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Honda Civic Hybrid Transmission Problems



  • I have just started having a problem shifting my automatic from Park to reverse and Drive. I also am having trouble putting the car in Park and removing the ignition key after turning off the engine. The car has been at the dealer since 8/14 waiting for a transmission cable, which is on back order. I am beginning to smell a con. Am I right?
  • sjeffesjeffe Posts: 2
    :) I want to clarify exactly what I meant by "bucking"

    My 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid only had 3,000 mile on it when it started to jerk me and the family around. Today it has about 18,000 miles and I've had two maintenance services as recommended.

    I will add on to the message left by one blogger noting their observations in quotation marks and adding my text immediately after with a car icin before text :shades: :

    "At an absolute minimal amount of throttle, not quite off the pedal, the power train seems to flicker, indecisively between two levels causing a mild, but unavoidably noticeable bucking". :) Yes, I have had the same issue, but also at highway speeds (65/70 MPH) with the cruise control engaged.

    "Give it some throttle, the bucking stops instantly. Hit the brake, the bucking stops quickly, not instantly". :mad: Yes, but the last time this occurred my Civic was bucking and jerking so violently (my 20 year old Son was with me) the only way to stop it was to shift into "Sport Mode" and hit the brakes. I'm talking about our heads down to our waists lines were jerking back and forth. I have scheduled it for a check up tomorrow August 28, and I'll let you know what they find. I have been told by one Honda dealership they have never heard anything like this, and by another that it's somewhat common, but the cause is not known!

    "Neither air temperature nor engine temperature seem to matter. There is no noise associated with the bucking. The only unusual noise I've ever noticed is a clattering sound, which on any other car I'd say the valves are out of adjustment (this is the only car I've owned that was less than say 15 years old). The sound continues to worsen, the mechanics say it's normal, they're wrong, but I'm digressing." :cry: Yes, you were digressing (emotional issue), but Yes I agree temp's don't seem to matter (I line in MI and purchased in November 07, and it's nice and toasty here during the summer (mid 70's to high 80's) and it still jerks and bucks.

    "So is this the 'bucking' everyone is talking about, with EGR valves and transmission failures?” I have not gotten that far yet, but I hope it's a simple fix because I really like my car and plan to keep it.

    "Anyone with such a problem check into switching to the manual tyranny?" I was not aware the 2008 Civic Hybrid has a manual option?

    I would hope Honda corporate has someone monitoring this blog (generally they do) so they can work on damage control, or rather determine a fix. We all know it's hard for a company to admit there's a problem for fear of the infamous "RECALL", or damaging the products image in the market place. :)
  • Hey,

    I have an 03' Honda Civic Hybrid and all the sudden the IMA battery went down and we brought it to the dealer cause they told us the warranty was 10 year 150,000 miles and then when we got it to them they said it was only 150,000 in California. I was just gonna try to get rid of it cause they told me there is nothing i could do and it would cost me around 10k to fix!!!
    I now read this and it makes me think I can have honda do something about this since i basically bought a dud. do you have any advice for me???
  • bbb99bbb99 Posts: 58
    Dude, that sucks. I'd look for a used IMA battery in a wrecked hybrid around your city at a junk lot. I have seen IMA batteries on ebay too. Lastly, I'd call Honda Motor Corp and see if they can help you out. That battery is going to cost you more than that car is worth. How many miles do you have on your civic? Please keep us posted, I have an 03 HCH with 85k on it and the IMA battery is still working fine. Does your car not operate without the IMA battery? Did you notice anything funny happening before it died?
  • if you are paying ANYTHING AT ALL, then yes.

    them having your car that long- they should be providing a free rental car. in addition you should not have to pay for any labor, parts, shipping, or storage costs.

    i'm kind of a [non-permissible content removed], but the squeaky (and bitchy) wheels get oiled first. i just told them it was unacceptable and how humiliated honda should be for even releasing the car. that it's bad enough that i'm stuck with it, the least they can do is replace things that were designed poorly by THEM. it's nothing we did wrong, as customers we should not have to pay for faulty manufacturing/engineering. if i went back to get my car and it still wasn't better i told them "i'm leaving it here until you fix it. your company made it. i refuse to buy that "everything is fine" and i really don't appreciate their technicians insulting my intelligence."
    just refuse to pay anything.
    also, depending on what car it is, there were some class action law-suits regarding the hch. unfortunately mine was not included. but i've gotten some notices about recalled parts or whatever. they try to keep it quiet and charge some of their more naive customers, but they have documentation from honda corporate mandating them to pay for any repairs due to the known defects.

