Honda Civic Hybrid Catalytic Converter Failures



  • housewrenshousewrens Member Posts: 2
    My mechanic told me that "catalytic converters don't die, they get killed" e.g., by faulty air sensors (and associated software). If Honda does not have a permanent fix for the latter, then we all will be losing one converter after another. I have given up... moved my '03 Civic hybrid to another state that does not have emissions inspections and will drive it as long as I can. I too will never buy another Honda. How incredibly short sighted of them. Penny wise, pound foolish... or do they know that they would have to keep replacing and replacing these converters so it would cost them (instead of us) tons of money?
  • hondafamily2hondafamily2 Member Posts: 5
    I got mal-function indicator 3 weeks ago and I took the car to local mechanic (not dealer). He checked and told me the codes P1420 and P1453.

    I did not care much and continue to drive. However, the light disapper two days ago.

    So, I am continue to drive.
  • mellowpromellowpro Member Posts: 5
    Recently received a notice regarding my 2004 HCH titled "ECM Update to improve DTC P1420 and P2000 Detection Threshold." The letter is dated September 2011. I received a similar one back in 2007 titled "Check Engine light stays on." When I had the Honda do the ECM update in 2007, my gas mileage dropped from 52 MPG to 46 MPG. I read in some other that the update changed the air/gasoline mixture in the engine. Now that I've received another notice, I'm a bit skeptical about getting the update done. I've read many horror stories about ECM changes dropping gas mileage into the 30's. Has anyone else received this notice, had the update done, and can share their experience?

    BTW, I got the P1420/P2000 at 125,000 miles, replaced the CC but didn't fix the problem. Have been driving it this way for several years. Now have 252,000 miles and still going strong. Had to replace the IMA battery pack and put in a new clutch this year. Otherwise, no problems--love the car--still looks and runs like new.
  • ilikecakeilikecake Member Posts: 5
    I received the letter a few days ago too. My check engine light has been on since January. Honda told me to replace the catalytic converter. I didn't since it was a small fortune and the light would be on for 100-1000 miles then go off for another 100-1000 miles, back-and-forth continually. I told Honda I doubt it was the CC so I've lived with the flakey light. I had to wait for the right time to get my car inspected in NY since the mechanic would clear any remnants of the code and there would have to be no new code after 50-100 miles.

    Now regarding the software update. I am really scared to screw up my 180K mile 2003 Civic Hybrid too and have pondering how to get the defective software being the flakey light fixed without losing my 45-52mpg...

    As a IT system administrator I understand that Honda keeps fixing bugs and making changes in their software. The issue is how Honda develops their software updates coupled with the fact that they can't (don't want to?) back off an update when it is bad or undesirable. Each update is likely made atop the previous, thus in a cumulative fashion. If they developed a fix just for this issue that did not require any or little other requisites then we'd be happy customers.

    I'm really not sure how to proceed on this needed software update for my car other than defer it and put up with the light then only put the software update on should I ever sell the car.
  • neil_in_paneil_in_pa Member Posts: 1
    I have 2003 HCH. My CEL turned on in Feb. 2011 for DTC P1420. Dealer quoted me $2000. I chose to not repair, but reset the code and got it inspected in March before CEL came back on. Light was off all summer despite no repairs.

    In early Sept '11 the CEL light turned on and stayed on. A week or so later, I got the letter from Honda about the "recall" to reset the thresholds. Took my car in to dealer for software upgrade on Sept 28, 2011.

    Its been 5 days now, and the CEL is still off. I'm happy with the repair since it saved me $2000 to replace the Catalytic converter.

