I probably could have pushed the gas harder and made it get up to the right speed, but it revved so high I was worried it was going to blow up on me, haha. But honestly, I was just concerned about damaging the engine.

It's reassuring to hear you have driven a CR-Z in the mountains with no problems though and it sounds like the high revs aren't as big of a problem as I feared it might be. Thanks for welcoming me into the community. I've found it difficult to find out information about CR-Zs because they just aren't overly common, and I've been rather disappointed with the support I've been getting from my local Honda dealership, where I purchased the car. It's great to have a community like this that offers some valuable information about the car!
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-23-2016, 10:59 PM
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Oh, one thing I didn't think to mention was that at very high altitudes, cars will/may have noticeably less power due to the thinner air (but I haven't noticed such loss of power myself, either because I haven't gotten to altitudes high enough to notice, or my supercharger makes up for the difference in the air/fuel ratio needed in such instances.) As for the Dealership not having much know-how about the CR-Z, I find that for the most part, the salesmen and such don't know much in general about cars, let alone one as specific and low volume as the CR-Z. This forum is a good place to find answers to your questions--even if no one replies--there's a lot you can find by searching, and browsing.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-24-2016, 08:40 PM
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When I make my fairly-often runs up the Sierra to Tahoe, cresting at about 9000 feet from an 11-foot start, the little (CVT) Z has no trouble doing eighty up the grades, and doesn't show signs of being whipped- in fact, at many points heading uphill, it's not even using the battery assist, nor does it draw the battery down below three bars. In the Z I have done this about a dozen times so far. I don't know if your part of the world has a more severe route than SR88, SR50, or SR4, but nothing else comes to mind as to why you'd had this experience.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-25-2016, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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That's interesting. You've never had a similar experience to mine with the high revving throughout your mountain drives? In hindsight, I wish I would have taken more breaks. I drove the car for almost 6 hours up a really high grade. Probably not the smartest thing.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-25-2016, 03:32 AM
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The parts on these cars, even when driving up a steep hill for a long time, are operating well within their mechanical limits. There is no reason you shouldn't be able to run your Z up a hill at full throttle and not damage anything.

Remember that these cars have tons of sensors that will readily notify you if anything goes wrong. The only thing I can imagine could happen--if you were climbing a hill at a slow enough speed--is it overheating, but it would warn you long before any damage is done.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-25-2016, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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That's good to know. The car was still pretty new to me at the time. If the situation arises again, I think I will just trust that everything is fine unless alerted otherwise by the dash indicators.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-25-2016, 11:08 AM

 
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I have the 6MT and there's a pretty steep incline between Phoenix and Flagstaff, which I drive a few times a year. In order to maintain the speed limit or stay with the flow of traffic (whichever is faster and legal, of course), I have to downshift to fifth and sometimes even fourth or third and run it close to redline at times. To counter this aggressive driving, coming home usually involves downshifting to the point of maintaining said speed and letting gravity do the work with no throttle. It balances out rather nicely.

At the end of the day, the IMA is just about useless on steep inclines at highway speeds. Couple that with a tiny Fit engine that has a low RPM ceiling, and you have our plight mentioned here. As everyone mentioned, use your own best judgment and listen to the car. Not to say you absolutely do not have a problem, but the likelihood leans toward everything being fine and this just being another "quirk."

Welcome to the forum. Merry Christmas!

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-25-2016, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Atmos View Post
That's good to know. The car was still pretty new to me at the time. If the situation arises again, I think I will just trust that everything is fine unless alerted otherwise by the dash indicators.


PS one more posting and you can Vote!
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