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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems

amyableamyable Posts: 3
I live in the desert and recently purchased an 07 Honda Civic Hybrid. Since I purchased the vehicle, the higest MPG I have achieved is 40 (cool weather and highway driving for that tank of gas). Mostly I get beween 30-33 mpg--I vary city and highway driving in a large city. I have contacted my dealership as well as Honda American, and other than giving me excuses and blaming the low mpg on my driving (I have COMPLTELY changed how I drive--no fast starts, no hard braking, crawling down onramps, etc...)they have been little help in solving the problem. I got a phone call from a guy at Honda American basically telling me that a.) the IMA doesn't work (the battery shuts down) at over 110 degrees and b.) they know about the problem and have no intentions of doing anything about it. So I'm seriously frustrated and not sure what to do from here. According to the lemon laws in my state, if the dealership can't fix the problem after 4 trips, they are supposed to provide a new vehicle--which is useless since they are getting complaints left and right from people who have bought a Civic hybrid and are now losing mpg, so why would I want another? Has anyone dealt with this, and if so, what did you do? I'm thinking of contacting a local news channel and having them address the issue, because since Honda knows about this problem but continues to leave that out of their information is, in my opinion, fraud.
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Comments

  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    I've never heard of the battery shutting down because of heat, but it may be true. I suspect, however, that the real cause of your low mpg is the heavy air conditioning necessary during such hot weather.

    Light a/c use will drop mpg by 10 or more. The kind needed to fight 110 deg. temps will cost 20 mpg. You live in the hottest region of the country. There's a price to pay for that. I'm sure that your home electric bills this time of year are astronomical.

    I live in Texas with daily temps in the high 90s, and my HCH gets 50 mpg. So stick with your car until cooler temps prevail.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    That sounds like bunk to me (the IMA shutting down over 110) and I say that because I owned and drove a 2004 HCH for 23 months in Phoenix where temps frequently exceeded 110 and I never had an IMA shutdown.

    The hotter temps will cause your MPG to drop. My Civic averaged 3-5 MPG lower in heavy A/C usage.

    Hang in there - my educated guess is that your car is not a lemon and that as you drive the car more you will get better at what it takes to achieve higher mpg.
  • 46jimbo46jimbo Posts: 12
    Try checking your tire pressure too. I run mine at 36 psi (the factory setting is 32).
  • eschatoneschaton Posts: 1
    I remember reading something about the IMA and hot weather in my owners manual. But, the sales person didn't mention it during the buying process. Buyers in the southwest should consider this issue before buying. Stick with it, your mileage should improve unless you have a mechanical or electronic defect. In my first 10 days my '07 has averaged 48 in mixed driving, with some a/c use.
  • gauger01gauger01 Posts: 13
    My IMA and check engine came on in my 2009 HCH, with just under 6000 miles. After reading these forums, I was concerned about the update they would do to the software. The IMA was acting erractically just prior and while the IMA was on. I drove about two days like this until they had an open appointment at Honda, but before I arrived, the IMA light went out, but the check engine light was still on.

    The Honda techs said I had popped code P0A7F. They upgraded the PCM and IMA.

    I'm not the best hybrid driver, but before going in my MPG readout said 39.6. Four days later it's reading 40.7! I haven't changed my driving style, so it seems, for now, that things are actually getting better.

    We'll see how long that lasts.
  • I also live in the Desert ( Palm Springs Area ) and have noticed a problem with my 07 HCH. With Temperatures in the high 100+, the batteries will drain in less then 10 minutes with the air on and very light stop and go traffic. Is this a problem with this car and the temperature outside. My MPG won't go above 33 to 34 MPG. If this car doesn't like the heat, I'll be returning it in a few years.
  • After going round and round with both Honda American and my Honda dealer, they both concede that the battery DOES NOT WORK when the temperature in the car is over 100. This causes a serious drain on the car--when trying to accelerate from a green light, there are times that the car hesitates and the rpms hit 4 as the car struggles to move forward. I have contacted both a laywer, the Better Business Beureau, and the Attorney General's office regarding this issue--they WERE aware that the problem existed for my region, and they are still continuing to sell the vehicle in the southwest region. Honda says that "it's not enough of an issue to resolve at this time." If you are having this issue, please also contact your state's Attorney General's office and document the problem. This is fraud, pure and simple. Low gas mileage is the least of the issue...the fact that the car runs on the tiny gas engine alone is downright scary when you live in a large urban area where you can get killed if you are not able to accelerate away from green light or around the corner. I've never been more disgusted with a company in my entire life--they know this is happening and when the service departments call to get information, they say that it's "normal" for the car to lose power in hot temperatures. The car is not safe to drive in this weather, and yet Honda is doing nothing to solve the problem.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    What happens if you take it and leave it until it is fixed? If it is a safety issue they have a certain length of time to repair or the "Lemon Laws" go into affect. Have you reported the problem on the NHTSA Office of defects? Honda is dragging their feet until cooler weather when they can say look it works fine. File your report on this site...

    http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/complain/
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    You cannot compare the 2004 Civic Hybrid with a stick shift to the 2007 Civic Hybrid. The newer one is bigger heavier with the same puny engine. It is also a different IMA design. I look for Honda to get out of the hybrid business when they get their diesel cars on the roads here.
  • After 85000 miles and nearly a year of happy driving up and down hills, we have suffered repeated IMA failures under our usual driving conditions. The IMA battery indicator is dropping much more rapidly than before and shuts off after very little use, which is problematic on hills.

