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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems

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Comments

  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > nor did my old school starter motor start the engine every morning

    Don't forget that the car will use the starter below certain temperatures. The battery can't put out much power at low temp, and the car minimizes its use until it has had a chance to shoot a charge into it to warm it up and thaw all the cells (the electrolyte actually freezes).

    I'm not saying this is your problem (and it isn't if you see this behavior in warm weather), but sometimes people don't know about design features of their cars.

    I had an Insight customer this fall who was convinced that his freshly repaired battery was bad because the car ceased to auto-stop. I told him that auto-stop wouldn't work below 45(I think) degrees and the weather had just changed. He insisted otherwise until I proved it to him by having him turn off his climate control after which auto-stop magically started working again.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >Does you car run on water, too?

    No. EPA for a manual transmission 2001 Insight is 61 city / 68 highway, but most Insight owners can get higher than EPA just by driving gently. I frequently get 80-85 on the highway in the summertime, but rarely get over 65 highway in the winter.

    Similar driving techniques in a manual transmission "lean-burn" equipped 2003 Civic get you about 55 city and 65 highway (summer). A CVT 2003-2005 Civic can get about 50 city / 60 highway.

    All those numbers reflect cars that have not had the 2007 computer updates.

    I can't tell you what a 2006+ Civic or a 2010 Insight get because I've never driven them. I've got half a dozen of their batteries here, but I've never been in one.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > I'm not sure what your post means....

    shonda3 thinks that I'm smoking something and is not aware that the original 2000-2006 Insight was EPA rated between 66 and 70 mpg highway for all seven years of production.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    edited February 2010
    > My husband has a 2004 HCH with about 86000 miles on it. Over the summer, he
    > brought the car in because the IMA light came on and the battery started draining
    > while he was just sitting at a light. By the time we got to take it to the dealer, the
    > light was off, and it didn't throw an error code so they told us it was a fluke.

    It is unusual for an IMA light to illuminate without a code. To have one illuminate combined with an observed battery event (the negative recal that you saw as the gauge dropped) falls under the category of "dealer lied to you", or your 12V battery was disconnected in the interim which would clear the codes.

    > Last week, he went out to start the car and it was completely dead. We had to
    > jump it. No problem... then a few days later it started up with the IMA light
    > again. After three days of it going off and on it started draining the battery again,
    > so we took it to the dealer (again) on the 15th. This time we got a P1649 error
    > code

    I'll bet you got a P1449. P1649 is an ABS error or a wiring problem to the ABS. They would have simply fixed it.

    > and they told us we needed the part replaced -- $3700.

    A P1449 would indicate that the battery module needs replacement or repair.

    Your warranty ran out at 84,000 miles and Honda "Goodwill" will give you a half-price repair up to 88,000 if you beg and plead and they check with the regional manager.

    In most areas of the country, the battery costs about $3000. $3700 is price-gouging. If you're in Los Angeles, then you'll find all of the dealers around want $4000 and none can explain why they cost more than the mid-west, northwest or east. They often claim that shipping is the reason, though the batteries are shipped from southern California.

    You can get it repaired for less than the $1850 "goodwill" price.

    > However, they also told us we could just turn the IMA off and drive the car, if we
    > didn't want to fix it.

    I'd really like to know how. It is possible in 2000-2006 Insights, but I'm not aware of a way to get Civics to do it.

    > This afternoon, he had to get it jumped AGAIN because the starter battery died.
    > (They replaced his battery relatively recently, too.)

    If the battery symbol is illuminated on the dash, then you cannot drive the car until you replace, repair or bypass the battery. The car does not have an alternator, and a battery cell is overheating, so the car is shutting down the entire system (for safety) and that means it is not charging the 12V battery.

    Contact me if the dealer gives you the runaround and I'll arm you with the service bulletins.
  • jeb858jeb858 Posts: 10
    Cold here in Southern California is 50 degrees, it has been 55-60 degrees when I leave for work and I continue to hear that good ole $26k starter motor that could have heard in a regular Civic for much less money.
  • Ogre_GEV --

    Thanks for all the insight, that is very helpful!

    The P1649 error is what is written on the paperwork we got from the dealer when we took it back. (They're charging 3000 for the battery and another 400-500 for the labor.. I'm not sure where the extra money in the total came from yet, since I just noticed that discrepancy. We're in Houston FWIW) I know I questioned the ABS error and they told us it all worked together.

    But yeah, my husband switched off the IMA assist, I think -- he hit some button, he said. But he still sees the battery charging when he hits the brakes, so I don't know I believe it's actually off. It's strange. Not my car, so I've only driven it a handful of times.

