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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems

amyableamyable Posts: 3
I live in the desert and recently purchased an 07 Honda Civic Hybrid. Since I purchased the vehicle, the higest MPG I have achieved is 40 (cool weather and highway driving for that tank of gas). Mostly I get beween 30-33 mpg--I vary city and highway driving in a large city. I have contacted my dealership as well as Honda American, and other than giving me excuses and blaming the low mpg on my driving (I have COMPLTELY changed how I drive--no fast starts, no hard braking, crawling down onramps, etc...)they have been little help in solving the problem. I got a phone call from a guy at Honda American basically telling me that a.) the IMA doesn't work (the battery shuts down) at over 110 degrees and b.) they know about the problem and have no intentions of doing anything about it. So I'm seriously frustrated and not sure what to do from here. According to the lemon laws in my state, if the dealership can't fix the problem after 4 trips, they are supposed to provide a new vehicle--which is useless since they are getting complaints left and right from people who have bought a Civic hybrid and are now losing mpg, so why would I want another? Has anyone dealt with this, and if so, what did you do? I'm thinking of contacting a local news channel and having them address the issue, because since Honda knows about this problem but continues to leave that out of their information is, in my opinion, fraud.
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Comments

  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    I've never heard of the battery shutting down because of heat, but it may be true. I suspect, however, that the real cause of your low mpg is the heavy air conditioning necessary during such hot weather.

    Light a/c use will drop mpg by 10 or more. The kind needed to fight 110 deg. temps will cost 20 mpg. You live in the hottest region of the country. There's a price to pay for that. I'm sure that your home electric bills this time of year are astronomical.

    I live in Texas with daily temps in the high 90s, and my HCH gets 50 mpg. So stick with your car until cooler temps prevail.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    That sounds like bunk to me (the IMA shutting down over 110) and I say that because I owned and drove a 2004 HCH for 23 months in Phoenix where temps frequently exceeded 110 and I never had an IMA shutdown.

    The hotter temps will cause your MPG to drop. My Civic averaged 3-5 MPG lower in heavy A/C usage.

    Hang in there - my educated guess is that your car is not a lemon and that as you drive the car more you will get better at what it takes to achieve higher mpg.
  • 46jimbo46jimbo Posts: 12
    Try checking your tire pressure too. I run mine at 36 psi (the factory setting is 32).
  • eschatoneschaton Posts: 1
    I remember reading something about the IMA and hot weather in my owners manual. But, the sales person didn't mention it during the buying process. Buyers in the southwest should consider this issue before buying. Stick with it, your mileage should improve unless you have a mechanical or electronic defect. In my first 10 days my '07 has averaged 48 in mixed driving, with some a/c use.
  • gauger01gauger01 Posts: 13
    My IMA and check engine came on in my 2009 HCH, with just under 6000 miles. After reading these forums, I was concerned about the update they would do to the software. The IMA was acting erractically just prior and while the IMA was on. I drove about two days like this until they had an open appointment at Honda, but before I arrived, the IMA light went out, but the check engine light was still on.

    The Honda techs said I had popped code P0A7F. They upgraded the PCM and IMA.

    I'm not the best hybrid driver, but before going in my MPG readout said 39.6. Four days later it's reading 40.7! I haven't changed my driving style, so it seems, for now, that things are actually getting better.

    We'll see how long that lasts.
  • I also live in the Desert ( Palm Springs Area ) and have noticed a problem with my 07 HCH. With Temperatures in the high 100+, the batteries will drain in less then 10 minutes with the air on and very light stop and go traffic. Is this a problem with this car and the temperature outside. My MPG won't go above 33 to 34 MPG. If this car doesn't like the heat, I'll be returning it in a few years.
  • After going round and round with both Honda American and my Honda dealer, they both concede that the battery DOES NOT WORK when the temperature in the car is over 100. This causes a serious drain on the car--when trying to accelerate from a green light, there are times that the car hesitates and the rpms hit 4 as the car struggles to move forward. I have contacted both a laywer, the Better Business Beureau, and the Attorney General's office regarding this issue--they WERE aware that the problem existed for my region, and they are still continuing to sell the vehicle in the southwest region. Honda says that "it's not enough of an issue to resolve at this time." If you are having this issue, please also contact your state's Attorney General's office and document the problem. This is fraud, pure and simple. Low gas mileage is the least of the issue...the fact that the car runs on the tiny gas engine alone is downright scary when you live in a large urban area where you can get killed if you are not able to accelerate away from green light or around the corner. I've never been more disgusted with a company in my entire life--they know this is happening and when the service departments call to get information, they say that it's "normal" for the car to lose power in hot temperatures. The car is not safe to drive in this weather, and yet Honda is doing nothing to solve the problem.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,681
    What happens if you take it and leave it until it is fixed? If it is a safety issue they have a certain length of time to repair or the "Lemon Laws" go into affect. Have you reported the problem on the NHTSA Office of defects? Honda is dragging their feet until cooler weather when they can say look it works fine. File your report on this site...

    http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/complain/
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,681
    You cannot compare the 2004 Civic Hybrid with a stick shift to the 2007 Civic Hybrid. The newer one is bigger heavier with the same puny engine. It is also a different IMA design. I look for Honda to get out of the hybrid business when they get their diesel cars on the roads here.
  • After 85000 miles and nearly a year of happy driving up and down hills, we have suffered repeated IMA failures under our usual driving conditions. The IMA battery indicator is dropping much more rapidly than before and shuts off after very little use, which is problematic on hills.