    Checks at dealer show "no problem". They suggested putting car in neutral/park and revving to 3000 RPM. This indeed charges battery and allows IMA to operate again.

    I work with NiMH batteries and it seems like a partial failure within the large battery pack- that would reduce the battery's capacity-- but would not register as a "failure" on the car's computer that measures voltage.

    One tech and one dealer say they never heard of this happening before. But apparently, others, including a lady from Marin on KGO-TV "7 on your side" (July 2, 2007), have had exactly the same problem.
    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=7on_your_side&id=5443147

    PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THIS HAS HAPPENED TO YOU. It would be helpful to know the year, make, model and at what mileage this began to occur and what you have done about it.

    Thanks! B and V
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    I think that the HCH uses a bunch of small batteries linked together, so some of them could be failing. However, if the Honda techs say the pack is still within spec, I'm not sure how you prove them wrong. Are you sure that you aren't using the A/C more, or that the traffic patterns haven't changed (causing you to stop more and use the batteries)?

    The news article you quoted sounds more like "normal" battery depletion - the lady does too much uphill and not enough downhill to recharge the batteries. Though of course it could be bad batteries in her case as well.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    The Insights have has several cases of battery deterioration. I would want to see the voltage readings and specs from Honda. It should still be covered by the 100k mile battery warranty. I have asked before here and gotten a lot of spin. How bad do the batteries have to get before they are contributing more pollution than is allowed under the AT-PZEV regulations? You are kind of at the mercy of the automakers with hybrids more so than ICE only cars. At least until a few independents start working on them.
  • I just got my 2007 HCH on Saturday. I live in NC and it has been close to 100 here. 93 today. I have been having issues with the IMA not working when I first get in and for the first couple of minutes after that, then it will kick in. It doesn't seem to cause any issue with the battery as the bars for the charge amount remain the same. Anybody else having this problem?? I knew if it was over 100 it could stop working (I read almost the entire owner's manual when I got it home) but it was low 90's here today and it did the same thing. :(
  • Replying to own message because I need to make a clarification/correction. The IMA did not fail, the AutoStop did, not exactly the same thing. The owner's manual does say that the AutoStop will not work until the engine is up to temp, so that's why it doesn't work in the first couple of blocks after getting in. However, it will also fail about 5% of the time at stoplights during a trip. Not sure why -- but it doesn't seem to really affect my mpg, which I'm pretty happy with. Would be interested in knowing, tho, if anyone else has this happen to them.
  • mlilleymlilley Posts: 1
    Have exactly the same problem. Was getting consistent 43-45 MPG n daily commute, always watched the charge / discharge cycle, always the same pattern, monitored RPM vs IMA assist on hills, etc.

    Then at 48,000 miles this week, BOOM. Mileage drops to 33 MPG, battery holds a charge about 25 to 30% previous capacity, engine revving way up on hills since no assist from IMA< where before in same locations, had assist, etc etc.

    Dealer says everything checks out OK. My guess is, charging system, Electric motor/generator, and voltage regulation is all OK, and that battery shows proper voltage,,,,BUT, current storage capacity is shot due to losing a batch of cells in the battery.

    Anyone else weigh in?

    Thanks.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    What is IMA?
  • wistlowistlo Posts: 13
    IMA = 'Integrated Motor Assist', the trade name of Honda's hybrid technology.
  • fabregasfabregas Posts: 1
    I have 2006 HCH. Exact thing happen on a cool rainy day. IMA battery indicated 3 bars when it happened! I have 12K miles on it.
    This is can cause a fatal accident!!! esp. if you need to accelerate to make turns or merge!!!
    So does putting the car in neutral/park and revving to 3000 RPM really help resolve this problem?
    thanks in advance!
  • kevlinkevlin Posts: 1
    my 2007 hybrid civic's battery drains completely after going uphill for about 2 minutes - then the engine revs and it smells like something is on fire - basically the car won't go anymore - the weather is cool (no high ambient temperature issue) - it happens everytime i go up a hill of any significance - i simply don't understand why honda won't acknowledge there is a problem with these cars - has anyone pursued this to the top of the corporate ladder yet
  • gshibergshiber Posts: 1
    Have '07 Civic Hybrid: Several days ago noticed no charge and no assist indicated on the gauge with only 2 bars charge showing. Naturally the Auto stop did not work. Manual said the charging system was correcting itself and in a few minutes it would recover. The IMA icon did not appear so system is supposedly OK. Without the assist I have lost power and mpg has fallen. It has been hot here -- hi 90s for several days. When I rev my engin -- still no charge. Made appointment with dealer. Will see him in 2 days from today. From reading messages on this forum, it sounds like the dealer will tell me everything checks out OK -- but it isn't OK ... it isn't working as I bought it... what do I, or can I do. Are my batteries shot at 13,000 miles? Unbelievable. Advice/comments
  • sorshasorsha Posts: 6
    2006 honda civic hybrid 27,000 miles.

