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Honda Civic Hybrid Owners: Problems & Solutions



  • denhchdenhch Posts: 8
    Wow! I think your theory is right for a couple of reasons.
    First the 06 HCH captures alot more regen braking then the 05 meaning more resistance, and the more I think about it
    its not like a boost from the electric motor but more
    like the cars suddenly not being held back as hard
    like suddenly less brake pedal pressure.
    If you are right why don't they keep the regen active
    until the car is stopped?
  • OK, a new strange development. The surging problem had been diminishing, until it was pretty much gone just before Christmas. However, I had started to detect a bit of the old "rumble" upon takeoff in the last week or so. This was what was happening right before I had the transmission replaced the last time, although it was much more pronounced then. So, I had the transmission fluid changed at the dealer two days ago, and although the rumble seems to be gone, it started doing the surge thing as soon as I got it out on the highway that night. And it seems to do it at lower speeds now too, anywhere above 50 MPH, where it used to happen only above about 60 MPH.

    Here is a little timeline of my "fun" with this car:
    36,000 miles - Surging problem rears it's ugly head. Seems to eventually decrease and go away.
    79,820 miles - Catalytic converter replaced (no charge)
    80,540 miles - Started to detect 'rumble' and reported it
    91,949 miles - 'Rumble' much heavier, reported it. Needed new transmission. Put it on order.
    92,925 miles - Transmission replaced (paid $490 labor)
    112,194 miles- Transmission fluid changed
    130,366 miles- Transmission fluid changed
    135,838 miles- Surging returned. EGR valve changed ($380). No change in surging. Surging gradually decreases and goes away around 140,000 miles.
    139,000 miles- IMA light comes on. Honda says the battery is dying and needs to be replaced. Still charging and operating fine. Light goes off and eventually comes back on and then goes back off. Currently is off.
    140,000 miles- 'Maintenance Required' Idiot light comes on. Diagnosed as catalytic converter needs replacement for $900 + labor. Holding off.
    146,964 miles- Slight 'rumble' on takeoff. Transmission fluid changed. Surging returns immediately!!!

    I have serious doubts whether this CVT transmission is durable enough for constant interstate driving. I have a 70 mile commute, 60 miles of which is driving at 65-80 mph.

    Regarding filling the tank. I usually round up to the nearest 25 cents.

    I bought the 75,000 mile extended warranty.
  • Guys,
    The Regen (as you call it) is simply the engagement of the motor at as high a gear ratio as can be used to safely slow the vehicle while generating current to charge the battery. Since the engine and motor are differentially coupled to the CVT so that who ever spins faster couples through, as the rear axle slows to a stop, there has to be a disengagement, or the engine will be brought to a standstill by the bakes.
  • denhchdenhch Posts: 8
    I agree if there was a "solid" transmission-engine-
    motor coupling it would stop the engine when you
    came to a complete stop. I really don't fully
    understand how it works when regen braking.
    The thing is all the 2006's lurch and my 05 HCH never
    lurched once, what's the difference?
  • Interesting new development in the catalytic converter situation. I was looking for info on the Hybrid and its CC and was reminded about the ECM update letter we got in 2005 that read:
    The engine control module (ECM) software in certain 2003-05 Civic Hybrids is improperly programmed, making the engine run slightly lean. Eventually, this can cause the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) on the instrument panel to come on and lead to failure of an important part
    of the vehicle's emission system, the catalytic converter. Also the ECM could misinterpret normal oil pressure rise during the first engine start after an oil change.

    Additionally, we will update your IMA battery management system to meet the current specifications

    Since I've already had one CC fail (June of '04), this seems like a very likely culprit in my book. This sounds like it's Honda's problem. I've e-mailed my service manager with this tidbit.
  • mcapmcap Posts: 49
    I don't know what the part number was. I think the restraints on the different accords are the same with the exception of the color and fabric. It's probably just a matter of matching your interior color as closely as possible. You also have to specify the side (driver or passanger). I have the grey interior and therefore got the grey headrest.

    I would NOT turn the headrest around. Remember they are angled forward and designed to move forward in the case of an accident. What would happen in this case. The headrest would be angled away from your head and it could possibly move backward further in the event of an accident.

    Just as a note, the accord headrest is collecting dust in my closet. I got used to the Civic headrests. I suggest trying your best to do the same. It really is the safest option and best looking :) The accord swap would be the next best thing probably.

  • mcapmcap Posts: 49
    If you are in the NYC area, you can feel free to post an email. I would be happy to let you try it out.

  • I bought a 2006 HCH in November by December the hybrid engine light (IMA), battery light and the check engine indicators went on. The hybrid engine shuts down and will only work with the gas engine. The car has been at the dealership and they still don't know what is wrong. Anyone else experience similar or other problems with there 2006 HCH?
  • davem7davem7 Posts: 35
    I recently had an engine block heater installed on my 2006 HCH by a Honda dealer. My observations thus far: the maximum it will heat is to 4 bars as shown on the engine temp gauge, the auto stop engages sooner where without the heater it took an average of 2 l/2 miles in cold weather it now takes about 3/4 of a mile.