    good luck!!! i have just gotten used to driving with less than full battery power. :( sad, but there's no point in selling it and getting a different car. and i still get VERY good gas mileage. my "maint required" light is on the first 30 seconds the car is running. i'll hopefully get in to check that out soon. though i'm not rushing in anymore- at this point i feel i can diagnose things better by feel and sound myself than those techs can, and they always keep the car forever and dirty it up w/their greasy hands and oily boots.

  • bbb99bbb99 Posts: 58
    To get this maint req light to turn off, do this...

    1: with the car off and key out of ignition push and hold MPG change putton
    2: insert key and turn key to "on" position (do not start the car, just turn ignition on so the dash lights come on), while still holding the MPG button down
    3: after about 10 or so seconds the "maint req" light will flash and go out
    4: once it's out you can turn car off and you are done. message is now reset.

    Nothing wrong with your car, just reminding you to go to the dealer and waste your money.
  • Ive tried calling Honda Motor Corp and they just tell me there is nothing they can do and its in our hands. not very helpful at all. they are very sneaky about how they do things cause when i bought it, they told me there is a 150000 mile warranty and then when i wanted to use that...then added the part that i had to be in california to use it.
    i had 125,000 miles on it. the first sign of problems was my battery wasnt charging up after turning it off and i would come in and it took multiple tries to get it goin. and it was all down hill from there. and no, it wont operate without the IMA
  • I REALLY APPRECIATE THE INFO: how to turn off that damn light!! ;)

    they would've charged me @ least $120 to "see what's wrong" jesus! honda's reputation is going to the dogs. i bought a honda for the alleged 'reliability'- i'm doing more research on other manufacturers and models next time i buy a car. my trust in honda has been COMPLETELY lost.

  • Who can I call to verify that the warranty has been extended on the battery? i know the dealer here is no help.
  • Queen of the Judder club here! I've had the judder since the moment I test drove the car 2 1/2 years ago. Bought a used "Honda certified" 03 hybrid. Just like others on this forum I was told by the "used car salesman" that the judder was the car's engine changing from battery to fuel. Like an idiot, I thought that was kinda cool. Over the course of these last 2 1/2 years I've been in and out of the dealerships about 30 times, with just about every situation listed on this forum. After they fixed the start clutch about 2 months ago, I've been noticing a steady increase in the transmission "slipping" as you all call it, so that was what I brought the car in about this weekend. They told me the transmission was starting to fail. They're going to call Monday to see if it's covered by my warranty. I don't think it is, I think I'm just over the mileage. I'm gonna be so damn mad if it isn't! This is the first post I've seen that shows that the judder is related to the CVT transmission. So basically, every time I've left my car with them for the judder, and they fixed the computer or the catalatic converter, or whatever else excuse they gave to get out of having to install a new transmission, were all times that I was within my warranty time and it could have been fixed then. Not to mention the time and aggrivation, courtesy vans, you know the drill. Anyway, I finally brought the car back to the dealership where I bought it and they've been quite nice and haven't charged for anything so far. But this one is big. I'm over my warranty miles now. Only by 2,000 miles but it's still over. If they tell me I have to pay $4,000 for a new transmission I don't know what I'm gonna do. I have been in touch with a lady who is part of a class action suit with regard to the honda odyssey's. Apparently, they have bigger problems than ours. She said that Honda should absolutely pay for this as you have a record of complaining about the same problem with the car every time you went in, only to complain about the same problem again 2 months later, again and again. So she said she will talk to the New York attorney about having the civics added to the class action suit that's started now, he may have already done it, I'm not sure. So, as for me, I find out tomorrow if they'll pay for a new transmission. But then I read these forums and I see people having their transmissions replaced 5 or 6 times it makes me want to scream. I won't sell it though, my HOV stickers give me an hour of my life back every day time wise, and the gas mileage is sweet, Just wish I didn't "live" at the service section of the honda dealership. One thing I've noticed though is that there is a HUGE difference between dealerships, the people I had before ( I don't think I can name names) were the ones who sent me through the ringer but the guys I have now seem to be very understanding and sincerely trying to fix things. Can I say their names because I sure would like to warn people if I could. Also, I can get the name of the attorney for the class action suit to anyone wanting to join. I just don't see how we could put all this money and time out for these lemons and not be justly compensated for it.
  • hey, if you took it in for the judder, they KNEW it was the transmission. there are documents put out by honda corp. that are called service bulletins. they don't give you these unless they absolutely HAVE to. there's is one for the judder. specifically stating that it is a problem with the cvt. this problem is known by honda and i'm hoping that anyone who reads this site & has a problem w/their first gen HCH makes honda pay for everything! they know about the problem, it is their fault, and they need to fix it.

