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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems

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  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    I had to pick up a couple of 2006 HCH battery packs from a junkyard today, so I used my wife's 2008 Chrysler Town & Country (3.8L V6). When I got in, I saw that the mpg meter read 12.9. I reset it and drove a mixed highway and city loop of about 40 miles. I also turned off the AC (it's December). The car has a 6 speed automatic, so I watched what the tach was doing as I drove it. I wasn't in a hurry, so I just took my time and kept up with traffic. The tach only went over 2000 twice when I had to enter a highway with lots of truck traffic (route 1&9 in NJ). The rest of the time it stayed at 1500 or 2000 depending on the gear it was in. I was not trying to save gas.

    The result? 19.8 mpg overall for the trip with a peak of 22.3 on the highway. The car is EPA rated 16/23 with a median of 18.

    My wife has a lead foot, I do not. Her minivan is so un-aerodynamic, that it's almost impossible to go over EPA without working at it. Honda's hybrids are a different story. By nature, they will perform significantly better than EPA when driven with a feather touch.
  • My IMA issues began at 5200 miles. It first started when the battery would begin to recall more frequently and at times I would not have electric motor assist due to the low battery (1-3 bars). This was a safety concern when trying to merge onto a highway. One morning I observed the recall once again, no assist when merging, when rpm reached 5000-6000, that is when the IMA light illuminated.

    The HCH was taken to a Honda dealership (not where I purchased the HCH) and it was determined that a software update was needed. A couple of days later the software was uploaded to the vehicle. Within a couple of days from that upload, the battery would start to recall at a countdown (bars: 6,5,4,3,2,1). When departing from work in the morning, the recall once again began, I accelerated to merge on the highway and the IMA light illuminated in addition to the engine light.

    The engine light would remain on at every start and the IMA light would illuminate a few minutes after. I took the HCH in to the same dealership and it was determined that a replacement battery pack would need to be ordered for replacement. The battery pack was replaced and it seems to have corrected the problem but just the other day my battery did a recall. The battery charge dropped to one bar and once again I did not have electric motor assist to merge on to the highway. The charge did eventually reach 4-6 bars after a couple of minutes in which assist was available.

    My mileage has been between 40-50mpg throughout this whole event. This thread has been very educational on the IMA/battery issues.
  • p_ohp_oh Posts: 8
    Ive been experiencing similar problems with my 06 HCH II. At around 45k miles my mileage began to drop from mid forties to mid thirties. I had the dealership do a software upgrade hoping that it would improve things but then the IMA indicator began to be very inconsistent and often dropped below 4 bars where it wouldnt provide any assist particularly on an uphill grade. Ultimately Honda replaced the battery at 70k miles (without any error codes showing) under warranty but the problem still exists so it seems like a firmware issue rather than a battery issue.
  • gregr2gregr2 Posts: 14
    I purchased a 2009 Honda Civic hybrid and was getting 41-43 mpg for the first 2000 miles. Then my IMA light came on and my moderates dropped to around 34-36 mpg. I took the car in and was told the "computer need an update". The light stayed off but the mileage stayed down around 34-36. Yesterday, the light came on again.

    It sounds like these batteries are crap. I am wondering why Honda hasn't corrected this problem since it sounds like it has been going on for several years. Interestingly, they keep selling a lot of these cars. This does not seem to be a very well-publicized problem. I was not aware of it when I bought the car and probably would not have bought the car if I had known beforehand of this problem.
  • dowjddowjd Posts: 14
    We are in the same boat. When we bought our 2009 Civic Hybrid we averaged 43mpg @70mph, but could get it up to 52mpg @55mph. After about two months our mpg dropped to about 37mpg. I thought it was due to using the AC (live in CA, central valley).

    About a month ago our IMA light came on. We took it to Honda and they did the software update. A couple days later when the car was first started, the battery would drop to one bar and would start charging after driving about 3 miles.

