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Honda Civic Hybrid Battery Pack Questions

greghitagreghita Posts: 1
My 2003 HCH (purchased new in July, 2003) has a dead battery after not driving it here in RI for 6 weeks (Feb/March this year). It simply won't start without a jump. Is the battery dead for good? How long should it last? The battery model no. is 38B19L(S). Any information will be greatly appreciated.
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Comments

  • On 2-8 BusinessWeek reported that civic hybrids manufactured between 9/05 and 9/06 will be recalled to repair a voltage converter defect which could cause a short circuit that would stop the engine and prevent it from restarting. That was over two weeks ago and I haven't heard anything from Honda Motor Co. Can anyone elaborate on the risk caused by this defect and does anyone know how American Honda plans to notify owners about the recall and perform the repairs?
  • hboduhbodu Posts: 7
    I am assuming you are speaking about the battery to start your gas engine. It sounds like you have a bad cell, which means you have to replace the battery. They are warrantied for 3 years. IF you but your next battery from a Honda dealer, it will come with a 100 month warranty.
  • Hi,

    I am a Hybrid Dummy and considering buying a Honda (bcoz it looks better).

    I wonder how long can the battery last before it needs a replacement? And are they expensive to replace?

    Secondly, why do all manufacturer cannot make a more sexier Hybrid?
  • Honda now gives 8 year warranties on the batteries... so that's when I would assume they expect them to die. I've heard between 5 and 8 years. I'm worried because I have a 2003 Civic Hybrid and it's getting a rebuilt transmission after only 80,000 and has had transmission problems since I bought it in August of 2006. If the battery goes soon I'm going to be really pissed.

    I think the repairs on Hybrids don't make up for the money you save on gas.

    I also think that having to replace a battery pack for the vehicle every 5-8 years doesn't make up for the gas being saved. I don't know how much better it is to have the batteries in the landfills than the fumes in the air... not to mention the fuel used to make the batteries.

    I think they should STOP selling the Hybrids until they can make them reliable. That's why people buy a Honda, and the Hybrids are NOT living up to the Honda reputation in my opinion.

    :lemon:
  • mtnhybridmtnhybrid Posts: 1
    I am new to this forum, but was compelled to post after reading a few of these threads. I also have an 03 civic hybrid. Had the transmission replaced under warranty at around 70,000 miles, and the same issues that I noticed before have started again. Less frequent auto stops, shudder as it switches from assist to charge, and slow to shift from P into R or Drive. A change in the trasmission fluid and the 90,000 mile service seems to have helped but I am afraid it is a band-aid. I now have 109,000 miles and no more warranty. SO my IMA light is now coming on and I notice that the battery is not holding charge as well, and starts to recharge sooner. I live on a small mountain and drive on and of twice daily, so the battery usually charges completely on the way down and depleats mostly coming back up. So the only effect now is that on the way up it stops assisting and starts charging sooner. I used to get 41 MPG very consistantly and 39-40 if I drove harder (you know running late..) but now it's about 38.5 and 37 respectively.

    I am afraid it may be time for a new battery, but with the transmission issue looming I am thinking I am going to have to throw in the towel on this car. I am discouraged, I really liked the concept and enjoyed my 40 MPG where most folks get 20-25 up and down the mtn. But we live way out in a rural area and getting back to the dealer is a big pain, and over an hour away.
  • I just got my car (2003 HCH) back from the dealership- for rebuilding my transmission (at only 80k!). When I got it the battery was half charged and I drove it a few days hoping it would charge, having a little faith. I am now convinced that they broke my car somehow.

    My Problem is:

    The assist works twice as hard as it used to (almost full bars, instead of just 4 or 5) so it drains the battery every time I accelerate. Then the battery doesn't charge while I'm driving. When the battery gets a little below half drained it realizes that it's low and charges a little bit, but only to half way. I can drive like a SUPER GRANNY and use hills, but I can only get my battery to about 3/4 full, and then if I drive normal at all again it goes back to half. When I brought my car to the dealership the battery was full. Every single time I've ever turned off my car it was full. It has also been full every single time I have ever turned my car on. It just usually charges until it's full. It seems like it's not being very efficient at all & I don't know why or what would even make it do this all of a sudden. I've had my car for 2 years and nothing like this ever happened until they rebuilt my transmission.