    We're going to take the car somewhere else to get the starter battery checked as well and if it's bad we'll get the dealer to replace is since it was new in October. I don't remember the battery light being on, but it doesn't seem to be holding a charge. It's been dead two days in a row now.

    I'm still waiting for Honda USA to get back to me, and they're waiting for the dealer's manager to get back to them as of today. I did see something about service bulletins while researching and asked a different dealer's service department about it, and they said there weren't any that applied to our VIN.

    If we can get a goodwill price we may be willing to do it, although this all certainly couldn't have come at a worse time with everything else going on. I'll update more when I hear back from Honda.
  • doctorjoleendoctorjoleen Posts: 4
    edited February 2010
    Serious problems with IMA light and car shutting down and not
    wanting to start. This began at 80,000 miles.I have a good dealership who has replaced free the batteries front and back. Honda mgr in charge of area Hondas was the most effective person in assisting me. They wanted to put a part in the starter motor/IMA for $1400. However I balked and they rebuilt it for free, Always go to the manager of service
    at the dealership as no-one else understands the system. I have
    found calling Honda at corporate ineffective as all they do is call
    the dealership and give you some trite answer which does not
    solve your problem. My IMA light still goes on and off and the
    car does not start from time to time. I jump start it and it goes.
    Honda has a worse problem than Toyota as we never know when
    the Honda Hybrid will shut down. The system IMA is defective and it
    should be a recall. I expected to get 200,000 miles at least on this car.
    I now know I won't and it is very unsafe for me.
  • The battteries should be replaced free as there have been a problem.
    Also, check with your honda parts dept. on guarntees of IMA and batteries.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > My IMA light still goes on and off and the car does not start from time to time. I
    > jump start it and it goes.

    Why don't you get your codes read and we'll try to help you with it. You can use the tester at Autozone for free.

    > The system IMA is defective and it should be a recall.

    Actually, it's probably just broken and should be fixed. If your IMA light is coming on, then something is wrong. That something is probably causing your dead batteries. The odds are very good that you will pull a P1449 with the scanner.
  • sm4sm4 Posts: 1
    I have a 2009 Civic Hybrid. I will have owned it one year in April. In November the IMA light went on and I took it to the dealer who said it needed a computer upgrade. It just went on again - after a month of cold and very snowy temperatures. Now I need a new battery. Not sure where the error code is seen - I didn't ask the dealer about that. Fortunately for me it is still covered by the warranty. If this car starts needing jumps to be started - it will be sold. Honda's have always been very dependable. I hope this doesn't change.
  • dwa2dwa2 Posts: 4
    Please keep the group posted on whether or not Honda will give you a new battery based on the fact that the IMA light went on twice. Is the car running?
  • gregr2gregr2 Posts: 14
    Same story over and over

    I had the same problem with my 09 HCH. Battery has been replaced - under warranty. Have driven another 3000 with no probs so far except a loss of mpg of about 8mpg from when it was brand new.
  • dowjddowjd Posts: 14
    Exactly same situation here. Like other Civic Hybrid owners we have been royally screwed by Honda.

    To sum it up:

    I think we all experience great gas mileage when the car was new. Then we all have IMA problems. Then Honda updates the software. Then IMA problems again which leads to new battery.

    Problem is mileage has decreased and battery maintains less of a charge (6 bars). In my case, if I drive up any hill for a mile the battery will plummet and the gas engine takes over completely, then the engine screams and begs to be shot. At least mine does.

    Way to go Honda. :lemon:
  • mary jomary jo Posts: 3
    Sometimes (not always) when I stop and the car goes into auto stop, it starts again (while my foot is still on the brake). It seems to want to accelerate or move, while I'm braking. Sometimes, when I stop, the car never goes into auto stop, but stays at a 1000 RPM. Has anyone else experienced this? Is this a potential safety issue?
  • doctorjoleendoctorjoleen Posts: 4
    edited March 2010
    The IMA keep shutting down and the battery in front has no power.
    All the lights are on IMA,, SRA, ABS, I get it jumped started and I hold my breath as the battery continues to lose power down to two notches.
    I took it on the expressway and it charges up. Thank God. There is no
    rhyme or reason for this except a defunct IMA System that is all connected to battery, brakes, starter, etc. They rebuilt the starter previously and it was golden for a few months.
    In Feb. and March 2010 my garaged car would not start three times and had no power. Jump starting will work and I just bought an automatic one that you do not need to plug in. It came from Sears. Recalls should have happened as Honda knows there is a big problem. Each time I make sure there is a record at the dealership. They know they cannot fix it. I have brought it in 25 times for this problem.
  • Thanks for the heads up on the codes. I am not sure they are putting them down on my paperwork and I will make that sure they do.
    You are right. It has to be the wiring and I thought they fixed it several months ago. It is happening often now with the light coming on.
  • shonda3shonda3 Posts: 42
    I have been posting on this site for months now. It seems that, with rare exception, people are furious with Honda's lack of concern for their miserable product. It is also apparent that they are following Toyota's stonewalling ways. Where the hell is NHTSA? Did Honda lobby them the way Toyota did? Jus' wonderin'.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > If this car starts needing jumps to be started - it will be sold.

