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Honda Civic Hybrid Driving Tips & Tricks



  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    I'm not sure about anyone else but I persoanlly wouldn't coast in N going freeway speeds or in those busy situations just described.
    However, at 2:00AM with zero traffic on a rural highway with maximum speed about 50 there is plenty of reaction time.
    Or, while stuck in grid lock stop-and go traffic.
    Read this:
    That's all the time required to get back to D, at least with CVT.
  • bird2bird2 Posts: 3
    In think the Car Talk guys have weighed in more than once on the issue of out-of-gear coasting. Here's an example:

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    No cars around doesn't mean something unexpected can't happen. Anyone who has driven on any roads in my neck of the woods (central PA) can attest to that. From the smallest back road to the interstate, you always have to be alert for something jumping out at you. And even with no other vehicles on the road, the need to suddenly brake and swerve just might put your vehicle into an attitude where you DO need to step on the gas to regain control.

    Honestly, the idea of driving with one of your control capabilities intentionally "shut of" is pretty scary. My Dad taught me to be a defensive driver. Do I have to add "beware of hybrid drivers on downhill stretches because they're hypermiling" to the watch list???

    And the point the Car Talk guys make about excessive use of brakes is a great one. If you're "free wheeling", the ONLY thing controlling your speed is your use of the brakes. I once made the mistake of not paying attention while coming down from Skyline Drive in Virginia. I was touching the brakes now and then instead of downshifting to keep the car under control. Well, it was a gorgeous early morning, there were no cars around. What's the problem. The problem was that at the bottom of the couple of miles of grade, unbeknowst to me, was a traffic signal. By the time I reached that light, the heating of the brakes had pretty much rendered the brakes useless. When I saw the red light, I stepped on the brake and pfffffft... nothing. I got REAL lucky that nobody was coming at the time I swooped through the intersection. And fortunately the road level out and I was able to get the car slowed up enough to the point where I had control of the speed and could run slow enough to let the brakes cool down enough to where I had SOME stopping power.

    But hey, it's your neck, not mine.

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  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    I agree with the host, click n clack and whoerer else that says coasting in N is illegal in some states unsafe and does very little (if any) good in the MPG dept. I'd like to see mileage improvement tips-&-tricks in the owners manual.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    But what a charge your battery would have had, if you had a hybrid !! ;-)

    And if you make your car out of balsa wood and crepe paper, you can get great mpg. Isn't mpg all that matters? ;-)

    As far as the poster who thought it was okay to coast at sometimes, and the driver can determine that; what other law allows people discretion to make choices like that? Because few people are on the road at times, is it then okay to speed? is it then okay to drive slightly over the DWI limit? is it okay to drive in the breakdown lane if you think it is clear?

    Everyone thinks they are smarter than average and know better. But obviously that is not true. And the least smart amongst us are more likely to not realize their limits, and believe themselves to be geniuses. So we try and make things simple, and tell people to obey the laws, and that way they don't have to waste their time. Its amazing how many experts the internet creates - read a couple of links or postings in 15 min. and you know more than the people who are educated and study highway safety for a living.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    Not to be condesending or critcal of anyone, but as a manual shift driver of many years, It is very very easy to shift from neutral back in a gear MILLISECONDS. I would venture to say most of the neutral opinions are from automatic drivers and maybe in an automatic tranmission with shift gates and different detents or even just a plain old automatic shift this poses more of a danger.

    Take a manual shift and leave the car in gear, but push in the clutch, if you are really concerned about getting back in gear. Your fail-safe mode is if you take you foot off of the clutch.

    Then again of the three handling characteristics: Braking, steering and acceleration , the least used in a critical situation is acceleration.

    If I were the judge and IMOHO, we are making much to do about nothing , Neutral indeed does saves gas, imposes minimal if any additioanl risk and it is time to move on and let go all the negative, by the way unsubtantiatied, discussion about shifting into neutral to save gas. The Neutral shift wins and the trail is dismissed.

