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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems

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Comments

  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    I don't know what the climate is year round where you are, but hopefully the cooler fall weather will bring a little relief when the AC can be shut off. Once the car has less demands on it, the battery charge should stay higher and this behavior will go back to normal - hopefully.

    The problem is that if they release another patch to keep it more full, availability of assist will go up, but mpg will drop.

    EVIL THOUGHT: you can measure mpg, you can't measure assist availability. Therefore if the mpg goes back up, the mpg drop lawsuits go away...
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    edited August 2010
    I read that some of you had your IMA battery replaced or talk about replacing them with the warranty. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but it is a limited warranty. Honda prorates the battery depending how old it is. And if you owned the car 7 or 8 years deducting 10% of the cost of installing a new one is no bargain.
    I read on the Honda website that some states allow10 years for the warranty, like CA ,CT etc.
    I decided not to get the update and wait on the side line, I only have 9000 miles left on the overall warranty of the car, so I hope Honda faces the truth and fix the problem the proper way not patching it. I'm also disappointed with all this, I loved the car, I know now I won't buy another. :cry:
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    I said I would butt out from this discussion since I don't own one of these but I find your calm reasoned rebuttals of each and every one of the points owners here bring up concerning the lack of performance to be infuriating. To stand back and quote lb./hp. (power to weight) ratios and comparing them to a slew of other vehicles does not tell the whole story. This is NOT the "end all" of vehicle dynamics where performance is concerned. It seems your goal while driving would be maximum fuel economy and while achieving that (due to your adherence to all traffic laws, especially speed limits), you have the time to thoughtfully plan all of your moves a half mile ahead. Most of the driving world doesn't plan anything they just do it if they feel they have a 10% chance of getting away with it. So, your answer to all the owners here, and there are many, is "well, since you bought the car for economy you might as well Sl.....oooow down and thou shall have no safety issues because according to the power to weight chart your car is "in theory" faster that many"??? Oh brother!!!. Now, I'll try to go back to lurking. I just know you will have one of your calm point-by-point dissection sessions of my rather emotional reply.
  • grunn320grunn320 Posts: 16
    If I trade my HCH in because I can no longer stand to drive it, it sure as hell won't be at a Honda dealer or for another Honda. Reward them for screwing up your car??? I don't think so!!
  • action21action21 Posts: 6
    edited August 2010
    2004 Civic Hybrid: It's been about a month since both my IMA light and check engine light went on and the dealer quoted me $2700 for a rebuilt battery. Temps have remained in the upper 90s during the day (Kentucky). Battery still charging and uncharging as normal - no problems. Car is running strong as normal and has 155K miles on it. Battery Warranty was gone a long time ago. Anyway I believe in the Civics as a good solid car and have bought 3 of my sons Civics - just not hybrids. My fiance has owned 3 Honda Insights including a 2010. I believe I will probably not be buying another hybrid any time in the future but I have not ruled out a Honda. Although the VW Jetta TDI was a nice test ride. I have noticed over the years that many regular civics and corollas are getting about same mileage as my hybrid so not seeing any big difference on gas saving. YES I do have a lead foot and I'm not about to change that anytime soon. I guess I will wait till she dies and then use one of the 2 online places I found to send the hybrid battery into for repair and let you all know how that goes.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    Honda's warranty is 8 years/80,000 miles outside of CA. I'm uncertain about the warranty in NY and all the other CARB states, but in CA it is 10 years/150,000 miles. This is the warranty on the battery. If they replace the battery, the original warranty is still in effect. This means that if you bought the car in 2006, the warranty would run out in 2014 no matter if the battery had been replaced in 2008 or 2012 - or both.

    When I said "patch", it was a computer term for releasing a slightly changed version of a program that completely replaces the original one. It was not meant to mean that it was a patch-job or in any way shoddy. It is probably a small change or tweak to the thresholds in the code.

    As far as I know, future software updates will be free to you even out of warranty.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > To stand back and quote lb./hp. (power to weight) ratios and comparing them to a slew of other vehicles does not tell the whole story. This is NOT the "end all" of vehicle dynamics where performance is concerned.

    It is when you are talking about acceleration. All we were talking about was the safety of the car when the driver was suddenly presented with a no-assist condition. Underway, you won't even realize you didn't have assist. It is only when you are trying to accelerate (such as in the left turn we discussed). In that case power to weight is the only factor because gear ratios and tire diameters are approximately equal. The car with the best power-weight ratio will make the turn fastest.

    I'm only talking about the safety aspect. Not the enjoyment aspect.

