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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems

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Comments

  • civic_dutycivic_duty Posts: 7
    edited June 2010
    I haven't read all the posts on IMA/battery failure, but enough to see that there's a pretty solid case against Honda, in that they have failed to provide a product that works as advertised and intended.

    There is one class action suit involving civic hybrids that has been filed in U.S. District Court for Central California--but that suit is badly off the mark (since it only addresses lower-than-advertised gasoline mileage), and as of this date the federal judge hasn't accepted the (unfair-to-owners) proposed settlement.

    What's needed is a class action that zeroes in on this IMA/battery failure issue. I'm posting here to ask whether anyone is aware of such an action; if you do, please post the citation for the case here.

    In the meantime, I'll do some basic legal research and see whether I can find a case in progress that does appropriately address this issue.

    Also, I'd like to know whether anyone on this list knows of any instances in which accidents have occured that are, or are likely to be, directly related to sluggish or inadequate HCH response due to IMA/battery failure to provide adequate boost during acceleration. This would most likely be a rear-end collision (HCH struck from behind, due to loss of power and speed, or inability to accelerate, leading to a collision with a vehicle approaching from the rear).

    Thanks!
  • I haven't had any accidents, but many close calls. This happened because when the battery fails, the engine will sometimes stall, and cannot be restarted until the transmission is shifted into neutral or park. This causes the vehicle to be dead in the water for some time, and is very dangerous if stalled in a busy intersection or middle of the highway.
  • shonda3shonda3 Posts: 42
    They won't do anything with this piece of junk. Get over it.
  • action21action21 Posts: 6
    edited July 2010
    Had the same problem with my 2004 Civic Hybrid and after 17 weeks, yes weeks, in the shop they finally announced they had it fixed. Took it home turned the key to start next morning - nothing. Towed it to another dealer and in 3 hours he replaced the A/C Relay Switch - that was at 80K I now have 150K and IMA light went on along with engine light. Having moved to another state the new Dealers mechanic wants to replace battery to tune of almost $3K. He insisted that they ran all kinds of tests with ENGINEERS from HONDA. I told him to replace A/C Relay Switch and after arguing with me saying it doesn't make any sense I told him it was my call and if I'm wrong I'll buy another car but I doubt I'm wrong. I will post when I get car back -
  • earl22earl22 Posts: 1
    Every summer I have IMA battery problems with my '07 Civic Hybrid. (Live in Fort Worth where summer highs are typically 95-100) Symptom is sudden discharge of IMA battery as indicated by white bars on the dash. (Actually sometimes I see a sudden charging of the battery...goes from 50% to 90% in matter of seconds!) Car can then hardly accelerate w/o assist. Car seldom has more than half a charge. Dealer recently installed software upgrades that had no effect. Dealer has had car for 2 days. Just got a call from him...based on conversations with their Tech Line, they are aware of some problems with software upgrades (but I've had problem for 3 years). Bottom line is there is nothing they can do and I should pick up the car.

    WHAT DO I DO NOW? PUSH IT OFF A CLIFF? What kind of mileage will I get if I'm continually charging the IMA battery!!

    I'd like to file a report with Fed. Gov't....would that be NTSB?

    I'm about to call Honda. I'd like for them to buy back car at price equal to dealer retail. Fat chance...
  • rosie2006rosie2006 Posts: 22
    Lots of luck to you, same problem here, loved the car for the first 2 years (honda civic hybrid 06), got the runaround last year with Honda reps, Consumer Affairs, etc, the Honda rep is assuring me that it is "performing as designed" bottom line is that they have a faulty product, thus the software update for the assist battery, that now shuts it down before it gets hot enough to destroy the battery, saving them some money while it lasts long enough for the warranty to run out. Thank goodness, our Ca summer has been mild, reduces the frustration of trying to accelerate!
  • rosie2006rosie2006 Posts: 22
    The car must have "codes" , trust me, all last summer getting the runaround from Elk Grove Honda and the Honda Reps, Consumer affairs etc, I am not lazy, just resolved to have it go until it dies.... Am going to your dealer next!
  • brian2007brian2007 Posts: 9
    action21 wrote:

    "I told him it was my call and if I'm wrong I'll buy another car but I doubt I'm wrong. I will post when I get car back -"
    ==========
    Any results to report yet?
  • brian2007brian2007 Posts: 9
    earl22 wrote:
    "Every summer I have IMA battery problems with my '07 Civic Hybrid. (Live in Fort Worth where summer highs are typically 95-100) Symptom is sudden discharge of IMA battery as indicated by white bars on the dash. (Actually sometimes I see a sudden charging of the battery...goes from 50% to 90% in matter of seconds!) Car can then hardly accelerate w/o assist. Car seldom has more than half a charge."
    =======
    Exactly same problem with my 2007 HCH. I bought it used at 20,000 miles and it ran great for the next 20,000 miles. Performance has been degrading ever since. In addition to the symptoms described by earl22, I have noticed that the charging system takes some "warm-up time" before engaging. I noticed this in the cold weather (well, cold for Austin, TX) this past winter, when I would have to drive 5-10 mins. before the system would begin charging, but it's even happening in summer weather, though it only takes a minute or 2 to begin working. Of course, no IMA during this warm-up period either.