    If you guys are trully manual shift driver and you really are hypermilers then shifting to neutral can save gas. I think shifting into neutral with a CVT or stnadrd auto or a shift gate, if pretty stupid. My experience with variousautos is that you are not always assured you are moving the slector quickly to the right gear. The push buttons on the steering wheel or a +/- gate shift between gears and not to neutral.

    I think a MANUAL SHIFT Honda Civic Hybrid or a MANUAL SHIFT Honda Insight could gain additional miles per gallon by coasting in Neutral.

    Personally I am neutral about this issue,

  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    pf_flyer HOST:
    I'd say you used pretty bad judgment.
    You traveled out of gear driving on a couple of miles grade, not knowing what is at the bottom, not realizing that your brakes would heat up to the ineffective point, and it causing you to "swoop" through an intersection.
    Poor driving judgment like that can get you or others killed.
    Hypermilers should be the least of your worries: I've never heard of hypermilers showing such poor judgment.

    What really caught my eye was "But hey, it's your neck, not mine" because you completely distort what I am doing:

    2:00AM, max speed 50 down to 20MPH on an almost level, familiar road I travel many times a day 365 days a year is not poor judgment, nothing as you have described.

    "coasting in N is illegal in some states unsafe and does very little (if any) good in the MPG dept"
    Coasting in N is only a small part of what I'm doing.
    What I am doing has very, very good results- see my post:

    misterme, "Hybrid Tips: Optimizing mileage" #231, 31 Mar 2005 9:04 pm

    As for the illegal part, did you exceed the posted speed limit? You know those limits are placed for safety sake. How about rolling a stop sign? That's illegal too.
    Have you ever tailgated a slow driver? Surely that's dangerous and is one of the leading causes of accidents..

    When you do any the things listed above do you think you are smarter than average and know better? Genius?

    If I'm in the far right lane of an unclogged 6-lane freeway going the speed limit enjoying my 90MPG segment as most others just gas it going +10 to +15 over, tailgating each other in the speedy Left lanes among other things then who is it that thinks they are smarter than the law?

    Are you among them? I hope not.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    I didn't go down the grade out of gear, just had it in fifth and was tooling along touching the brake to keep the speed in check. You want to call that bad judgement? It was an error on my part that resulted in an unintended consequence, not a conscious decision to give up part of the controls of the vehicle. Am I to assume that a hybrids brakes don't heat up when used going downgrade in neutral to control speed???

    And for what it's worth, from the post prior to yours, the claim of being able to get a car out of neutral and into gear in milliseconds may qualify as THE single most outrageous claim I've seen yet. Reaction time is measured in TENTHS of seconds at best. And that's just to get the process started of stepping on the brake or releasing the clutch or whatever it is your about to attempt to save yourself.

    My comment about it being your neck distorts nothing. You're taking a risk that I simply wouldn't take for some fractional gain in mileage. Just as I wouldn't take the risk that some of the tuners take on public roads with their vehicles. We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one I'm afriad.

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  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    Yes, let's move on.
  • "You need to get out of the way of an ambulance bearing down on you. Parked cars on one side, oncoming traffic on the other. "


    I'm not aware of any mountain roads that have space for parked cars. (Yes, I was discussing coasting in neutral down a mountain.)

  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    I don't understand why you continue on with this. You were given a couple of other reasons such as engine-braking can keep your brakes from fading, and the vehicle behind you may lose their brakes and you may need to quickly accelerate ahead and then to pull aside and brake.

    But if you don't like those, then just go back to whether it is legal or not in your state. If it's illegal, the point is moot - you don't do it. Just as you stop at a STOP sign whether other cars are there or not.

    I think everyone could get much better mpg if they didn't have to stop at signs or lights when they didn't see anyone coming. Do you endorse that people ignore those laws if it doesn't make sense to stop at those times. Because someone doesn't see the sense of a law, they can ignore it?

