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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems

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  • 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
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    >Use google to find someone to repair the battery? It costs far less than a dealer.

    These people seem to be far and few between. I found one in New York and one in Arizona. Then you have the problem of car downtime, even though one offers to ship you an under par loaner while yours is being re-conditioned. I can get one from Ebay for about $600 with a six month warranty and have it installed myself. These come from wrecked cars with relatively low mileage. Wonder if Honda would ever cover replacement up to say a 100K miles. I'm well within the time with my 06, but over the 80K.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    Oh you're a hypermiler taught personally by the "king" of such irresponsible driving. That explains everything ( i.e.your unhurried approach to every day driving) then. I'm sure you apply many of these principles in your every day driving even if you do not take it to the extreme. Quite a few are simply dangerous. Yes, there are others that are not, I'm sure but the concept of hypermiling is irrevelent to most owners. I'm sure people drive these for fuel economy but are unwilling to give up safe and unstressful travel to do so..it still is a people moving module just like any other and owners expect it act like one.
    Am I chiding you for not breaking the law? Nope...you are probably one of the couple of hundred in the country who at least admits to doing everything right but my argument is and always has been about avoiding the dimwits who insist in doing everything wrong and trying to get out of their way when they do the stupid crap they invariably do. Stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time with not enough power to do anything about it. In spite of your insistance to the contrary virtually every post and report I have read the two main complaints in this debacle are 1) decreased fuel economy and 2) loss of power which reduces the vehicle performance from adequate to unsafe. Ask any of those who posted here, I guess you don't have to they already commented about just that time and time again.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    edited August 2010
    The reason I'm comfortable in knowing I have over 4/12 more years in the battery warranty is that the battery will more likely fail by then, and I will be covered. At the rate we are driving the car will have over 140k by 2015, and let's face it the IMA battery will fail, it does on other ones with less mileage. We can only baby the battery so far eventually it will give us problems, then we will get the update (before 2013 when the update expires) or by then Honda will have the problem resolved.. a new battery installed or a class action suite that is likely to come out of all this .. a new battery installed
    There's a problem with the IMA battery that's why we have these discussions.
    I don't see Honda coming up with an other more battery restricting update, the recent one was a shot in the foot for the company, making the battery even less responsive would be suicidal.
    I'm just in a better position than most, I want to keep the car. I like it.
    Honda has the watch and I have the time. ;)
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > Could be it has changed (lowered) the thresholds for the IMA error codes making it impossible to ever come on again.

    This isn't really all that possible. There are many different battery conditions that will cause an IMA light. Almost all of them will get progressively worse if you continue to use the car and the rate of deterioration accelerates as it gets worse, so lowering the thresholds would simply delay the light.

    Some conditions can be corrected by conditioning the battery. From what some people here are saying, it sounds like that is happening in some cases and that would be directly attributed to how the new software is making the car use the battery.

    The IMA light will go out initially because the dealre will reset the system. Until the car has tested the battery, no light will be illuminated. Some errors will come right back on (and for those errors, the dealer replaces the battery first instead of trying the software fix), but others can take a few days or a week.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > I can get one from Ebay for about $600 with a six month warranty and have it installed myself.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. I have recorded more than 25 cases of cars that have sat for 90 days or more due to storage or collision or whatever. In every case, the battery has died 9 months after the car is put back into use. A junkyard pack is no different. The time between the wreck and the salvage auction is at least 45 days and junkyards are notorious about lieing about the arrival date of a car. It could have 3 feet of grass growing through the car and they'll say that it arrived last week. In short, unless you at least recondition the battery, it will die in about 9 months - just after the 6 month warranty runs out.

    As the batteries are used, the self-discharge rate for each cell changes (how rapidly the cell loses it's charge while it sits unused). They don't all change in lockstep with each other. Some will drop faster than others. Once the battery has sat for a while, the cells are at widely different charge levels. Once you start to use the battery, the more full ones never get discharged and the less full ones never get fully charged. This causes the battery to work the lower ones far more than the full ones. This amplifies the discharge rate issue and every time you park the car, the cells get further apart. After about 9 months the battery tears itself apart and you wind up with (in a 2005+ vehicle) a P0A7F error and an IMA light.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > Oh you're a hypermiler taught personally by the "king" of such irresponsible driving. That explains everything ( i.e.your unhurried approach to every day driving) then.

    No, I am not a hypermiler. I was taught how to hypermile but I do not drive like that unless I am in a mileage race. I simply drive the speed limits on the highway and avoid full throttle acceleration. Basically, I drive with traffic in the right lane most of the time.

    Most hypermiling techniques are dangerous (pulse and glide, excessively low speed, rolling through stops, drafting, etc.). I don't recommend them on public streets with traffic.

