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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • UPDATE: 9 months and 9,000 miles later... The "recals" on my 2009 HCHII became more frequent and auto-stop more rare. Then at 50,000 miles the Check engine light goes on. I call the dealer and they tell me that sometimes its the gas cap not being tight enough. Since I always tighten it to 3 or more clicks, I bring the car in and sure enough, I need a new IMA battery.
    A few days later the new battery arrives, I drive it in to the dealer, and 3 hours later, the car is driving good as new! No charge. Mileage is back up, "recals" are rare, and auto-stop is frequent.

    I am sad that a 2009 with 50k miles already needed a new battery. I agree with the other posters that letting your car sit for too long ( I was bike commuting for a few months and driving infrequent) can degrade and unbalance the cells. Glad it is covered by warranty, I just hope I don't need batteries every 3 years and 50k miles...
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I just wonder how often this is happening. My 2006 went at 90K miles and 4 yrs. It would be interesting to conduct a poll on this.
  • selinzselinz Posts: 11
    edited October 2011
    Currently have 175K+ miles on the vehicle, had battery changed at 140K (Honda changed it for free without any request from me after they did a software change and determined that my battery was in need of replacement). FYI, I get my oil changed by Honda every 7.5K miles. I get the transmission fluid/filter changed every 30K miles by Honda. I refused all other offered service.
    I replaced the front disks at 90K, and then again at 160K (although the noise was caused by a rocking getting lodged in a pocket in the caliber). I have never adjusted the valves. I have never changed the plugs. I have changed the cab and air filters when Honda offers (I buy them from the parts department... takes literally less than 5 minutes to change).

    General observations:
    Mileage: If I go 55mph or less, I can get 50mpg. If I go 65mph I get closer to 45mpg and if I go 75mph I get closer to 40mpg. Around town stop and start I get around 43 the way I drive. The mileage tends to degrade as I get closer to the 7.5K mile oil change. And it gets even worse when I get close to the 30K transmission fluid change. I immediately notice the difference with the tranny fluid changes. The oil changes are more difficult to detect but the engine gets a little quieter. Because I take the same commute routes every day (for the last almost 5 years) I have pretty good data. I reset the mileage after each tank fillup. I used to log it manually but found that the speedometer mileage was a bit more pessimistic than the actual but a whole lot easier to keep track of.

    I almost never take the RPM's above 3500 and NEVER take them above 4000. Why? It adds so little to the horsepower but consumes much, much more gas. I contend that anyone who never takes their RPM's above 3500 and gets their transmission fluid changed regularly with will get more than 40mpg. I have had only two tanks since I owned the car get less than 40mpg. One was driving through the desert going 80+ with AC on (115 outside). The other was when my wife drove in 100+ weather driving around town with the AC on.

    I think that around town miles will be impacted most by a poor battery. Highway mileage is more a function of the driver.

    One adder. I have not had any power steering problems since they changed the IMA battery. I presume that means that the battery was the source of the problem.
  • I have to disagree. I have a 06' Civic Hybrid. I bought it in spring of 2010 with 36K on it. Last winter the IMA light came on and they issued the update, that I didn't want. It of course didn't really fix the problem, it just masked it. Ever since then recals have become more and more frequent. I've complained, and complained, and complained to Honda however, without an IMA light they just told me nothing was wrong. Long story short, recals got as frequent as every 8-15 miles. Honda will be replacing my battery next week. I'm axious to see what it will be like. I'm betting 60-65 MPG. Anyway, back to the reason I disagree. I hate recals, HORRIBLE!!! I was having, as I said, one every 8 miles, sometimes more often. I was able to maintain 50-53 MPG. That's with a highway commute of 72 miles a day. Stop and go was harder but still was able to get 47-50 in those cases. It's really just about how you drive. When I first got the car, when it was performing better, I couldn't get over 45. It was when I really studied hypermilling technicques that I began to understand more about how to drive. One of the biggest things IMO is do your best to keep it under 2000 RPMs. Makes a MAJOR difference! I'm not a hypermiler, but the car has always given the mileage it advertised. With proper technique, even better. Just my 2 cents. Good luck!
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I agree that keeping the engine rpm as much as possible below 2000 is an excellent guide. I do that and get averages anywhere from 48-53 mpg depending on driving conditions. I have a replacement battery and the SW upgrade.
  • I had to talk! My 2006 gives me the PoA7F code since yesterday. No warning, out of nowhere.
    My mileage was still above 40mpg and the car ran fine , the engine stopped at stop lights and such. I hope refusing the update last year won't affect my IMA warranty.
    If I'm well informed CT has a 10 year/150k warranty on the CVT low emission hybrid.
  • Good for you to consider yourself a well-informed consumer. That may help and, then again, it may not matter. I just finished being offered 'a great deal' to pay 1/2 of the total cost for replacement of the IMA battery that I never authorized to be replaced in my vehicle. Most of my complaints have to do with the dealer service; however, Honda has monopolized the battery replacement arena by not allowing anyone but Authorized Honda Dealers to do anything with the IMA problems. I wanted a 2nd opinion and a chance to have the work done where the estimate would be lower, if possible. The dealer service removed my battery before the one they ordered arrived and sent mine back for refurbishing. You may receive my refurbished battery! That's why they own the game and why the warranty is only 3yr/36Kmiles and only good at Honda authorized dealers.

