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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems

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  • Have not posted in quite some time, but not much has changed, heard the same thing from Honda Rep 2 years ago, the battery is working as designed, did have the "big" software update added to my 2006 Honda Civic, worked great for the first 2 fill ups, actually reached 44 mpg. But that was short lived! Now back to the same crap, everything listed above and then some. Now the assist works sometimes, the auto stop, when it wants to, charges whenever, etc etc. At this point, just waiting for another go around from Honda to "fix" the problems. The only reason I had the new and improved update added is that I was informed that I would not be able to register my vehicle without it!
  • Hi Rosie. I also have not posted in quite a while. I purchased a used 2009 Honda last summer when my old car was dying. I wanted to get a hybrid for the "green" issues. At first I got around 30 to 35 mpg local and when I went on a trip I got 44mpg. Over the next few months my local mpg dropped to less than 25 and my trip mpg is less than 40. I live in Philly, and drive very carefully not to over stress the small engine. My error lights are not on, but I am getting frustrated with the performance. I have gone to get my oil changed far more regularly than I ever did with my old car, but get no better MPG than my 95 Mazda. WHY DID I TRUST A DEALER???
  • An update to my saga... I got my new battery today. They also installed new software (4 different pieces of software) that became available on 2/1/2011. Apparently, Honda got the message. The service bulletin with the new software indicates that the battery indicator will now stay at 4-5 bars charge for longer and better reflect the actual charge of the battery. It will not engage autostop occasionally between 2-4 bars so that there's more power to provide IMA assist upon acceleration (and seemingly to address the big complaint that an all-gas HCH doesn't have enough power).

    On my 11-mile drive home, I spent 7 miles on the interstate at 65 mph cruise control and then 4 miles in stop-and-go driving and got 49 mpg. It was night and day from the bad battery/bad software we all had been suffering through.

    I don't know how the software update would have performed without a new battery (per my previous post, my battery was failing prior to the previous software "fix"). I think it would still have been an improvement. Regardless, I'm now a big fan of my car again. Good luck to everyone in dealing with Honda. I feel fortunate because I had gotten a battery failure code prior to the update and was able to get them to listen to me as a result.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    Can you provide more details about the software update? Is there a TSB associated with it and what is the number? Is this different from the 7/23/10 update covered by TSB 10-034? I'm sure other owners like me would like to have this information so we can determine if this is something we should have implemented.
  • The update is 10-034. However, I had the original 10-034 update performed in September, and this one is allegedly an updated version (they gave me a printout dated February 1, 2011 whereas the previous version was dated 7/23/2010). The tech seemed to know what he was talking about, and he wouldn't have had to do any software updates unless the update had been changed somehow. It's probably worth asking a dealer if there has indeed been any changes to the 10-034 update from the summer. Unfortunately, since I have a new battery, it's hard to isolate from where the improved performance is coming. However, it certainly seems like the IMA is performing differently than it was with the update from the summer.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    edited February 2011
    See the software version on the top right of the pdf file of the service bulletin A10-034. (version 2.022.101)
    Did you get a different one.
    http://www.hybridcars.com/files/A10-034.pdf
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I got the Software version 2.022.101 also as referenced by "mabecane". Can you verify that your version is different by posting the version number? This is important for all of us to know. Thanks.
  • The printout I have (it is dated Feb. 1 and has some additional language from the one linked above that references another service bulletin numbered 10-083 (I think; don't have access to the printout right now) that had something to do with IMA degradation. They did not give me a copy of that 10-083 printout. The linked service bulletin references "or later" for the software fix. Mine has the same language. I think the "or later" is the operative language regarding the latest software -- the 10-034 language would not necessarily be updated for each software update because of the "or later."

