Honda Insight Maintenance and Repair

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
If you're having an issue with your Insight, this is the place to ask your fellow owners. And if you've SOLVED a problem, be sure to check in here now and then to share your experience and knowledge!


  • danielhdanielh Member Posts: 1
    I have an '02 Insite, and I've noticed that when I'm coming to a stop, either in 1st or 2nd gear, that the vehicle tries to stall (before I've fully stopped), when road conditions are wet and when the car is warmed up. What seems to be happening is that the power supply to the brakes will toggle (on/off), and you have to engage the clutch to get braking power back. It has only happened about three times. It could be something with the energy saver feature where when you are a stop and in neutral, the idle will stop until you put the vehicle into gear. I don't know if there is a defect, or if there is a subtle problem with the way I am downshifting. I think it could be a defect but don't know how to describe the faulty piece. Has anyone had a similar experience?

    Much thanks
  • xcelxcel Member Posts: 1,025
    Hi Danielh:


    ___Autostop can happen at anything below 20 mph in an Insight 5-speed with fast work of the clutch and shifter. Unfortunately, what you are describing sounds different then that given you are in gear. You will not lose braking at any time as long as there is a vacuum and the Insight will hold vacuum for many hours when not in use and over many stops from a coast down without the ICE running at all.


    ___Good Luck


    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • slanislani Member Posts: 5
    As a new owner of Honda Insight, I have a few issues, that I would like to resolve, but let's start with most important one.
    When I apply brakes, as I approach full stop, ABS comes on and car coasts another car length or so. This is very dangerous, but I have been lucky so far and no one has been in the way. I suspect that culprit might be self shutting feature, that is somehow malfunctioning, and turning the engine off before it should.
    Has there been anyone with similar problem?
  • plamboplambo Member Posts: 5
    I just purchased a 2002 Insight and I love it. But it leaks in the rain. A water stain appears under the rear side window. I'm afraid it's going into the battery compartment and that can't be good. I can't tell if it's the hatch, the side window or the door. Has anyone else had this problem and how did you fix it? The Honda dealer said to go to a body shop and the body shop was at a loss and said to go online, so here I am.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Member Posts: 1,978
    Go to a diffent Honda shop. Probably rubber stripping or seals need to be replaced.
  • carybriefcarybrief Member Posts: 5
    just moved to LA have a 2001 insight and need some repair/tune up. had a NJ dealer work on it and they made a big fricking mess. spilled anti freeze all over it and now the check engine light is always on, we left the dealership and the rear wheel skirt fell off! SO i need a good mechanic familiar with the Insight!

    The car bucks when going at normal speeds in 2nd and 3rd gear. any suggestions????
  • bfchrisbfchris Member Posts: 2
    Last night, we had high winds and deluge of rain. This morning, I found water in the driver's floor well. I'll take it to the dealer, and let you know what I find out.
  • mileguymileguy Member Posts: 1
    After 217000 miles I think my Accord is having enough problems to finally make me think about a change. Insight has caught my eye, but I have q's. First, the lay of the land. All my driving is constant high speed highway and very little city. I live in the sticks in MN so there's no traffic, so no stop and go. I will put about 30K a year on the vehicle. I travel for business -- reliability is an issue. Now the q's:

    1. This is Minnesota. How does the Insight do in sub-zero temps that may last a couple of weeks in a row until it warms up to, oh say, +10 or +12 where it will stay for a month before it drops down again?

    2. Since my driving is long range and constant high speed (60 - 75), will the electric motor ever really engage?

    3. I understand the battery is an NiMH. My experience with NiMH batteries has been that they develop "memory". If the gas engine is doing about all of the work, the battery would be on charge almost all of the time. Does that compromise the available range under electric power? Worse yet, do I run the risk of damaging the battery because it's kept on charge so much more than it is actually used?

    Thanks in advance for your replies.

