11 Most Common Toyota C-HR Problems (Explained)

The C-HR debuted in 2018 as Toyota’s smallest and most affordable crossover.

Although it lacks all-wheel drive and the space you’d expect from a compact SUV, its styling has loads of personality and it has surprisingly good handling.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the C-HR’s common problems and their solutions.

1. Transmission Problems

The Toyota CH-R’s CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) is often plagued by loud noises which can eventually lead to expensive gearbox failures.

Reports of CVT issues are more common in the early model years, with the 2018 models being the most prone to early transmission failures.

Common symptoms include:

  • Whining, humming or buzzing noise
  • Rattling noises
  • Slipping first gear or reverse

If the CVT gearbox isn’t regularly serviced, it will start making noise after 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

This issue also only affects North American cars which have the 2.0-liter non-hybrid engine mated to a regular CVT.

Hybrid variants of the Toyota C-HR use Toyota’s extremely reliable eCVT system which uses planetary gears. 

Here’s how owners on ToyotaCHRForum.com described their experience:

We have a 2018 CH-R that had the same humming noise. Thought it was either the tires or the wheel bearings. Took it into our dealership to have it looked at. Turned out to be the transmission. Only has 52,500 miles on it, so luckily we are under the 60k mile warranty mark.”

“The same issue with my 2020 chr. Noise coming out of transmission unit. 10k to get it fixed.”

“I initially heard subtle engine noises that later escalated into unsettling grinding and whining sounds. The transmission problem only became apparent after consulting the dealer.”

“2018 C-HR serviced at the Dealer its entire life. 123,000 easy highway miles, never abused or pushed hard. Complete transmission replacement needed. Quoted $11,000 by the dealer for a used one with 30,000 miles on it already. “

Another owner on the r/ToyotaCHR subreddit also reported similar issues:

“I’ve owned my 2018 CHR for about 2 years and I have about 120k on the vehicle right now. I’ve noticed a whirring noise for the past few weeks from the front end of my car, brought it in to a mechanic and it’s the transmission.”

Many of the C-HR’s CVT issues are caused by the variator’s bearings wearing out due to lack of maintenance and overly aggressive driving habits.

Although the manual recommends replacing the CVT fluid every 60,000 miles, many C-HR owners suggest servicing the CVT more frequently every 30,000 miles so that it always has fresh lubricant. 

Very few shops do rebuilds for CVTs, so if the transmission in the C-HR goes, your only option is to get a new or used one, which can easily cost $7,000 to $10,000.

Finding a replacement transmission will also be challenging since you can’t just drop in another transmission from another Toyota model. 

2. A/C Issues

A number of C-HR owners have had to deal with A/C refrigerant leaks after only a few years.

C-HR owners typically complain about the A/C taking a long time to cool or not blowing any cold air at all.

Here’s how owners on ToyotaCHRForum.com described their problems: 

“Got my CHR at the end of winter and noticed just outside temperature blowing. I brought it into Toyota and they said the Freon needed refilling.”

“I also have a 2019 Toyota CHR. Last year It took Toyota 2 months to replace the defective AC components, it happened at the peak of Summer. AC is blowing warm air. And yet again Spring of 2021 I just noticed that AC is not working again.” 

Another owner on the r/ToyotaCHR subreddit had this to say:

“Our family owns a 18 and a 19. Both cars have leaked out their refrigerant every winter since new. Dealership says it’s common and Toyota engineers are working on a fix then they charge A/C up and it will be fine for our summer.“

Premature refrigerant leaks are more likely to occur in cars that don’t regularly have the air conditioning running.

If you only turn on the A/C a few times a year, the seals and O-rings of the A/C system’s refrigerant lines are more likely to dry out and leak.

To keep the A/C working properly for a long time, let it run a few times a week to make sure the seals and gaskets don’t degrade. 

Early 2018 models of the C-HR also have a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) which indicates that one of the refrigerant lines near the pressure sensor has a tendency to leak.

Some owners also had issues with their CH-R’s A/C because the blend doors behind the dash were getting stuck.

3. Distorted Puddle Light

The 2018 to 2019 model years of the Toyota C-HR were equipped with puddle lights that easily broke.

After only a year or two, owners would find lots of splotches or distorted areas on the image that is projected on the ground.