    I took my car in for recall work, to find out why there is a thump when I brake, and why my shifter gets so hot.

    They claimed to have done the recall work and could find out nothing about the brakes or the transmission.

    My car was not having the IMA issue until after I left the dealership.

    I had to turn around and come back to the dealership, who claimed that the IMA cutting out was normal. I pitched a fit and they had me drive a brand new hybrid around in the rain, to redline no less, in order to prove to them that I was correct.

    They kept my car friday, saturday, sunday and end of day monday claimed that the car was fixed and that it was not showing the problem anymore, that when I came to pick up the car they would talk to me about it more.
    However, on friday, they updated 3 cpus and could think of nothing else to do.

    I show up, drive my car and it seems fine. I get a form from them indicating there is an investigation by american honda into the problem. The form has questions such as :what is the ambient temp? was the ac on? and I am to fill it out and fax it over to american honda if and when the problem occurs again. when this happens, american honda will release a software update that will change the cutout point for initiating at 102 degrees to 115 degrees...

    after the problem occurring again, my dealership saying they could do nothing, and american honda saying it was not their problem. I am not in a pickle with a car that will sometimes assist, sometimes wont.

    the temp outside can be anywhere from 75 degrees to over 90. It happens with my ac on, off, on auto, windows down or up. with the batter fully charged or nearly empty.

    I am SO frustrated because my dealership does not even want to try to repair the car anymore, american honda is not even concerned, and i am daily encountering highspeed traffic and bridges that I have to floor my car to drive through.

    please help!
  • I have a HCH 2006. I have the same problem. Dealer tells me its the heat. He also stated it could be the battery is going bad. I bought used and the place I bought it from is suppose to replace the battery. I hope. Has anyone else found out what is causing the problem?
  • sorshasorsha Posts: 6
    So far from talking to American Honda and my dealership, they are clueless. There was a form from American Honda that asked questions about what the temps and your driving is like when the problem occurs that is supposed to help American Honda find a resolution and determine the cause of the problem.

    I encourage you to report this problem to American Honda because currently it would appear they do not see this as a problem worthy of immediate action.
  • Whom did you report to at Honda? Do you have the contact information? I would greatly appreciate any information! :confuse:
  • halanrhalanr Posts: 2
    Count me in also... I own an '06 HCH that after 26K miles developed the same problem as most of you have referenced. My dealership, Honda of Concord, NC has taken a hard-line stance that they cannot do anything. My battery won't charge to full capacity and suddenly drops for no reason. My mileage has gone from 46 MPG to 38 MPG (if I'm lucky and work at it!).

    It is very frustrating. I owned a 2003 HCH and had no problems with it at all. I wish now I would've kept it and not purchased this model.
  • amyableamyable Posts: 3
    I traded in my 2007 hybrid last September because they couldn't fix the problem and, while both Honda AND the dealership knew that the IMA system didn't work in temperatures over 100 degrees, they still said there was nothing they could do to help me. I traded mine in for a 2008 Civic and got a serious raw deal in the process as they rolled all the negative equity from the hybrid into the new vehicle. I just didn't trust that I wouldn't be killed in the thing when it hesitated to accelerate from a stop light. All in all, it was the worst car I ever purchased and I will not be buying anything first generation ever again. I will also never buy another Honda just on principle. They knew there was a problem, they acknowledged to me there was a problem, but they refused to do anything about it because they knew it would mean they would have to do the same for others in the same situation. I'm disgusted and disappointed.
  • My 2006 HCH has also had IMA problems. It now has about 71,000 miles.

    I was very happy with it from June 2006 until the problems started in October 2007 at about 46,000 miles after the IMA warning light came on. The dealership replaced the MCM relay and the battery control unit and did 4 software updates to the computer. Prior to the work the car was averaging 50.5 MPG in 80% highway driving. Since the work the average has dropped to 43.9 MPG in the same type of driving. The dealership always blamed the MPG drop on the replacement tires not being "low rolling resistant". Since that time the car has performed erratically. In July it started to lose the charge on the IMA battery. Finally the dealership acknowledged a problem that American Honda was aware of. The IMA battery was replaced with an experimental battery. Since then, the battery has held the charge better, but the performance is still inconsistent.

    Here is a summary of what has happened so far:

    October 12, 2007 I took the car in to the dealership for a safety recall on the brake pedal position switch. The mileage on the car was 46,653. At that time I mentioned some unusual behavior of the car. The IMA battery indicator would drop overnight. The car showed that it was charging the battery under acceleration (when it should be assisting). Sometimes the car would not respond when starting out from a stop &#150; the engine RPMs would go up, but the car did not move immediately. The gas mileage had also begun to drop. Prior to this problem the average gas mileage had been 50.5. Since the problem began the gas mileage has dropped to 43.9. The repair consisted of replacing the 12V starting battery and four software updates of the IMA system.

    October 29, 2007 the IMA warning light came on. The mileage on the car was 47,744. I took the car immediately to the dealship and they replaced the MCM relay and the battery control unit.

