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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems

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Comments

  • shonda3shonda3 Posts: 42
    Those were YOUR words. Look up the thread a piece and read 'em.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > Doesn't the computer takes over and override the procedure.

    No the reason for the 3500 rpm is that above 3000 rpm, the dc-dc converter (the "alternator") is shut down. While the dc-dc converter is running, there is a parasitic power draw that makes it hard for the car to accurately test the capacity of the battery. By raising the rpm, you remove that draw temporarily.

    > I'm wondering if I should hold on the update and see what happens. My wife did mentioned that the bars dropped down to one once at the traffic stop.

    I think you should hold off. The updates will change how the car acts and until you have a better feel for how full your battery normally is, you won't know if the changes will negatively affect you. Mostly highway drivers like yourself often come to see me with 160,000+ miles before a problem. Some come in with 250,000 or even 300,000 miles.

    The recal that your wife saw is not a problem. It is normal to recal once or twice a year.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    edited August 2010
    I said that all the batteries were degrading. I also said that on average across all the Honda hybrids they are lasting an average of 7 years for those cars that are driven daily. I did not imply that they are all failing, but rather that they all eventually will fail (ie they will wear out).

    I don't see the 2006 batteries as having any more or less problems than the earlier years. Your post implied that the 2006 batteries were all failing at an alarming rate. I was just answering that I don't think it's that high a rate. Parts on cars break. That's normal. Having them break while within their warranty period (aka their minimum acceptable lifespan) also happens. That's why there are warranties. When it happens a lot, it is a problem that shows that something is wrong. With an average life of 7 years, there is obviously something wrong, but we don't know what the life will be with these software changes. Honda is stating that the updates are designed to improve the lifespan of the batteries. The reason that your statement is a problem is that none of the gen2 cars is more than 4 years old.

    I don't know for certain why the mostly-highway car's batteries seem to last longer than the city-only cars. Because I see mostly cars that have more than 12,000 miles per year (I don't see the ones with less because they are still under warranty), I can't draw any firm conclusions, but I'm starting to see 2000 Insights that are beyond their 10 years.

    I THINK it's because the batteries are more full. Why this matters isn't clear yet. Maybe the batteries are getting less use (although I've seen 180K packs that get lots of use) or maybe it's just them being parked full (so that they don't unbalance as much before they're driven again).

    The average (and i strictly mean some more, some less) driver is not seeing problems until the car is 7 years old. Possibly these updates will change that number for the 2006+ cars.

    I do NOT have a vested interest in this. I'd rather the batteries lasted longer and people were happier with their cars. They will eventually need service and I'll see them then. I turn away a couple people per week because they didn't realize they were under warranty or because I give them tips on how to get another year or so out of their batteries. Why? Because I don't cheat people and they will turn to me for help later instead of a competitor, and they'll also recommend me to friends.
  • grunn320grunn320 Posts: 16
    I admire your business approach. Customer service is not what it used to be. I live in a small town (9000 pop) where you would think repeat business is a must to survive. My experience here is that service business owners think they're doing you a favor and some are even arrogant and argumentative. I guess it's because the closest competition, a bigger city, is 25 miles away. People with your philosophy will retain loyal repeat customers.
  • grunn320grunn320 Posts: 16
    Your IMA battery problem is almost exactly like mine. My batteries may not have deteriorated to the level of yours yet, but are getting worse. I also have a 2007 HCH with 39000 miles.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    Thanks for the info.Ogre
    Now after reading the messages these last few days and paying more attention to the car battery performance, I have come to the conclusion that my 06 71000 miles HCH IMA works the way it should. Close to full battery bars when parked all night, 6 or 7 assist bars when passing on highways or whenever climbing inclines.. Never drops below 5 or 6 bars battery bars. It's working perfect.
    Like I mentioned earlier the battery charge bars only dropped to one once at a light. We do mostly highway driving , parked in garage every night, /north East weather conditions.My wife babies the battery, she will turn the ignition off when parking if the idle mode is on , so not the restart the engine before shifting into park. In a way it's a crazy thing Honda designed, you come to a stop to park, the engine stops in idle mode then as soon as you put the shifter in park it restart then you have to turn the ignition key off to stop the engine again. Kind of crazy and wasteful.
    9000 miles to go before the end of my bumper to bumper warranty expires, i will keep a close eye on the car and this forum. i think most HCH owners do not know if the car has a problem and most don't come to this forum, so I would think the people on this forum have a legitimate concern and complaint, if nobody complains no one listen.
    Thanks everyone.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    Same here. Not quite as bad, but getting there. I have a 2006 with 92K miles, which means I have no warranty left. Not sure what to do.
  • gregr2gregr2 Posts: 14
    as I have stated previously, my problem has been very similar except mine started a lot sooner. Bought a brand-new 2009 hybrid and after 2000 miles my battery light came on. Into the dealer, software upgrades, drove another 2000 miles and light came on again. I was told the battery was "no good". Battery replaced. When I first bought the car, before the first problem I was getting 44-46 mpg. Now I'm getting 36-37 mpg. Not driving any different. My battery is never fully charged according to the indicator. Don't get the assist that I used to. I am selling this car before it gets worse. as I have seen by multiple posts, this has been a problem with these batteries for years and Honda has not come up with a solution yet.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    edited August 2010
    I hope it will get somewhere
    LA Times article