    Checks at dealer show "no problem". They suggested putting car in neutral/park and revving to 3000 RPM. This indeed charges battery and allows IMA to operate again.

    I work with NiMH batteries and it seems like a partial failure within the large battery pack- that would reduce the battery's capacity-- but would not register as a "failure" on the car's computer that measures voltage.

    One tech and one dealer say they never heard of this happening before. But apparently, others, including a lady from Marin on KGO-TV "7 on your side" (July 2, 2007), have had exactly the same problem.
    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=7on_your_side&id=5443147

    PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THIS HAS HAPPENED TO YOU. It would be helpful to know the year, make, model and at what mileage this began to occur and what you have done about it.

    Thanks! B and V
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,719
    I think that the HCH uses a bunch of small batteries linked together, so some of them could be failing. However, if the Honda techs say the pack is still within spec, I'm not sure how you prove them wrong. Are you sure that you aren't using the A/C more, or that the traffic patterns haven't changed (causing you to stop more and use the batteries)?

    The news article you quoted sounds more like "normal" battery depletion - the lady does too much uphill and not enough downhill to recharge the batteries. Though of course it could be bad batteries in her case as well.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,681
    The Insights have has several cases of battery deterioration. I would want to see the voltage readings and specs from Honda. It should still be covered by the 100k mile battery warranty. I have asked before here and gotten a lot of spin. How bad do the batteries have to get before they are contributing more pollution than is allowed under the AT-PZEV regulations? You are kind of at the mercy of the automakers with hybrids more so than ICE only cars. At least until a few independents start working on them.
  • I just got my 2007 HCH on Saturday. I live in NC and it has been close to 100 here. 93 today. I have been having issues with the IMA not working when I first get in and for the first couple of minutes after that, then it will kick in. It doesn't seem to cause any issue with the battery as the bars for the charge amount remain the same. Anybody else having this problem?? I knew if it was over 100 it could stop working (I read almost the entire owner's manual when I got it home) but it was low 90's here today and it did the same thing. :(
  • Replying to own message because I need to make a clarification/correction. The IMA did not fail, the AutoStop did, not exactly the same thing. The owner's manual does say that the AutoStop will not work until the engine is up to temp, so that's why it doesn't work in the first couple of blocks after getting in. However, it will also fail about 5% of the time at stoplights during a trip. Not sure why -- but it doesn't seem to really affect my mpg, which I'm pretty happy with. Would be interested in knowing, tho, if anyone else has this happen to them.
  • mlilleymlilley Posts: 1
    Have exactly the same problem. Was getting consistent 43-45 MPG n daily commute, always watched the charge / discharge cycle, always the same pattern, monitored RPM vs IMA assist on hills, etc.

    Then at 48,000 miles this week, BOOM. Mileage drops to 33 MPG, battery holds a charge about 25 to 30% previous capacity, engine revving way up on hills since no assist from IMA< where before in same locations, had assist, etc etc.

    Dealer says everything checks out OK. My guess is, charging system, Electric motor/generator, and voltage regulation is all OK, and that battery shows proper voltage,,,,BUT, current storage capacity is shot due to losing a batch of cells in the battery.

    Anyone else weigh in?

    Thanks.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    What is IMA?
  • wistlowistlo Posts: 13
    IMA = 'Integrated Motor Assist', the trade name of Honda's hybrid technology.
  • fabregasfabregas Posts: 1
    I have 2006 HCH. Exact thing happen on a cool rainy day. IMA battery indicated 3 bars when it happened! I have 12K miles on it.
    This is can cause a fatal accident!!! esp. if you need to accelerate to make turns or merge!!!
    So does putting the car in neutral/park and revving to 3000 RPM really help resolve this problem?
    thanks in advance!
  • kevlinkevlin Posts: 1
    my 2007 hybrid civic's battery drains completely after going uphill for about 2 minutes - then the engine revs and it smells like something is on fire - basically the car won't go anymore - the weather is cool (no high ambient temperature issue) - it happens everytime i go up a hill of any significance - i simply don't understand why honda won't acknowledge there is a problem with these cars - has anyone pursued this to the top of the corporate ladder yet
  • gshibergshiber Posts: 1
    Have '07 Civic Hybrid: Several days ago noticed no charge and no assist indicated on the gauge with only 2 bars charge showing. Naturally the Auto stop did not work. Manual said the charging system was correcting itself and in a few minutes it would recover. The IMA icon did not appear so system is supposedly OK. Without the assist I have lost power and mpg has fallen. It has been hot here -- hi 90s for several days. When I rev my engin -- still no charge. Made appointment with dealer. Will see him in 2 days from today. From reading messages on this forum, it sounds like the dealer will tell me everything checks out OK -- but it isn't OK ... it isn't working as I bought it... what do I, or can I do. Are my batteries shot at 13,000 miles? Unbelievable. Advice/comments
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