    January 21, 2008 I took my car in for a major regular scheduled maintenance. The mileage on the car was 52,195. After I picked up the car, I asked to speak to the service manager but he was not in. I mentioned some of my concerns to the service advisor. He asked about the tires and he told me that he has seen that some people's gas mileage has dropped into the 30's when specific tires were not installed. The tires had been replaced August 10, 2007 by Sam&#146;s Club (at 41,626 miles). They are good tires, but apparently not &#147;low rolling resistance&#148; tires. I followed up with an email to the service manager. His reply focused on the tires not being &#147;low rolling resistance&#148; tires. He had just returned from a Honda Conference and apparently one of the things they talked about was customer complaints from Hybrid owners concerning their gas mileage after replacing their tires. Since that time the focus of the problem seemed to be on the tires, although there were other abnormal behaviors of the car.

    July 7, 2008 I spoke with the service manager about the problem that had gotten more frequent and more severe. The IMA battery was not holding a charge, the performance was degraded, ad the charge/assist indicator was showing that the system was often charging under acceleration and assisting while coasting downhill, which is the opposite of normal operation.

    July 9, 2008 (mileage 66,298) the car was left with the dealership for service. The shop foreman called the Honda Tech line for more information on how to approach the problem. He informed me that my car would have a new experimental IMA battery installed, one of only five in the US. The battery was installed and the car was returned to me on July 14, 2008. I was asked to observe the performance and report back to them on the car&#146;s performance.

    July 21, 2008 I received an email from the service manager asking if the new battery has solved the problem. My response was that the battery seemed to be holding its charge better, but the IMA system still seemed erratic. He then asked me to bring the car back in when the shop foremen, who was dealing with the problem, returned from vacation.

    July 31, 2008 the car was left with the dealership for regular scheduled maintenance and further investigation of the IMA problem &#150; battery not charging properly (68,649 miles). When the car was returned to me, apparently the Honda Tech line response was that Honda is still working on a fix for the issue and that what I am experiencing is a &#147;normal condition at this time&#148; according to the service invoice I received.

    August 4, 2008 I experienced another battery problem when the battery level dropped very low (2 bars) and the car&#146;s performance was terrible. I notified the service manager by email the same day, but as of today, August 6, 2008, I have not received a response.

    Unresolved problems include:
    1) There is erratic behavior of the charge/assist system. Sometimes the system charges under acceleration when it should assist and it assists when coasting downhill and it should be charging.
    2) Sometimes the charge/assist indicator will bounce between charging and assisting, and a noticeable &#147;bump&#148; or &#147;surge&#148; occurs. This happens when the car is accelerating, or sometimes decelerating down a hill when it should be charging.
    3) Although the new IMA battery was installed and for a couple of weeks it seemed to hold a charge, the battery has become discharged on one or two occasions since the installation of the new battery. The car then exhibits very degraded performance and poor gas mileage. The battery has never charged the way it did before the first IMA problem. Prior to October 2007 it would often charge fully, sometimes each day. Since the first IMA work in October 2007 it rarely charges fully.
    4) Sometimes when driving on level ground or a slight downhill grade, the gas mileage indicator drops all the way down. It stays there for several seconds and then goes back up to a normal level.
    5) At times it seems that the engine will race or rev up when I start to accelerate from a stop. The car engine goes to AutoStop when the car stops, but it doesn&#146;t seem to move immediately when it restarts the engine after I take my foot off the brake. This does not happen really frequently, but occasionally.
    6) The gas mileage of the vehicle has dropped almost 15% overall. But the gas mileage has also very frequently been inconsistent. At times the MPG is up to the 50 MPG range or more. At other times it is in the 38 &#150; 44 MPG range on the same type of road conditions, same driving patterns, and no AC use on either occasion. I drive the vehicle 30,000 &#150; 33,000 miles per year for work, so I am very familiar with the normal performance and mileage of the car, at least before the problems occurred after the IMA warning light came on in October 2007.

    I am very frustrated with American Honda for problems that they know about, but offer no real solution.
  • highmpghighmpg Posts: 9
    The erratic behavior is similar to what I have found for my 2006 HCH. I have tried a number of things - then finally I had the O2 sensor replaced (at my expense). No codes indicated it was faulty but MPG was mostly in upper 30's and low 40's at best. All gauge indications seemed inconsistent so I blamed the software & updates etc. IMA also was always peculiar in behavior.
    After a new Honda (expensive) main o2 sensor - that tells the computer how the air/fuel ratio is being maintained - all is back to an incredible NORMAL performance! MPG is also back up 20% or more.
  • Thanks for the possible solution. I'll take this to the service manager to see if this may be the solution to my problem too.
  • moffsmoffs Posts: 1
    Add me to the list of those experiencing the same problem (discharge, MPG loss, everything) AND the same NON-RESPONSE from dealership and AHC! Mine is a 2006 with 40,000 miles. It happened maybe twice in the first year and now every few weeks. Dealership told me "Heat caused the IMA not to charge". Temperature seemed consistent with first occurrences. But the last time it failed talked to the dealer and it was 85 degrees, hardly a question of overheat. But more importantly, non-charging didn't explain what was happening, discharging from 5-6 bars to 1 bar in 10 seconds while at idle!

    I really appreciate your suggestion about the O2 sensor although it is ridiculous that Honda doesn't follow up instead of you having to fund what seems like a design problem. I love the car when it it is operating like it should :) , but if their service doesn't start responding I will seriously put Honda on my "GMC list"! :lemon:
  • sorshasorsha Posts: 6
    I formulated a 60 page letter, it included complaint, concerns and other issues over this website and greenhybrid.com.

