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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > 1. I will pump up the tires although 44 sounds high to me (DC is notorious for
    > potholes and I don't want to pump them to a dangerous level).

    Burst rating is somewhere north of 200 psi.

    44 psi (or whatever it says on the sidewall) is what the tire company says to put in to optimally inflate the tire. The car companies say to put in less to get a softer ride.
  • jack000jack000 Posts: 16
    Hey, I have a 2009 HCH that I got at the end of June '09. I've noticed after about 500-700 miles that the IMA battery charge indicator drops suddenly from almost full to almost nothing (7/8 bars to 1/2 bars). This happens while cruising and even during regen, when the battery is being recharged. Is there something wrong, or is this just a form of battery conditioning?

    Also, to those looking to get the best mileage out of their hybrid should definitely use cruise control as much as possible. Also, the car has a "sweet spot" efficiency at around 68/69 mph on highways, but the best efficiency I get is between 38 and 50 mph.

    I also bought this thing called a z5 ( for the car. It claims to enhance the air going to the engine. All I know is that it definitely works. The cruise control used to rev the engine to around 2800-3000 rpms when going up hills on highways, and now only revs to 2300-2500 rpms up the same hills at the same speed.

    I also changed the oil to mobil1 synthetic when it came time for the first oil change and inflated the tires to 44psi. I used to get 46 highway, 42/43 city. Now, I get 51-53 highway and 47 city. Most of the gains I saw were due to this z5 thing.

    A word of caution, the z5 does not fit completely into the rubber air tube going to the intake, I needed to extend it with a 2" to 2" rubber coupling that I cut in half.
  • rosie2006rosie2006 Posts: 22
    Hi Jack, good luck with the battery, I have an 06, loved it for 2 years, then Honda put software updates and have hated since, am dreading the summer as it does horrible in the heat. The updates lowered the temp when the assist battery helps in order to avoid destroying the battery. Did putting on the z5 void any warranties?
  • I accidentally left the door ajar while in church last Sunday. When I came out the battery was dead. I jumped it, drove it home and charged it overnight. However, when starting it sounds like a regular engine with a starter, the IMA and check engine lights are on and the battery charging lights don't function.

    I called the dealer who said to just drive it a few miles and it will "reset" itself. I've been driving it a week now and nothing has changed. I don't think the electric motor is working at all. Has anyone else had this problem?
  • jack000jack000 Posts: 16
    I don't think so, since I didn't modify the actual car. Plus, you can take it out easily enough when you go in for service.
  • I just replaced my IMA battery a couple weeks ago, as it was losing it luster. It was throwing out one of the battery trouble codes (I can't remember which one off the top of my head). What can I do with the old one? I feel like someone should be able to do something with it. Any suggestions?
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    I'll buy it. Contact me.
  • Take to the local dump or throw it in the river in the middle of the night.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    NOT a cool response, even if you were just kidding.


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  • selinzselinz Posts: 11
    I had mentioned earlier that my 2007 (purchased 12-06) Civic Hybrid with 120K miles had a couple of incidents where if I don't drive it for longer than a few days, the front battery is necessary to start the car and then the IMA light comes on. In other words, there appeared to be a self discharge. After a couple days (I commute 45 miles each way) the light goes off and everything is OK. In my entire time of owning the car, I have NEVER got mileage below 40mpg.. Typically I get 43 or so. I also find that the car's mileage estimate either match or are slightly pessimistic to the values that I calculate using the old fashion calculation.
    I'm also confident that if I drive 55 or so, I can get 50mpg.
    During the last service, I mentioned the IMA light incidents (I think that there were 3 or 4), they tested the battery, and then determined that the battery was "deteriorated." I tried to get info from them. Apparently the car gives them a thumbs up or thumbs down. They don't do any testing of the battery directly.
    Well, in CA, ALL emissions equipment has a mandatory 150K or 10 year warranty. Since I was "only" at 120K, they said that they would change it. For free! Which they did. The service rep said that in the entire time that he's worked there, Honda has covered EVERY SINGLE IMA BATTERY REPLACEMENT whether in warranty or otherwise (that he knows of). So it's never costed their customers a nickel.
    This has made me become skeptical of the many posts that I see here, particularly from dealers in CA, that they are double dipping on the repair. Or are just lazy.