    > It seems your goal while driving would be maximum fuel economy

    That is the reason that I bought and drive the car that I do. Maximum fuel economy without inconvenience. Wayne Gerdes personally taught me how to hypermile. I won't drive like that even though I can get 120 mpg. Why would you buy a Hybrid if maximum fuel economy isn't your goal?

    > and while achieving that (due to your adherence to all traffic laws, especially speed limits),

    Are you chiding me or making fun of me because I choose not to break the law? Carried to the extreme, that attitude implies "Go ahead son, the shopkeeper isn't looking, just take one piece of candy. He won't miss it."

    > you have the time to thoughtfully plan all of your moves a half mile ahead.

    Not meant as a criticism, but on the highway, you are supposed to be looking 20-30 seconds ahead, so yes, at highway speeds you should be observing what is going on half a mile ahead. You should not be tailgating and staring at the bumper of the person in front of you. You should maintain a proper following distance and watch what is going on up ahead because you'll be in it shortly.

    Whether you choose to do so or not is up to you. I'm less worried about someone rear-ending me on the highway because they were tailgating me (smaller closing speed-smaller impact) than some idiot cutting me off by turning left as I'm bearing down on him.

    >"well, since you bought the car for economy you might as well Sl.....oooow down and thou shall have no safety issues because according to the power to weight chart your car is "in theory" faster that many"???

    If you Sl....oooow down, your battery won't be empty and you won't have a no-assist condition. You'll also get great gas mileage, polute less, and it will only cost you a few minutes out of your day. And with a full battery, the car will be "in fact" MUCH faster than many.

    > I just know you will have one of your calm point-by-point dissection sessions of my rather emotional reply.

    Yes, why don't you try a less emotional reply next time and discuss things rationally.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >2004 Civic Hybrid: It's been about a month since both my IMA light and check engine light went on and the dealer quoted me $2700 for a rebuilt battery.

    That's a pretty good price. Usually it's about $3000. Most likely, you have a P1449 error, as a P1433 or P1447 don't usually light the CEL. You are probably losing about 5mpg due to the battery's inability to accept a charge (or at least all the charge that is fed to it). Keep an eye on the battery light/alternator light. As long as it stays off, it is safe to drive the car. If it lights up, you must fix the battery. If it lights up while you are away from home, do this: disconnect your 12V battery for 20 seconds and then reconnect it and drive straight home. The light will be back on soon, and when it is on, the 12V battery does not get charged.

    Your maximum range is about 20 miles with the light on.

    The 2003-2005 cars are not as affected by heat as the 2006-2010 are because the AC compressor is belt driven and does not present a drain on the battery.

    The software updates mentioned at length here do not apply to your car.
  • shonda3shonda3 Posts: 42
    Well said, sir.
  • Well, I didn't have a choice about the software update. My IMA light came on. I took to the dealer to investigate. They had it for six hours. Then I found out about the software change. My 2006 hybrid with 107k miles has been under performing every since. Auto-stop doesn't engage at a stop with full charge. No power assist trying to merge onto the freeway or to accelerate out of the carpool lane. The software is masking the battery failure to hold charges. Definetly unsafe. Also, do not believe your mpg reading. I went 10 miles at 70-75 mph with the ac on and it said I as averaging 45.7 mpg!!! Honda is trying to avoid replacing defective batteries under warranty by masking the problem wig a software change that seems to be recalibrating itself based on how much charge load the battery has at any given time. There no way the battery holds the same charge as before the software change!! We'regoing to be left with defective batteries that we have to replace on our dime. That's not fair business practice.
  • Well, I didn't have a choice about the software update. My IMA light came on. I took to the dealer to investigate. They had it for six hours. Then I found out about the software change. My 2006 hybrid with 107k miles has been under performing every since. Auto-stop doesn't engage at a stop with full charge. No power assist trying to merge onto the freeway or to accelerate out of the car pool lane. The software is masking the battery failure to hold charges. Definitely unsafe. Also, do not believe your mpg reading. I went 10 miles at 70-75 mph with the ac on and it said I as averaging 45.7 mpg!!! Honda is trying to avoid replacing defective batteries under warranty by masking the problem wig a software change that seems to be re calibrating itself based on how much charge load the battery has at any given time. There no way the battery holds the same charge as before the software change!! We're going to be left with defective batteries that we have to replace on our dime. That's not fair business practice.
  • pmzpmz Posts: 26
    Whether you ever buy another Honda is up to you. I shopped the HCH around to various dealers. The best price by far came from Honda - and they are well aware of this issue. I had no interest nor time to fight Honda for a new battery, class action suit, IHSTA complaints, etc. Everyone's situation is different.