    Has anyone else had a problem with keeping a charge in their battery pack?
    :lemon:
  • kjhansenkjhansen Posts: 11
    I own a 2003 Handa CIvic Hybrid. The IMA light came on after only 60K miles and 5 years. Of course Honda replaced the IMA battery under warranty. I asked the dealer if this new battery is also covered under warranty and the answer is no. So, in another 5 years I will have to pay the $2000.00 for a new battery. Seems to me the money saved in gas does not make up for the higher initial cost and the cost of replacing the battery potentialy every 5 years. I haven't had the automatic transmission issues others have mentioned, but I have had to bring this Honda in for about 10 warranty repairs since 2003. In fact it is in the shop right now for an SRS idiot light (for the 3rd time). I must say Honda does not live up to its reputation of building reliable cars.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,800
    You bought the first year of production of a brand new technology. The 2003 model is plagued with problems. I think that the current models are better.

    However, I prefer the Toyota HSD transmission design over the CVT used by the HCH.
  • nimbusnimbus Posts: 19
    The thing is unstopable.
    The only problem we've had was the drivers window failing to roll down and the center console literally falling apart in our hands. Mechanically the thing is great drive-wise.
    Trim work...not so much.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    I think they should STOP selling the Hybrids until they can make them reliable

    Hmmmm....I don't know about the Civic,but I have friends who own Priuses and both are over 100K miles with 0 problems.Maybe it's a problem for Honda,not for Hybrids in general.If I could afford a Prius,I guarantee I would be buying one,but a Honda hybrid...not so sure.
  • hrprohrpro Posts: 1
    Hi.

    I have a 2003 Honda Hybrid with 65,000 miles. The IMA light went on a few days ago and they have determined the Hybrid battery needs to be replaced. I have not experienced transmission issues yet, but happy I still have the battery covered by warranty. I am tempted to seel the car at this stage if the battery life is only 5 years old. When I bought the vehicle, I was under the understanding that the battery life would outlive the vehicle life, and finding it to be untrue. Does anyone know if the the new replacement batteries are expected to last longer?
  • meowmmmmeowmmm Posts: 1
    For those of you whom are having Battery, IMA and transmission problems, one of the main culprits is the 12V battery. This controls the computer system which controls everything else. Honda put a really stupid charging circuit in the vehicle different from a normal alternator which causes the battery to run at a too low voltage and die early. When you drive do you often see a single green charge bar? If so do the following.

    If you have a vehicle which is out of warranty, or just want to get your hybrid working educate Honda and tell them to change this battery before you do anything else. My advice would be to get the biggest deep cycle battery you can find. Check out what happens to a low 12V battery at www.Hondalemon.com