This is purely a cosmetic problem since the whole purpose of the puddle lights is to display the Toyota C-HR branding and maybe increase visibility of the ground before you step into the vehicle. 

Here’s how owners described their issues on ToyotaCHRForum.com:

“I noticed that my puddle light on the passenger side is looking as if it is now allowing a spot of light through in addition to the C-HR outline.”

“Does anyone else have the spattered effect when the passenger side mirror projects the logo on the ground when you unlock the car? My driver’s side mirror shows a great logo on the ground but not the passenger mirror.”

The puddle lights are part of the side mirrors and light up whenever they unfold.

Due to a Toyota Service Campaign, dealers would normally just replace the problematic side mirrors with updated ones if the vehicle was still under warranty.

If you want to fix your puddle lights out of warranty, you can replace the outer mirror assembly for $60 to $90 instead of the entire side mirror, which costs around $300. 

4. Electrical Issues

Several Toyota C-HR owners started encountering strange error messages after jump starting the car when their 12-volt battery died.

Aside from the error messages on the dash, the C-HR also goes into limp mode.

Some CH-R owners also reported that their A/C stopped working after jump starting or replacing the 12-volt battery.

Here’s how owners described their experience on ToyotaCHRForum.com:

“I have a 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium and my battery died at work today. When I got the car jumped and back on, all the systems were malfunctioning and the car barely drive without lurching a lot.”

“I went to get in my car to go to work this morning. Put the key in the ignition, nothing. Realized I had left my foglights on from the night prior and the battery was completely dead. Wife pulls out her RAV4, we jump the C-HR, and get it started. However, I now have two system errors showing. The first of which is ‘Reduced Engine Power,’ and the second is ‘Brake Override Malfunction.’”

“2019 Toyota C-HR XLE… I had to call AAA because my battery died or so I thought. The guy realized a terminal was loose and tightened it. Since my car is back up and running now the A/C control panel doesn’t work and I have no air coming through at all.”

The random errors that appear after jump starting or replacing the battery are usually just glitches with the car’s computer modules and electronics.

You can usually get rid of these errors and drivability issues by disconnecting the 12-volt battery terminals for 10 to 20 minutes to allow the car’s electronics to reset.

Clearing any trouble codes using an OBD2 scanner can also help. Auto parts stores usually have their own scanners if you don’t have one already.

5. Battery Drain Issues

A number of Toyota C-HR owners have had to deal with the 12-volt battery always going flat after it’s parked for a couple of days.

Battery drain problems are also more common with the hybrid versions because these don’t have a traditional starter which allows them to use a smaller 12-volt battery.

Here’s how owners described their problems on ToyotaCHRForum.com:

“I purchased a brand new 2019 Toyota CHR and hardly use it. Having it sat for a week in my parking complex and it didn’t want to start.”

“I’ve got the same problem now with a 2020 orange edition only done 3k miles. Taking it to the garage next week. Looks like something is draining the battery as had a 2017 limited edition and didn’t have a problem with similar use.”

“The first time the battery failed the car had sat in a car park for a week whilst on a holiday and battery was flat on return, just enough power to unlock the door. Car started instantly from a power pack. During lockdown if the car is left for more than 3 days it has a flat battery i.e.9.1 volts. It would take a charge and show 13 volts. However, after 3 days it would be flat.”

Although most 12-volt batteries should last 3 to 5 years before needing to be replaced, some batteries are just faulty straight from the factory and don’t last as long.

Modern cars like the C-HR also have lots of electronics that can eventually drain the battery if the car is not regularly used.

Some C-HR owners have found that turning off the keyless entry system eliminates the battery drain issue. You can also try moving your key fob farther away from the car when it’s parked in your garage.

Turning off or disconnecting aftermarket devices like dashcams will also help you figure out if there’s really something wrong with the car’s electronics.

If you want to avoid getting stranded with a dead battery, you can buy a portable jump pack and keep it in the car at all times for emergencies.

Hooking the car battery up to a battery tender will also keep it topped up and always ready to use if you rarely ever drive the car.  

6. Outdated Infotainment

The 2018 model year of the C-HR had a really basic infotainment system that didn’t have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or even navigation features.

The C-HR did start getting Apple CarPlay in 2019 and then Android Auto in 2020.

However, owners of newer C-HR models with the newer head units don’t have many good things to say about Toyota’s Entune software.