    You obviously have a bad battery. In most cases, replacing the battery solves the problem, so just as if you had started having transmission problems: give them a chance to fix it. It's under warranty and sometimes things break.

    If it isn't fixed properly or it happens again, then let us know, but this problem with your brand-new car falls into the category of "sample defect" meaning that your specific car has a defect (as opposed to "model defect" where they all do).
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > Sometimes (not always) when I stop and the car goes into auto stop, it starts again
    > (while my foot is still on the brake). It seems to want to accelerate or move, while
    > I'm braking. Sometimes, when I stop, the car never goes into auto stop, but stays
    > at a 1000 RPM. Has anyone else experienced this? Is this a potential safety issue?

    You may have an intermittent problem with the TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) or a similar sensor. This would trick the car into thinking that you giving it gas and not trying to come to a stop which would result in it not auto-stopping or coming out of auto-stop prematurely. I don't think it's a low battery condition because of the unwanted acceleration which has nothing to do with the battery.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > The IMA keep shutting down and the battery in front has no power.
    > All the lights are on IMA,, SRA, ABS, I get it jumped started and I hold my breath
    > as the battery continues to lose power down to two notches.
    > I took it on the expressway and it charges up. Thank God. There is no
    > rhyme or reason for this except a defunct IMA System that is all connected to
    > battery, brakes, starter, etc. They rebuilt the starter previously and it was golden for
    > a few months.

    What you are describing is the car shutting down the IMA system and not charging the front battery (there is no alternator). When the front 12V battery voltage gets too low, the electronics go haywire.

    There are several things that can be causing this from a bad battery to a $50 sensor. In order to find out what the problem is, you need to take the car to a mechanic or an AutoZone and read the error codes that are stored in the car's computer. Then we can tell you exactly what is wrong and you can have it fixed.

    The problem is that every time the front battery goes dead, the codes are erased. You need to pay attention to the rectangular battery light on the dash. If it lights up, you need to stop driving the car.
  • mary jomary jo Posts: 3
    Thanks for the reply. I bought it used, but from dealer with warranty (it's a 2006). I took it in and they couldn't replicate problem. I'm noticing it seems to happen most in the first few miles--the car does not turn off when I brake but keeps at 1000 RPM. The shop said that's because engine is cold. They said to wait a week and if it's still happening to bring it back--so far, it's happening much less. May also be that weather is warmer now.
  • Just thought I'd share my experience. I have an '04 HCH. Took it in today at 130k, I had an IMA light on for the last 25k that I mostly ignored because everything looked and felt okay, no decrease in mileage or anything. They ran the code and to my surprise said it needed to be replaced, luckily I was covered by the CA 10year/150k warranty
  • cthach03cthach03 Posts: 3
    Hi There,

    I have a 2004 HCH with 245,641 miles on it. My engine light is on and so is my malfunction light. Every now and then I have a little trouble start the car. I know I need to replace the IMA battery... I wonder if anyone knows what battery starts the car? The IMA or the small regular battery? I bought to the dealer and they said my regular battery is still good but I saw the battery light comes on when I have trouble starting my car. Thank you for your help ! Daisy- CA :confuse:
  • jeniferljeniferl Posts: 1
    I have a HCH 2005 with 196k miles. I love it and miss driving it. At 95,000 miles the car seized. It would start but not move. We were told it was the fly wheel and paid $1500 to repair. At around 175k miles the IMA light and engine light came on but was driving fine. We were told the IMA module needed to be replaced but we might as well just drive it until it went out completely. Recently, while driving it, the car seized again and will not move but will turn on. We have since moved up by Yosemite and don't have a trusted mechanic. Does anyone have any suggestions? I love this car and don't want to salvage it.
  • hchblueshchblues Posts: 1
    Considered just copy/pasting the other 2009 HCH posts, but I guess mine is slightly different. After 7000 miles, just when the MPGs were getting good (after the 5,000 mile breaking in period), the IMA system started having problems -- whacky charging/assisting, what you call "recals" and no assist on on-ramps/hills when I really needed it. After software upgrades (shudder), the IMA and check engine lights came on and the Honda dealer replaced the IMA battery. Couple months later, the car is dead in the garage, got it jumped, Honda says everything is fine, couple weeks later dead again. Honda says, "no, it's fine."