    In the interest of safety I ask that anyone whom has seen the IMA light while driving report the problem to the NHTSA. IF you get IMA failure while you turn at a light you could easily crash as the steering can become impossible to turn.
  • stan29stan29 Posts: 13
    We have the 2003 Civic Hybrid and have gone through two transmission replacements and the catalytic converter replacement. They were all under warranty, but now we're at 108,000 miles and today when I applied the brakes, a ding ding ding sound went off and wouldn't stop unless I turned the car off. A sound almost like a seatbelt warning ding. No other lights came on. I pulled over and called our Honda service center and they didn't have a clue. The car is driving okay, but what I have noticed is that the battery charge is almost full and hasn't moved one bit all day. It normally always varies up and down. After several hours it still seems stuck on full charge. This one has me really worried. We've found that the Honda technicians (nice as they are) have a hard time diagnosing this car.
  • Checking out the postings and solved a problem with an A/C issue this evening. I am nearly 197K miles and had very minor problems in the past 5 years. I find the dealers are really out of line to their customers. There is nothing to tie them to you after the sale, and woe if you didn't buy at their store. In Pittsburg California I was charged 120$ to tell me what the light on the dash said. I told them the light already told me that!! So now test the battery, they said the only thing they could do is go by the computer reading---. I wanted a test on the battery itself and they must not know how to do that. Thanks for the posting on the engine battery voltage thing and the main oxygen sensor. I'll do that this week and see if if will clear the IMA issues. I know that my battery pack is still good for sometimes it does great. Mechanically speaking vehicles do not heal themselves, so an intermittent problem speaks of computer or sensor issues.
    By the way, The only time I had problems is after program updates to solve service bulletin call-ins. I requested the original program that came with the car as purchased, and you can guess the looks I got for that. Give me back what I bought.
    I have also noticed the quality of fuel will vary as much as 20%, even from the same vendor. Ethanol spiked fuels suck, and some octants below 87 will hit me for 5 to 10 mpg. I filled up in L.A. on my way to Seattle and was at 38 mpg, filled up at Eugene OR and immediately jumped to 55 mpg. I finished the trip to Seattle and back down to central Calif before filling again, so I know it was the gas. I'll drive at the speed limits with the air on, with comfortable conserving thoughts, and measure what the car can do.
    Thoughts of a new car, most likely a Prius, but I like the Tesla Roadster!!
    Wow :shades:
  • I also have a 2003 Civic Hybrid. From about 65,000 miles going forward, the IMA battery never seem to get to full charge, and more recently, would rarely get above half charge. This seriously deteriorated gas milage, as the engine would chage the battery when below half charge regardless of road conditions or how you are driving. Very often, the IMA charge would go to zero in normal city driving. This never happened when the car was newer.

    To make a long story short, the dealer and District service manager finally agreed to replace the battery. The car now has 85,000 miles on it. Not easy to get a warranty replacement unless there is an outright failure with service codes indicating a failed battery.

    On another issue, the car has had a transmission bucking at low speed (<20mph). This is on the automatic transmission. Honda calls it jitter, and has a service bulletin. Had a new transmission put in at about 45,000 miles. Had new clutches put in a few months ago. Neither of these fixed the problem. Finally, they replaced the EGR valve, even though there were no codes. I mentioned this to them a year ago (it is all over the internet), but without codes, they did not believe the internet stuff. Well, for the first time in the last 50,000 miles, the transmission runs without the bucking.
  • I enjoyed reading everyone else's anecdotes (enjoy isn't really the right word), so I thought I'd post my experience.

    My 2003 had a transmission problem at about 32k miles. It was out of warranty, but the dealership (Curry Honda in Atlanta) replaced the starter clutch for free - they said there was a bulletin on the problem, and the technician, who seemed knowledgeable about the hybrid (this was in 2006) came out and explained it to me.

    Yesterday at 68k miles, I had the dreaded "Your IMA needs a very expensive repair" light come on, and they told me it needed a new battery. Of course, its still under warranty, but they told me it was a $5,000 part!?!? I love my car, the way it drives and the fuel economy. I knew this day was coming, but didn't expect the price to sting so much. Hopefully the next time it needs this kind of work, a less expensive aftermarket solution will be available. (Something better than going to Wal-mart and filling up the shopping cart with NiMH D cells.)
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    It's a $4000 part on the west coast, and a $2400 on the east coast. Perhaps they were quoting you the $2400 plus the $3000 refundable core charge?

    Regardless, when it's out of warranty, it can be repaired for less than $1000.
  • evelyn6evelyn6 Posts: 2
    I'm at 154k now, and I had the dealer diagnose the check engine light when it was staying on; the code said hybrid battery would soon need replacement. They cleared ck. engine light but it came back almost immediately, followed by the IMA light.... both went out on their own, about 500 miles later.