    I sent it registered mail to my dealership president, president american honda customer service, american honda customer service, president of honda motor co in japan and i made sure to CC. it on the document itself.

    I have also been filling out the forms that my dealership gave me and faxing them over to american honda tech daily.

    After recieving my letter the president of my dealership contacted me and wants to set up a meeting with honda engineers to look at my car. The parts and service manager has contacted me and has insisted to american honda on being involved in all conversations.

    As of right now, the horrid sueprvisor who originally handled my case no longer is with honda, and has switched to acura. I have a new supervisor who is reviewing and collecting all of my information.

    Currently they are awaiting information from Japan, so it is good I also send my file to Japan.
  • Well, the O2 sensor was replaced yesterday, 9/5. The dealership had the car for about 3.5 days. One thing they wanted to do was get a "snapshot" of the computer. A "snapshot" is a 3 minute recording of all the inputs and outputs of the engine. Then the "snapshot" is sent to Honda Tech and compared to what is supposed to be normal. Everything indicated normal. One of the technicians reportedly said "this car is messed up". The service manager told me that he cannot fix my car. He wasn't optimistic about the O2 sensor being the fix for my car, still indicating that American Honda is working on a fix for the software and no target date. Until then, the car's performance is considered "normal at this time".

    Last weekend, the IMA system failed to assist in 87 degree weather. The car was running on the 3 cylinder gas engine only, hence seriously underpowered. I reported this as a safety issue, since it can be dangerous in city or interstate driving when acceleration is needed. I am considering filing a complaint with the NHTSA,
    NHTSA concerning this serious problem when the IMA fails to engage. I know that someone in California has filed a class action lawsuit over the low gas mileage, but I am more concerned about the safety factor.
  • In my last post I made a typo in the description of the engine. I should have said the 1.3 L inline 4 cylinder engine.
  • Hi all,
    I have an 07 civic hybrid with 17,500 miles, and it looks like I'm hitting some of the same problems. Last week, I started up the car to find the battery gauge at 0 bars, something that's not happened to me before. It took about 10 minutes of normal city driving to get the battery to show any charge at all. Now, the IMA seems to be acting very erratically. I've been driving at 25-30 mph on some city roads around here with over half battery charge, and while coasting, the IMA will be draining enough energy to bring the car to <15 mph within a block. Not only that, but IMA assist seems to be kicking in a lot earlier and a lot more than it should be.
  • I have a 2004 HCH 5 speed that I bought used about 6 months ago. I had about 82K miles and now has 93K miles. My average MPG since purchase is 46.1 and I have been as high as 55 MPG on a tank.
    Recently my IMA & Check eng light has been on. At first, I could clear the codes and the lights would stay off for 4-5 days. Now, they stay off 1-2 miles. The codes are 1433 and 1600. I have noticed that the battery charge indicator will be showing a good charge but will not assist, then a few minutes later the charge indicator will be extremely low. Its like the indicator is not keeping up with the rate of discharge. Also, when the indicator is showing a good charge the Charge/Assist meter shows slightly charging. At times the Auto shutdown does not work, but there is no rhymn or reason as to why.
    I have also noticed that when accelerating up hills the assist indicator will go to about 3/4 but almost immediately drops to about 1/4 assist. Any ideas? Any help will be appreciated.
  • Despite my sending letters to Honda Motor in Japan, American Honda, and my dealership to the presidents/CEOs, I am still getting no results. American Honda understands that the battery is overheating and a safety feature being initiated but since this is a normal operating procedure, refuse to fix my car until something more serious results. Currently, if I drive on the highway averaging 60 mph, with no AC and the windows barely cracked I can squeeze out 41mpg.

    My problem is inconsistent as sometimes on a tank of gas I can average 48mpg and others barely 30mpg. This is a sharp contrast to the 50+ I was getting BEFORE I took it in to the dealership.

    My dealership has since claimed to help me to resolve the problem but has not returned my phone calls. I am going to a new dealership for my 30k maintenance as is it $388 at the new dealership and $554 at the one that broke my car with their refusal to go any lower on the price than $499.

    I certainly hope that you all are doing what I have been doing, which is complaining, refusing to give in, and demanding that they send you, IN WRITING, their instructions for you to continue to drive these cars malfunctioning.

    I fully intend to continue to compile all of this information and send it to every news station I can in the hopes that if nothing else, other people will not be suckered in to buying a car that is sub par from a manufacturer that no longer upholds the standards of the past.
  • Your problem seems to be the common problem that is being reported. Since I have seen this with my car since October 2007, I have also complained to the dealer and my car has been in the shop about 5 times for this abnormality. The dealer tells me that American Honda says that the characteristics of the car are "normal at this time" and that they are working on a new software update. The last time I was also told "When you run the air conditioning, direct the vents upward toward the roof of the car to send the cold air back toward the battery." That is ridiculous. I have filed a complaint with the NHTSA at safercar.gov. If you're interested in reading it, it is complaint # 10241683.
  • I happened upon this thread while searching for information that would guide my decision making process in this latest predicament.

