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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems

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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,893
    Would it be safe to say that the hybrid hasn't lived up to your expectations? Not mileage performance-wise, but in terms of longevity?

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  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I thought Honda gave a 3 year, 36K mile warranty. They did me.
  • Just a follow-up: got the hybrid to the dealer. From my receipt, they replaced a faulty battery which, when tested, would not hold a charge, then updated the PGM-FI software and the IMA battery software. The IMA light went off. Was advised that I needed to drive the care much more (how much?) than 4800 miles in 3 years to keep the battery charged. I was charged $103 for a new battery installed. About the recalls, I'm in Miami and have never received notice of a recall of any type with this car.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    Congrats. Please let us know if you have a Gen I (2003-2005) or Gen II (2006+) Civic. The batteries are quite different.

    Also, did they provide you with instructions?
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    You need to drive it at least two 30 minute trips per week to keep the battery healthy. Highway or city doesn't matter, and distance doesn't matter either.
  • UPDATE: It's been about a month since I got the IMA light failure and it was "fixed" with the software update. Still experiencing recals daily and the big kicker is that I'm now getting a whopping *31 MPG* (vs. 38 pre-update; drive almost all local ). I realize it's winter and mileage goes down but this is just plain pathetic. I'm pretty sure a regular civic gets equally good mileage....

    Question for the group: If you could get a regular '11 Civic DX-VP for $14k or a Civic LX for $15k and assuming KBB trade-in on the 07 HCH for about $12k would you do it?! My friend got an internet quote from a local dealer with those prices but I find them hard to believe. Not to mention I'm sure they'll give me a bad trade-in value...
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    Make them give you a new battery. That should solve your problem. It did mine.
  • jcihakjcihak Posts: 60
    I owned a 2006 Civic EX auto and averaged 33.8 mpg over 2 1/2 years. Trading for the HCH was the biggest mistake I ever made. After a year its mileage dropped to 40 mpg. When I drive my wife's Camry hybrid on the same cycle, I average 40 mpg as well.
  • It's been 5000 miles since my update and IMA replacement. Even with a new battery, I am getting 32-35 mpg. I have tried to trade multiple times, offers range from 6500 to 8500. You would think Honda would offer the most, but they don't because they know this car is a piece and they'll have a hard time getting rid of it. You'll never get that much for trade on your '07. It has been discussed here a few times. It's a bummer, I know. Trust me, I hate mine as much as the next guy.
  • The 07 HCH trade in values seem high. You might get more money trading it in for a new Honda because Honda is essentially giving you a discount on their new Hondas. If you don't trade in for a new Honda, I would bet you would get considerably less.

    I sold my 06 HCH with 60K for 7K to a used car dealer. The sale price was $900 below the KBB fair value. The bumper needed to be replaced so it was not a huge surprise. I did not trade it in for a new Honda so I might have done better. I'm glad not be driving my HCH anymore but I took a huge loss on it. I dream of Honda being hauled into court and forced to pay us big bucks for their lousy and unsafe HCHs.
  • hpdriverhpdriver Posts: 18
    edited December 2010
    Let me begin this message with the exact same words I just used when I was talking to American Honda Corp Rep: I WILL NEVER PURCHASE ANOTHER HONDA VEHICLE AGAIN!

    Here's my experience (and I live in a cold climate): I have been experiencing declining gas mileage since 6 months after purchase of the vehicle. It has gotten worse over the past year to the point where I am getting about 75% of the gas mileage that was "estimated" on the sticker. And it will certainly drop further after my recent experience. Last week, the IMA alert and the Engine light both went on. I took the car to the dealer. I was informed by service that Honda had issued a "software upgrade" (Bulletin 09-025) to resolve the issue I was having. The dealer didn't seem to be convinced that this was really the problem and when I questioned him further about the battery failure issues of earlier models of this car he told me to call American Honda. On the invoice for the repair he typed "Need to reinspect vehicle if IMA light returns". That wasn't a very comforting repair comment. So I did call American Honda and got no meaningful explanation to the question from the frontline and requested that a supervisor call me back. Meanwhile, I have been driving the car this past week and the gas mileage hit an all time low - 29.3 miles per gallon! Just prior to writing this message I did get a call from the supervisor at American Honda. The thrust of the conversation was that "yes the software upgrade made to my car would decrease my gas mileage, but it would extend the life of the batteries". What????? So the batteries aren't lasting as long as they should and have obvious issues, they won't recall the 2009 batteries and the consumer suffers by getting poor gas mileage/ higher than projected operating costs.