    Currently, I see (at least 1000 miles after code was read at dealership) that the indicator shows it's charging a little less than fully every time I drive, and takes longer to recharge to that point, and less time to discharge when accelerating. Gas mileage declining too. Honda America won't budge on the $3000 price tag, though I was told less than half that cost when I bought the car. Reluctant to invest in this car, trying to decide whether to keep or sell

    Questions:
    1) Will degrade gradually, or sudden loss of function with hazardous conditions?
    2) Can nightly charging my (relatively-new) 12V battery help keep my hybrid battery charged? If the hybrid battery sucks power from 12V while parked, could this extend my hybrid battery life, long enough to shop for a new ride?
    3) I had both catalytic converters replaced around 10k on recall and again at 98k; if they're likely to fail again soon, why replace hybrid battery? Any insight? no pun intended
    4) If I drive another vehicle while advertising this car for sale, is the hybrid battery going to die from being parked too long?
    I just did brakes, struts, tires...Thought of keeping this car, getting 2nd veh. as backup veh. but wondering I can affford to invest in this...yet can't afford to take the hit from selling it for next-to-nothing... Getting very wide ranging estimates of what dealers would give for trade.
  • evelyn6evelyn6 Posts: 2
    I'm at 154k now, and I had the dealer diagnose the check engine light when it was staying on; the code said hybrid battery would soon need replacement. They cleared ck. engine light but it came back almost immediately, followed by the IMA light.... both went out on their own, about 500 miles later.

    Currently, I see (at least 1000 miles after code was read at dealership) that the indicator shows it's charging a little less than fully every time I drive, and takes longer to recharge to that point, and less time to discharge when accelerating. Gas mileage declining too. Honda America won't budge on the $3000 price tag, though I was told less than half that cost when I bought the car. Reluctant to invest in this car, trying to decide whether to keep or sell

    Questions:
    1) Will degrade gradually, or sudden loss of function with hazardous conditions?
    2) Can nightly charging my (relatively-new) 12V battery help keep my hybrid battery charged? If the hybrid battery sucks power from 12V while parked, could this extend my hybrid battery life, long enough to shop for a new ride?
    3) I had both catalytic converters replaced around 10k on recall and again at 98k; if they're likely to fail again soon, why replace hybrid battery? Any insight? no pun intended
    4) If I drive another vehicle while advertising this car for sale, is the hybrid battery going to die from being parked too long?
    I just did brakes, struts, tires...Thought of keeping this car, getting 2nd veh. as backup veh. but wondering I can affford to invest in this...yet can't afford to take the hit from selling it for next-to-nothing... Getting very wide ranging estimates of what dealers would give for trade.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >1) Will degrade gradually, or sudden loss of function with hazardous conditions?

    You sound like you are getting P1447 errors. The car will continue to try to use the battery, but will have less and less success. You should only see a loss of assist and a reduction in fuel economy because the car will constantly try to charge the battery. You are already seeing the loss of economy. EVENTUALLY (like probably months from now) the car will give up on the battery. If it does because of a battery degraded condition P1447 then it will simply have no assist and no regen for the brakes. If it gives up because the battery has started to overheat (P1449) from the charging, then the DC-DC converter will shut down and the car will stop charging the underhood battery. Then you MUST fix it. You'll see the alternator light (or whatever it is called) at that time.

    >2) Can nightly charging my (relatively-new) 12V battery help keep my hybrid battery charged? If the hybrid battery sucks power from 12V while parked, could this extend my hybrid battery life, long enough to shop for a new ride?

    No. The 12V battery has nothing to do with the 144V hybrid battery. Also, when parked, relays disconnect the hybrid battery from the system. It does not ever consume any power from the 12V battery.

    >3) I had both catalytic converters replaced around 10k on recall and again at 98k; if they're likely to fail again soon, why replace hybrid battery? Any insight? no pun intended

    Why would you assume they would go bad again? I replaced mine at 96K. It was clogged. Normal failure. (You always replace both because if one is clogged, the other probably is too.)

    >4) If I drive another vehicle while advertising this car for sale, is the hybrid battery going to die from being parked too long?

    Drive it at least 30 minutes per week.