    Good luck in your fight. I am enjoying my CR-V in this 95 degree CO weather!
  • I have had a few times this year with mt 2007 HCH2 with 45000 miles on it that the heat seemed to push down the battery power during hot stop and go driving. I am not ready for an update. I also am not yet a Honda hater. So for I have only found this forum with a hundred or so people mad, bad cars and ready for a lawsuit. That is out of the hundred of thousands of these cars sold. My thought is maybe this is not as wide spread as some think it is. I feel any car that is messed should be taken care of by Honda but does it need a class action for an answer. I done see any ambulance chasing lawyers contacting anyone. This car is the most trouble free car I have ever had. I see people praising VWs. Had a couple. Lots of repair bills Honda was just rated in the top five makes people planned on buying. not VW. If you are having problems maybe one should look past the TDI you might end up with another headache.
  • las2002las2002 Posts: 8
    Environment: Las Vegas Summer - every day well over 100 Deg F. with stop and go driving

    Since the recent software upgrade, mileage and performance continue to significantly improve. Mileage up from 38.0 pre-update to today over 43.0. Driving is 90% Las Vegas city with a lot of stop and go. I occasionally run-out of assist in heavy stop and go and usually in temperatures over 105 F. However, I have found that some assist is usually available even with 2 bars but you have to really push on the gas to get it.

    It seems that under really adverse conditions - very hot over 100-105 degrees F with stop and go driving - that any assist is non-linear relative to gas pedal movement. In other words, you really have to push on the pedal to see the assist (whereas, with more bars, assist is available with small pedal movements).

    If my 2008 Civic Hybrid with 23000 miles continues to get over 40 MPH in the Las Vegas summer, I find that very acceptable. The upgrade DEFINITELY SIGNIFICANTLY improved my fuel economy and overall performance,

    In the cooler weather coming in September, it can only get better. I too was VW'd and it was the worst nightmare I ever had with any car. Electrical, A/C, valve stem seals/high oil consumption, et al. You had to know where the electric fuel pump relay was under the dash - so when it didn't start - you could pull out the relay and tap it on the ground. This was on a NEW VW sold to me as a premium vehicle.

    I too find the CONCEPT of the TDI attractive - BUT after my VW nightmare and current assessments of reliability still very low by Consumers and almost all others - and still showing electrical problems, I'd be VERY cautious about VW's. Also, call VW and ask them if they machine brake rotors - they will tell you like BMW - NO they replace them. Makes for big bills for brake jobs - after the 3 year free maintenance (and during that period) very little maintenance is needed beyond oil changes.
  • shonda3shonda3 Posts: 42
    It' is not so much being burnt by Honda's bad engineering. It is the fact that Honda is cheating those who bought this product a second time by lying about the patches, telling the public that they drive with a heavy foot, etc. People who have spent $5,000.00 don't want to end up with a gimmicky car that doesn't do what it promised, and then, on top of that, be told that there is nothing wrong with their car, that it is normal to see a 30% drop in mileage, and poor performance. It is far more widespread than this post lets on. ALL the batteries are disintegrating.
  • grunn320grunn320 Posts: 16
    I agree with you 100%
  • I have been reviewing this thread, (and many others), for the past month since I began having trouble with my car. I have owned this car for three years, and I have 84,000 miles. For the first 2 yrs, I consistently got 40-45 mpg. About one month ago, I started seeing the mpg drop. I am now down to 27-30 mpg. There is little to no assist in the afternoons. The IMA battery has very little charge. I could go on and on, but it has been covered so many times here. I got it appraised at one dealership, and received a really low offer. I don't really want to go to Honda to try to get rid of the car, but I don't want to take too big of a loss. I want out of the car, but the whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth, and I don't want to continue to pay for this car in a new loan. I purchased this vehicle with faith in Honda and with the fuzzy feeling that I was doing something great for the environment, and great for my wallet. Now, I have a car that is unsafe, not what I paid an extra $5,000 for, and a manufacturer that doesn't want to own up to its mistakes. Just wanted to see if anyone has gotten a decent trade in offer.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    Regarding the mpg changing: AFAIK, the update only affects the MDM (aka MCM) which is the IMA computer. The mpg display is controlled by the ECM (body computer) which is where the fuel flow and speed measurement data comes into. This means that the MDM does not tell the ECM what the mpg is, and therefore the battery update can't fake out the mpg display.

    Therefore something else must be affecting it. Here are some possibilities:
    1. They applied an ECM update as well that changed the mpg display
    2. They added air to your tires
    3. By resetting your IMA system, the car is not spending a huge amount of fuel vainly trying to charge the battery and therefore you are getting better mileage
    4. The new programming is causing you to drive more economically and you don't realize it.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > It is far more widespread than this post lets on. ALL the batteries are disintegrating.