    Officials of the powerful California Air Resources Board are concerned that a battery management system software fix Honda has engineered to increase battery life also reduces fuel economy and might increase the cars' tailpipe emissions, potentially violating state clean air standards.
  • shonda3shonda3 Posts: 42
    Great post. Thanks for the link. You can p*ss off the customer, but don't scr*w with CARR.
  • shonda3shonda3 Posts: 42
    For the $5,000.00 extra paid for this vehicle, I did not expect to get the fast shuffle. I did not expect my mileage to decrease by over 12 miles per gallon. I did not expect the performance of the vehicle to deteriorate to an unacceptable level. I did not expect Honda to protect their own arses over customer satisfaction. But Honda did expect to do just these things. They knew these batteries were bad almost from the get go. And they certainly know about the problems now. Let's hope the California Attorney General is not on the Honda payroll and will start a recall of these timebombs.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    edited August 2010
    > For the $5,000.00 extra paid for this vehicle, I did not expect to get the fast shuffle. I did not expect my mileage to decrease by over 12 miles per gallon. I did not expect the performance of the vehicle to deteriorate to an unacceptable level.

    I agree with you 100%.

    > They knew these batteries were bad almost from the get go.

    I think the problems started to become evident around 2005 and they've been trying to find a solution for them ever since. Remember that any car manufacturer has a few years lead time. It took them two years (2000-2001) to determine that the Insight actually worked and what to change about it for the Civic. Simple things like: redesign the battery module to change the 3 hour Insight battery removal to the 30 minute Civic removal, redesign things to take less space and less fans (saves money), making the IMA computers reprogrammable, etc. By the 2006 model year they had determined that MT drivers were a lot harder on the batteries, so they eliminated all manual transmissons (which also eliminated the "lean-burn" models).

    They made major revisions in the battery module itself for 2006. They made it more powerful by adding 10% more cells, they made it smaller by inteleaving the sticks, lighter by trimming the housing and cheaper by eliminating unnecessary sensors.

    They changed the car by adding electric to the AC compressor so that you'd be more likely to leave it in ECON mode. The Gen-I cars get hot quickly when stopped at a light, so many people leave the AC on AUTO and the car never auto-stops. They added a PTZEV mode which (in addition to helping their CAFE) gives better performance and qualifies the car for rebates, special programs, etc.

    They started issuing updates to the Insight software in 2006 to address battery longevity and extended the warranties in all 2000-2004 Insights (SB 06-026, 06-027, 06-057) to 10 years/150,000 miles nationwide. Prior to that time, all the language of the bulletins treats battery failures as a normal "sometimes parts break" event.

    I don't think they had time to switch gears. For the new 2010 Insight they moved to a battery with far fewer cells (84 cells vs 120 in the Gen-I and 132 in the Gen-II). The reduced number of cells will DEFINITELY eliminate a large percentage of the imbalance problems. It isn't a solution for every car because it also reduces the capacity of the battery pack. The Insight is much lighter, so they were able to get away with it, but it would never work in the Civic. The Prius has a pack twice the size of the Civic, but it sections the battery into four pieces, so each 1/4 is similar in size to the Gen-II Insight.