    Regardless, I talked to both the tech and the service advisor after the repair. The tech told me the new battery had come with new software. I asked if it was different from the previous update, and he said it was. Again, I had the original software update done. The service papers outlining what was performed made reference to the effect of "installed new software for new battery."
  • Thanks viaw. I had some routine maintenance done Saturday--didn't even mention my continued IMA problems b/c I didn't have time to deal with it just then. However, when I was paying for the service the rep mentioned that he saw there is a software update recommended for my vehicle. I presume this is the "new" new update others have written about recently. I'll probably have time in March to have it installed and we'll see what happens. If no improvement I'll take your recommendation and write to BBB and NHTSA.

    Thanks for your recommendations.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    Thank you for this interesting and informative information. One thing that would be very helpful is if you could report the software version listed on the February 1, 2011 TSB when you have the opportunity to access it. Thanks.
  • The software version printed on the form is the same in the Feb. update -- however, both TSBs (July and February) have the fix as software version xx.xx "OR LATER." You can see this in the PDF that was linked on here previously. The "or later" indicates (at least to me) that they are not going to be updating the text of the service bulletin for every subsequent software update. The TSB addresses a specific issue (battery failure) and the corrective action is to be sure the software is updated to at least the version listed. Best of luck to all.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    Thanks. I get your point. There could be an update in the software without an update to the TSB text. It would be nice to know what the difference is in the LATER software update, but there is probably no way to find that out--a Honda secret.
  • gnatggnatg Posts: 7
    edited February 2011
    Honda is great for thinking their customers are stupid. My mileage went from 40 mpg to 25-28 mpg after a software upgrade last year. I took it into the dealer last month and had it checked for malfunctions, and of course they found none. They told me they got 40 mpg after driving it 5 miles. After I picked it up, the mileage dropped like a rock back to between 25-28 mpg. which I have experienced since the software upgrade. I wrote their corporate headquarters and got a canned patronizing response from one of their trained customer complaint reps who told me the conclusion was that the degradation in the mileage was due to my "driving habits." My driving habits have not changed and certainly not changed significantly to cause such a severe drop in mileage. I got the same patronizing b.s. when I experienced a defect in their windshield glass. Time to buy a Prius!!
  • munkegodesmunkegodes Posts: 6
    edited February 2011
    Well, it's been a long road but Honda has ordered a new battery for me and will install it tomorrow. I confirmed that it'll be under the replacement battery warranty of 3 yrs/36,000 miles which effectively just cut my original manufacturer warranty by over a year/20ish,000 miles. NOT AT ALL COOL.

    Anyway, to recap, this is what it took for me to get there:

    Nov 2011 - IMA and Check Engine lights on. P0A7F error code returned and fix was to install new software update. Was told that that should fix things but I pressed them on the issue. They tell me if the lights come back on the next step would be to order a new battery under warranty.

    Feb 2011 - IMA and Check Engine lights back on...nearly 3 months to the day. Took it to Autozone and got another P0A7F error code. Scheduled an appointment with Honda but couldn't get in for a week. In that time the lights mysteriously turned back off. Kept the appointment anyway and Honda tells me they don't see any stored error codes. Nothing they can do until it comes on again despite the fact that I have pictures and the print-out from Autozone. I'm reassured that they "I've worked here since XX year and I haven't seen many batteries need replaced". I leave to go home and less than 5 minutes later the freaking lights turn back on. I call Honda but it was close to closing and all techs had left for the night so I was asked to bring it back the next day. I drop it off before 8AM and and given a Civic LX rental for the day. Wow that thing had some pep compared to my car! By 4PM had not heard anything so called to get status. I don't hear back until 5PM and they tell me they've ordered a new battery. I'm reassured by a different person that they've worked here XX years and battery replacements are rare...is this part of their corporate FAQ training?? Tomorrow it gets installed and yes, the warranty is shorter. I'm SOL there.

    THE END.

    I hope my good mileage returns with the new battery at the least. And, unless something miraculous happens I will have to plan on dumping this car in the next 2-3 years to avoid paying another battery out of pocket. Good luck to everyone else with their issues.
  • What is the TSB number for the February SW update? Is there a copy of this on the web anywhere?