    The heater did not come with any directions so I can't say how much electricity it consumes, I will try to obtain this info from Honda.

    Hopefully it will improve gas mileage slightly but at least I can say i'm making a contribution to cleaner air. I agree with a previous post that the writer didn't mind paying a little more to the electric company and less to the gasoline producer.
  • jjm22jjm22 Posts: 3
    Living in the land of meaningless Stop Signs placed every half mile or so (Connecticut) I found it a bit frustrating to come to a near stop (Originally from Boston) at every sign and have the engine turn itself off for about 2 seconds and then back on again.

    Solution: By droppings the transmission down to 2 just before stopping causes the engine to stay on and thus eliminates the delay upon departure.

  • On reading the Prius forums, it seems tha tthe Prius is nearly unuseable in snow and ice conditons, largely becuase of the tires but in addtion the electric motor cuts off when the wheels slip.

    Is the Civic hybrid any better? I understand the tires are a problem in slippery conditions?
  • I am close to a buying decision, and I lean towards getting a Civic Hybrid. Reading these boards, I see that see that the CVT is not as robust, in terms of long lasting duty, as a normal transmission. Now, one normally hears more from the folks who have problems. I am glad to hear from more of you, but I also wonder, who (if anyone) has had good luck with the CVT? What's the longest lasting CVT we can hear from? Anyone over 100,000 miles? 150,000? Perhpas we could have an online contest ;-))

    All replies *will* be greatly appreciated, so that I can make an informed decision, not the least about extended warranties.

    Ron Stephens
  • I just had this same problem yesterday with my '05 Civic Hybrid (the can't reverse up hill problem posted by sshybridgirl a while back)...I did a little test and it rolls if I'm headed up hill in drive OR down hill in reverse--it will roll all day until I either hit the brakes or punch the gas and get the car moving in the right direction. Did anyone ever find out why this is?
  • The Prius being unusable in snow and ice conditions has nothing to do with the hybrid concept. Any car will be nearly unusable if you do not use proper winter tires.

    The electric motor cutting off when the wheels slip is caused by the computer trying to keep as much grip on the road as possible, although on summer tires there is not much it can do.

    I have driven the Prius in very icy conditions (glazed frost) a few weeks ago. I had to pick up my son, who was stuck in a train station some 100 km from where I live, because of the weather. I found the Prius extremely stable, in a sense even more stable than my Volvo XC/70. Both cars are on winter tires.

    I don't know how the Honda would do in icy conditions, I have never driven one, but once again, the fact that it is a hybrid shouldn't make any difference.
  • Well, joebeatt, I haven't had to change tires for the winter since the 60's. Most cars run just fine with one set of good all-season tires. I am not going to change tires every year. What I want to know is, how does the Honda Civic do with the ORIGINAL tires in winter conditions? Is it as bad as the Prius or not, is what I want to know.


    From your tone, it sounds lke you think changing tires for winter is a common occurance. I would never even consider doing this. Do all Civic hybrid users in cold weather territory change tires for winter? If so, that's pretty awful. I was leaning towards a hybrid,help anyone?
  • Hi awaretek,

    I think you have been quite lucky. Just read the following article:

    All-season tires are just a compromise, nothing more that that.

    Changing tires twice a year is not such a big deal. If you buy summer tires and winter tires, each on their own set of rims, it will take you 2 x 20 minutes per year to change them. It won't cost you more. Two sets of tires will last twice as long as one set, so in total you spend the same amount of money. On the other hand, if once in your lifetime you get involved in an accident on slippery roads because of your all-season tires, you loose everything "gained" by not using proper tires.

    Even if you insist on sticking to all-season tires only, then I still do not fully understand why you concentrate on the Prius or the Honda on their ORIGINAL tires. Nobody will force you to stick to these tires for the rest of your life. Just buy better ones. You could even ask for a deal where your new car would be delivered with proper tires.

    I would just concentrate on the cars and there, as I said before, the hybrid concept has nothing to do with stability in winter conditions. I would even say that the Prius seems to be a little bit more stable than a "normal" car, maybe because the way CVT transfers the driving forces to the road? Or maybe the relative long wheel base? I don't know, but I would certainly not refrain from buying a hybrid because of the tires.
  • pojamanpojaman Posts: 25
    If your car is rear wheel drive studded snow tires are a good idea in the north east, I have them on my Crown Vic, on the Civic it's not needed, front wheel drive handle snow a lot better than rear wheel drive, of course to a point. In 5 inches of snow you need a four-wheel drive if you live in the hills.
    All weather tires a good enough on a front wheel driven car, and the Civic handles great in rain and snow. Some all weather tires are better than others, just do some searching online. Remember you loose comfort, fuel efficiency and quiet ride with knobby tires. I’m not changing the OEM (factory installed) tires that came with the Civic.
    Have a good safe ride.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Hey, congrats on the engine block heater. That was me (I think) who said I'd rather pay the local Elec than Big oil, and I'm happy to see that the block heater is doing such a good job for you.