    Had the dealer look at it recently and they found no problems, apart from the 4 software upgrades they applied. Those did absolutely nothing to alleviate the problem, and perhaps made it marginally worse.

    The tech at the dealership who is the hybrid "specialist" said he had a few other customers reporting similar issues, but there was no solution from Honda other than the software updates.

    Well, I'm going to start climbing the chain for complaints. . .
  • johnb46johnb46 Posts: 1
    I live in Dumas Arkansas and have a 2007 Civic Hybrid and have the same problem. Honda USA said until I get an error code I do not have a problem. The IMA battery will not charge when the temp is hot outside. Keep me informed. The Better Business Bureau said that I had the car too long for them to complain to Honda. What else can I do?
  • rosie2006rosie2006 Posts: 22
    Same runaround I got, nothing is going to happen until there is a big accident due to the inability to accelerate because of no ASSIST!
  • action21action21 Posts: 6
    By the time I got home the IMA and check engine light came back on. Car is charging and running fine. Found 2 places that will repair my IMA battery for anywhere from apx $800 - $1250 which is far better than the $2700 the dealer wants. One will even give a loaner battery. Lookup REVOLT. Waiting on a list because I want it all replaced and not just the bad cells - still running like a charm.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >I now have 150K and IMA light went on along with engine light.

    I wouldn't assume that you have the same problem this time. 150,000 miles is an average age for a Civic battery to go. Please have your codes read and post the error codes here. I'll be glad to help you diagnose it.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >Symptom is sudden discharge of IMA battery as indicated by white bars on the dash.

    That is a "negative recal" where the car has suddenly determined that the battery has less charge than it thought that it had.

    >Actually sometimes I see a sudden charging of the battery...goes from 50% to 90% in matter of seconds!

    That is a "positive recal" (which is much rarer) where the car determined that it either had more charge than it thought, or can not store as much as it thought it could.

    Occasional recals are normal and are a way to allow the car to cope with an aging battery, but frequent ones are an indication of a declining battery. Sometimes the battery levels back out and the recals stop. This is why Honda won't fix it until the car throws an error - because the battery isn't bad yet, just changing.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > The IMA battery will not charge when the temp is hot outside.

    John,

    Please try a test. The next time it isn't charging because it is hot, stop the car somewhere away from traffic (leave it running) and open the trunk and see if you can hear the fan running. It is located directly behind the right rear passenger.

    Let me know what you find.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >Found 2 places that will repair my IMA battery for anywhere from apx $800 - $1250 which is far better than the $2700 the dealer wants. One will even give a loaner battery. Lookup REVOLT. Waiting on a list because I want it all replaced and not just the bad cells.

    Disclaimer: I am affiliated with Hybrid-Battery-Repair.com

    You're mixing the offerings of the two companies

    Hybrid-Battery-Repair has those prices for repairs.
    Hybrid-Battery-Repair has free loaners. Hybrid-Revolt does not.
    Hybrid-Battery-Repair has a 1-2 week lead time for replacement batteries. Hybrid-Revolt has a longer lead time.

    Hybrid-Revolt fixes 2003-2005 Civics, 2000-2006 Insights and Toyota Priuses
    Hybrid-Battery-Repair fixes 2003-2010 Civics, 2000-2006 Insights, 2010 Insights, 2005-2007 Accords, but no Priuses

    I recommend that you research both companies before settling on one. Google both of them to find out what others are saying about the companies and their experience with them, not just what the companies say about themselves.

    Also, understand that ALL cells are used - there are no new ones anywhere. Replacing all the cells doesn't mean that you're getting better cells, just a balanced set. Replacing just the bad ones accomplishes the same results - often for less.
  • danielrdanielr Posts: 8
    Exact same issues for me here in Austin with my 2007 HCH. Rapid discharge for no reason, periods of no assist, and then rapid charging for no reason. This has increased in frequency over the last 6 months to now where it happens once or twice almost every time I am driving it. Same lack of a fix from the local dealer. Everyone has been nice and has tried hard but the problem remains. My MPG has dropped from a lifetime average of just over 40 down to mid to upper 30's. Basically I don't have a hybrid any more for stretches of time just a very underpowered Civic.