    Also dawgcat, how does your car behave now with new battery and new SW update as compared to when you got the car new, or before you had any battery issues?

    Has anyone had any luck getting the battery replaced but not doing any SW updates? The dealer says I need my battery replaced, but I have not done the original SW update yet, I'm hoping I can just get the battery replaced and not do any SW updates.
  • Well, I finally gave up and traded my civic hybrid for a CRV. Mileage not as good but I feel more trusting of acceleration. I loved my hybrid except for the undependable battery discharge. I wish everyone else good luck and I hope Honda steps up soon. Meantime I'm watching the lawsuit to see if I can claim the credit for buying another Honda.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    He said it was the same number as the July TSB--10-034.

    I have both the new battery and the software update and my car performs as good as new. I'm hoping that this time the battery is preserved as stated by Honda.
  • Where can we get more info on the lawsuit?
  • dowjddowjd Posts: 14
    I am having my Honda Slug serviced this coming Saturday (February 19,2011) and I am going to demand they test my IMA battery to see how many cells are fried. I want a printout also.

    Does anyone know the exact terms I should ask? I don't want Honda saying, "oh we thought you meant this or that, we didn't test your battery." I them to be clear as what test I want done.

    My timeline with this vehicle:

    1. Purchased Feb 2009
    2. Got 43-52mpg highway & 43mpg highway/city
    3. August 2009 mileage decreased to 43 highway & 39 highway/city
    4. IMA light on Nov 2009, software upgrade
    5. Poor to no assist, battery drops to 1 bar, averages 4-6 bars, Auto Stop is random
    6. Mileage down to 39 highway & 37 highway/city
    7. IMA light on Dec 2009, new battery installed.
    8. Mileage 37-39 highway & 34-36 highway/city.
    9. Dec 2010, IMA light again. Honda software update.
    10. Car maintains 4-6 bars, Mileage 38 highway & 36-38 city/highway, Auto Stop more frequent, Assist more frequent but ceases above 3000RPM.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    The IMA light coming on again indicates that you need another battery. That should be enough. You probably won't find any cells fried. They just get out of balance causing the battery to work against itself. Don't know why yours deterioated so soon. Perhaps it was faulty to begin with.
  • Does anyone have a copy of the Feb service bulleting they could post? I'm going in tomorrow or Tuesday, and I don't want them to tell me they've already done the update when it was prior to Feb 1.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I understand the text is the same as the 7/10 TSB except the software version may be different. The dealer should have both available and should allow you to look at them. Let us know what you learn.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,913
    Honda Civic Hybrid owners, is your fuel efficiency diminished? Have you had problems with your integrated motor assist? If so, a reporter wants to talk with you. Please email pr@edmunds.com no later than Friday, February 25, 2011 with your daytime contact information and a few words about your experience.
    Thanks,
    Jeannine Fallon
    Corporate Communications
    Edmunds.com

    MODERATOR
    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • Yes, I purchased a used 2009 Honda HCH last summer. I was getting 32 to 35 mpg city and over 40 hyghway. My last three tanks of gas showed less than 25mpg city and only 35mpg highway. I live in Philly and don't drive on the highway much, so my overall mpg has been less than 30 since October of last year.
    Below is a copy of my mileage excel sperad sheet.

