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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • grunn320grunn320 Posts: 16
    My advice is DONT get the update. I have a 2007 HCH with 38000 miles. Prior to getting the update I had no issues with the car. After the update my mileage has dropped to 35 mpg. I was averaging 41. Worse than that, the power assist will not work below 4 charge bars and sometimes the power assist abruptly stops working with 4 charge bars and at the worst time, like passing someone or getting on a highway on ramp. I'm now waiting for North America Honda to respond to my complaint. My dealer said I'm not the only complaint he's had about the update. This update is obviously an attempt by Honda to extend the battery life past the warranty period so we will pay for an inadequate battery system. In the meantime we must suffer with poor performance and possible safety hazard.
  • grunn320grunn320 Posts: 16
    Read my last post, #555. Just got a call from Honda. I was told there currently is no fix in the works to deal with the performance problems caused from the last update. They said If the battery fails in warranty they would take care of it. If out of warranty they would be sympathetic should the batteries fail, because I reported the problem before the warranty expired, whatever that means. I'm stuck with a much inferior car than the one I bought. No more Hondas for me.
  • shonda3shonda3 Posts: 42
    Another customer suffering from Honda's afterglow.
  • Yeah I am with Grunn320. That's what I have been trying to get a feel for on here. I wish people that aren't dealing with this problem would stop commenting. I just want to know what this update is doing to other peoples cars. I am NOT going to get the update. I guess I can just hope and pray that it goes within the warranty period. I am hoping the BBB can do something for me with respect to getting the promise from Honda Canada in writing that refusing this update will not affect how my dealership deals with me and my warranty. I bought the Honda Plus warranty. I still have practically 4 years worth of battery warranty left because I don't drive my car like some people do. I'll definately run out of time before I run out of K's.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I didn't get the update until after my battery had deteirorated. Now It spends a lot more time charging until the battery is in the normal range or fully charged. I suspect that if my battery was not deteriorated, I wouldn't notice much, if any difference. For those that do, I suspect that their batteries had already deteriorated without their awareness.
  • Nope -- my car was only a few months old when I got the update, and I'm seeing exactly the same problem other people are.

    Between 65 and 75 degrees, all is normal. Above or below that range, the number of bars jumps up and down constantly and I get very little assist.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    This seems odd to me. They need to troubleshoot the problem and see exactly what the cause is.
  • Even the dealer said that they're hearing this from other customers, but of course there's nothing that the dealer can do (beyond passing on complaints). They don't do their own programming.
  • I mailed complaints to Honda and to the NHTSA. It has been about 3 weeks, and I am waiting to hear back. I have included photos of my gauges, dates, times, and outdoor temps, as well as what the car was doing at the time of the photo, (idling, merging into interstate traffic, etc). The photos show the RPMs, IMA charge and assist, and MPG. I have not gotten the software update, and do not plan to. I am requesting a replacement of the IMA battery under my 100,000 mile extended warranty. I am currently at 85,000 miles on my 2007 HCH. The battery is definitely on its last leg, and I no longer feel safe with my children in this car. I'll keep you all updated when I get a response...or maybe that's "if" I get a response.
  • I don't understand why anyone would get the update Heather? With the language that they are using in that letter they sent me you would have to be a complete idiot to think that it was actually going to benefit the performance of your car. I just want it in writing that it will not affect my warranty from Honda Canada and I am willing to assume the risk.
  • I agree. I would hope that the ONLY reason anyone has gotten the update is out of fear of losing warranty coverage. I am afraid as well, but I already had my mpg drop as low as 27, and have had many instances where no assist was available, so I am absolutely NOT interested in any further power or fuel economy losses. This morning, I encountered a new problem. I pulled out of a parking lot, never got over 15 mph before coming to a 4-way stop. I didn't come to a complete stop as I was the only car there, no auto-stop occurred, even though the IMA gauge had 8 bars. When I pressed the gas to pull away from the stop sign, the car did not move, the engine revved up, the RPMs red-lined, and as I looked down to see if I had somehow unknowingly shifted the car into neutral, (although I knew I hadn't), the car slammed into gear and lurched forward. So add that to the list of things wrong with my car...grrrrr
  • If your battery is failing, Honda insists that you get the update before they will replace the battery. I think there has been a few reported cases on this forum of a positive effect from the update. In my case there was some improvement but not a reconditioning of the battery, so the battery will be replaced. The theory from Honda is that if you get the update soon enough, it will preserve your battery. It is my understanding that all the new Civic hybrids start out with this update.
  • Of course they insist on the update. If you can lessen the battery's usage, it will take longer for it to die. Then, most people would be out of warranty by that time, and Honda wouldn't have to take the hit. If I have to end up getting the update to have my battery replaced, then I will just park the car for 30 days to ensure that the battery will die. I refuse to pay another 3 years for a car that is not what I purchased and that I don't consider safe.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    edited September 2010
    If you are having battery problems already, the key is to get the IMA light to come on before you get the update. Then you have a failed event locked into time and mileage. So, if you continue to have problems then you have a recorded event before the warranty expired.