Here’s how owners on ToyotaCHRForum.com described their experience:

“After much research and debate, I decided to lose the factory infotainment system. Toyota really dropped the ball with their factory system especially in the US market. We didn’t even have the option for GPS much less android auto or apple carplay.”

“Every time I add my contacts into favorites it erases once I re-enter the car. Can’t figure out why it removes my saved contacts!! Please help. This is for 2019 C-HR Limited.”

“I find the Entune setup to be clunky and inconsistent. Sometimes my phone will connect/pair up properly sometimes it doesn’t. I have to kill the Entune app on my phone and relaunch it when this happens.”

Most CH-R owners simply replace their head units with aftermarket ones that cost around $300 to $600 which significantly updates the car’s infotainment capabilities.

Many of these aftermarket radios fit perfectly into the stock radio location and come with adapter kits for the wiring harness.

You can find lots of name brand options like JVC, Kenwood, Pioneer and Sony on Crutchfield or Amazon.

Although the 2019 and 2020 head units use the same hardware, there’s no way to update older 2019 CH-Rs with Android Auto.

7.  Radar and Sensor Issues

The Toyota CH-R’s cruise control and pre-collision sensors are prone to malfunctions and errors when it’s raining or snowing.

In a lot of cases, the dash will indicate that the cruise control or pre-collision system is unavailable when there’s something blocking one of the sensors or the radar that’s behind the front grill.

Here’s how owners described their experience on ToyotaCHRForum.com:

“When I wake up on cold mornings and everything is either fogged or frosted up, my adaptive cruise control on my 2019 CHR won’t work because the sensor is obstructed.”

“For my car, it doesn’t matter if the active cruise is engaged or not during a rain storm. If the rain is bad enough, the system has disabled itself.”

“My girlfriend has a 2018 XLE. Got about 42k on it. Her lane departure sensors and pre-collision sensors are never operable, prompting the “see dealer” warnings on the display. It’s impossible to make the warning go away for more than a few seconds.”

Sometimes, all you have to do is wipe down the radar sensor that’s behind the Toyota logo on the front grill to get the cruise control to work again.

There’s also a camera on the rear view mirror for the pre-collision and lane departure systems that can get blocked by a dirty windshield.

If it gets really wet, you may have to wait a few hours or even days for the radar sensor to completely dry out.

A new radar distance sensor only costs around $250 and shouldn’t be too difficult to replace if you have to get it fixed out of warranty.

Related: 5 Best & Worst Toyota C-HR Years (Pictures & Stats)

8. Cracked Windshields

On CarComplaints.com, a website that collects owner complaints, the most frequently reported problem for the C-HR is cracked windshields.

It’s also one of the more common issues reported on CHRForums.uk:

“Found a four inch crack on the inside of mine from the top of the driver’s side last Thursday after leaving my car parked up all day… Car is 13 months old.”

“We have owned our Chr since release and we replaced one screen end of last year and it cracked again 2 months ago.”

Owners on ToyotaCHRForum.com also had similar issues:

“I have a 2021 CHR. I was parked in a spot where nothing could easily hit my windshield for only about 15 minutes and came out to a crack that started from the top just left of center in the black dots.”

“2021 CHR Limited Blizzard Pearl w/ Black Top. Just purchased less than 2 months ago. We went to lunch and came back to work and there was no crack. When we went to go home, there was a large crack from the bottom edge of the windshield. There was no evidence of impact to the windshield. This is obviously a factory flaw.”

In the UK, the very early model years of the C-HR tended to have the most issues with cracked windshields.

However, it still seems to be a fairly common issue even in newer models sold in the USA.

Dealers will usually replace the windshield free of charge if they don’t see any obvious stone chips or external damage.

Otherwise, your insurance can cover the windshield replacement.

Paying out of pocket to get the windshield replaced will probably cost you around $1,000 at a Toyota dealership.

9. Short Key Fob Range

Many CH-R owners have noticed that you have to be really close to the car to get the keyless entry system to work.

Although it doesn’t seem to have any issues when the key fob is in range, people have noted that they can lock and unlock other cars from much further away.

Here’s how some described their experience on ToyotaCHRForum.com:

“I can’t seem to lock/unlock my doors more than 40 feet away from the car and this is an empty space and a straight shot with no obstacles.”