    My 06 Civic Hybrid has about 73k miles on it. I have been having IMA problems for quite a while. At least once a day the RPMS will hit 4 or 5 with almost no output when I am at a stop. The gas milage is considerably worse in all driving except highway driving, in which it is only marginally worse. I get about 30-34 in the city now, and get 45 or so on the highway. In the early days of the car, I could achieve 48 city, and 50-60 highway.

    I have many times been endangered when the car had no power and I was making a right turn. Often times large trucks and semis are very close to hitting me. I am lucky that I haven't been a statistic yet.

    The other day I had a situation in which I was in a part of LA with very steep hills. I parked on the almost 45 degree angle hill, and walked away. When I returned and started the vehicle, I began to hit the accelerator. There was no power at all, which is very similar to the woman from Marin county. I tried other gears, and kept on the gas for awhile. This was a bad part of LA late at night, so I wasn't amused by the car deciding to crap out. I eventually ended up having to reverse all the way down the hill, and good thing I left enough room between me and the car behind.

    I have read about issues with the control arms and uneven tire wear. I think I may have had this occur, as I am now on my third set of tires, and every set gets absolutely ravaged. After about 30k miles the thumping cannot be tolerated anymore.

    I took the car to a dealer in Southern California, and they had the car for over a week to thoroughly examine the IMA issues. The service manager said that he had a similar problem with his Civic, and that he had not been aware of anyone else with a similar problem. They said that they spoke with Honda Techs over the phone to discuss the issue, and that they cant quite nail it down yet. They advised that I could bring it back once it was showing codes. I explained how unsafe I felt the car was and that I needed the issue to be fixed regardless. They advised to contact Honda customer support, which will be one of my next steps. Unfortunately, based upon what I read here, it seems as though that may not make much of a difference.

    I am going to contact the woman in Marin county first and get the full scoop of what happened with her and how they did it. After that, I will start with NHTSA, Honda's basic customer service, and work up to carpet bomb email campaigns against the CEO, letters to the Attorney General, negative media publicity, and then a full scale lawsuit against Honda if necessary. Hell, it could be a class action with it affecting so many.

    I see that many people are having this issue, but not may are reporting to NHTSA. I think we all need to do this as much as possible. If theres enough complaints we could wake the sleeping dragon and they the gov will get on them about it. Put the fire under their asses.

    I am open to cooperate as a group against Honda, or to collaborate on a solution.

    I will keep everyone informed about developments.
  • I was referred to this thread from greenhybrid.com

    I am having the same issues as many people here are complaining about. I have also been stonewalled by Honda in their attempts to claim that this is normal behavior for the car and therefore doesn't need fixed.

    I have filed a complaint with the NHTSA and would urge everyone with the issues to do the same as eventually, like me, you will be caught off guard in a dangerous situation. Eventually someone is going to get hurt, lets hope it never happens, but it boggles my mind that Honda is willing to wait until it does.

    Every time I call them i get blown off. They just dismiss the issues as if they dont exist. I have contacted local news stations and started working on a video to put on the internet (youtube etc) to show people what to expect if they buy this car.

    If anyone has any suggestions about dealing with this please let me know. Unfortunately we aren't collectively making enough noise for Honda to care yet.
  • halanrhalanr Posts: 2
    Since my original post, not much has happened. My condition hasn't gotten worse, but I still have erratic IMA problems. The battery indicator never shows a full charge, and will sometimes drop suddenly. My mileage is still at 38-40 (when I work at it) and if driven without hypermiling, is more like 36, whereas I used to get 44-46.

    The dealer had me fill out a questionnaire to Honda's techline, but nothing has been done. My warranty is up in January, and I have a feeling, they're just going to let it ride. My dealer tells me that they will be an advocate for me, but the ultimate decision is in Honda's hands.

    This will be the last Honda I ever get, and I've always purchased Hondas. My next hybrid will be a Toyota. This is ridiculous.

    Should someone want to start a class-action lawsuit, don't hesitate to contact me at: [email protected]

    ==== Original post: ===

    Count me in also... I own an '06 HCH that after 26K miles developed the same problem as most of you have referenced. My dealership, Honda of Concord, NC has taken a hard-line stance that they cannot do anything. My battery won't charge to full capacity and suddenly drops for no reason. My mileage has gone from 46 MPG to 38 MPG (if I'm lucky and work at it!).

    It is very frustrating. I owned a 2003 HCH and had no problems with it at all. I wish now I would've kept it and not purchased this model.
  • jesssjesss Posts: 1
    I have had this problem in my 2006 HCHII from time to time. I have done 2 things that have more or less resolved this issue for me.

    First, I try to lay off the Assist. I find that I can completely not use it once the car is at 25mph. I use slow, smooth acceleration. I try to use at least 2 to 3 bars, but sometimes 4 cannot be helped.

    Second, I recharge the battery every chance I get. If I'm going down a hill, I allow 1 or 2 bars of recharge bars to show. This has been the key to keeping the battery state of charge up. I try not to rely so much on the battery pips as they are not an exact representation of the battery's state of charge (as stated in the manual). I have been able to keep the pips at 6 or 7 regularly.