    > And they certainly know about the problems now.

    Oh yeah.

    You have a Gen-II that started performing poorly after updates, right? And you haven't applied the latest updates because you're afraid they'll make the car worse, right?

    I'll make you a deal (assuming you're in the US). Get the latest update. Evaluate it for a week and give it an honest chance (while paying attention to the SOC gauge, etc.)

    If there is no change - fine you've lost nothing.

    If your battery improves or performance improves or both, tell us here.

    If either your battery gets worse (give it at least 2 weeks to settle down) or your performance gets worse (give us an honest accounting of SOC vs performance, etc), tell us and I'll give you a replacement IMA computer (MDM) that has never been updated (I think). It hasn't been in a car since before 2008, so it shouldn't have any of the nasty updates. I'll also give you instructions on how to install it. You just pay the UPS shipping ($10-$15). Save the old computer in case you ever have to take the car back in. You can reinstall it.

    Deal?
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    edited August 2010
    > I admire your business approach.

    Thank you. I believe in "what goes around, comes around".

    > People with your philosophy will retain loyal repeat customers.

    That's the goal - sort of. I don't want them to have to repeat a battery repair - at least not on the same car. ;) I just want them to refer friends to me.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > I have come to the conclusion that my 06 71000 miles HCH IMA works the way it should.

    I think that your driving habits (commute, etc) do not put your battery at risk and therefore you will not gain much from the updates and might actually lose quite a bit. I expect that you will get 120,000-160,000 miles or more without any trouble.

    I recommend that you do NOT get the updates. In 9,000 miles, wave goodbye to the dealership.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    edited August 2010
    Thanks
    If my wife gets 120k to 160k on the IMA I should consider myself satisfied.
    The dealer ship has only seen me once since I bought the car new, I do all my oil changes including the tranny myself. Back in 07 my oxygen sensor died and it was the first and last time I brought the car to them.
    I feel bad for the other owners, HCH owners are dedicated to their cars.
    I think Honda has our full attention at this moment. They will fix the problem, they have too.
    My 13 year old full size Chevy Express van has given me 90k of trouble free miles all across the USA, only the driver side window electric crank motor had to be replaced, nothing else not even a bulb or fuse replacement. I hope to get the same with my wife's Honda
  • mainiaxmainiax Posts: 12
    ogre gev

    >Now yes, they are all deteriorating, but MOST are taking more than 120,000 miles to do so.

    Have you read post #502 with the link to the LA Times regarding the Honda Civic battery issues and software update?

    According to the article, Honda has swapped out more than 4% of the batteries in the 2006-08 Civic Hybrids in Calif, exceeding the California Air Resources Board's threshold for acceptable failure. Nationwide replacements is proprietary info.

    A deteriorated or deteriorating IMA battery is bad news for the HCH-II owner and Honda only replaces "dead" batteries so maybe many owners are getting 120,000 miles on their original battery but the car's performance is far from what it was when new.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > Have you read post #502 with the link to the LA Times regarding the Honda Civic battery issues and software update?

    Yes. I was interviewed for it. Much of it is based on this thread.

    > According to the article, Honda has swapped out more than 4% of the batteries in the 2006-08 Civic Hybrids in Calif, exceeding the California Air Resources Board's threshold for acceptable failure. Nationwide replacements is proprietary info.

    It would be a safe assumption that the number would be about the same even though the rest of the country has less of a warranty. California's climate mimics most of the entire rest of the country so the distribution should be about the same.

    If there are 300,000 per year, then that is 36,000 batteries. 4% is high. It isn't ALL of them, but it is high.

    > A deteriorated or deteriorating IMA battery is bad news for the HCH-II owner and Honda only replaces "dead" batteries so maybe many owners are getting 120,000 miles on their original battery but the car's performance is far from what it was when new.