    Those people who replaced theirs 3 times already should get their money back. That's not fair to them.
  • mellowpromellowpro Member Posts: 5
    Neil, thanks for your post. My concern has to do with what the change may do to gas mileage. Since I don't live where we need an emissions inspection, my light has been on for over 100,000 miles. I would be interested in your gas mileage experience after the software change versus prior to the change. I just took a weekend trip from N Georgia to Ohio and back. Got 57 mpg going and 55 mpg on the return, speed between 65-70 most of the way. That includes the East Tennesee mountains. I truly don't want to screw that up. I don't really trust Honda to do only the threshold change and not do some other change that they haven't talked about. Softeware updates are usually cumulative and includes other prerequisite changes and updates.
  • djack03hchdjack03hch Member Posts: 1
    I've had the CEL come on for the past 3-4 years on our hybrid. The dealer did the software update about 2 1/2 years ago and it did hurt the mileage. They also did the transmission shutter recall about 2 years ago which helped considerably. I use an OBD2 scanner to clear my code which seems to come on shortly after a fill up. More often with ethanol blend than 100% gasoline. My mileage is up some the last 2 months whether it has blend or 100%. The transmission fluid on Hondas needs to be changed around 30k accord to the service manual. Seems to eliminate any shutter problems on mine.
  • fjennfjenn Member Posts: 2
    The dealer told me $1100 for the secondary (rear) catalytic converter and 3000 for the IMA battery. I bought the rear catalytic converter on line at for 169.00 for the cat plus shipping plus I got a gasket I wasn't sure I needed for 3.90... just in case. I attempted to put in myself but if you don't have it up in the air (higher than jacks) it's nearly impossible especially for someone my size! After a couple of busted knuckles and many choice words, I called a muffler place and told them I had the parts... they put it on for $100.00 and reset the check engine light. Total was under $300.00. Oddly enough, my IMA light hasn't come back on either and I'm getting slightly better gas mileage. The better mileage makes some sense but my IMA battery light staying off does not and I can only hope it stays off! Also, I read something about the drive cycle on line and it seems to be true. The actual drive cycle is a wide variety of speeds and such - some highway, some in town stop and go. But, this may be useful... IF you put the key in and the engine is cold and turn it but DON'T start the engine you'll see the check engine light come on steady for about 10 seconds. IF it goes off and blinks 5 times - that means the drive cycle in NOT completed. It it goes off after the initial 10 seconds and doesn't blink - that means the drive cycle IS complete. It took about 50 miles... I drove it home from the muffler shop about 30 miles and the next morning I checked and got the 5 blinks. The I drove to work about 20 miles and check it many hours later after it cooled and it did NOT blink the 5 times. I took it straight to the emissions place (another 20 miles) and it passed. I hope this helps!
  • fjennfjenn Member Posts: 2
    Well, a few days later my IMA light came back on then went off again. Likewise with the check engine light. But, I passed inspection as I mentioned above! I going to trade the PoS in before the next inspection and I think I'll try a Ford. They get as good or better mileage than this Civic hybrid.... and Ford didn't take a bailout from what'shisname in DC! Good luck to you all!
  • sarahahsarahah Member Posts: 1
    I am having a similar problem and want to get the CC replaced and observe before I spend the 3k for the IMA batt. Have you had any problems since this posting? Thanks
  • pkikelpkikel Member Posts: 3
    Unrelated to cc, air conditioning went out last fall. IMA battery light has been on a few months, but given the age of my vehicle and milage, I don't plan on replacing the Hybrid batteries. On a positive note, Honda did finally reimburse me for the cost of replacing the cc. This was after a couple of nasty letters to Honda and filing an offical complaint with the BBB. I understand there is also a class action lawsuit against Honda for this very problem, as a lot of Civic Hybrid owners have had the same problem with the cc.

    Hope this helps,
  • lquillenlquillen Member Posts: 1
    I bought a 2004 HCH for my son about a year and a half ago. The check engine light has been off and on along with the IMA light. We had the recent update done by the local dealership as well which turned off all the lights but within a week they were back on. He drove the car to NY last weekend and on his way home the car started knocking badly then died in the middle of Manhatten traffic. After the cost of a tow bill to get it off the street ($70), a plane ticket home ($250) and the cost to haul the car back to TN ($750), I get an estimate on repairs from the local dealer to the tune of $4956 - PRICELESS!

    The IMA battery needs to be replace as well as the catalytic converters. Though the car will actually start now and we were able to drive it home (5 miles away), I am at a total loss on what to do. With 194,000 miles on it, I'm not sure it's worth investing another $5K in!

    I've been told two different things as far as options: Per the dealer, everything has to be replaced and done at once. Another mechanic has told me to just fix the CCs and not the hybrid batter and run it as a gas vehicle. I've done some research and have found some comments that these cars do not have an alternator and without the hybrid battery, the main battery won't charge.

    Maybe I should just consider it a loss and try to sell it for parts. Any thoughts or similar experiences?
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