    Mile Guy
  • grandmousegrandmouse Member Posts: 5
    Hi. My 2006 Insight was new this past January when we had worst-case weather with snow covering sloppy and partially frozen slush underneath on a two lane road with narrow shoulders, in this hilly country in central VA. I couldn't keep it on the road over 15-20 mph. It was a very long drive to work. I resolved to find out about what type of chains would be suitable for this car. Until then I have to make sure my Pontiac GP fwd stays in working condition. I was also wondering how to block the airflow through the radiator to keep the engine a litte warmer since the mileage really drops when it's cold. However, a steady speed on a flat surface would be the best condition to expect high mpg. PF
  • slanislani Member Posts: 5
    1. Insight will do just fine in sub zero temperatures, I live in Canada and no issues whatsoever.

    2. That is optimal way of using Insight, and best way to get high mileage.
    Electric motor will engage on acceleration, and charging of the battery will take place on decceleration.

    3. Partly explained in previous answer, just to add that there will always be some use of the battery, and charging as well.
    Every time you start the vehicle, and get it going to cruising speed, electric motor gets used.

    Two issues that you want to worry about are, do you live in mountainous region, and how much snow are you going to encounter?
    If there is a regular and frequent use of Insight in snowy regions, you will need dedicated snow tires.
    If you live in mountainous region, with steep up hills, I would forget about Insight altogether. Working it up the speed, on very steep hills would prove to be a frustrating experience.
  • thierrythierry Member Posts: 16
    Anyone have any idea where Honda hides the fuel/gas filter on the Insight? :confuse:
  • 2002insight2002insight Member Posts: 7
    I'm looking at my service manual, and it looks like the fuel filter is below the fuel pump, which is on the top side of the gas tank. I'm flabbergasted that Honda would put it so far out of reach. Replace fuel filter AFTER making sure the fuel pump and the fuel pressure regulator are OK, if fuel pressure is out of spec (40-47psi.)
  • thierrythierry Member Posts: 16
    I'm a bit puzzled also !!!
    Could it be that they don't trust us to replace our own fuel filter? My check engine light is "ON" and I thought I would start with the least expensive fix AFTER checking to be sure my fuel cap is turned more than three clicks tight...any other 'insights' ? :confuse: LOL
    Thanks 2002insight
  • plamboplambo Member Posts: 5
    I am having trouble finding replacement tires for my Insight. I finally found 2 through STS here in NJ but he tells me he got the last two that he could locate anywhere. (Although he did say he had a set of 4 snow tires.) Anyone know a good source? Even the dealer couldn't find any.
  • 2002insight2002insight Member Posts: 7
    I've had the check engine light come on once, but it went out a couple of days after I retightened the gas cap (other times, the maintenance reminder light would come on for that.) Personally, I'd rather take it to the dealer to diagnose, instead of buying/replacing parts on the hope that you'll replace the right thing. I used to do all of the maintenance on my cars until they got more complicated (or I got too lazy.) Good luck, thierry.
    p.s. I got the service manual so I can better decide if I should take it to a professional or if it's something I can do myself.
  • thierrythierry Member Posts: 16
    Dear 2002insight,
    You're correct, I'll have the dealer diagnose the code for the "CHECK ENGINE" light.
    What's your experience been finding replacement tires for your '02 Insight?
    Thanks so much, I trust your advice.
    HAPPY HOLIDAYS :blush:
  • carybriefcarybrief Member Posts: 5
    anyone know about replacing the batteries for a 2001 insight? were having problems with the charge just dropping out. it starts charging again but I think it's soon time to replace the batteries - any help would be great

    we also had problems with an antifreeze smell. we brought the car to three Honda dealers, Essex Honda in New Jersey, Miller Honda in Van Nuys , and auto park Honda in Cary, NC. Essex said the smell was from spilled antifreeze, Miller admitted there was antifreeze on the crossbar but said it was no problem. finally auto park realized the head gasket was blown. they had to remachine the head , a valve job, thermostat all very pricey. the day after we got the car back . it didn't start, somehow the starter battery went bad! a few days later , I noticed the and the freeze smell again. noticed the overflow was empty and brought it back. turns out that a Honda dealer installed an aftermarket cruise control , which rubbed a hole in a metal hose , which no one was curious enough to find themselves. all very frustrating. auto park was pretty decent and at least they found the problem eventually
  • 2002insight2002insight Member Posts: 7
    Hi thierry,
    I hope you find the reason for the check engine light. As for the replacement tires, I got a new set of Cooper "165/65 14 S" at 55,000 miles. The tire dealer in my area had to order them, since they only had two in stock, but it only took a couple of days to get them in. Just check that the installer put the rear skirts back on properly (I had to refit mine before I left the tire shop.) I think I made the mechanic grumpy when I asked for a screwdriver, and told him the reason I needed it. :D
    Ho ho ho and Merry Christmas.
  • thierrythierry Member Posts: 16

