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Honda Civic Hybrid Transmission Problems

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  • I am interested in this "replacement under a recall" Do you know where I can find out more about recalls for 2003 HCH's?
    Thanks!
  • granny5granny5 Posts: 6
    I recommend to everyone that experiences this problem that you get on the phone to Honda America--the number is in your Warranty book -- the little one --and talk to soneone there. They will give you a "case-manager" and you will have the opportunity to work with them. I realize that the dealer can only do so much. Honda America was great in addressing the problems with my 2003 Hybrid. The issues are now documented in my file if I have more problems. Good luck.
  • kathyc1kathyc1 Posts: 138
    They must be having a lot of transmission problems if they give you a case manager. When my 4 year old regular Civic EX had a problem with the timing belt tenshioner and water pump they did it free of charge. Also same thing with the struts on the same car at 3 years just before the warranty ran out. I got the impression they've had a lot of trouble with the 2002 Civic. I got nervous about the car last April and traded for an 03 CRV with 30,000 miles. I wished later I'd traded for a hybred, but now I'm not so sure after reading about the tranny troubles.
  • I decided after reading these forums and based on my own experience (one replaced transmission at 60K miles, two different periods of "bucking", and a few other annoyances) to trade in my 2003 HCH for a 2006 Prius. I am very pleased and impressed with this car - particularly the solid feel and quiet cabin. Also, the driving position and seat height are (or seem) higher than the Civic, which I like. Much more room all around and particularly in the back seat. Nice center arm rest in the back seat, too, which is still not an option even in the 2006 HCH. I don't care for the George Jetson style "start" button and the overall space pod exterior, but as hybrids go I think this is the best one for the price. I considered the new Camry Hybrid but the MPG isn't that great and it's the 1st year of that model.
  • "I wished later I'd traded for a hybred, but now I'm not so sure after reading about the tranny troubles"

    I don't think this is a chronic transmission problem.
    The title of this thread is to post transmission problems and so here they are.
    I work resolving troubles with DSL inter networks and all the troubles I see would be easy for the same conclusion.
    But considering the millions and millions of subscribers isn't really widespread.

    I'd bet among all the CVT equipped HCH's Honda produced would be minuscule. Many of the bucking problems owners experience can be resolved with the fluid change which comes with regular scheduled maintenance (as in my own case).
    Many other bucking problems aren't even transmission troubles but an EGR valve which likes to malfunction.
    -Steve
  • I am thankful towards those that do post their troubles as it keeps those of us that haven't been having any troubles aware that there is the potential for problems, and IF we experience them, we might have a better idea as to the problem solution.

    I also believe that more people will post their dissatisfaction with a product than those that will post their satisfaction, so we need to keep in mind that what we read here could in fact be a very small sample of the whole.
  • I drive an 03 HCH with 40k miles. I have the same bucking that others reported. I took it to the dealer today and said "check the EGR Valve first."

    They called me this afternoon and said that they flushed the tranny and replaced the EGR valve, but the problem is still there. I'll need a whole new tranny. And my warranty is expired. ***BUT*** they said they'll do it free anyway, and give me a loaner car for the couple days it will take them to install it.

    I'm guessing that:
    a) I found the nicest dealer in the country (Cambridge, MA),
    b) Honda is fighting a slump, and knows that with a 4 year old car I'm about to be a repeat buyer, (or not)
    c) there's about to be a major tranny recall, and they're paying for mine now rather than fight with/reimburse me later, or
    d) I'm dreaming.