    New Hybrid Car
    31-Jul-10 23307 0 0.0000 0.00
    16-Aug-10 23712 405 10.1400 39.94
    25-Aug-10 24100 388 9.7180 39.93
    30-Aug-10 24493 393 8.7180 45.08 Vacation trip
    2-Sep-10 24846 353 7.6620 46.07 Vacation trip
    4-Sep-10 25113 267 6.8190 39.16 Mostly city
    17-Sep-10 25336 223 6.1470 36.28 Mostly city
    27-Sep-10 25631 295 7.4230 39.74
    13-Oct-10 26040 409 9.4130 43.45 Mostly highway
    30-Oct-10 26330 290 8.6480 33.53 Mostly city
    16-Nov-10 26649 319 8.5630 37.25 Mostly city
    1-Dec-10 26967 318 9.6880 32.82 Mostly city
    18-Jan-10 27252 285 10.1330 28.13 Mostly city
    30-Dec-10 27521 269 8.1830 32.87 Mostly city
    29-Jan-11 27734 213 8.7150 24.44 Mostly city
    21-Feb-11 28010 276 8.9200 30.94 Mostly city
  • I may know Kirstie's problem. The HCH definitely does not seem to like cold weather, particularly if you are doing short trips after startup. I have a 2008 HCH that I purchased used. Over 40 degrees I get about 30 to 35 average with different tires (not hybrid specific). Under 35 or 30 it drops into the 20s. I suspect your mileage will rebound when the weather warms up a bit.
  • I have a 2009 Civic Hybrid and experience frequent recalibration of the traction battery. At least once per day the Hybrid battery suddenly switches from a near full charge to a near empty charge and eventually back again. This seems like a minor inconvenience yet when it thinks hybrid battery is low it keeps engine on and revving more, leading to less auto-stop and more fuel consumption. Also when software thinks battery is low, the traction battery no longer assists with acceleration, leading to slow hill climbs and unsafe acceleration.
    I've asked a dealer and they said that my software is up-to-date. It seems like Honda may have finally fixed the software update for the 2006 - 2008 models (early this month) but what about the 2009 - 2010 (and possibly 2011)? Are we stuck with the faulty software? Or is there something else wrong with the car. Since my car has about 41K miles (out of full warranty), the dealer won't check it out without me paying over $100.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I believe the 2009 is supposed to already have the software that had to be updated for the previous years. You probably have a battery with unbalanced cells that will only get worse. If you can stress the battery enough, the IMA light should come on and then you will be able to get a new battery under warranty.
  • dowjddowjd Posts: 14
    Yep, been there. I also have an 09 with 47k miles. Went through one battery the first year and got the same run around from Honda as pretty much everyone on here has.

    Tech at my local Honda told me I needed to pull over rev the engine to recharge battery. Yeah right, I guess I should get out and push too.

    I had the IMA light on recently and they did another software update. Don't get the battery crashes as much. Performance still sucks. Like you going uphill the assist will quit above 3000 RPM's.
  • I hate my 2006 HCH.

    I never got the mileage advertised on the sticker during city driving. I experimented quite a bit with driving style to boost the mileage, but had very little luck. I was willing to chalk that up to living in a city with poorly timed lights and driving a fair number of small hills (Baltimore). It was pretty frustrating to get 30 mpg in city (especially since I have gotten similar gas mileage for in city driving in a much less expensive car), but I did at least get mpgs in the mid-40s to low 50s mpg during highway driving.

    That is, of course, until my IMA light came on about a month ago. The battery charge had been behaving erratically over the past 8 months or so, so it wasn't a surprise. Took the car to Honda, they applied some software updates and told me I needed a new oxygen sensor. Got the car back and now I get 36-38 mpg on a stretch of highway where I used to get 50-52. The electric motor, where it would formerly kick on during small inclines and limit the increase in gas motor RPMs basically does nothing - even indicating that it is charging when the rpms have increased on the gas motor to get up a small incline sometimes. The battery charge indicator is still pretty erratic as well, though now it only drops to two bars instead of showing none. I'm currently just crossing my fingers that the battery lasts until I can get a new car later this summer.

    My personal opinion is that Honda nerfed the hybrid system because they found that the systems were failing early (inadequate battery size? not designed in the proper band to maximize life?) and wanted to save warranty money - in particular in the states where the battery warranty has been pushed to 150,000 miles.

    My initial frustration with the car has become complete dissatisfaction. I'll never buy another Honda.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    You should tell them the software update did not solve the problem and you want a new battery. That's what I did and so far my car is performing very well with the new battery. Since the new battery, about 3500 miles, I have averaged 46.5 mpg in mostly town driving and flat terrain. At times I have been as high as 52 mpg.
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