    >Honda America won't budge on the $3000 price tag, though I was told less than half that cost when I bought the car. Reluctant to invest in this car, trying to decide whether to keep or sell

    You can repair the battery to like-new (or at least "spring-chicken") condition for 1/4 to 1/3 of that. Search google for "ima battery repair honda" and check the first listing.
  • dragonfrydragonfry Posts: 1
    How will Ieffect the repair cost of less than $1000 for a battery? I live out in California. Can you provide the details. Regards.
  • kevin05kevin05 Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Honda Civic with 125,000 miles. My battery will only charge to about 80%. If the car is not runnin gofr 2 hours and then driven the battery will charge all the way? Any ideas?
  • For at least 6 months, I have not seen the IMA battery fully charged on my 2008 Civic Hybrid. During this time, I have also noticed a reduction in my gas mileage. I haven't gotten more than 36 mpg in the past 10 months. I would imagine this is due to the constant charging of the IMA battery, without every reaching capacity. So, why did I spend the extra $$$ on a hybrid when I could have gotten this mileage with the standard model.

    Twice in the past year, Honda has "checked my battery and charging system and all was fine". This week, I took the car in on Tuesday for a 3rd time after having a lengthy discussion with the Service Manager himself. My car would be worked on by the "shop foreman who is the Hybrid expert". I made it clear that I see the battery charging as I'm driving, but the last of the 8 bar never illuminates and after sitting for several days, I find only the last 4 bars illuminated. This occurs in the parking lot at work after the car is parked for 8 hours, too. My conversation with the person scheduling the appointment was ... they either need to fix the problem or help me get out of this car without losing my [non-permissible content removed]. This is ridiculous.

    I receive a call from the "Expert" telling me the car needed 4 software upgrades and these would correct the issue. Their "testing equipment" which downloads/uploads these updates wasn't working properly, so Honda sent another which would arrive in 2 days. I was without a car for 2 days since they had shuttled me home. On Thursday morning, just after 9 am, I received a call that the car was finished.

    When I picked it up, there were 4 bars on the IMA battery. I drove the car 40 miles to charge the battery. Despite the fact that I tried to ensure minimal use of assist and maximum charging, the battery FINAL reached a point of 7 bars, but by the time I reached my driveway was back to 4 because of a MINOR INCLINE.

    I'm not an expert, but it appears the IMA battery is TRYING to charge, but if it can't charge to the maximum and HOLD the charge, IT ISN'T WORKING PROPERLY. I expected them to replace the batteries earlier this week.

    Has anyone here experienced similar charging issues? Enlighten me... I'm currently logging IMA battery performance for 10 days, taking pics of the levels, the charging/assist, etc and putting together an obnoxious technical review of the situation. Perhaps I need to have a MAN explain it to them. Is the problem that a WOMAN thinks she knows what is going on?
  • I have the 2007 HCH. I drive the car like a science experiment. I too have seen some of these same issues.

    1. For at least 3-4 months I have noticed reaching the the last bar on the IMA to be very difficult. I need to accelerate real carefully to minimize motor assist. I have counted only 6 - 9 times reaching the 8th bar in this time span and reaching the last bar seems to take forever.

    2. When I spoke to the dealer they "talked in code" and wanted $90 to check the charging system/battery. I decline. I figure the codes would not show a problem at this point and I wanted more "ammunition" when I speak to the dealer again.

    3. I also notice unusual charging behaviors while driving (long steady trips - Not City). If the IMA fell into the 4th bar it would try to charge, as it should, but sometimes the charging would continue until I reached the 7th or 8th bar. It almost seem that the car knew its battery was low and, if I gave it he opportunity on a steady run, decided to charge all the way.

    4. As far as MPG. When my wife drives the car she never gets above 35 mpg. Because of my "hyper-miling" techniques I can still get 55-60 on long runs and 45 - 50 around town. As I said, I drive the car like a science experiment and have learned how to squeak out more mpgs.