    Regardless, from their handling of this with me so far, I'm pretty sure my next car will be from this dealership.
  • My dealer (Clinton Honda in Clinton, NJ) did the same thing for me when my '03 HCH needed a new trans. They did make a point of saying that the freebie was a "one time only" gesture, which I took to mean if the 2nd trans went bad it would be my problem. I was also rather surprised by their post-warranty generosity - not being the loud, pushy type, I probably would have paid the bill and just blamed myself for buying a car in its 1st model year (a rule I broke to get the HCH), but they came right out with the free parts and labor offer. I kind of suspect that Honda knows of a problem that they perhaps do not want to admit publicly or precipitate a recall, so they are addressing it on an individual basis and trying to keep people happy.
  • I have an 06 also and my "malfunction" wasn't as bad as yours, but while driving up hills (with the cruise set) the engine will start to race (4500 RPM or so) and I am sure not going any faster. Sure seems like transmission slippage, but I spoke with the local Honda Service department and they said there was no problem. I think they are nuts, but time will tell and I guess the extended warranty may be a grand idea.
  • Since writing that post I have had no further problems with the car. This past weekend I did almost the same trip, although I did not use cruise and the temperature was around 90, not 100.
    What you are describing I think is more about the fact that the main reason our cars get such good mileage is that they have tiny little engines. When coupled with the CVT, particularly when using cruise control, the engines rev high in order to move into the peak power band. This is particularly true going up a hill; the engine must really work to keep up speed.
    Despite my concerns about my slipping problem returning at some point, I must say that I really like the car. Well, at least when my wife lets me drive it.
    I agree that having the extended warranty is a comfort to me.
  • I have a 2004 Civic Hybrid that I bought just 2 months ago. It has 65k miles on it.
    A couple of weeks after I bought it I started hearing and feeling a shudder when starting from stop at any but a very slow acceleration. It got progressively worse so that I took it into the local Honda dealership (Goodson Honda West, in Houston, Texas) who charged me $200 for the transmission fluid 'transfusion', which lessened the affect a little, but not much. Their next solution is to replace the transmission at a cost of $3000.
    Since the affect is only happening at medium to heavy acceleration from stop, I'm not about to lay that kind of money down, especially after reading how common this problem is. It is a design problem that Honda needs to correct through recall.
    We bought a 2002 Prius with 85K miles at the same time as the Civic, and it drives like a dream (although with a bit less pep than the Civic) and gets much better milage (44mpg vs 35mpg, another disappointment with the Civic).
    Any other 2004 Civic owners who have had the problem fixed without a new tranny?
  • While I find this behaviour hideously annoying, I believe its "normal" within the parameters set by the engine/transmission/computer network. (At least, my '05 does it...) The computer is simply setting what it's been programmed to think is the optimal throttle/gear ratio combination to maintain a prescribed speed while fighting the fell clutch of gravity. Many small engined cars with (oxymoron alert!) "standard" automatic transmissions behave similarly. -- George
  • New update -

    My dealer called me last week and said they had something new to try on my HCH-paulsy. They flushed the transmission while doing a specific break-stand combo (on jacks, in neutral, 10 pumps of specific duration, left right left right B A start).

    It triggered some sort of reset, and now the shudder is gone. No EGR Valve replacement, no new tranny. Just fixed.

    My dealer said to keep an eye on it, and if I have any problems for the next 10k or so, they'll fix em.

    I'm buying a new car for my wife soon. Guess which dealer I'm going to first.
  • I also have a 2004 Civic Hybrid. I bought in with 24,600 miles from Carmax. After purchase I experience the creaking\groan during acceleration from stop on hills. I took the car back and in hindsight should have run. Carmax set the Civic to the local Honda dealer. They did the fluid flush and all seemed fixed.
    Just last month I started hearing the noise again. I figured that a fluid flush was all that was needed and my 60,000 maintenance was due. So I took it into the local Honda dealer. Now I'm told that the flush won't fix the issue. That the start clutch has failed and I will have to replace the entire transmission (rebuilt) for $3,322. I didn't buy the extended warranty so I'm looking at other options for repair.
    When I bought the car it was a long tough decision should I spend a little extra for doing my part to help stop dependance on oil, now I have a black hole, slip shot, shoddy design and a Manufacturer that could care less. I have a '93 Subaru wagon with over 250,000 mile that has had no transmission issues.
    I guess the more high tech things become the less reliable they are.