    Maybe, maybe not. Typically, batteries only show deterioration just prior to failure. The performance of a car with 20% capacity is identical to one with 100% - just for a shorter period of time. A 100% battery should provide 6 minutes of 20 bar assist and a 20% battery should give about a minute. If you are consuming power in 10 second increments, you won't see the difference. Assuming it is just weak, you won't even see an mpg drop because charging up x amount of power takes the same gas no matter how much the battery holds.

    The performance issues here are strictly caused by changes to the software. The performance of the cars that are experiencing recals (sudden drops in the battery charge) is a pre-failure condition. The heartening thing is that at least one person here had the recals go away (the battery got better) with the latest update.
  • chicarockachicarocka Posts: 1
    edited August 2010
    Hello all...
    I have a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid with a manual transmissionthat has been a fine vehicle with 130,000 miles on it. I been everywhere man..so probably around the 120K mile mark I noticed the check engine light came on and stayed on. Now the check engine light had come on before but that was only because the gas cap needed to be screwed on tighter. This time the check engine light came on and the IMA light came on with it. I took the car in at 125K miles for an oil change and got the check engine light checked out.

    The dealer told me my IMA battery was deteriorating but that is all they could say. They couldn't tell me how much it had deteriorated or how much life the IMA had left in it. They could tell me that the repair costs $3000 and they had not seen alot of civic hybrids with this issue. That raised concerns immediately and I figured they didn't know what they are talking about.

    Now at 130K I have noticed I can't really run my AC while driving because the IMA battery power is zapped. The battery runs out of power quickly. But it still charges up to full accept if the AC is running then the car is very slow and does not have much pickup. I just finished paying the car off and really don't want to spend $3000 to have this repaired by the dealer. Is there a way to find out what percentage of the battery is deteriorated, or if particular battery sticks are worn out and only need replacing, a place online that I can order an IMA battery and have it installed by someone. Also is there a way to install a new IMA battery yourself. My fuel economy is around the same about 42 mpg.

    Now this car is 5 years old and it is disappointing that I have to go through this. A hybrid isn't very much a hybrid without the battery now is it. Any help or explanation you all can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. :sick:
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    The dealer should have told you your error codes. You can find them out for free at your local Autozone.

    > Is there a way to find out what percentage of the battery is deteriorated,
    Not without knowing what code you are getting, but it is likely to be below 10% of it's original capacity based on your description.

    > or if particular battery sticks are worn out and only need replacing,
    They aren't exactly user serviceable and determining which ones are bad is a major undertaking.

    > a place online that I can order an IMA battery and have it installed by someone.

    Please contact me privately by email.

    > Also is there a way to install a new IMA battery yourself.

    Yes, it's easy. Please contact me privately for instructions.
  • After a month of problems, with no IMA light, Honda IS replacing my battery. I have 58,000 miles on my car, and I experience re-cals on my morning & evening commute. My gas milage has gone from the 42-45 range to the 35-38 range.

    I hope the new battery fixes my problems. Tips to get Honda to honor their warrenty:
    1) if you have been in an unsafe situation due to sudden lose of acceleration, file a complaint with the NHSTA. When you bring your car in to the service center, bring in a copy of your complaint.
    2) Keep a journal of everytime you have an issue with the IMA. Mine was about 2 weeks long with daily or twice daily entries.
    3) Try their software updates. I don't think they would have gone for the battery replacement had I not done this.
    4) Keep up with journal entries after software updates
    5) Request that they test the car to tell you the actual capacity of your battery. Tell them thumbs up / thumbs down is not enough when you have all this other evidence. You need a number. THEY CAN DO THIS TEST. It took me leaving my car for 3 days as they tested it at various conditions, like cold start.

    After this, I got a new battery, even though they said my battery was still at 30% of original capacity. My theory is that between 30% and my journal entries, they new an arbitrator would not side with them. They may have also realized that my battery was not going to make it 22,000 more miles until the warrent ran out, so why fight it.

    I will re-post in a few weeks if the new battery has or has not resolved my issues.
  • jcihakjcihak Posts: 60
    I've been logging my mileage out of curiosity and then out of concern.

    2009 Civic hybrid, 50 mile mostly rural per day in SE Pennsylvania.

    I average 43 MPG mid winter to 48 mid summer (with AC). My lifetime average is 47 mpg (measured at the pump) since March 2009.