    Thanks Honda. I believe you could do better. I certainly know that I can - with a different manufacturer!
  • jcihakjcihak Posts: 60
    I am surprised that Honda is not being forced the change their MPG rating since they are intentionally lowering them. This is not only bait and switch, but plain fraud on their part. Of course they can make the batteries last longer - just put them in your cellar. But then the mpg rating is fraudulent, and we are paying a premium for the slowest car on the road.
  • hpdriverhpdriver Posts: 18
    edited December 2010
    Anyone know a good class action attorney? I'd prefer not to go that route, but if Honda's not acting in good faith, maybe it's time for the owners of these hybrids to demand some form of compensation. With gas over $3.00 per gallon, I'm feeling the financial pain - at the pump and thru monthly car payments with a premium built in for a non-existent feature = MPG'S!!

    And what about resale value? If used car buyers know that the batteries in these vehicles are likely to fail shortly after purchase, they won't pay as much for the cars -- if they'd even buy them at all. And if they were going to purchase them for their great gas mileage, all they have to do is push a button to see MPG over the life of the vehicle to date and they wouldn't be interested in these cars. All in all, we've been screwed.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    It appears that this car has a basic design flaw and Honda is just trying to weather the storm anyway they can. They need to be held accountable. It seems that the batteries are undersized and thereby fail sooner than they should. So Honda's answer is to use the batteries less in order to extend the life of the undersized batteries at the expense of mpg. They should be required to compensate every owner for this defugality in an amount no less than the initial price premium or use the batteries as originally programmed and replace the deteriorated batteries free for up to 200K miles. I agree that to accomplish something like that would require a lawsuit.
  • What about Federal and state agencies? Could they be of any assistance in these kinds of matters. Clearly the EPA should be interested in the variance from miles per gallon on sticker and literature. FTC?? And what about state attorney generals. This "undersized battery" issue would appear to be a bit fraudulent. Would any state "lemon" laws apply?

    Any guidance would be appreciated. I am willing to pursue the matter further.
  • I agree. A class action lawsuit is in order. But if it comes, the last thing I want as a remedy is to be offered a discount on another Honda product.
  • hpdriverhpdriver Posts: 18
    edited December 2010
    I believe the judge shot down that settlement - the 2 plaintiffs got thousands, the attorney's got $3 million and the other owners got a $1000 "gift" certificate on the future purchase of a f***ing HONDA!!!! That isn't going to happen.

    I'm thinking that the best course of action, besides contacting the EPA, the FTC and the Illinois attorney general, is to file a small claims court action. The limits in Illinois are $10,000 - the premium on the purchase of the hybrid over a similar non-hybrid Civic wasn't that much. So I'm thinking about computing what would be a "fair" settlement for a car that is rapidly losing value and filing a suit individually. I shouldn't have to do this, but I believe that Honda is forcing me into it. If everyone took similar action in states where the limitations permitted such suits, it might make Honda think twice about continuing the sale of DEFECTIVE vehicles without offering to legitimately repair them.

    But here is the bottom line to anyone considering the purchase of a Honda automobile: Honda has become a BAD company. Very BAD. They do not stand behind their product and that is just plain WRONG. And I will continue to state that fact wherever and whenever possible. DO NOT BUY A HONDA. They are no longer a symbol of quality in the automobile industry.

    And that is sad, very sad......
  • last nite (it is cold here but the car is in an underground garage) my car took three turns of the key to start. The first two times nothing but a click. Third time it starts and I just thought I was not paying attention and had not turned the key :). Did it again this AM and as usual, by the time I pull out of the garage (about 1/10th of a mile) the IMA is down at two bars (sigh!) but I wondered if my regular battery had an issue. When it did it at my third stop I took the car to the Honda dealer. They have TWO battery testers and seem super-impressed with them. One showed it was fine but I asked them to keep it and wait until it was cold, which they did. Then they told me the second one said the batter was great too!

    But it was all very very odd...originally, my car was sitting out front. They drove it from the service check-in and parked it there. Then they went out and started it. They said they had no problem but poof it disappeared from site. I pick it five hours later when they tell me they cannot duplicate the problem but it has an odor of something being done and that sort of odd glue smell (very vague) you sometimes get when they do something with the IMA. :surprise: Anyhow, I leave there with what I refer to as my "personal hybrid piece of junk" and never the rest of the day see two bars, the IMA is like fully-charged and happy and my mileage for the rest of this day was about 4MPG higher than it has been. The mileage had decreased after the software patch was installed to the point I was thinking about getting rid of the car even though I really bought it because of the PZEV. You will never convince me that today they did not tweak software and just do not want to admit it. I just wish they could be more honest when there are issues and just admit it.
  • Hybridpatsy, I'm a bit confused by your post. What do you think the dealer did that "cured" the software upgrade problem?? Did they install new batteries? Or what?
  • mrlarmrlar Posts: 14
    I received my Questionaire via email the first week of December but have been too busy to fill it out (I WILL fill it out and send it back to them). It's a short questionaire. If anyone wants to contact NHTSA about the HCH's problems, for what it's worth, this is who sent it to me:

    Kareem Habib,
    Federal Investigator
    NHTSA, US DOT
    1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
    Washington DC, 20590

    I'm sure they have a telephone number you could call as well.
    Sorry folks, I've just been way too busy to be on here lately or read all the posts (I skimmed some), but saw someone posting that he/she hadn't received the questioaire yet, so wanted to put this out there in case others wish to inform NHTSA about this.
  • You can also go to the NHTSA website for the questionaire and electronically submit.
  • I hate the upgrade too. Regenerative braking is [even more] erratic than before. Even before the upgrade, II was gearing down to force the regenerative braking. This helps to keep the battery charged, so better acceleration too. Last night I also discovered that when stopped, ramming it into low appears to force charging. I’ll be playing with that work-around not as well…
  • My car is not starting after it was idle for a month as I was out on vacation. After hearing all the negative experiences about the IMA software update, i have decided not to go for it although I have received the mail from Honda to do so. Is it possible to ask the dealer not to install this update?
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I think you can, but if you ever have an IMA problem, they will probably insist on the upgrade. You may only need the 12 volt regular battery to start your car.
  • I instruct the service rep to put a directive in uppercase on every service ticket to the technician to not install any software updates. So far, so good. I am not sure what action I can take when a technician eventually installs one by mistake (due to standard procedure) though...

    It seems ridiculous that a software update cannot be backed off or an earlier level cannot be reinstalled.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I think corporate controls this and the local dealer does not have the original software, only updates.
  • I took my car in to the dealer here in CA and asked him not to install the update. However, the dealer claimed that this software update is part of a safety recall and refused to work on the car if I didn't agree for the part. I tried hard to convince the service rep not to install the S/W update but I couldn't. I can only hope that my HCH survives this update... but he keeps insisting that it is a safety recall.
  • WARNING!!! The IMA software upgrade causes a major, and potentially dangerous, change to the AUTO-STOP feature. Beware.

    I had the software upgrade performed (NOT BY REQUEST) 3 weeks ago. Gas mileage has been getting consistently worse. I have also noted that the battery recharge system has become "selective" as to when it will charge the battery. Where the "green" recharge bars used to appear whenever I took my foot off the gas or when I applied the brakes, now they only appear "sometimes". As a result of this "selective" charging, the batteries are not fully charging, the AUTO-STOP feature doesn't kick in as often and the gas mileage SUCKS!!

    While all the above items are more than a bit annoying (as in "THIS IS NOT THE CAR I PURCHASED!!!), something happened yesterday that NEVER happened before the software upgrade and is a dangerous safety issue. As I pulled up to a stoplight, the AUTOSTOP feature was activated - the way it is supposed to!!??!! But then after around 25 to 30 seconds, while my foot was still on the brake and not on the gas pedal, the car AUTO-STARTED by itself and the car lurched forward a bit toward the car in front of me! I checked it again at the next stoplight, this time putting a great deal more pressure on the brake. The car, which was in AUTO-STOP, auto-started again while I was excessively braking.

    According to the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid User Manual page 276:
    "The engine will start again when you release the brake pedal.
    It will also
    restart, even if you are still pressing
    the brake pedal, under these
    conditions:

    1) You move the shift lever from D
    or N to R or L.
    2) You press the accelerator pedal.
    3) You are on an incline, and the
    vehicle begins rolling."

    Please note that NONE OF THESE CONDITIONS APPLIED IN MY SITUATION. BE AWARE: THE 2009 HONDA CIVIC HYBRID WITH IMA SOFTWARE UPGRADE CAN AUTO- START WHEN YOU ARE APPLYING THE BRAKES. MAKE SURE YOU ARE APPLYING AMPLE PRESSURE TO THE BRAKE OR YOU COULD RAM INTO THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU WHEN IT AUTO-STARTS. And you might want to take you vehicle to the nearest Honda dealer and ask that they remove the software upgrade. Also, find the NHTSA contact info in post above this one. I think this is something they might find of interest and could lead to a recall of this lousy piece of crap Honda. Shame on you Honda!!!!!!!!!!
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I think the car will also auto-start when the battery needs charging or when the electric AC is not cooling adequately. I've had this happen numerous times, but with no surge forward because it is only at idle speed.

    The software upgrade did change how my system charged, resulting in maintaining a higher level of minimum charge and a slightly lower level of maximum charge. With the upgrade and after a new battery was installed, my mpg is essentially the same as before.
  • I never received a notice from Honda about this issue, maybe because I bought mine used.

    I wonder what happens if the update is never applied? Will the batteries die prematurely? If they die before the 8 year warranty expires, isn't that a good thing since Honda would presumably be forced to replace them for free?
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