    1. What climate are you in? I.E., what have been your night-time temps lately?
    2. How long are you leaving it plugged in at night?


    You can buy a device that plugs into your wall outlet that will measure "killowatt hours used" of any devide plugged into it. I've seen them at Lowes/Home Depot locations and from that you can calculate how much the block heater is costing you for electricity. It's definitely saving you gas if the AutoStop is coming on earlier in your morning commutes.

    Good luck and thanks for posting the info !!
  • hlozikhlozik Posts: 1
    Unfortunately, the CVT transmission on my 2004 Civic Hybrid had to be completely replaced at 13,000 miles. It was covered under warrantee, though. I don't regret my decision to purchase the car, I still love it and would recommend it as dependable with consistently excellent mileage.

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,080
    my 2004 Civic Hybrid had to be completely replaced at 13,000 miles.

    First welcome to the Forum. How many miles do you have on the new CVT? There are owners that have had the CVT go out twice or more. Do you think the new CVT will last a long time?
  • badorbbadorb Posts: 1
    First time owner of a hybrid vehicle (06 civic) and I'm wondering what the battery behavior should act like. For example should the IMA battery be fully charged when new or will it fluctuate a lot from the get go. My vehicle has yet to reach a full charge and bounces around half charge to 3/4. Also, I noticed that the battery will read charging when I let off the gas pedal to coast. Is that normal? Any comments on battery behavior would be appreciated.
  • My 06 HCH (Just got it last week) seems to be acting the same as you described.
  • I drove mine on snow last week (less than an inch, but very slick) and I found that my 06 HCH performed beautifully. So far, since I have had it (a week of crazy Indiana January weather) I have averaged 43 MPG.
  • davem7davem7 Posts: 35
    My location is in the Buffalo-NY area, typical winter nighttime temps range between 15-35 degrees+F, the car is garaged.

    So far I haven't left it on charge for more than 4 hours as I read somewhere that charging for a longer period won't make any difference, i'll probably get a timer.

    It seems like if you plug the heater in while the engine is still warm from driving the dashboard temp gauge will show a max of 4 bars, if plugged in while cold a max of 2 bars. But it definitely results in the auto stop engaging sooner.

    I checked at Lowe's and they weren't aware of any gauge showing "kw hours used". I'm still researching it but if you can come up with a manufacter's name i'd appreciate it.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Thanks for the info. If you get 4 bars from 4 hours, I would try using it only two hours and see if you still get 4 bars.

    Found this kwh measuring device by Googling "measure kwh"

    Manage Your Usage

    For commercial, industrial or residential devices that plug into a 110V outlet, nothing could be simpler for analyzing electrical usage than the PLUGloggertm. Not only does this instrument measure kWh, it also calculates the real cost, based on your utility rates. Eight additional functions put the right answers at your fingertips. It's a favorite of the utility industry where the PLUGlogger answers consumer's questions at the touch of a button!"
  • This is normal. The battery is used during acceleration and charged during coasting and stopping. It's rare that the battery will show fully charged, and even more rare (in my experience) that it will show very low; mine usually averages around 1/2 t0 3/4, though I've been able to get it up to full a couple times. One thing I've noticed is that the car seems to adjust its behavior to try to keep the battery charge from getting too low; a couple of times when I've had it down pretty low the car seems to engage the charge function even during acceleration.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,715
    Which of the following best describes why you own a hybrid?

    a) to make a statement

    b) for the tax credit and other perks

    c) because they’re environmentally friendly

    d) to save money at the pump

    e) to be the first to own new technology

    Please submit a few sentences to support your response no later than Friday, January 27, 2006. Be sure to include your Forums username. Thanks! (

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  • davem7davem7 Posts: 35
    Thanks for the information, I found the device on some other web sites as well, they are in the $40.00 range.

    I hope to have one within the week and i'll publish the kilowatt usage results.
  • I just purchased a 2006 Civic Hybrid on Jan 23,2006.
    I find that the drivers seat bottom makes my bottom sore.
    I had a Pontiac Sunfire coupe and never felt a sore behind.
    My wifes car is an Olds Alero-leather- comfortable seat.
    This is the only thing that I don't enjoy about the car. Does anyone else experience this problem? Anyone have a suggestion?
  • I would go back to the dealer and ask to try out another Civic with the same seats. You have nothing to loose but your own discomfort. My hybrid is very comfortable.
This discussion has been closed.