    I have a call into the Service Manager right now asking for a plan to resolve this issue.
  • chongminchongmin Posts: 5
    I have a 2009 HCH and I have exactly the same problem. It happens everyday in the winter. Coming into this hot summer the symptoms have getting worse. For two occasions the IMA battery showed no bar at all. It took a while for the car to recalibrate and recharge. The second time, which is this afternoon, I had no power assist or just one bar at 3500rpm even after the battery charged to 5 bars.
  • mainiaxmainiax Posts: 12
    I really enjoyed my 2007 Civic Hybrid for my first 27 months of ownership but then the SoC began dropping rapidly from a good charge to 1 or 2 bars. It would recover after 2 to 3 miles of driving with the same thing happening again a few miles down the road. This was not an occasional recal, it was happening numerous times a day. I think it happened every time I shut the engine off as it seemed to happen just a few miles after restarting the car. The mileage on the car was less then 8,000 when the problem began. When the SOC fell to 1 or 2 bars of charge I had NO assist and it would stay in this state for 2 to 3 miles while it was recharging making driving dangerous at times.
    About a week after I noticed the rapid drop of the SoC (dropping not because of using the stored energy for assist) the IMA and Check engine lights came on so I made an appointment for service which resulted in 3 software upgrades. The software did get the Check Engine and IMA error lights to turn off but it did not fix the frequent falling SoC. I returned for the problem a few days later and Honda America reported “with the recent software upgrade performed, it changes the way the battery is charged and how it is then distributed out. The computer is always evaluating state of charge”. The SoC was falling prior to the new software so the new software was not causing the problem or did it correct it.
    Put up with the problem for 2 months because I read the new software needs time to “ condition/ balance” the battery but it didn’t help me. The SoC would always drop when parked over night and unpredictably while driving so I returned to the dealer two more times for repair of the problem and both times Honda America reported “ The battery might be deteriorating but not sending codes or DTCs. Until stored DTC can be pulled indicating IMA battery needs replacing no replacement authorized by Honda at this time.” Honda America also reported once “The vehicle is currently operating as its designed specifications and Honda America is not authorizing the replacement of the IMA battery”. I never saw a recal during the first 2 ½ years of ownership but it must have occurred because it has to happen every now and then. I used the instrumentation while driving so my eyes were on the displays a lot. The 12 v battery was tested twice and both times found to be good. The 12v battery power reset correcting action was tried twice but the problem did not go away. My local Honda service dept did all they could to help me but could not replace the IMA battery without Honda’s authorization.
    Until the error lights/codes return, Honda America claims there is no problem so when I returned home from the last attempted service I filed a complaint with the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency reporting the Civic Hybrid becomes unsafe to operate when it loses assist. I also filed a complaint with Honda America but no help there. I then filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau Auto Line. Instructions are in your Consumers Information Manual. Call 800-955-5100 for application.
    After a lengthy process I went to a BBB Hearing and the decision came back in my favor, Honda had to REPURCHASE my vehicle under Lemon Law regulations! The arbitrator made the decision that the car met the requirement that it had a defect that substantially impairs its use, safety or value and was not repaired. (Honda would always say no problems found every time I took it in for repair. Honda America, not my local dealer)
    Honda had testified I did not drive the car enough, all things deteriorate, the battery was still within its operating range, there was no safety issue and hybrid technology is still evolving. Honda provided no evidence such as test results proving the car was operating without problems other than the service invoices for my attempted repairs indicating no error codes found. The Honda reps made verbal statements such as the IMA function was well within the remaining useful life of that system but did not back anything up with evidence. Honda’s attitude in my opinion was that we say there is nothing wrong with the car so there isn’t. No error codes or lights so there is no problem but remember Honda got the lights to go out with their software updates at the beginning of the problem. Who knows what the update did to the error thresholds.
    A condensed version of the arbitrator’s decision was: Honda did not inform the consumer that additional driving was necessary for the car to function properly. After 27 months the IMA system began to fail. It would not remain charged as it had previously resulting in dramatic and unpredictable fluctuations in charge and inadequate power to safely operate the car in all normal and foreseeable driving conditions and the failure of the car to perform as expected and required in its ordinary usage substantially impairs its safety. Because of the expected similar use of this car, replacement of the IMA is not a viable option.
    I drive 60 to 70 miles per week and the Honda’s only mention of vehicle use is in the manual under storage “ If this vehicle is unused for over one month, the service life of the 158v nickel metal hydride battery will be reduced and the battery may be permanently damaged” Also: “the car should be driven every month, if stored, for about 30 minutes. This will keep the IMA battery charged and in good condition”. My use more than met these requirements.