    My local Honda dealer replaced the Oxygen sensor, but CHECK ENGINE light is still on. When I asked if there had been any recalls on my '02 Insight that I may have missed; they said they would research the issue and get back to me. :mad:
    However, on the Insight Central website, several other owners claim they've received Recall Letters on the ECM replacement stating:
    ."Your vehicles main computer control module (the ECM) can misinterpret readings from various sensors. If this happens, the check engine light on the instrument panel may stay on."
    Have you received a Recall Letter from American Honda in Torrence or are you still waiting for one like myself? :confuse:

    Thanks for any info...HAPPY NEW YEAR !!! :blush:
  • 2002insight2002insight Member Posts: 7
    Hi Thierry,
    Sorry to hear that your dealer didn't correct the problem before giving the car back to you -- and I bet they just scratched their heads and replaced the Oxygen sensor; scratched their heads again, and sent you home. I'll ask my dealer in Ohio if there's a recall on mine (John Hinderer Honda.) They're pretty good at customer service, so I'll let you know what they say after I talk to them.
  • carybriefcarybrief Member Posts: 5
    if you are having a problem contact Honda AMerica at 1-800-999-1009 have your VIN # ready and tel them the problem,. they helped me out a whole lot with the trouble we had. they dont want to get dealer complaints so they try to fix them!
  • carybriefcarybrief Member Posts: 5
    my passenger seat belt is getting wet but I cannot see any water anywhere else or a physical leak, trail etc. Anyone know about this?

    Also had to replace driver side mirror due to a tornado sandblasting the car. dealer told me how to pop off the old one but to replace it is trickier. got it to pop onto the center but how do you get it on the side pcs? :confuse:
  • elk3elk3 Member Posts: 1
    My Honda 2002 Honda Insight has 116,000 miles on it. When fixing a judder problem they needed to replace my flywheel. As I drove home from that repair I felt a bumping feeling and later on the freeway there's been an intermittent juddering feeling at higher speeds (the recent judder problem was regarding juddering from idle to acceleration). My Honda dealer says this recent problem is due to busted transmission and engine mounts. I have a lot of miles on my car, but it's strange that the bumping etc. started when I left the last repair. Could they have busted these mounts when replacing the flywheel? Do they have to take out the engine to replace the flywheel?
  • jbinsightjbinsight Member Posts: 3
    Hi Carybrief:

    In regards to your post:
    "My passenger seat belt is getting wet but I cannot see any water anywhere else or a physical leak, trail etc. Anyone know about this?"

    Here is what I Know:
    The leak is most likely coming in from the side panels that are above the doors. Sorry I’m not very mechanically inclined so this description might not be the best, but I've had water leaking into both the passenger and drivers seat belt.

    I thought it was because of a bad job Safelite Auto did replacing my windshield (they have to remove the side panels above the doors to replace the windshield, in the process they broke the side panel clips, so the side panels didn't go back on right). Water began leaking in (a lot--my seatbelts are dripping with water) and so I am now in the process of having Safelite fix this--however there may be another problem.

    Safelite replaced the side panels, and it Still leaks--they have a test where they spray water into the crevices above the doors (starting at the front and working all the way back to the hatchback) and if you remove the interior plastic moldings around the seatbelts you can watch the water trickle in. I’m trying to find out why this is happening—maybe a crack or something in the body, or a bad seal, or needs some new puddy?

    I'll let you know what I find out—and if you or anyone else has more info on this PLEASE let me know because I’m sure this will be a big fight with Safelite Auto and my insurance company.