    We took it back to honda and they replaced the battery. However now it only charges up to 6 bars and occasionally charges to 7,8. Now it get 40mpg at 55mph. Honda says it is operating normally for both battery and mpg.
  • magsmmagsm Posts: 3
    It is rather disheartening to read thru this 2 year long thread. I've had my 2009 Civic Hybrid since April 09. I consistently got 38 mpg driving in Atlanta - a mix of city and highway. (I drive a reverse commute). In mid-late November my mileage went down to 32mpg and sluggish performance, very bad acceleration. The peppy acceleration is why I chose it over the Prius. This past Friday (Dec 10) my IMA light went on. Took it to the dealer - they said the same thing - computer upgrade. Just got it back today after tire rotation and oil change and 'computer update'. Will post back after a week to report on performance and mileage.

    Although, after reading thru this thread I am considering trading it in - bad acceleration and so-so mileage? Sheesh. This thread is 190 messages long, 122 pages in a word document. I wonder if Honda would like me to distribute it to their showroom customers!
  • I posted last month, before I got the "upgrade".

    So, After the upgrade, my MPG dropped from 35-38, down to 29-32. This is a big drop. And, very sluggish acceleration. Besides the "upgrade", nothing's changed; my driving habits, and the way I go to work, etc.. Also, before the upgrade, I could drive 2 and-a-half weeks on a full tank. Now, it's down to 1 and-a-half weeks, so I buying gas more often, just like a regular Honda Civic. Hmmmm, somethng to ponder.

    No one still hasn't responded much, last month Honda charged me $175 for the software upgrades. Some say they got it for free. Did Honda screw me over for charging me for the upgrades? Did they charge others?
  • magsmmagsm Posts: 3
    My dealer did not charge me for the updates.
  • gregr2gregr2 Posts: 14
    Anybody know a law firm that might be willing to take on another class-action suit.? It sounds like there are enough people on this forum who have had problems they would have plenty of clients right out of the chute.
  • Not only did you get screwed by the $175 charge, you got it up the can because the "upgrades" destroy the performance of the car in order to protect the battery life and save the company money. Go ahead, call Honda! They'll insist that everything is "normal," and that you should stop driving with a lead foot. How does that feel?
  • Sorry -- organizing a class action suit within our Forums isn't permitted, so let's end that particular line of conversation now and just focus on other ways of finding fixes for the issue.

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • This thread has been helpful. A couple of questions
    1. Is it okay (safe) drive the car without the hybrid battery connected?
    2. We've got the IMA overheating code...is there any threat of engine fire from driving withOUT disconnecting the IMA
    3. What's the chance of trading this in without the dealer detecting the IMA overheating issue? I'm guessing slim to none which would affect trade-in value.
  • I just took my '09 HCH in today to be serviced for the check engine and IMA lights. My IMA and check engine lights came on last Friday when it was really cold here in NY. They said it needed a software upgrade. Before I brought it in, I noticed the car was acting a bit sluggish especially when accelerating. When I got the car back, it seemed to accelerate better. I generally get 34-37 mpg because of my commute and the amount of traffic here.

    The software upgrade was covered under my warranty. I am curious if Honda preset the check engine light to go on every set number of miles so you have to take it in for service. Guaranteed business?? I am going to watch the car closely for a week and see if the mpg and peppiness change. Also, is anyone having problems with the driver’s side window going out of its tracks? I was told by the dealer that this was a common problem and that new tracks were being ordered to fix it.
  • Hey, gang...took my 2009 Civic Hybrid in a month ago for the IMA recall upgrade, and immediately my mileage dropped from 40-42 to 36, and now has dropped to 32. I took it back to the dealer today, and they tried to tell me that it was because of the cold weather--but I pointed out to them that a month ago, Chicago was experiencing record warm weather. While I had him on the phone, I googled the problem, and discovered this thread...it shut him up pretty quickly. I read him some of the posts, including the one that suggested that Honda has purposely decreased the battery time in order to preserve the life of the battery and avoid having to replace it under warranty...he acknowledged that he saw that that could be the case. I opened a case with Honda Client Services. When I asked them whether they had had other complaints, the service rep's careful answer was that there was no service bulletin concerning this problem. I told him that was not what I had asked, and he said he had no way of knowing whether others had complained, but from his voice, I could tell that others HAVE complained.