    At 26,500 miles and I see no degradation.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I am having the exact same experience. However, I am over the milage warranty so I suppose I am on my own. I am not inclined to spend over $3K to fix it. Any suggestions?
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > I am having the exact same experience. However, I am over the milage warranty so I suppose I am on my own. I am not inclined to spend over $3K to fix it. Any suggestions?

    Use google to find someone to repair the battery? It costs far less than a dealer.
  • shonda3shonda3 Posts: 42
    I wish to thank you for your kind offer. However, I have decided never to return to Honda unless I am 100% sure that the IMA is dead dead. Until then, I will drive the thing until it's about seven years old and then get rid of it. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Once again, thanks.
  • We bought a used 2007 HCH about a week ago and the performance has not been bad. The dealer installed the software update before we took the car. So far, I have only driven it for a 35 mile commute, which is about 20 miles of city driving and 15 miles of highway driving. I get about 38 mpg on average, with better mileage coming in the city. I am generally running the A/C on auto at 74. The IMA battery charge tends to stay between 4 and 6. Once, it went down to 2. And one morning it started low (around 3). Otherwise, it has started at 4 or more. The IMA battery indicates that it is being recharged quite often -- at any traffic light, and any time I let up on the gas. Granted, it has not been stifling hot here, but it was 85 and humid the other day, and performance did not seem to suffer.

    In addition, the acceleration has been ok. I find that putting the car in "S" drive mode helps a lot when I get on the highway. If I do that, I have no problem getting up to 60-65 mph quickly.

    The price for the car was pretty much the same as what the dealer wanted for a 2007 Civic EX. I figure that, even if the car doesn't get the 45+ mpg people expect, we are still doing pretty well if we get 38 mpg.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    edited August 2010
    I have a 2006 and without trying I get 43 mpg, if i do all highway drive and use the cruise control the car will reach 51 to 52mpg. Between New haven ct and Biddeford Maine and back on 10 gallons exactly.That's over 500 miles. I got rid of the Dunlop tires since for better handling tires on wet and snow and gave up about 3 to 5 mpg but it was worth it.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    I answered my own question, I was reading about the 12V battery warranty on my warranty papers from the glove compartment. You'd think they would mention the IMA pack in the document when you buy the car
    I found the Honda press release regarding the IMA battery warranty, no mention of pro rates there. So I'm covered for 10 years or 150 k in CT.
    I'm not going to sweat it and sit that one out. No update for me unless the pack fails and give me the dreaded IMA light then I'll get them to replace it. It takes two to tango.

    Accord Hybrid**, Civic Hybrid**, Insight

    * Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty (Years/miles)= 3years, 36,000 miles
    * Powertrain Warranty = 5 years, 60,000 miles
    * IMA Battery Warranty (Years/miles)= 8 /80,000,
    o AT-PZEV**(CA, NY, ME, VT, MA, CT): 10/150,000
  • We bought a used Civic Hybrid that was originally purchased in MA, owned in CT, bought by a MA Honda dealer and re-sold to us. Since both MA and CT have 10/150K warranties, am I right to assume that the IMA battey will have a 10/150K warranty for us as well.
  • mainiaxmainiax Posts: 12
    mabecane

    You may have your original warrranty coverage still available and feel comfortable with the 10 yr/150,000 miles IMA warranty but just remember who has to make the warranties good, HONDA. If you do not have an error code set then Honda will say the vehicle is not broken and will do nothing. When you do get the IMA and Check Engine lights on for the first time, Honda will update the software and the lights WILL go out but who knows what that software changed. Could be it has changed (lowered) the thresholds for the IMA error codes making it impossible to ever come on again. Hopefully if it happens to you the update will solve your problems but it didn't mine.

    I have posted here before about my IMA and Engine lights coming on and Honda did the software update but the problem DID NOT go away. I solved the problem by going through the Better Business Bureau Auto Line arbitration process and the decision was my 07 HCH-II was a lemon and Honda had to repurchase it from me.
  • There was an article in the Tribune papers this week (2010-08-18) about this problem. It was written by Ken Bensinger.

    Fix for Civic Hybrids' dying batteries may hurt gas mileage, acceleration
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