    If you are not having problems, the theory is that the update will postpone ever having a battery problem. If you are leery about getting the update at all, don't get it until you are having problems, or at some time before the warranty expires, whichever comes first.
  • Got the update about 4 weeks ago. 2006 HCH with 66,000 miles, in Houston, Texas. 60/40 city/highway driving, or thereabouts.

    I see the recal events every morning, and sometimes during mid-day driving. Hottest August on record here, by the way.

    Average mileage has increased from ~38.5 mpg (consistent for the last 3 summers) to ~41.5 mpg now, though. The recals look more like a forced charge event to me; the IMA boost is available within a few minutes and the SOC goes back to full bars after about 7 or 8 miles of driving.

    I can't complain at this point. A 3 mpg improvement in a terribly hot month is pretty impressive. Sorry everyone else is not seeing the same results.
  • selinzselinz Posts: 11
    edited September 2010
    I agree. I think that the update is far better. I never find myself stranded with no battery left for taking off from a stop sign or getting up a hill. It definitely saves the charge for higher acceleration situations.
    By the way, I always get better mileage by NOT using cruise control. However, I often use it anyway for convenience.
    Mileage: driving 75-80 around 40mpg, or less if I drive like an idiot (eg. trying to go faster up hills than down hills. Funny how so many people on the road do that)
    driving 65-70 around 42
    driving 55-65 around 45.
    subtract 2 mpg or so if AC is on.
    subtract another 1mpg if temp is over 95.
  • That's the problem, my IMA light has never come on, but the problems are obvious. If I go get the update, it will probably never come on, since the update will keep the battery from being used enough to drain it the rest of the way. I don't think anything is going to take away my disappointment.
  • Eventually, your IMA light will come on. You can help it by not deliberately driving to preserve the battery charge. Want to hear something ironic? I was on my way to get the upgrade and the IMA light came on for the first time ever. Just lucky, I guess, because I then had a record of failure. The upgrade helped some, but my battery was too far gone for a complete fix and after driving it for a month I asked for a new battery. Unfortunately, when my light went on I was already about 6K miles over warranty. Honda would only pay 50% of the cost for the new battery.
  • I agree about cruise control. It ruins my mileage because it operates contrary to good mileage--more throttle up-hill, less throttle down-hill. I wish there was a constant throttle device that I could override just a little in case the car got too slow up hills. That would be a good feature for driving in flat or slightly hilly terrain. I usually can improve my mileage by 3-4 mpg by not using cruise control. This is not as big a factor on non-hybrid cars just as air conditioning isn't either.
  • I, like everyone else, was extremely disappointed after my software update for my 2008 Civic Hybrid. The car drove very sluggish, and I had a very difficult time climbing up hills. Even with the battery indicator showing half full, the electric engine refused to kick in, so I was left with the gas engine only to climb the hill. It had become a safety issue for me, so 1 week after the update, I took my car back to the dealer. They spent a day on it and calling back & forth with Honda Corp., but in the end they said that that this is the way it is and that they can't do anything about it. They suggested me to drive the car for a while for the computer to relearn itself.