    They also did 4 firmware upgrades. The behavior seems to less aggressively use the battery, although I did not notice any significant performance change (other than my mileage improving a bit). You notice the electric assist most when coming form a stop, where the Atkinson engine shows it's miserable torque...At any rate, I've decided that I really like my dealer after reading all the crap from others.. (Livermore Honda).
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > Take to the local dump or throw it in the river in the middle of the night.

    And put the toxic metals into the ground?

    At a minimum it should go to a recycling facility as the NiMH batteries are almost 100% recyclable.

    Again, I buy bad batteries for parts.
  • pastorkpastork Posts: 9
    Please don't suggest that the rest of us are liars. There are way too many of us who have had bad experiences, and whose mileage has dropped to the 27-29 mpg range, for us all to be nuts. I'm happy for you, if that was not your experience. But please keep your skepticism about our problems to yourself...and I'll try not to be skeptical that you work for Honda.... :-)
  • rustybumperrustybumper Posts: 2
    edited April 2010
    Hi, I have had a similar problem after experiencing a flat battery, but I'm not sure of the cause of the flat battery.

    I drive a 2006 IMA model which has covered about 85k miles.
    When I found I had a flat battery I jumped started the car and likewise the recharge circuit wouldn't operate.
    The green drive indicator light flashed like a Christmas light, the engine management light and various other lights stayed illuminated with the engine running.
    I had the car towed to Honda dealer, they apparently recharged the 12volt battery and told me they had to reset the engine management system! (As per Honda procedure I was told).
    For this I was charged £100 or about $150 dollars!
    I asked why I had to pay this amount for what was essential a flat battery and asked for the diagnostic report which they would not provide me with.
    I was told as the system voltage dropped below 10.5 volts this caused a problem, of course I asked surely like any PC manufacturer the system would hold its values just like BIOS in PC?
    I persisted with my questioning and reasoned with them that then every time I was to get a flat battery of disconnect the battery I would have to have a system reset and pay £100 and this was wrong and their must be a firmware / software problem.
    I was told I should write to Honda directly and my monies were refunded and I was asked to leave the premises.
  • Another problem I have had is brake fade as result of the system voltage I was told dropping below 10.5 volts.
    I approached a junction and braked to stop and brakes failed to operate correctly, as a result I overshot the junction by about 3 feet, thankfully no vehicles were passing at that moment.
    The Honda Dealer (UK) told me there was a brake error code found and this had been caused by the system voltage dropping.
    They reset the faults test drove the car and told me all was fine! Since this I have had another two occasions where I have had problems again.

    Anybody else experienced this type of problem?
  • selinzselinz Posts: 11
    You obviously misread my post. I was implying that the other Honda dealers were liars, not the users!!! Go back and read my post. And I accept your apology in advance!! :)
  • selinzselinz Posts: 11
    As an update, my car definitely behaves differently after the 4 firmware upgrades.
    The battery is used aggressively at low speed and from the start. Other than that, it seems as though it's trying harder to keep the battery at a higher charge level. My charge gauge has not gone to zero even once going up my long hill on my commute. I don't think this is due to increased capacity. I think that it chooses to use the engine instead, perhaps "saving" the remainder of the battery for a "start from stop" situation? Before, it'd drain it all the way which essentially maximized the advantage going up and down hills (at least by my thinking). That being said, I haven't really seen much of a change. I guess that it's worked so far because I don't recall one incident of "no starting power" since the ima battery change. Perhaps a slight increase in mileage--I used to average 41,42 and now it's 42,43 according the the average mpg gauge.
  • jeb858jeb858 Posts: 10
    Good Morning,
    I have posted a few times about my 2006 Civic Hybrid with 37k miles and the concern with the battery, charging system, bogus software updates and terrible factory service. I pulled into the dealer on Thursday with a car in forced regen, no IMA battery, and using the standard starter to start the engine. I had the service writer and tech observe these conditions.
    I had the writer and tech ride with me and had them observe the rapid charge and more importantly the rapid discharge of the IMA system and the lack of power once the battery is kaput. I had them observe how the car jumps when it is in autostop at a light and then suddenly start and go into a 1500 rpm forced regen. They agreed all was not right though there was no IMA light on.
    I left the car with them and said I want my Civic back like it was for the first 2 years that I had it and not this disappointing, underpowered, used to be good car.
    3 hours later I received a call from the Service Manager stating......there was no problem as the IMA light was not on. I am beyond angry at this point. It sure was nice the software patches that were installed removed the P07AF battery deterioration code and made my car even less a Hybrid...
    I got right on the phone with Honda and used my contact number that I was issued last September when this process started. I left a message for the rep stating my disappointment and how I had jumped all the hoops in meeting with the factory engineer, etc.
    I also mentioned the many exact same concerns with this vehicle that I and many people on this and other message boards are dealing with that I have seen on the NTSB website, yes the site that took Toyota to task. 10 minutes later I received a call from American Honda stating they had contacted the dealer and a battery had been ordered, do I need a loaner car?
    The battery will go in next week and I can sell the beast with a good conscious. Not sure what to replace the car with the new Jetta diesel is looking pretty good.
    Good luck to all of you and hang tough.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >I had the car towed to Honda dealer, they apparently recharged the 12volt battery >and told me they had to reset the engine management system! (As per Honda >procedure I was told).
    >For this I was charged £100 or about $150 dollars!