    being a [non-permissible content removed] comes in real handy for stuff like this. so if you're not a [non-permissible content removed], i suggest you practice BEFORE you go in to the dealership. i myself am proud to be a demanding [non-permissible content removed], and i have gotten my problems fixed for about 2 1/2 years now without every giving honda a single red cent.
    now, of course the car is a dud in the first place. even all the fixing you can do wont change the fact that the cars were built like crap- so the same problems will keep happening as the new parts get worn and broken by the poor design. but as long as they know you're not taking any of their [non-permissible content removed], they are usually pretty quick to hook you up with some new parts. and a rental (FREE OF COURSE!) while they are doing all repairs.
    one time they tried to get me to pick up the car saying that everything was normal. i told them not to insult my intelligence. that i knew damn well it was the cvt and that millions of other HCH owners had the same problems. i told them the car was theirs until it ran properly. and then i demanded a loaner car since it had already been a few days and obviously they weren't making it a priority. i left with the loaner and picked up my car a week later- no noises to speak of. though it's been some months since then and it's starting to feel a little "slippy" or "bucky" on acceloration and breaking. so i will have to go [non-permissible content removed] again. but like i said, better to keep getting it fixed than to wait for a HUGE breakdown that could kill you or others on the road!!

    (i love my car, but NEVER EVER would have bought it if i knew then what i know now)

    :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon:
  • Just got off the phone with them, they are kindly offering to pay for the parts for the transmission, but not the labor. To the tune of $891.00!! I talked to him before seeing your post so I didn't really know why the judder and the slipping are related. The car is not under warranty now, just about 2,000 miles over. They had replaced the start clutch about 2 months ago, and it was right after this that I started getting the slipping. It was under some kind of extended warranty at that time, so the start clutch was covered. I told him that I was told the start clutch is part of the transmission, and he said no, it is outside of the transmission, a separate problem, and my transmission wouldn't have been covered at that time either. I thought that replacing the start clutch would fix the problems, but it only caused new problems. MUCH bigger problems. He said that it was probably just a coincidence that the transmission started failing right after the start clutch was put in. I have a call into them now to get the service bullettins you talked about. Once I get those particular bulletins in my hands, what do I do if they still refuse to fix it? Will keep you posted, and thanks so much for all the info.

    :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon:
  • THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME I'M AFRAID!!! start clutch replaced... the battery wont charge up fully now and they told me that was a huge coincidence too. actually, i am VERY worried that i am at the end of the free help!! i feel like they are riding out the extended warranty, which is almost over. i may have already said that stuff earlier in the thread... i don't know. i am just too fed up with it. it really makes me sick to think about it. my maint light was on- someone on here told me how to turn it off on my own to avoid going in for another scam job. but i'm scared i feel some slipping or bucking. i don't know. i am glad that there are at least others who feel my pain. i don't know what if anything can really be done to put things right. but i'll be glad to hear any suggestions or updates!!