  • bjgw66bjgw66 Member Posts: 16
    We sell a lot of insights were I work; I think the main reason tires are hard to find might be our fault. sorry...(lol) I think we typically have 4-6 in the parts department. We order though Honda parts catalog. they are a bridgestone RE92 and they retail for around 80$ I think you can get something the same size cheaper, but they are a little softer rubber (quieter but not as long lasting) from ????? Kumo??? check by size.

    There have been a few posts in here about leaks... yeah I have seen the guys in the shop with the garden hose out spraying on insights to duplicate the leak... and I am fairly certain that they find most of them... I'll talk to my service MGR to see if there are just a few "more common spots" or if it is all just random seals going bad.
  • ulysesulyses Member Posts: 1
    my 2000 insight needed a new ima at 120000 miles. this is a $7000 fix but warranted by honda. so we did not pay any of that. the problem is we notice that our mileage has dropped from 65 mpg down to 45 mpg. Honda says that was their intention as the old ima contributed to battery heating. Since they designed it to correct the heating problem they will do nothing about our loss of gas mileage. Are we being snowed by an uninformed dealership or has honda really sabotaged their own car?
  • 2002insight2002insight Member Posts: 7
    I just had the IMA battery components replaced a couple of months ago, but the mpg has only dropped to the level it usually does in the winter on my 2002 Insight CVT (mpg is lower 60's in summer; mid 50's in winter.) You might want to give American Honda a call, if you're not happy with the Dealer's response. BTW, my lifetime average mpg is 59.5 right now, but it usually goes back up to 60-61 by mid-summer.
  • buckeyebulletbuckeyebullet Member Posts: 1
    I have a Honda Insight with a dash light reading "maintenance required." My manual is temporarily missing from a recent move. Is that a normal warning light for an Insight approaching 55,000 miles (which mine is doing)?

    Also, in case I cannot locate my manual soon, what important servicing must be done to the Insight at 55,000 and what should I be watching for in a car of that mileage?
  • slyhamslyham Member Posts: 2
    In cold weather, the heater has failed to produce any heat for at least a half an hour. After that it often works, but not often enough. Has anyone else had this problem and/or know the solution. Would love to have an idea before I approach the Honda Service shop.
  • airdog3airdog3 Member Posts: 1
    I am a new owner of a 2002 insight. Does any one know how to to reset the maint. required light? The car has 66K and I just changed the oil and ck all fluids.
  • 2002insight2002insight Member Posts: 7
    If you got the Owner's Manual with the car, it's on page 59:
    1. Turn off the engine.
    2. Press and hold the trip button in the instrument panel, then turn the ignition switch ON (II).
    3. Hold the button until the indicator resets (approximately ten seconds).
  • ianuianu Member Posts: 2
    My '03 Insight has a water leak too! I've determined that the water is coming from the passenger side quarter interior trim panel (just below the pass side rear glass). The water ends up on the right side of the hatch's floor, under the trunk carpet. The passenger side seatbelt gets wet (water travels to where the belt winds up near the floor).

    Has anyone else encountered this problem? Any fixes known?
  • ianuianu Member Posts: 2

    Did you ever get any answers on your water leak problem? Mine's doing it too!

  • plamboplambo Member Posts: 5
    After taking it to several places (including a dealer) I found a small repair shop guy who told me the back hatch was not closing properly. We discovered the car had been in an accident (which I did nor know when I bought it) and had had the rear hatch window replaced. Anyway, he removed the entire hatch and re-welded the hinges so now the hatch closes more tightly. Its still not perfect but the leak is now very minimal! He only charged me $250 which I felt was a bargain since no one else could do anything at any price.
  • jbinsightjbinsight Member Posts: 3
    hi all...just thought I'd close my water leaking chapter on my 2001 honda insight. Long story short, if you see my previous post you will see my problem started with a bad windshield replacement. After 2 different body shop repairs my leak is fixed. My leak was coming into the seat belt areas from 3 places, above the door under the side moldings and a little bit in around the antenna. FYI if you ever have a windshield replaced do it at honda, they should understand that when the side moldings go back on they have to go back on in a very specific way, if not done exactly to spec with each of the clips on in place it leaves gaps where water can enter the body and channel into the seat belt area. To properly diagnose they removed the interior head liner and tested the entire roof for leaks, thats how they found the additional small one from the antenna.