    I live in New England so heat is not the cause of the problem or is the cold because the car is parked in a heated garage. It does not sit in a hot/cold parking lot all day. Some of us just have defective hybrids and Honda will not officially acknowledge this although they do write new software trying to correct the “No Problem” rather than with a hardware fix. Recently read that Honda has released a software update that addresses the ‘no electric assist while at low SoC levels.’ The loss of assist was always my complaint when it went in for repair but Honda America always maintained I did not have a problem but here they are writing a solution to the very same problem I was complaining about!
    If you are having similar problems with your car and Honda refuses to do anything until error lights/codes appear/reappear then take action and file with the BBB or your State’s Lemon Law agency if you still have time remaining on your 3 year/36,000 mile warranty. It costs you nothing and you do not need an attorney. Just make sure you INSIST that your case goes to arbitration if Honda refuses to repair your car after your final notice to them. You may not be as fortunate as I was but I would think a replacement of the IMA is likely. Stress the safety issue of no assist and that the car’s operation has declined from the way it did when you purchased it, at time of purchase you were not informed that the system will deteriorate to a point of requiring frequent recalibrations of the SoC which causes the e
  • mainiaxmainiax Posts: 12
    (continuation, Message cut off) If you are having similar problems with your car and Honda refuses to do anything until error lights/codes appear/reappear then take action and file with the BBB or your State’s Lemon Law agency if you still have time remaining on your 3 year/36,000 mile warranty. It costs you nothing and you do not need an attorney. Just make sure you INSIST that your case goes to arbitration if Honda refuses to repair your car after your final notice to them. You may not be as fortunate as I was but I would think a replacement of the IMA is likely. Stress the safety issue of no assist and that the car’s operation has declined from the way it did when you purchased it, at time of purchase you were not informed that the system will deteriorate to a point of requiring frequent recalibrations of the SoC which causes the electric motor to cease functioning at random times, is still covered by the 3yr/36,000 mile warranty and repair has been denied numerous times.
    I’m not sure but I think the following documentation I had from my dealer was one of the key factors in my case. I had gone for service and on 3 separate visits, weeks apart and the technician(s) wrote something on the invoices that I have never seen mentioned on any forum. The notations regarded findings of SoC % and Useable charge %, numbers they found when putting the diagnostic test equipment on my car. Two of the tests showed SoC at 66% and one at 67% and for Useable the results were 11%, 13% and 16%. No one at the dealership could tell me what the numbers mean but I think it reveals something not so good for reasons I do not want to get into here. When you go in to have the frequent falling SoC ,resulting in NO ASSIST, problem corrected make sure the work invoice showing what was done shows the numbers I just mentioned because I really think they are important for your case if you take action. Another REALLY big help to me was a statement from the service manager stating he went for a drive with me and witnessed the SoC falling from a good charge to 1 bar, assist ceased working and auto stop stopped functioning. Getting this document may be a little difficult to obtain. (he doesn’t want to lose his job) Even though he witnessed and noted the problems he said that without Honda’s authorization he could not replace the IMA battery.
    It would bother me when I read posts knocking the Civic Hybrid when I was enjoying mine so much but then all of a sudden mine was not working properly and Honda refused to do anything other than the one time when they updated the software and always saying they find no problem. My State requires Honda to warranty the hybrid battery for 10 years or 150,000 miles and other hybrid components for 15 years/ 150,000 miles but here my car was still covered by the 3 year/ 36,000 mile bumper to bumper coverage and Honda refused to take action saying there is no problem making me wonder what would ever happen in the years to come. I was a little leery of purchasing a hybrid but with the warranty required by this State I felt I had good coverage but trying to collect on any coverage I guess is a different story. I feel the technology has not been time tested so my next vehicle will be a regular vehicle.
    I feel a class action suit regarding the frequent loss of assist has to be brought against Honda for all of you over the car’s initial 3 year warranty and still covered by the IMA warranty but how to go about it is beyond me. It is a serious safety issue for those of you with the problem. There was/is a class action suit against Honda because people were not getting the mpg as advertised by Honda but those numbers were EPA’s, not Honda’s and I actually sided with Honda’s on this suit. If a law firm took on a class action suit over the EPA numbers being used in Honda’s advertising then some firm should definitely take on the issue of the HCH-II safety issue regarding frequent no assist for miles and at unpredictable times. Those of you with time remaining on your 3/36,000 warranty should file with the BBB before your warranty expires.
    I know many of you have had no problems with their HCH-II but I did and Honda would not help me. I am not implying that all HCH-II cars are lemons but mine was and officially declared one. When mine was running properly it was a really nice car. All I wanted was for Honda to get my car back to the condition it was when I purchased it and how it operated for the first 27 months of ownership but Honda would not or maybe could not do so.
    I hope the time I have spent writing this helps someone. You should not be forced to drive a car that can and will put you in dangerous driving situations when you lose assist. Good luck.
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