    That reset consisted of plugging in a scan tool and clicking reset and then getting into the car and revving the engine to 3500 rpm for about 2 minutes.
  • lexacatlexacat Posts: 1
    I had the exact same problem with my hybrid last year. Went to the dealer, they told me they'd need to replace the battery etc. The IMA light was on and it was draining my battery so the car wouldn't start. I finally took my car to an independent garage that specializes in hybrids. I live in San Francisco and went to Luscious Garage. I know, hybrid specialists are rare and I'm grateful I took a chance and went there.

    They told me the problem had nothing to do with my IMA system but it was a problem with the A/C. At first I thought they had no idea what they were talking about but, I kept listening. They explained that it's a very common problem with the honda hybrids and that there's a part on the A/C system that doesn't shut quite properly over time causing the IMA system to think the A/C is still running. Consequently, even though the engine is off, the electric battery still thinks the a/c needs power and it drains both the IMA and the regular battery.

    They changed the part and I left the garage a few hours later having been charged $65. Brilliant!

    The problem stopped and my car now runs like new. Hasn't cause problems ever since. One sign might also be that the A/C doesn't run as cold as usual. I've had few problems with my car but the ones I've had somehow are all linked to the A/C...again, according to the dealer "that's normal on civic hybrids 04"... really? should have mentioned that on the sticker when I bought the car...

    Hope this help.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    Re: the bad AC relay

    This problem is very hard to diagnose because it lights the IMA light but doesn't throw a code. I'm not surprised that the dealer didn't know anything about it, because Honda hasn't published anything about it.

    Carolyn at Luscious, however, knows how to use Google and was able to find the solution for a previous customer. You became the beneficiary of that information because they've seen the problem before.

    I wouldn't call it a common problem. It's quite rare, and the part isn't all that uncommon or expensive, but finding out that an AC relay is causing an IMA failure is quite a bit of detective work. I've only heard of about a half dozen cases - ever.
  • civic_dutycivic_duty Posts: 7
    edited June 2010
    I haven't read all the posts on IMA/battery failure, but enough to see that there's a pretty solid case against Honda, in that they have failed to provide a product that works as advertised and intended.

    There is one class action suit involving civic hybrids that has been filed in U.S. District Court for Central California--but that suit is badly off the mark (since it only addresses lower-than-advertised gasoline mileage), and as of this date the federal judge hasn't accepted the (unfair-to-owners) proposed settlement.

    What's needed is a class action that zeroes in on this IMA/battery failure issue. I'm posting here to ask whether anyone is aware of such an action; if you do, please post the citation for the case here.

    In the meantime, I'll do some basic legal research and see whether I can find a case in progress that does appropriately address this issue.

    Also, I'd like to know whether anyone on this list knows of any instances in which accidents have occured that are, or are likely to be, directly related to sluggish or inadequate HCH response due to IMA/battery failure to provide adequate boost during acceleration. This would most likely be a rear-end collision (HCH struck from behind, due to loss of power and speed, or inability to accelerate, leading to a collision with a vehicle approaching from the rear).