    good luck! i'm thinking happy thoughts for both (all) of us!!!!!!!
    :lemon: :lemon: :lemon:
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    I have all the problems that I read in this forum. I wrote to the CEO of Honda who gave my case to some Honda Customer Service drone in Torrance CA. Basically the drone said that they have no control over dealerships. the dealership that "burnished" my clutch did only half a job. They did not "reset" my vehicle after the job and PCM update. As a result, my HCH did not run so good. After I found out of the hard reset ( and did it myself) it ran better. But now I am afflicted with the slippage and bucking. I would be most interested in talking to the attorney involved in the class action lawsuit. Honda knows they served up a lemon. I heard that in Japan the government forced Honda to do good for those afflicted by this awful vehicle. They should be sued and made to compensate. I am a sales rep who spends a lot of time on the road. I sold in the auto industry. I know what Honda and the dealerships are up to. I (we) should not be ignored. Make noise, let them know. :lemon:
  • See post #172 and follow the link. You will eventually find what your looking for.
    If not, post your email address and it will be sent to you.
  • Did you get the belt replaced. I have an 05 HCH with the CVT and am having the same problems. I went through the whole thing. Change fluid, burnish procedure, add ECM updates, add cvt lower valve body. Of course the problems never happen when the dealership has the car. The manager told pretty much told me that there is no problem what so ever with the transmission. I talked to a lady from Honda Care and she told me there is no such warranty on the transmission. I saw part of the service bulletins that the Honda techs get that says you can replace the belt under warranty (and transmission if all other options are exhausted). I guess it's going to come down to Honda having a very upset customer when I have to have my car towed in because the transmission dies in the middle of my daily commute?
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    Hi there. as it turned out... I checked the tranny fluid level and found it quite short. bought some of the honda tranny fluid ( very expensive) and put in 1/4 of a pint. since then the tranny has been fine. so much for the factory trained techies at the dealerships. by the way...the fluid in my tranny was clear..the honda tranny fluid was mechanic says that they used power steering fluid in the tranny..which he says is ok since it is a hydraulic fluid....and its less expensive...can you believe that...!!! factory trained indeed..!! thank you for your attention.
  • No my CVT belt was not replaced. At about 98,000 miles they did the "burnish" treatment...under warrantee except for the cost of the fluid (yes very expensive..."liquid gold"). That '03 HCH now has about 122,000 miles on it, with no further incidents to date.

    I have had repeated similar experiences with the various Honda Service folks here in CT...regarding the CVT transmission slipping issue denial. Not one service manager I've spoken with will admit any knowledge to a problem or extended warrantee of any kind.

    With the Honda minivan transmission failures, my wife purchased a new Toyota Sienna instead with good result save the run flat tire fiasco (Toyota's in denial about that issue as well)...With a new teenage driver in the queue, I'll be looking for a new Hybrid sedan very soon...Honda may not make the cut, given their response to their responses to the two major transmission debacles over the last 7 years.

  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    Hi, did u have a chance to check the level of tranny fluid on your HCH? It just might need a little bit. the dealerships just follow the specs on filling the tranny just needs a little bit more (be careful, I bit at a time.. do not overfill). I would wait on getting a hybrid. in a year or so there will be lots to chose from besides Honda an toyota. personally, I would not get another honda. they do not value their customers anymore. It seems that they went from making simple reliable vehicles to making complex machines where the simplest things become complex. I had a civic hatch (1985) I put 240,000 miles on it sold it and its still running. they will never make those again because the dealerships lose money.
  • I had the same problem with my first gen HCH that I got in 2002. It was only about 30G's into it and I knew the tranny was bad - it had all the classic symptoms. I kept telling them to check it out - they conveniently kept telling me all was well over and over again until after my warranty was over - so I signed up for the extended warranty and said - look - I have the extended warranty so you aren't getting out of fixing it. It took about 7-8 trips there before they finally admitted it was the tranny - this is all documented there at Honda that we "had no work done". Here was a recent post I made about all the other problems i have had with it. And I SOLELY agree to the comment posted by luvhatehybird - DO NOT GET ONE IF YOU DON"T HAVE ONE!!!!!!

    Honda should be buying me a new car by now since I have had so many problems with the engine and other parts in the car. Screw good as mileage - I have WELL paid for anything I have saved by having to pay for repairs. I am still only in the lower 90G's in mileage. They apparently only extend the warranty on the expensive stuff to an 8year/80,000 miles and then lie and say you have a 10year-100,000 mile warranty. 100K warranty was what we signed up for!!!!!! We were shocked and extremely angry when everything stopped working at 80,000 miles!!!!!!