“2019 C-HR, remote range sucks as well. Have to practically be next to it.”

Another C-HR owner on CHRForums.uk had this to say:

“I am extremely upset about the short range on the key fobs for my new CHR. If I am more than 7-8 feet away they won’t work. My previous car, a Honda, had keys that would work if I was down the block from my car! I thought it might be the batteries so I changed them, to no avail.” 

If you notice that your key fob’s range has suddenly dropped, it probably needs new batteries.

However, even new batteries won’t increase the key fob range any further than normal.

Holding up the key fob in the air or putting it right under your chin can help improve the key fob’s range slightly. 

10. Parking Brake Recall

The 2018 model year of the Toyota C-HR had a recall because there was a possibility that the parking brake would not release.

Dealers would eventually update the car’s software to prevent parking brake issues in the future.

A cover for the parking brake button on the center console was also installed to prevent accidental engagement while driving.

A number of owners on CHRForums.uk also complained about groaning noises from the brakes when driving at low speeds.

“When I reverse the car I can hear a loud noise made by the rear brakes and when driving in slow speed the front brakes makes a noise.”

“I took delivery of my 2021 C-HR GR to find after just two weeks of ownership, the car is a dream other than the brake noise!… The groaning noise is not something I thought I’d be getting with such an expensive purchase.”

“I’ve had my ch-r 2 years. The brakes have squealed since I bought it brand new. I’ve regularly maintained it & have taken it to 2 different dealers 4 times.”

The groaning noise is usually caused by the binding of the brake pads to the rotors because they don’t get used as much in the hybrid models, which were not sold in North America.

As the brakes get used and the brake pad material wears down, the noises eventually go away.

11. Steering Rack Noise

Some C-HR owners have reported hearing a clunking noise when they turn the steering wheel left and right while the car is stationary.

Here’s what owners on ToyotaCHRForum.com had to say about their issues:

“I seem to have this clicking clunking feeling when turning the steering wheel in either direction. It will happen when I become stationary and then go to move the steering wheel left or right. I can feel a clunk coming up through the steering column which feels like it may be coming from the rack.”

“I have the same problem on my 2019 chr in Canada. Only clunks when you move it left or right when the vehicle is stationary. I have a friend with a 2011 corolla and it has the same issue.”

“Unfortunately I had it on both my 2018 XLE and 2019 Limited. I could not stand it. I did end up traded the 19 in after the dealer checked others on the lot and found most did the same thing and diagnosed it as normal.”

According to owners who had their cars looked at by their dealers, the noise is normal and doesn’t cause any other drivability or safety issues.

Even those who had parts like the steering shaft replaced continued to hear the noise.

Toyota C-HR Pros & Cons


  • Sporty handling
  • Attractive styling
  • Affordable price
  • Modern driver aids
  • Nice interior design
  • Decent fuel economy
  • Good resale value


  • Slow acceleration
  • CVT issues
  • No all-wheel drive
  • Engine and road noise
  • Limited rear visibility

What Do The Reviews Say?

“The Toyota C-HR is a subcompact crossover, or extra-small SUV, designed to combine the driving experience of a sedan with the raised seating position of an SUV. It has a coupe-like sloping roofline to accentuate its eye-catching looks”

“Its four-cylinder engine simply can’t muster enough power to get the C-HR going with any authority. At Edmunds’ test track, we logged a 0-60 mph time of 10.6 seconds. That’s slower than other small crossovers and hatchbacks. It’s even slower than a Toyota Prius.”

“The C-HR’s seats are well cushioned and supportive, and the suspension smooths out most bumps in the road. The cabin is a pleasant place to be whether you’re a driver or passenger.”

“That said, the C-HR isn’t built for less than perfect conditions. We noticed that larger patches of rough pavement can easily upset the ride quality and create a lot of noise in the cabin. It isn’t very well insulated from outside noise, and any wind gusts stronger than a light breeze are quite loud inside.”

“Storage space is tight inside the C-HR. Rear trunk space is about average for the class at 19 cubic feet. You can fold down the rear seats to access 37 cubic feet of capacity, but that figure ranks low compared to the competition.”

2022 Toyota C-HR | Edmunds

What’s the Resale Value of a Toyota C-HR?

Here’s a quick look at used car pricing for the C-HR on Edmunds at the time of writing.



  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...