    Being desperate, I decided to top my next tank of gas with Premium Unleaded. Wow! What a big difference it made. The car took off with much more pep, but at a cost of more $$. The next tank of gas, I switched to the midgrade Unleaded (89 octane) which costs less, and I found that the car still drives with the same pep as using the Premium grade gas. Now after 30 days, I am really loving this car. With the midgrade gas and the computer having time to adjust, the car just drives great. Gas milage has not changed much, and my last tank averaged 41 mpg. This is great considering I live in a hilly area in Southern CA, and it's also summer weather. The extra 2 octanes gain from regular to midgrade really made a big difference on this small gas engine. An extra 10 cents per gallon more is a small price to pay. The car drives much better than before the software upgrade, and the hybrid engine seems to blend in much better than before the upgrade. Just give it some time for the computer to adjust, and try using a higher grade gas.
  • I have driven my '09 Civic 400 miles since the secret firmware update (they did not tell me at the time). My mileage has dropped from a 47 to 41 MPG and performance is very sluggish - almost unsafe. Now I wish I had never bought this car.
  • Trade me. I did am=nd am driving a wonderful Ford again!

    The performance will not improve and Honda will not do anything to fix it. I spent months trying to resolve it, with numerous trips to the dealer and lines of bull.

    You are correct. Acceleration is dangerously inadequate. Trade it and never buy Honda again!
  • mrlarmrlar Posts: 14
    edited September 2010
    Sorry if this has been posted (I've been out of town for a few weeks including when it came out) but in case it hasn't been posted, the LA Times did a big article (right on the front page of the Sunday paper) back on Aug 15th about the Honda "update" and battery problem. Even though it's listed in the business section online, in the print edition, it was Page One of the Sunday paper (main section), above the fold, where everyone could see it.,0,4626507,full.story
  • Nice dream. Octane does not affect performance in the way you describe.
  • I agree, the only way higher octane would show improvement, would be if the engine was the high compression type which it is not.
  • Maybe you can just try it on your next refill. It won't hurt to spend an extra $1 on a tank full just to try it for yourself. It seems to work great for me in conjunction with the new software update. I had the same gripes as everyone else, and was on the verge of getting rid of my car when I switched gas. I think it's both the gas and the the time it took for the software to adjust. Drove about 700 miles since update. I just thought I share.
  • To verify what happened why don't you go back to regular for a tank to see what happens?
  • With modern engines that use variable timing and integrated knock sensors, it is possible that a higher octane gas would require less retardation in the timing, which generally can result in better horsepower.
  • I got the software update a few weeks ago. I started having at least daily discharges of the IMA battery in early June even in cooler temperatures and without AC. I hoped that the software update will solve the IMA problems but the 1-3x discharges have continued. If anything, the software update has made it worse because the engine recharge kicks in when it reaches 2 or 3 bars which means longer periods of sluggish acceleration.

    I took it to my Honda dealer and they said that the IMA system checked out fine and they couldn't do anything. I repeatedly said that there is a problem despite their equipment saying it was fine, and that they needed to drive my car for a few days. I filed a complaint with Honda and their response was that I had to go back to the dealer and have them test drive it as I requested. I feel like I'm getting the run around. I'm going to see if the dealer will test drive my Honda and then consider the next step.
  • I thought I was special with my 07 hybrid IMA issues. Evidently not. It has been in Honda repair several times and seems to only get worse, certainly not better. The scary part was this past Friday when waiting to make a left turn in a very busy intersection in downtown Sacramento (yes, over 100 that day) and the car completely died in the middle of the intersection when I stepped on the gas to move forward. Dead as a doornail. I could have easily been killed if the F250 behind me hadn't braked and stopped in time as he would have shoved me in front of the on-coming traffic. Honda says they are puzzled by my issues - obviously I am being lied to as this seems to be very common. What recourse do we have?
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