    I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. In the past six months, I've seen 2 2006, 8 2005, 25 or so 2004 and about 75 2003 Civics. The distribution on the 2003-2005 civics is base on them exceeding 84,000 miles and obviously older cars have more miles, but most of the cars are at 120,000 -160,000 miles (including the 2006 cars). If the problems were extremely widespread, then there would be more 2006 cars than the earlier model (2003-2005) and if the earlier model were having widespread problems, then they would be coming in with 90,000 or 100,000 miles. I really feel that the battery failure rate is about the same across the years. In addition, most of the cars were on their original batteries.

    This has nothing to do with customer dissatisfaction with the software updates, just the longevity of the batteries.

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

    Most of the people who are here on this forum are here because they are having a problem. It isn't a representative sample.
  • dgiff52dgiff52 Posts: 1
    I have been lurking on this board for several weeks now, reading each and every person's unique experiences with the IMA situation. I thought I'd throw in what I'm seeing as well.

    I bought a 2007 Civic Hybrid new just about three years and one month ago. I have run the puppy in the Phoenix heat ever since, putting 39,000 miles onto it so far. The car got about 42 MPG in the winter and about 40 MPG in the summer. I usually attempted to keep the the gas mileage up in the summer by limiting my A/C demand, with occasional body sweat consequences, but nothing too uncomfortable.

    However, it wasn't until about three months ago that I really noticed a problem. At first it was just that the MPG for entire tanks had dropped to about 37. The reason for this became more and more apparent every day. Each morning I would start my car after it had been unused for between eight and fourteen hours. The battery indicator would imply decent strength, about five or six bars. But after about twenty seconds, it would drop to one or two. The car would then barely assist me in getting onto a 65 MPH freeway that is right next to my house, an issue that has become more severe each day, as I get NO assist by the time I'm on the on-ramp. From research online, apparently this is known as a recalibration, and I began seeing it every time my car was off for more than about five hours.

    I took the car in once the recall letter arrived. I let the tech know that I was seeing a major MPG drop, and that I was having issues with the IMA battery recalibrating to effectively no bars every morning. They repeated the party line - "The software update should fix everything." Also, they had me pay to purchase a new 12V battery, as they said it was very weak and could be a contributing factor to the issues.

    I'm about 450 miles past the software update. My MPG is now at a measly 32 MPG, and this as I am literally driving it like a grandma now, something I never had to do to achieve 40-42 MPG just six months ago. From my observation of the battery gauge and how it affects the assist and the auto-stop, I have my own theory on why this so-called software fix could actually be helping some people and plain killing the rest of us. I'm sure others have considered the same thing. This software fix does NOT do anything to repair depleted batteries. It just finds clever ways to use the battery less, especially when the charge is low. Well, what about those of us whose batteries are probably over 50% "damaged", "unchargeable", whatever the term?

    What I'm seeing on my battery gauge is as follows: it rarely goes above four bars. When it does, it usually jumps from five bars to a full bar reading in a ten second period. The full bars dive back to five bars in the same period of time when assist is required. I don't have any inside info on this, but I'm just thinking this could be related to some of my cells being damaged, unable to truly be charged, etc. So what I'm left with is a car that is usually around three to four bars. The new software update effectively prevents my car, in it's most common charge state, from providing much IMA assist. Auto-stops are at this point a non-occurrence. My IMA assist onto the freeway is even worse now, as I am usually less than four bars when I enter the on-ramp.

    I can imagine that the software update could provide people with decent batteries an improvement, because their batteries could possibly hold legitimate charges above a few bars. But what about the batteries that are MOSTLY damaged? Honda refuses to replace these batteries unless they are basically fully dead? What if they only have 20% capacity? The new software update renders them useless at that point. The MPG is now atrocious relative to the advertised fuel economy, and the pick-up power is that of a bicycle. It almost makes a person want to figure out how to just kill the rest of the cells so the damned battery finally reports itself DOA. Honda doesn't want to take responsibility for their warranty, so they are keeping the batteries from completely dying. Great. Easy to do. Stop allowing it's use past a certain capacity threshold.

    Battery technology has always been the worst moving technologies in the electronic era. Laptop batteries have only improved to keep up with a 3-5 hour charge for most portable computers over the last 20 years. I guess I was stupid to think that these hybrid batteries would be much better. However, I'm trying to find out if there is a significant problem on the other hybrid cars, such as the Prius. I can't find as much chatter online about Toyota's hybrids. So why is Honda having a more common problem?

    Finally, how the hell are we all going to figure out how to make Honda live up to their warranty? Do we have a chance, or do we have to just cope with driving a transitional technology that will be [hopefully] forgotten in ten year's time?
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