    Here is the post: "I have a Honda Civic Hybrid. I have the first year - 2003 and bought it in 2002. I was told how to drive it to receive the best gas mileage. (Don't take off too fast, let it coast more often, etc --things you want to already do in ANY vehicle). I received better than the sticker for the first couple years (in the lower 50's average), after the third and fourth year, it dropped to lower 40's and now from the 5th year until now is in the lower 30's. I have had MAJOR issues with the car though. I have had at least 4-5 DOZEN trips to the honda dealer for them to replace something that costs thousands of dollars to replace down to a few hundred dollars to replace. The transmission went out in the 30G's, the catalytic converter (1100 to replace) is bad now and the IMA system which is the 180 volt battery that recharges, giving it the "hybrid" name (around 3000 to replace) had to be replaced and was already bad for some time. I also had to replace the actual 12-volt battery twice. Several other things were recalled softwarewise that were done free but would have been charged labor if I didn't have the extended warranty. Also, the SRS light (seatbelt retention system) has been on for 50,000 miles and Honda has tried fixing the problem at least a dozen times itself - it still is not fixed even now. This concerns me because it means either the seatbelts won't lock when they need to or the airbags won't deploy at all (maybe even when your life depends on it). Other things have had to be replaced as well - I had to get American Honda Care involved because of so many problems. I am wondering how many others out there have had any of the problems I mentioned. And yes - Honda DOES sell the car based on the MPG here in KC, MO. They use it ONLY as the selling point since people here drive alot - most don't care about emissions - they just want good gas mileage - which is why they told us how to drive the vehicle to get the best mileage possible. Many things drop the gas mileage down on the hybrid and at a higher rate than any other type of car."
  • bbb99bbb99 Posts: 58
    My 03 HCH (auto) is at 86,000 miles and I've replaced the egr valve. I've also replaced the front battery once and I have a creaking noise around my front left tire that a mechanic told me I don't need to fix. Here's hoping things keep going well, I got a 54 mpg tank last week.
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    Well,it seems to me that Honda of America has made it crystal clear that we would be making lots of trips to the dealerships for their benefit. They made such good reliable vehicles that were so easy to maintain that the dealerships probably complained. Now with these very complex vehicles, the dealerships get the action and the dough. I don;t know about your area, but were I live (NYC metro) the dealerships are awful. The techies do not know anything about how to maintain a HCH. I feel we have all experienced their jive. I know I have experienced their condescending ways. My family owns quite a few Hondas. I know I will not be getting another one again. They have forgotten who made them.
  • Hi everyone,
    My 2003 HCH quit on me while driving. The engine seems to run normally but drive is like neutral. WHen i change to parking, Drive blinks but the car will not move. First dealer told me it might transmission ot fly wheel drive. Second dealer says the car has no fly wheel drive and is still diagnosing it.
    Does anyone know if it has a flywheel drive and/ or what the problem might be...

  • hi.
    i've made many posts on this forum about the declining quality of my 2003 HCH. Since i bought it it's been slowly breaking down. first i needed a burnish at 60k, a few weeks after i purchased the car. then again about 10 k later. and again 10k after that as well as new starter clutch, rebuild transmission. 5k later- now at 86,000- only 6k past the Honda extended warranty and my Drive light also started flashing. The manual says to take it in right away if this happens. I did and they told me they need to replace the transmission control module. this may be the only problem, maybe more, not sure yet. the only dealer that will help me is where i bought it- i guess i'm lucky since it's outside of warranty they don't HAVE to help me, but come ON- they just fixed the damn thing 5k miles ago!!! that is embarrassing to them AND honda i would think!!

    as before, i will post an update once repairs have been made- hopefully the P.O.S. will be able to drive all the way to the original dealer before it breaks.

    anyways, good luck to all who made the mistake of purchasing this seemingly good investment.