    Couple weeks later, battery and IMA lights go on. On the drive to Honda, brake system, steering, headlights, etc. all go on and off until the car dies in the middle of a busy street. No power, even for Hazard lights (at night). After a jump and 10 minutes of charging, it dies immediately after putting it into reverse. ANOTHER jump and I barely get it to the dealer. They replace the front battery and say everything is fine.....one week later, the car dies on the road AGAIN.

    Now they say it is a bad relay that only intermittently showed up as bad. Well, it's been a few weeks and after 120 miles, my MPGs are stuck around 25. I could get better mileage with an SUV...

    Any suggestions or shoulders to cry on?
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > This began at 80,000 miles.I have a good dealership who has replaced free the
    > batteries front and back. Honda mgr in charge of area Hondas was the most
    > effective person in assisting me. They wanted to put a part in the starter motor/IMA
    > for $1400. However I balked and they rebuilt it for free

    Probably because your warranty was extended from 80,000 miles to 84,000 miles and you were still covered.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    Daisy,

    Your 144V battery will start the car unless:

    It is depleted
    It is very cold outside
    Your IMA system is malfunctioning

    Please don't go to a dealer and waste your money paying their rates. Any competent mechanic can fix your car. Also, please either pay a mechanic to read your codes or go to an Autozone and read them yourself. Post your codes here and I'll tell you what is wrong with your car.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    edited March 2010
    When your battery light came on, you started running on the 12V battery alone, so it isn't surprising that you barely made it to the dealer.

    The dealer has likely "upgraded" your IMA computer (MCM). Now let's see what we can do to increase your mileage.

    1. Pump up your tires to 44 PSI
    2. Start driving at or below the speed limit. You'll only lose a few minutes a day.
    3. Pretend that there is an egg under your foot on top of the gas pedal. Try to drive in such a way that you don't crush the egg.

    Try that for a week and see what you get. Let us know.
  • MB_in_MNMB_in_MN Posts: 18
    To review: IMA battery failed at 4000 miles and again at 20000. Honda replaced battery each time without any argument.

    My wife spoke with the sales manager at the dealership about not trusting the car to work properly. He went to bat for us and convinced Honda to just take the car back (it was leased). We swapped it for a 2010 Civic EX-L, just writing a new lease with the same payments. Doesn't happen often, but if you have a customer-service oriented dealership, then you can get lucky. So, it was a nice experiment, but it just didn't work out.

    But there have been many other issues raised in this thread and I wanted to post my comments about them.

    Old IMA Battery Failure :confuse:
    The batteries seem to fail somewhere between 80,000 and 110,000 miles. This should not really come as a big surprise. Ever had a cell phone or laptop battery fail? These are rechargeable batteries, and they do not last forever. Yes, they are expensive. Nobody complains when tires or brakes need replacement, or even the timing belt, which is hundreds of $. If you read my earlier post on Hybrid economics, you can see that you probably did save more money from better mileage than the cost of the battery replacement, and you used less gas in the process. You are still ahead, just not as much as you would like. The fact that the battery failed after many years of use is not something that you can really blame on Honda.

    New Battery Failures and the "Update" :mad:
    This does seem to be a problem, but it does not seem to affect every vehicle. Honda told our dealership that they thought they had fixed the problem (I assume they mean the famous "update"). Some people are having problems with the update, but not everyone. I can tell you from my years of troubleshooting complex scientific instruments that this kind of small, seemingly random failure is almost impossible to troubleshoot and fix. (Toyota has a similar problem with their acceleration issue.) I cannot completely fault Honda for this, but they do have some customer service issues to deal with.

    Finally, there are two sides to every story and we have not heard from Honda on this forum. That's disappointing. There are also suggestions in this thread that the update is problematic for certain types of driving. I don't know enough about the specifics, but I can see that the screaming is not going to help. We need to find a more effective way of dealing with the issue.

    Good luck to all.
  • Thanks Ogre (feel like you're famous after reading all these posts).

    1. I will pump up the tires although 44 sounds high to me (DC is notorious for potholes and I don't want to pump them to a dangerous level).
    2. Can't help but drive at or below the speed limit in this city, so that's an easy one.
    3. I do try to "imagine the egg" thing but the streets are so stop and start, it is hard to find the sweet spot to get through an intersection without more than 3 bars of assist.

    Since my post two weeks ago, I've gotten the MPGs all the way up to 26.
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