    good luck
  • insighterinsighter Member Posts: 2
    How did you get this as a warranty repair with 120000 miles? My warranty reads 8/80000 unless I'm missing something? I'm asking because my IMA light just came on at 134,000 on my 2000 Insight and my mileage has dropped from 65 to 60 - so I've been anticipating the worst.
  • medic6955medic6955 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 insight with 96,000 miles and the car has been bucking while trying to maintain constant speed. Doesn't buck on eccel or decel. Also, the MPG have dropped to 40-43MPG (used to be 60-65). Was told probably the EGR valve. Removed the valve but don't know how to test it. hooked it up to the connector and ran the engine at different throttle positions and it doesn't open or move. Anyone know how to test these EGR valves?
  • slyhamslyham Member Posts: 2
    When they replaced my IMA controller to correct the battery heating problem, my mileage dropped about 3 - 4 mpg. 45 mpg is unacceptable, and I think you may be being snowed by your dealer. Call Honda USA about this.
  • medic6955medic6955 Member Posts: 2
    Try Mavis tire. Got all 4 replaced recently and they were not any more expensive then other tires.
  • plamboplambo Member Posts: 5
    So good to hear this. What/where is Mavis Tires?
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Member Posts: 263
    Yes, that's definitely a bad EGR. Get one from a junkyard and you'll be good.
  • philbrookphilbrook Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2006 insight windows were slow going up and down put windex on rubber seal fixed it right away, butis there something better for this .
  • philbrookphilbrook Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2006 honda insight my milage is around 55.6-57.5 I take it pretty easy but drive the Oregon coast Hwy101 most of the time which is fairly hilly but I see people post mileage of 60 plus. Just wondering if this seems about right.
  • insighterinsighter Member Posts: 2
    Update on MY battery replacement. I wasn't able to get it replaced under warranty. Apparently the extended warranty time varies by State? Anyway, I was looking at a $3500 - $5000 repair. Not a very nice Christmas present. So just for giggles I searched eBay. Found a battery and the attached modules from a car that had front end damage. Had the entire unit shipped to my local Honda dealer. They installed it. The entire repair cost me about $1000. I know it was risky but there was a 90 day warranty and I purchased the extended warranty from SquareTrade.

    End result - my car runs like new. I lost no mpg when the repair was completed. In fact I actually gained back a couple that we had lost in the last few years. Steadily at 65 mpg. The dealership was great about using the used parts and said the unit looked new. Oh - the eBayer is LKQonline
  • thierrythierry Member Posts: 16
    Anyone have any idea for a do-it-yourself fix on a 2002 is tight and don't think I can afford to pay a mechanic. Only 52,000 miles on odometer! :confuse:
    ANY IDEAS????
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Member Posts: 263
    Adjust it? Lubricate it? It's a simple repair.
  • thierrythierry Member Posts: 16
    Thanks for your input. Simple for you :) to lub...a bit more difficult for me :cry: , but I tried to get some WD-40 inside the cable sheath and IT WORKED ! ! !
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Member Posts: 263
    Okay, but you've only made a temporary fix. WD40 will gunk up rather quickly. It picks up dirt. Get some "White Lithium Grease". It comes in a spray can. Spray it again with the lithium grease and then work the brake handle a couple dozen times to work it in. (Then spray your door hinges with the stuff - it's what it's designed for.)

    DO NOT GET ANY ON YOUR BRAKES! Just on the cable where it enters the sheath.
  • thierrythierry Member Posts: 16
    Great words of advice. Every suggestion is greatly appreciated to keep this old 2002 Insight in tip-top shape until the all new 2010 comes out soon!
  • va_01insightva_01insight Member Posts: 2
    This sounds like a thermostat problem. It sounds like your thermostat is stuck open which does not allow your coolant to maintain the proper operating temperature in cold weather. Have your radiatior flushed and replace the thermostat and you should be nice and crispy when it's cold outside.
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