    Beware of what may be ahead; call one or two dealers if they are available in your area and just ask for an guesstimate of IMA replacement for the year and model of your hybrid. Don't give away too much about your car, refusal of software, etc. Just ask for an estimated quote. Keep in mind that they quoted me $2500+ and then, after one screw-up after another for 5 days, they offered to pick up 1/2 the cost. I paid $1377. An independent repair shop told me that would be about what they would charge if they could do the work and they knew they were still making a profit.

    I wish you luck. BTW here is the 800 number for Honda 1-800-999-1099 (hours M-F 6am-5pm PST). They have an "out of warranty assistance" department if you should need to ask for assistance. They do work hand-in-hand with the dealer, but there may be some response if you tell them how unhappy you are with HONDA (if that becomes the case, as it did for me). I advise contact them BEFORE the work is authorized by you if you think you are having a difficult time.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    You got a better deal than I did. It cost me about $1800, which was supposed to be half price.
  • viawviaw Posts: 34
    so jj,
    you said that honda claimed you got no right to a new battery cuz it was "normal". so how did you "get a new battery"? your own $$?
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I think he paid half. That is what I did.
  • Ogre_GEV, please allow me to direct this to you, and anyone else experiencing this that wants to pitch in.

    -HondaCivHyb 2004
    -first owner
    -125K miles
    -problems galore :lemon: including slipping, 02 sensors [recently replaced]
    -latest issue: IMA

    Orange IMA light came on couple days ago - late in the weekend. Didn't drive much this past weekend. Then the red battery light on yesterday - Monday morning. She made a funny coughing sound when on ignition. That's when I saw the red battery light. Very poor acceleration. Iffy braking. No battery charge whatsoever. Drove her to dealership same day. They quote ~$3500 for refursbished battery [they say only the shell is refurbished]. I beg and plead for Honda to help me out. I should hear back tomorrow on whatever discounted rate is available.

    We had one of our hottest summers here in TX if that's a factor :shades: .

    My questions:

    >Honda says the car is driveable and I can still drive it as I make a decision. True? Safe? Am I harming anything else?

    >If I don't replace battery, can I sell? Who would buy her?

    >If I do replace battery, better chances of selling?

    >Do the software updates have anything to do with my problems, as I see some forumites have alluded to?

    >Am I just "lucky" to have had it drive this long w the battery intact? Was this just a matter of time?

    I am sooo sad. :( I don't feel anger, irritation at this point... just sadness. This car has given me such problems for being so expensive and supposed to save resources... please let me know some thoughts before I jump off a cliff - more like drive off a cliff...