    I used to coast as much as possible with no recharging and did not use my brakes often at all. This would cause the battery to drain and re-calibrate, causing my mpg to drop and the car to run on the engine alone. When this happens, I stay in the right lane (I drive only in the right lane anyway) and let it do it's thing. Between 5-10 mins later it' s back to normal.

    You have to recharge your battery whenever you can, not just when braking to a stop, but even when your coasting. The car seems to suck more energy from the battery, more so than it recharges back into it. You have to look for those opportunities to recharge it.

    Try it for a week or so and see if there is a difference.

    BTW, I've had my car for 2 years with approx 28500 miles on it. My lifetime average mpg is 54.9 over 52 tanks. My last 6 tanks have been in the low 60's mpg. I have a 30 mile round trip suburban commute which I regularly get 65 mpg.
    I live in Charlotte, NC and the summers can get a little toasty with mid to upper 90's w/ 100% humidity. If I use the A/C, I use the Auto A/C set at 78-79. It seems to have less drain on the battery than regular A/C.

    Good Luck.
  • sorshasorsha Posts: 6
    I too looked into getting a Toyota hybrid, and learning from my current experience I did a lot of research on the Prius in particular, and they have just as many if not more detrimental issues than the civic... Try checking concumer affairs if you have not already done so. The problems go all the way back to 2004.

    As far as an update on my situation, I had Mr. Ogawa with American Honda send me a letter in writing that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my car despite my complaint. And when the letter arrived, lo and behold he stated that my dealership had inspected and driven my car and saw nothing to substantiate the claims about my car.

    I find that appalling since the dealership clearly saw there was a problem, had my car for over 2 days, felt the need to contact American Honda, had me fill out that ridiculous form and has been in contact with me just about 3 times a week. So how on earth could he basically claim that my concerns were unfounded?!!!!!!

    :mad:
  • My 07' Civic Hybrid has the IMA disease too, and I have filed a complaint with the NHTSB. My car's symptoms briefly; rapid discharge of battery (all bars gone in less than 10 seconds), occurs much more frequently in hot weather, cannot achieve 8 full battery bars anymore, reduced gas mileage (about 10%), less effective braking while malfunctioning (actually feels like the cruise control in on when you let off the throttle).
    Living in Louisiana my dealer doesn't see lots of hybrids, so they are at a loss but seem to want to help. My biggest problem; although my IMA might malfunction a few times a day.... or not, I cannot get the IMA to act up when at the dealer. Has anyone been able to come up with a method of getting the IMA to rapid discharge all the bars in less than 10 seconds on demand? If someone can come up with a way to get the malfunction to occur intentionally the dealers would not be able to send you home with the car saying it's working within Honda specifications and we might get some traction for a repair or the lemon laws would get our cars replaced. Has anyone found a way to get the car to malfunction on demand?
  • Good to hear that you have filed a complaint with the NHTSA. I filed one in early September, and all of us who are having the problem should file a complaint. As far as causing it to happen "on demand", it always happened to me more often in stop and go traffic, and when the AC was needed. The service manager at my dealer explained that in warmer temps, when the battery goes from charge to assist to charge and so on, all in a short time, it causes the battery to heat up. One of the software updates is designed to protect the battery from damage by cutting out the IMA assist and the drain on the battery. The only suggestions given me were "direct the AC vents to direct the cool air back toward the battery" and "take the back seat cover off to allow the battery to cool". Insane suggestions? Here are my unresolved issues:

    1) There is erratic behavior of the charge/assist system. Sometimes the system charges under acceleration when it should assist and it assists when coasting downhill and it should be charging.
    2) Sometimes the charge/assist indicator will bounce between charging and assisting, and a noticeable &#147;bump&#148; or &#147;surge&#148; occurs. This happens when the car is accelerating, or sometimes decelerating down a hill when it should be charging.
    3) Although a new IMA battery was installed and for a couple of weeks it seemed to hold a charge, the battery has become discharged on several occasions since the installation of the new battery. The car then exhibits very degraded performance and poor gas mileage. The battery has never charged the way it did before the first IMA problem. Prior to October 2007 it would often charge fully, sometimes each day. Since the first IMA work in October 2007 it rarely charges fully.
    4) Sometimes when driving on level ground or a slight downhill grade, the gas mileage indicator drops all the way down. It stays there for several seconds and then goes back up to a normal level.
    5) At times it seems that the engine will race or rev up when I start to accelerate from a stop. The car engine goes to AutoStop when the car stops, but it doesn't&#146; seem to move immediately when it restarts the engine after I take my foot off the brake. This does not happen really frequently, but occasionally.
    6) The gas mileage of the vehicle has dropped almost 15% overall. But the gas mileage has also very frequently been inconsistent. At times the MPG is up to the 50 MPG range or more. At other times it is in the 38 &#150; 44 MPG range on the same type of road conditions, same driving patterns, and no AC use on either occasion. I drive the vehicle 30,000 &#150; 33,000 miles per year for work, so I am very familiar with the normal performance and mileage of the car, at least before the problems occurred after the IMA warning light came on in October 2007.