    It was on my trips to work during the spring that I first noticed the decline in IMA battery life. I will continue to monitor and take data. I will post these results shortly.
  • dag749dag749 Posts: 1
    When I bought my 2006 Hybrid, the salesman told me how the 2006 had been changed from previous models. One change was that the charging system did not have as its goal a 100% battery charge. The goal was to average a 75% charge. It seemed that trying to maintain 100% was too taxing on the system. Under normal circumstances expect the charging meter to vary between 50 and 100%.
  • I understand the goal is not to have the IMA battery at max charge 100% of the time, however, my fuel consumption is 30 to 35 (sometimes less) while the battery is at 6 bars or less. My colleague has an identical 2008 HCH and continues to get the 50 mpg that I got with this car during the first 6 months. The driver, the drive to work and the car have been consistent. What has changed is the IMA charge level and the fuel consumption.

    A week ago, with 7 bars on the IMA battery, I drove 30 miles at 45 to 55 mph and saw 57.9 MPG. As soon as I got onto the highway, I found the battery dropped and my MPG dropped considerably. After 70 miles, I was at 35 mpg. THAT IS A PROBLEM. I purchased the car for the fuel efficiency. I could get 35 mpg with the standard Civic, so why would I pay a premium for THIS PERFORMANCE?

    I have purchased a second car while I address these issues. 3 days ago, I took the HCH to Roberts Honda in Downingtown. In a short test drive, there doesn't appear to be an issue. HOWEVER, the performance of the battery is erratic in the longterm. I've asked the mechanic to drive the car as he would his own for at least 3 days. I really want some to explain why I've lost 30% of my fuel consumption at the same time the battery indicator began to show reduced levels if the charging and battery systems are functioning properly. If I don't receive satisfaction, I'll be pursuing action through the attorney general's office. I first noticed the fuel consumption dropping 10 months ago, but it was still in the 40s. I was told it must be my driving, but it doesn't seem to matter if I drive aggressively or using hypermiling techniques. The result is the same. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. On one occasion, I left my driveway at 7 bars, saw 4 bars only 2 miles later (downhill) and less than 10 miles after that was at 2 bars. I doubt the level should ever indicate these values unless travelling in a mountainous area. This was essentially a flat terrain and when accelarating I focus on less than 3 bars on Assist.
  • Dag- thanks for the post. i noticed my battery charge lower after they reprogramed the computer when i took it in for the trans problem. i guess that was the new upgrade that did that.

    BUT- i too have seen my mileage go down into the 30s and 40s. it makes me really angry. my friend who owns a Cobalt gets the same gas mileage as me!!!! it's absolutely ridiculous! when i bought the car it got in the 50s.

    Funtechie- PLEASE, post here if/when you take action! i would like details on how to do that. i feel like there's nothing else i can do and honda always jerks me around. i get email reminders when people put a new post up, so your reply will go to my inbox, that would be great help! thanks!!!!
  • strobnstrobn Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Civic Hybrid that the dealer is telling me needs a new Hybris battery pack. I have found several places on line that speak of reconditioning a toyota, but nothing on the Civic. Does anyone have a link to information or could provide me with information as to options, if any to the new $3000 battery pack?
  • ltp53ltp53 Posts: 1
    The battery pack on my 2003 Civic (115,000) has always worked great, and I am still getting the same mileage and the indicator light still shows a great "charge". The IMA light and Check Engine light came on a few months ago, then went off and on over the next couple of months, then stayed on. The dealership said the car is in great shape, but I need a new battery pack and if I choose not to get one the performance (gas mileage) will suffer. Since I have seen no change in performance I have not been concerned.

    However, when I went to get my yearly car inspection the car did not pass. When I took it to the dealership the told me the two codes on the failure report had to do with the battery pack.

    Is there any solution? Is there a way to correct the computer if that is the problem?
  • Had great luck with the hybrid until this week (7 years, 180,000 km). The dealer says the battery pack needs to be replaced @$5000 Can! Are there re-conditioned battery packs available somewhere? Any other suggestions? Does Honda care about this issue? I have seen a number of owners with this problem and it seems that the costs are exceptionally high (might be best to walk away??). The dealer told me that the cost was $2000 for the battery pack when I bought it in 2003! Ugh.
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