    We need to keep pressure on Honda about this...my mileage is now no better than it was with my Toyota Scion....
  • It will get worse. In the cold, expect 29MPG. I keep expecting the day when I can announce that my '69 T-Bird got better mileage. Imagine that! A carbon footprint that grows and grows.
  • sgisgi Posts: 2
    Hi all - I have a 2005 Accord Hybrid and both my check engine and IMA light came on today. I'm pretty sure this is not under warranty and have not received a recall. Can anyone shed some light on this for me?
  • gregr2gregr2 Posts: 14
    I'm taking my 2009 Civic hybrid into the dealer today to have the battery replaced. I had the "upgrade", my light stayed off for a few weeks and then came back on. They said I needed a new battery. Sounds like the same story many people on this forum have had. It still boggles my mind that there's not more information about these battery failures out in the public venue. until there is more public pressure Honda will keep selling these hybrids with these defective batteries
  • Hi Kevlin- did you ever get a resolution to this? I found this w/e I was driving uphill and my car wouldn't go up. After putting the car into second and "l" the car started going downhill!

    It was actually quite scary.
  • sgisgi Posts: 2
    Hi all - here's my story. I took in my 2005 Honda Accord hybrid with 76k miles in yesterday after both my check engine and IMA lights came on. I could feel the vehicle having difficulty accelerating from a complete stop and my mpg had noticeably decreased. A diagnostic was run this morning and the service center advised me that I needed a new car battery (a regular car battery for $119). I was then told after the battery was replaced that another diagnostic would be run to determine if there were any other issues. I received a second phone call this afternoon and was informed the now infamous "software upgrade" was performed which has "fixed" the issue. The service center said a thorough test drive was completed and the car was performing "normally". I pressed as to how a software upgrade and new car battery could somehow fix the issue, why I hadn't received the upgrade sooner and what may come of this "issue" after 80k miles. All my concerns were basically blown off with the comment "I've never heard of this issue before and I wouldn't worry about any issues in the future." Hmmm...we'll see.
  • jeb858jeb858 Posts: 10
    Good Evening All,
    I really need to vent in how disappointed I am with Honda Motor Company and my 06 Civic Hybrid. I have been in the automotive industry and employed by a domestic manufacturer in the technical end of things for over thirty years and I have never been so frustrated with the lack of lack of customer service and product reliability by the once almighty and powerful Honda Corporation.

    The only reason we purchased this automobile is so my wife that I love dearly could drive in the rideshare lane by herself to and from work on the busy Southern California freeways. Of course the mileage helps with gas at the price it is at but that is secondary. About 1 1/2 years into our ownership my wife had concerns about a lack of power, low battery state, and forced regens. This was going on during the hot socal summer and I started working with my dealer on this concern but I was advised all is normal.

    To make a long story short and after many dealer visits we are at the 3 1/2 year ownership point. I have bought my wife a Escape Hybrid to drive because I do not feel safe or confident with her in the Civic trying to drive on the freeway and losing the battery, you might as well be driving in deep sand, very unsafe! I have had all the updates, patches, reflashes done and the car is still miserable to drive. I did meet with the Honda Parts and Service Director for our area to voice my concerns and he listened to my concerns and said all we need is a IMA light to come on and we could replace the IMA battery, sweet!

    We left for a trip to Arizona last week and the Honda sat all week as we took our Escape on the trip. When we arrived home I jumped in the Honda to go to the grocery store and as usual instead of using the IMA motor to start the engine the standard starter cranked her over and the engine started but to my great surprise the IMA light came on! I was never so happy to see a light come on. I plugged in my scan tool and pulled a P0A7F "IMA Battery Deterioration" and went to the dealer right away praying the light would stay on which it did. The dealer took it in and to my surprise I recieved a call later in the day that Honda would not replace my battery but install another patch and give that a try.......

    I picked up the vehicle the next day and lost all battery power within 1 mile of the dealer and the vehicle performed a regen. It also still uses the standard starter motor to start the engine. I let the dealer know and they said nothing can be done unless the IMA light comes back on.

    Sorry again for the long letter but it has been a long 3 1/2 years of ownership of a vehicle that was produced by a once great manufacturer. I have owned many previous Honda's over the years and stil have 3 Honda motorcycle's. It appears there are many other folks in the same boat as I am.
    Have a Merry Christmas, Jack
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