    ** Note to self-don't buy the lasted thing, you will only pay for it. **
  • With my 2006 Civic hybrid I have put much trust in Honda and am not sure if the company will live up to my expectations or not. I am going to spend the extra money for the extended warranty.
  • I just moved to the top of a very big hill. My 06 civic hybrid will not drive up the hill- it uses up the battery and then simply stops- the accelerator is floored and the car won't drive up the hill. Could there be something wrong with the transmission or is it possible the car doesn't doesn't have the power to drive up hills? I'd appreciate any suggestion since I am going to have to sell the car if I can't get the transmission fixed or identify if it is another problem. Thanks.
  • 03 civic hybrid. please let me know if this is the same problem. there is a slight hesitation after putting the car into gear. half a second or more. when crusing at about ten to fifteen miles an hour, i take my foot off the gas but when i reapply it, there is a strong jerk when the tranny engages. i hvae tried disconnecting my egr valve but it is still there. there is also a low vibration or shudder all the way up through about tweny miles an hour. the car doesnt really buck terribly or anything. not like a horse. it's a one time thing and only when the transmission engages or disengages. any information would be extremely helpful. thanks in advance. the car has 70,000 on it.
  • aat3aat3 Posts: 1
    I just bought my Honda Civic Hybrid and within 3 days of driving, all the engine (IMA, Battery, gas engine) lights went on. The car started lurching when I took the foot off the gas and shaking when at a stop light. I was getting car sick just driving to work. At 130 miles I took it to the dealership and it was pronounced undrivable. Dealership is ordering a complete new battery system.

    My question is, should I run like hell away from this car that is already having so many problems? I want reliability and if I"m already dealing with huge issues at 130 miles, what's to come? Anyone else having serious hybrid issues related to the Civics? Any advice? Anyone ever tried to fight for getting a refund on a car?

    Thanks!
    Disappointed customer
  • It's unlikely that you could get stuck with a 2nd lemon. I can't think of any auto manufacturer that doesn't have some cases of bad implementation, but most manufacturers do a fair job of limiting them or they wouldn't remain in business long.

    Honda appears to be in the top tier of manufacturers in having fewer problems per vehicle, so don't give up yet.

    Best of luck to you.
  • I took my HCH to the dealership for a routine service and to have the dragging sound I hear everytime I accelerate from a complete stop. I was told that I might need a new transmission. The Honda dealer service center flushed the transmission fluid as everyone in this FORUM suggested but the problem is still there. The car only has 65k miles. The customer care at Planet Honda (Union, NJ) told me that I would still need a new transmission and will call American Honda for me to see if I can get some help paying for the transmission since I have only brought my HCH to the dealership for maintenance. Needless to say, the car is still at the dealership. I'm very disappointed with the HCH and I have been a loyal Honda driver. I also checked with American Honda for any recall and found none. :(
  • I called up the service department at the Cambridge Honda dealership to ask about the "specific break-stand combo" Kidcisco describes here. It turns out it's the procedure for burnishing the transmission fluid as speficied in the service bulletin. As the mechanic described it to me:

    1) flush tranny fluid
    2) Refill with Honda brand CVT fluid
    3) put car on a lift and accelerate to 4k rpm while in drive. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat several times at 2 minute intervals.
    4) flush tranny fluid
    5) Refill with Honda brand CVT fluid

    I've had my transmission fluid "burnished" twice now a la the service bulletin's directions with only temporary relief from the shutter problem (about 3k to 4k miles). I'll be interested to see if Kidcisco is back in a few thousand miles to report that the problem has returned.
  • Until last Wed, I had no complaints of my 2003 Civic Hybrid. Interstate commuting put 93K on it, it was all maintained with Honda, including 90K ($800) service last month. No major problems: small suspension problem, unfixed jittery dash, and (unreplicated at dealer) cold weather creaking in steering column.

    :sick: Last Wed, transmission totally failed, no warning, suddenly acted like it was in neutral. Towed to nearest dealer (50 miles away). First told it was a faulty Cut Input Speed Sensor ($210), replaced, didn't fix it. After tearing apart transmission ($200), they now say the flywheel needs replaced ($?) and won't have part until Friday. I've been in a rental car at my own expense for a week.

    :confuse: Has anyone else had this sort of problem? It "bucked" a little at high speeds early on, but that quit, and it didn't have any discernable problems prior to this failure. This "let's patch it together" repair scares me, I don't feel like I can really trust the car any more.