    Thanks :cry:
  • That's a good question. I've known for a year I needed a new ima battery. I didn't need some orange ima light to come on. The problem I had was intermittent at first and I even had the ima light come on a second time however, every time I took it into Honda it performed perfectly. The time when the ima light came on, the car lost all power. I would pull out in the road, and I'm not exagerating here, I could have got out and pushed the car at least as fast if not faster. The next morning the light was off but there was a dc to dc converter recall so they took care of that. Anyway the performance of the car got worse and worse. Back in August I had honda keep it overnight. The service guy drove it home and had it perform a recal in him. He was astonished by it but when they called the tech line they told him that it was normal, it could happen. Well I'm fine with that if that's what it was. What Honda was referring to is the ima dropping to about 4 bars, minimal assist and the engine taking more of a load to charge the battery. What I have been having is dropping from 8 bars to 2 bars no assist and very very frequent, several times a day. They told me to call Honda corporate. Honda corporate told me to have the dealer call in the district tech. So that's what I did. By the time I had them look at it, the car was having this occur on average every 8 miles. That just is not acceptable. No ima light. Honda kept it for 3 days and sent all kinds of information to Honda. They finally called me and said that they were replacing the battery. Said that the battery is actually still good but it is on the verge of going bad. (the battery is bad. Their latest software update just has higher tolerances. I mean this whole think started with an ima light and software update to mask it). Anyway I wasn't going down without a fight, my warranty only had 1000 miles left. So it goes to show they will replace it without and ima light if there really is a problem. Good luck. I get my new battery installed tomorrow. I don't know if it was relief of worrying about it or what but on my way home today after filling up, I've maintained 72 mpg for 23 miles. I'm sure that will be blown with my start up tomorrow, one of the things I expect to get better after the new battery.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    8 years and 125k miles is a typical life for these batteries and is actually good for the Texas heat. $3500 is about $500 more than the national average, but you should be aware that there are batteries available mail-order in the $2000 range.

    if the red battery light (I don't mean the IMA light) is on all the time, then you cannot drive the car. If it goes out when you give it a little gas, then you can drive it, but avoid idling it for long periods of time (also keep it below 3800rpm).

    At this point, you should fix it (let's face it-a part wore out) and drive it another 8 years before the battery needs to be replaced again. O2 sensors and catalytic converters are a 3-5 year item with this car due to the IMA system, and you've already repaired the CVT issues, so this should be a low-cost car to keep running, and it gets excellent gas mileage.

    Don't get the software updates if you are getting an aftermaket battery.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    I'm sorry, but I'm going to call you on this one. You are exaggerating. I've driven CVT and MT 2003-2005 Civics with their batteries removed and bypassed and they are pokey that way, but they're still quicker than some econoboxes or even some SUVs. The 2006+ are a tad wimpier, but not much.

    Not fun and definitely not desirable, but definitely drivable - especially if you turn off the AC (which should automatically be disabled in the kind of IMA failure you experienced).

    Anyway, I'm glad you got a new battery under warranty.
  • So how can I bypass my battery and who will do that? How do I find them? I need to replace my battery but I'm seriously broke right now. But I need to have a car! I've looked at the NY battery place online - is that a good route to go for replacement?

  • I'm not exagerating but let me clarify. The second time the light came on, the car would get up to speed but pulling out was what I was referring to. It was extremely slow, literally felt like someone was trying to push me out in the road. Very scary and very unsafe. After getting moving it would be okay, but starting was a nightmare.
  • I have a 2006 HCH and the batteries have been failing for couple years now. I too opted out of the firmware flash and bingo Monday the IMA light came on. The dealer was very willing to replace the IMA when the required code came up. What I do not like and objected too was Honda required the replacement to include the firmware flash. Basically same story as yours. I fought it but Honda simply does not care. Can u tell what to expect when I get the car back?

    btw I was getting 45mpg for the first 2 years and b4 the failure was down to 36.
  • I am interested in runing mine with out the IMA battery assist. How do I disconnect it safely?
  • It sounded like a good idea at the time, What I have saved in fuel cost I have spent in repairs.
    2 bad transmissions one covered by extended warranty the other not. Need a 2800 battery to pass a emissions test. Need all the moter mounts replaced, I am at 170000 miles. I would to God I had bought a 5 speed Civic at the time was 10k less. live and learn and the Greenies can jump in the river
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >So how can I bypass my battery and who will do that?

    Contact me via email.
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