    Szamzam- Please post an update as well. of the MANY MANY problems i've had w/the vehicle, i've never had the D light flash, so i am very concerned now, interested to see what is wrong with yours and if it relates- or maybe the light can flash for a few different types of trans problems. but the manual definitely says something about the D light flashing meaning the trans is going...

    Page 166 in the 2003 HCH manual explains about the Flashing "D" indicator.

    :lemon: :lemon:
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    Hi, the 2003 Civic HCH is a very complex vehicel. It's so complex that the dealerships have no clue how to deal with it.After all, it is the first generation vehicle. I would suggest you google the Civic CVT tranny and realize how small it is. When the "burnishment" of the clutch was done they should have upgraded the TCM (tranny control module) software. did they? They also should have done a system re-set after the TCM upgrade. did they? The software upgrade is part of the burnishment. The re-set is simple and if you are handy I can tell you how to do it or have a mechanic do it. Once the re-set is done the vehicle runs much better. I am not a technician. I have benefited from some information given to me by someone who knows the vehicle very well. By the way, when they did the "burnishment" on my car they shorted my tranny almost half a pint of tranny fluid. My regular mechanic found that. It's what caused the slippage in my tranny which I thought needed replacement. Call this dealerships bluff! Good luck!
  • gerardhmgerardhm Posts: 2
    I've had no luck with my my '03 HCH and repairs by Honda dealers either. Earlier this year, I had the Cat. go and I tried to have the dealer work out a deal with me to replace it, but to no avail. Now, I'm being told that my transmission is failing (it's been making a funny noise since Thanksgiving that they've just now been able to diagnose). I'm just not sure I want to put another 4-5K in the car and I'm pretty darn sure Honda's not going to help me pay for the transmission repairs. However, I think they should b/c they sure have screwed up on making cars that work well.
  • They didn't upgrade the TCM, i had that break separately at 86,000 and just had the replaced on "good will" since the warranty is up. i would have been pissed if they didn't cover that and they already knew it was bad and didn't fix it. but i know there's more... :(
    they did do the software update- strangely, that was when the battery stopped charging to 100% they tried to blame it on the new software- i am just at my wits end. i have no clue who is just ignorant and who is really lying to me for their own gain. very frustrating!!

    when you refilled/replaced the fluid, did you buy the liquid gold "Honda" fluid? If not what did you use instead?
  • gerardm-

    we have the same vehicle... have you read my posts? there may be a lot more you can do before total replacement. what is your millage? read my posts, there are a bunch in this thread about my car and the various things i've tried. it's been 3 years since the problems really started, though i think i'm finally down to kinda thin ice. but maybe there's still a way to get a few more years out of your vehicle.

    question for anyone:
    are you guys repairing them and then selling them off to unsuspecting people? or trading them in- if so, at Honda or another dealer? Or Are you going to drive your hybrids till the wheels fall off?

    i'm thinking i might have to be shady and sell it to someone else once i patch up the trans :( it makes me sad, but i can't afford to trade it in to a honda dealership for a better car since i'm not done paying for it yet...
  • rikfrerikfre Posts: 57
    Hi there, yes , I did buy their high priced tranny fluid..I bet its Dexron III in their packaging. Funny thing is that their tranny fluid (from the dealership) was clear and the one I bought from the parts dept. was dyed red!! Sounds like your dealership is no different than the ones around here. google honda and get the presidents name. write him a letter (I did) let him know how the dealerships abuse customers.
  • i'm kinda done pouring any energy at all into this situation!! ugh! terrible that it comes to this, but i'm going to see if i can get one of those US Fidelity extended warranties b/c i know it would pay for itself, and just drive the thing till the wheels fall off. I can't afford to trade it in or try to buy another car right now :(

    my exhaust started making this rumbling noise, not rumble, but like a tinker, as if you put a few pebbles in a tin can and rolled it around. i think the lady on the phone said something about the muffler, but that it wasn't bad enough to worry about yet... of course idk if i should believe that or not.

    anyone else with the same noise?? know what it is or how much it costs to fix?? i drive with my radio loud enough so i don't have to hear it (or the vibrating dash board that has plagued the car since i bought it!!!).

    good luck everyone- i'm always thinking positive thoughts for all of us who are stuck with these cars.
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