  • I haven't had any accidents, but many close calls. This happened because when the battery fails, the engine will sometimes stall, and cannot be restarted until the transmission is shifted into neutral or park. This causes the vehicle to be dead in the water for some time, and is very dangerous if stalled in a busy intersection or middle of the highway.
  • shonda3shonda3 Posts: 42
    They won't do anything with this piece of junk. Get over it.
  • action21action21 Posts: 6
    edited July 2010
    Had the same problem with my 2004 Civic Hybrid and after 17 weeks, yes weeks, in the shop they finally announced they had it fixed. Took it home turned the key to start next morning - nothing. Towed it to another dealer and in 3 hours he replaced the A/C Relay Switch - that was at 80K I now have 150K and IMA light went on along with engine light. Having moved to another state the new Dealers mechanic wants to replace battery to tune of almost $3K. He insisted that they ran all kinds of tests with ENGINEERS from HONDA. I told him to replace A/C Relay Switch and after arguing with me saying it doesn't make any sense I told him it was my call and if I'm wrong I'll buy another car but I doubt I'm wrong. I will post when I get car back -
  • earl22earl22 Posts: 1
    Every summer I have IMA battery problems with my '07 Civic Hybrid. (Live in Fort Worth where summer highs are typically 95-100) Symptom is sudden discharge of IMA battery as indicated by white bars on the dash. (Actually sometimes I see a sudden charging of the battery...goes from 50% to 90% in matter of seconds!) Car can then hardly accelerate w/o assist. Car seldom has more than half a charge. Dealer recently installed software upgrades that had no effect. Dealer has had car for 2 days. Just got a call from him...based on conversations with their Tech Line, they are aware of some problems with software upgrades (but I've had problem for 3 years). Bottom line is there is nothing they can do and I should pick up the car.

    WHAT DO I DO NOW? PUSH IT OFF A CLIFF? What kind of mileage will I get if I'm continually charging the IMA battery!!

    I'd like to file a report with Fed. Gov't....would that be NTSB?

    I'm about to call Honda. I'd like for them to buy back car at price equal to dealer retail. Fat chance...
  • rosie2006rosie2006 Posts: 22
    Lots of luck to you, same problem here, loved the car for the first 2 years (honda civic hybrid 06), got the runaround last year with Honda reps, Consumer Affairs, etc, the Honda rep is assuring me that it is "performing as designed" bottom line is that they have a faulty product, thus the software update for the assist battery, that now shuts it down before it gets hot enough to destroy the battery, saving them some money while it lasts long enough for the warranty to run out. Thank goodness, our Ca summer has been mild, reduces the frustration of trying to accelerate!
  • rosie2006rosie2006 Posts: 22
    The car must have "codes" , trust me, all last summer getting the runaround from Elk Grove Honda and the Honda Reps, Consumer affairs etc, I am not lazy, just resolved to have it go until it dies.... Am going to your dealer next!
  • brian2007brian2007 Posts: 9
    action21 wrote:

    "I told him it was my call and if I'm wrong I'll buy another car but I doubt I'm wrong. I will post when I get car back -"
    Any results to report yet?
  • brian2007brian2007 Posts: 9
    earl22 wrote:
    "Every summer I have IMA battery problems with my '07 Civic Hybrid. (Live in Fort Worth where summer highs are typically 95-100) Symptom is sudden discharge of IMA battery as indicated by white bars on the dash. (Actually sometimes I see a sudden charging of the battery...goes from 50% to 90% in matter of seconds!) Car can then hardly accelerate w/o assist. Car seldom has more than half a charge."
    Exactly same problem with my 2007 HCH. I bought it used at 20,000 miles and it ran great for the next 20,000 miles. Performance has been degrading ever since. In addition to the symptoms described by earl22, I have noticed that the charging system takes some "warm-up time" before engaging. I noticed this in the cold weather (well, cold for Austin, TX) this past winter, when I would have to drive 5-10 mins. before the system would begin charging, but it's even happening in summer weather, though it only takes a minute or 2 to begin working. Of course, no IMA during this warm-up period either.

    Had the dealer look at it recently and they found no problems, apart from the 4 software upgrades they applied. Those did absolutely nothing to alleviate the problem, and perhaps made it marginally worse.

    The tech at the dealership who is the hybrid "specialist" said he had a few other customers reporting similar issues, but there was no solution from Honda other than the software updates.

    Well, I'm going to start climbing the chain for complaints. . .
  • johnb46johnb46 Posts: 1
    I live in Dumas Arkansas and have a 2007 Civic Hybrid and have the same problem. Honda USA said until I get an error code I do not have a problem. The IMA battery will not charge when the temp is hot outside. Keep me informed. The Better Business Bureau said that I had the car too long for them to complain to Honda. What else can I do?
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