    Back to topic: anyone hear rumors about the new Civics? Are all the models including the hybrid getting mpg increases? Will they still have those annoying timing-belts?
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    I know that many people have the desire to increase MPG in their HCH and originally wanted to provide tips for improvement, that's why I posted in the Optimizing thread:
    misterme, "Hybrid Tips: Optimizing mileage" #231, 31 Mar 2005 10:04 pm

    The only comments I've received are that I'm rude with my driving and liken it to riding brakes out of control down a steep grade or renegade law beakers.
    You say that you averaged ~80MPG in your Insight, so you know that what is described here is exaggerated and misrepresented, and even by the staff.

    So let it go.
  • "But if you don't like those, then just go back to whether it is legal or not in your state."


    When I'm driving my Beetle or Dodge, I go 80 in a 70 zone. Do you really think I'm going to obey the "no coasting down hills" rule, when I don't obey the speed signs? I suspect you do a fair amount of speeding too, so please don't lecture me about obeying the law.

    I'm going to continue coasting in neutral, in order to boost my MPG. I don't see anything dangerous about it, and my top coasting speed is only 80 which is no more dangerous than the several thousand *other* drivers doing 80.

  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    I'm going to continue coasting in neutral, in order to boost my MPG

    me: I didn't think otherwise. The issue was whether you were right or wrong to do so from a safety / legal standpoint.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    O.K. I'll bite...

    In what way does a timing belt "annoy" you?

    I mean, they get replaced every 105,000 miles but other than that, they keep pretty quiet and don't cause much trouble.
  • mole1mole1 Posts: 3
    Here are some tips for getting better MPG without having to coast in neutral

    #1 Take a large box....
    #2 Search car from stem to stern and place all items not necessary for safety or comfort in box..
    #3 Place box in Garage...
    #4 Check all tyre pressures are correct for load in car e.g. higher if car is heavily loaded (See drivers manual
    #5 Remove lead weight from right shoe

    Here endeth the lesson

    P.s. this works with any vehicle... hybrid or otherwise
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    Timing Belt -

    Question Is the Honda I4 or v6 an interference engine ?

    In other words if a timing belt breaks is there possible valve damage ?

    105,000 miles or 110,000 miles is a pretty long time and changing a timing belt as opposed to not ever changing a timing chain shouldn't be a beig dela.


  • cdoldcdold Posts: 34
    "How is accelerating downhill and letting my speed fall to 40MPH, and in a 45MPH limit being rude if there is nobody following?"

    I missed that part. If the speed limit is 45, then I wouldn't consider 40mph too rude... maybe, "if there is nobody following".

    But those aren't the speeds I travel. If I drove at 45, I would get over 60mpg. I have for stretches of 20 miles when behind a slow moving truck. On those same roads, my unfettered speed is 60-65, not cruising, but accelerating and decelerating with the curves, and I get 48mpg.

    I'm not ready to substantially alter my driving habits for the extra 20% mileage increase. Check back in another six months ;-)
  • davem7davem7 Posts: 35
    Recently I tried an experiment early one morning when no traffic was on the road.

    I set the cruise control of my '06HCH at 30mph and drove for about three miles on a level surface without stopping.
    During that period the EV mode engaged two or three times as evidenced by the MPG gauge pegging out and two bars showing on the Assist gauge. Wasn't able to travel more than l/4 mile continuously without it reverting to the gasoline mode but it does work.

    Conditions permitting I now use the cruise control when driving for an extended distance in a 30mph zone, its very easy to drive 5-l0mph over the speed without the cruise. So I reduce the chance of being stopped for speeding plus a micro mpg saving :shades:
  • I recently purchased my Civic Hybrid and love it. Because of demand, I wasn't able to test drive the Hybrid; instead I purchased the VIN number and picked up the car a couple of weeks later. One gadget I was sure the Civic would have was a "remaining miles" meter or gauge that informs the driver of how far they drive on the remaining gas in the tank. While I try not to drive on fumes, it's really nice to know how much gas I have before filling up. My BMW had this feature and I loved it. Perhaps I overlooked a button that can display this information? Any guidance is very much appreciated.
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