    I have told my dealer that I am considering some options, contacting local and/or national media about the unresolved problem and American Honda's denials, and getting a magnetic sign made for the side of my car that will warn others who may be considering buying a Civic Hybrid. I would name the local dealer and American Honda and state that they cannot fix my car. The dealer has made me a decent offer to trade my car for another, and I could get a pretty good deal on a 2009 non-hybrid. I told them that there are bigger issues than just my dissatisfaction. The weather is cooler here now, so the safety issue is not as big of a problem. I hope other owners file complaints and try to put pressure on Honda. There could be some strength in numbers.
  • :sick: Thanks for the reply. I know our problem seems to be worse with heat, however the weather is cooler here now and although not as frequent it's still happening with my car. Couple thoughts; as for the gas mileage loss I really believe this is due to reduced battery voltage from it being damaged during the rapid discharges. I have some knowledge with rechargeable batteries and rapid discharges are their death. I have seen them vent or explode when rapidly discharged. Once they have experienced this brutal discharge, and it only takes one time to damage them, their output voltage under load is reduced and for us this means less assist from the IMA therefore more gas engine required to do the same amount of work. The heat caused by the car sitting in a parking lot for example might reduce the the batteries output voltage if plotted on a graph, but is not enough to be felt to the driver and is not gong to be the cause of the batteries suddenly dumping their capacity. Which gives me my greatest concern, our IMA batteries contain a lot of stored energy, when they rapidly discharge.... where is the stored power going?? To see all your bars click off in under 10 seconds requires nothing less than some form of dead short... can anyone say dangerous. I seriously doubt any system in the car is capable of using that much power in that brief period, therefore a short circuit that could cause an explosion concerns me.
  • sorshasorsha Posts: 6
    Several of you have been very helpful and are therefore familiar with the IMA assist problem occurring in our vehicles.

    After almost 4 months of getting the run around from American Honda, they finally attempted to be rid of me by sending me a letter stating that there is nothing wrong with my car, and that (contrary to actions taken by my dealership) Duval Honda found no evidence to support my claims that the vehicle was malfunctioning.

    They have since stopped taking or returning my calls. Going so far as to hang up when I call the service manager direct.

    I have gone to a new dealership.

    The issue:
    As of yesterday my car threw a check engine light, while accelerating, the car will buck and jerk and is really quite terrifying to be driving. This behaviour is inconsistent and I had initially thought the problem to be the O2 sensor. It will turn off my cruise control when the irradict behaviour starts up as well.

    However, (as I am sitting in the dealership now) I have just recieved information that this dealership thought a rat had damaged a single 2" area of my wiring harness. I of course being moderately familiar with cars, and not at all stupid went to see for myself this "rat damage"

    And wouldn't you know, this must be the best rat ever, because the casing around the wires was rather neatly "chewed" and almost no plastic was missing at all. Only a single black wire from within that casing was damaged, and it was almost perfectly cut.

    I of course took my stance that there was no way a rat came into my car decided to cut my wire casing and neatly cut a single wire. There is no evidence of any damage anywhere else in the car.

    FORTUNATELY, my service advisor understood my concerns, and my conspiracy theory against my last dealership and took it up with the manager.

    So now I am getting the wire fixed and new diagnostics done on the car, with the oil changes etc. for $90. They said they did not want to be associated with being at all like Duval Honda and did not want to behave like Duval Honda.

    While still not perfect, it is much better than the original cost, but I don't feel like they did the damage, and I am not taking it back to Duval Honda to try and argue that they did it, so I will be moderately content to part with the $90.

    I had never thought to check and see if my old dealership had "accidently"
    damaged any part of my car.

    But this is where I am now on the IMA issue, I hope that this fixes it.
  • I have recently had some work done to my 05 HCH and ever since then the mpg have dropped by 5-10.
    My day started out with a flat tire. It was time to get new tires so that's what I did. I took it to a tire store and while they were under there they noticed the front brakes were 90% worn so I had those replaced and the 50,000 mile check-up. Starting that day after I left the tire store I'm averaging 34-36 mpg instead of 42-46 mpg. Does anyone have any insight on why this could be? It is really bothering me. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
  • I experience 36-41mpg all the time. I was wondering if you are still seeing high 40's after your O2 sensor replacement? Also, which sensor did your replace as there are 2 (one at the front and one further back). Thanks!
  • After the O2 Sensor was replaced on my 2006 HCH (front one nearest engine) the erratic situations stopped entirely. Mileage is better also typically 41 to 44 range in town, better on highway but we use another car mostly for highway. Use of cruise control - even when you usually would not - and lowest fan speed position seem most helpful. The car want to control everything itself and to have you use least electrical power so it can allocate power where it wants to. This car is not as good mpg as another #2 HCH 2006 I drive at times - as it will always do 10% better under identical conditions. Car 2 has the orig. factory tires and car #1 with less mpg has newer Sumitomo hi-perf. low rolling resistance tires. Factory tires are slightly lower rolling resist. and have less wet traction.
  • CHECK YOUR TIRE PRESSURE!!!! I increased my pressure some 30 (cold) to 36 (cold) and my MPG increased from 36.5-42 to 39-47.5 (aftermarket Yoko TRZ tires). Thats a massive improvement and I would be willing to bet that most Hybrid owners aren't checking their tires as much as they need too. You can loose up to 2 lbs of tire pressure a month. I also noticed that my IMA system seems to be responding better as before it seemed quirky (not using IMA at random times). The system charges the batteries better as well.
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