    > I'm sure but the concept of hypermiling is irrevelent to most owners. I'm sure people drive these for fuel economy but are unwilling to give up safe and unstressful travel to do so

    But driving the slow lane doesn't have to be stressful. Just leave enough room for the total idiots (you know-the ones that swerve across three lanes of traffic) to get around you. Most other drivers that are in a hurry will simply pass you just as you will pass someone who is going 5-10 mph lower than you.

    > but my argument is and always has been about avoiding the dimwits who insist in doing everything wrong and trying to get out of their way when they do the stupid crap they invariably do. Stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time with not enough power to do anything about it.

    But my argument is that if you are driving defensively, then the car at its weakest is still much more responsive than other cars are at their best. So how is that unsafe if those other cars are not considered unsafe?

    When I was in college, I was rear-ended by someone as I waited to make a left turn. I didn't see her coming. Her 1983 Grand Fury hit my 1971 Charger at about 40 mph and shoved me into oncoming traffic. The fact that I had a 7.2 liter, 8 cylinder engine in the car made no difference. If it had the available straight six, the outcome would have been no different. What saved me was that I had not turned the steering wheel yet. If I had, she would have spun me into the oncoming lanes and I would have blocked three lanes instead of the one that I wound up in.

    All I'm saying is that if the car doesn't have enough enough power (at its' weakest) for an emergency maneuver, then I think you are cutting it too close, because it has the same emergency level of power as the other vehicles that I mentioned (like the Prius).
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > I don't see Honda coming up with an other more battery restricting update, the recent one was a shot in the foot for the company, making the battery even less responsive would be suicidal.

    I've been getting the impression that the latest one is a big step down from original but a step up from the earlier ones. Some of the people getting it had previous updates and others did not.

    I just talked to a gentleman in Florida with a 2006. He had an intermittant IMA light and took it in for this update about 3 weeks ago. He said that it seemed to get a little better but then stopped improving. His IMA light isn't coming on any more, but he is still recal-ing every morning when he starts the car (this is a cell self discharge issue). It is still better than it was, but it isn't all better. He had had the earlier updates and found no difference in power, just that the battery gauge only drops to 2 now instead of 1 as before.
  • mainiaxmainiax Posts: 12
    ogre GEV

    >Some conditions can be corrected by conditioning the battery. From what some people here are saying, it sounds like that is happening in some cases and that would be directly attributed to how the new software is making the car use the battery.

    I went back and read every post to Aug 1 and I only find 6 posts mentioning anything good about the upgrade software and of the 6 posts, 1 person posted 5 times (487,449,426,416,404) so where do you find the people you mention? Surely isn't from here and can't be from your business because the people contacting you need a battery replacement so the upgrade didn't help them. I lost count with all the HCH-II complaints and posts about the new software not helping.
  • las2002las2002 Posts: 8
    This supplements my previous posts and the recent software update. 2008 Honda Civic, 24,000 miles, Las Vegas summer environment

    My mileage is up by about 4 MPG to about 42 MPH - however, my battery doesn't hold a charge very long. I leave my house with 5 or 6 bars and going-up 1 fairly mild hill brings me down to 2 bars rapidly. Then after a while, it goes back to 4 (sometimes 5) bars, and kind of remains there. At 2 bars, idle cut-out is disabled and acceleration is really negatively impacted. When its 100 deg or more, idle cut-off often disables even with 4 bars and you have to really push the gas to get any assist.

    I'm getting concerned about the frequency of situations where there's no assist available. I wonder if this will improve when the weather cools in September.

    What I can't figure-out, is why my mileage is going-up when I seem to be relying on the gas engine significantly more than before. I'm starting to think my battery is degraded - wonder if it will come back over time?????
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    edited August 2010
    > I went back and read every post to Aug 1 and I only find 6 posts mentioning anything good about the upgrade software and of the 6 posts, 1 person posted 5 times (487,449,426,416,404) so where do you find the people you mention? Surely isn't from here and can't be from your business because the people contacting you need a battery replacement so the upgrade didn't help them. I lost count with all the HCH-II complaints and posts about the new software not helping.

    In this thread alone, I find seven people who had the update who also had previous updates or are new to the car. I'm not counting those that didn't have the latest update or those that had never had any update before.

    Of those seven,

    3 say the battery improved
    3 say the battery stayed the same
    1 says the battery got worse

    2 say mpg and performance improved
    2 say mpg and performance stayed the same
    3 say mpg and performance got worse

    Obviously, the improved battery is coming at the expense of mpg/performance. I consider an improvement to the battery to be an accomplishment, now they just have to get it to perform a bit better. If they can keep the battery charge up, they can improve performance, but it will likely impact mpg for some drivers.

    Almost everyone here is still under warranty, so I would not have any interaction with them. Those that are not will not contact me until their battery has failed, so I still won't see the success stories.
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