    Following advice in these posts, called HondaCares last Wednesday. Today I finally get a return call, NO offers of help, just "sorry you're outside the 36,000 warranty". :mad: Honda "Cares"? Ha. I only got the Hybrid BECAUSE it was a Honda. My mistake. My fourth (and last) Honda will hit the resale lot, and I'll go look at Toyotas.
  • Sorry to hear that you're giving up on Honda, unless of course you've have 4 lemons.

    All auto manufacturers occasionally have some issues with some of their vehicles. Honda has historically been one of the better ones. Driving a vehicle without a warranty is a risk, and one that is usually an acceptable one for vehicles from certain manufacturers; but, there is still a bit of a risk regardless.

    But, good luck on whatever you decide.
  • I have the same issue. While driving my IMA, battery, and check engine light went on. I took it to the dealer who said the car needed a software update and that it wouldn't happen again. Just 4 days later, the same three lights came on. This should not happen at 4,000 miles. I am very disappointed! I'll see what they say this time when I take it in.
  • :sick: :lemon: Please address all concerns of power loss and surging due to faulty CVT transmission parts and the EGR valve in the civic hybrid to the national highway safety agency at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/ . The following has been copied and pasted from the link.

    By Phone

    Call the DOT Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 and a NHTSA representative will record your complaint information.

    General Information

    Your complaint information will be entered into NHTSA's vehicle owner's complaint database and used with other complaints to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists.

    If a safety-related defect exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment, the manufacturer must fix it at no cost to the owner. Your complaint is the first step in the process.

    Government engineers analyze the problem. If warranted, the manufacturer is asked to conduct a recall. If the manufacturer does not initiate a recall, the government can order the manufacturer to initiate a recall.

    We do not have to receive a specific number of complaints before we look into a problem. We gather all available information on a problem. Your complaint is important to us.
  • I traded my '03 HCH in for an '06 Toyota Prius in June, after my trans started shuddering again. Cleaned out the EGR valve for a temporary fix but didn't want to face a $3500 transmission change (had the first one at 60K with the same symptoms, which Honda graciously paid for but made clear at the time that the next one was my problem).

    I am so much happier with this car! It gets better mileage (52 MPG, average vs. 48 for the '03 HCH), is a LOT roomier (fits 4 comfortably and 5 very tolerably - great legroom in the back), and in general feels like a much larger car than it is. I also love the hatchback - much more useful than the Civic trunk. Rear seats fold down to create quite a large load space. My only criticism is the rather poor visibility out the rear window. Now the Prius is more available at dealerships than it had been previously, too. At about the same price as the HCH, I can't see going with Honda unless one is a staunch Honda loyalist.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,863
    "At about the same price as the HCH, I can't see going with Honda unless one is a staunch Honda loyalist."

    I have never been a fan of the CVT with belts, preferring the Toyota design. I think they would be better off with a 5 speed. Honda usually stresses reliability, and to me the belt design is just not up to standards.

    However, maybe they have gotten it right for the 2007 models...

    BTW, I drive a 2006 Ford Freestyle, with a CVT (but it has a high strength German manufactured steel CVT chain).
  • "Honda usually stresses reliability, and to me the belt design is just not up to standards."

    I believe Honda knows the '03-'04 CVT in the Hybrid is not up to standards. Read the linked document below, and note the last Section under "Why US Vehicles Not (Recalled) Affected". Too bad US regulations aren't as tough as Japans', then these would be recalled. Your comments please.

    http://199.79.180.163/prepos/files/Artemis/Public/Foreign%20Campaigns/2005/F-Cam- paigns/FRCL-05F063-4277.PDF
  • bbb99bbb99 Posts: 58
    Are those ES numbers VIN numbers? Can we figure out by that if our car is affected?
  • The ES numbers appear to be VIN numbers.
    My VIN number includes both letters & numbers AFTER the "ES", so I'm not sure that Honda included any Hybrids sold in the US on that particular document. That document may only address the Hybrids sold inside Japan.
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