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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • I went to a Honda dealership to see about trading in my 06 Civic hybrid which I'm not happy about. I drove a used Civic SI and asked what I would get for trading in my hybrid. (It was so wonderful to drive a car that I could control and had predictable acceleration.) Their first offer was $8,500, which they said was the KBB trade in value for the condition of my car. They upped their offer to $9,200. My conclusion is I didn't get any special treatment because I was trading in a Honda. They were just trying to sell me a car and they would have done the same thing if I had traded in another brand.
  • I am i Philly. My gas mileage in the city has dropped to 30 to 33 mpg. On the highway it increased to 42 to 45.The battery indicater registers only two bars in the morning each day, but goes to "full charge" within 15 minutes. Is this the battery not getting charged enough?

  • What is the charge when you put it to bed at night? If it is a lot more than two bars, then it is probably losing charge at rest. So, when the computer detects that the charge is different in the morning, it does a recal to balance the battery. Sounds like you may have the beginning of an early failure battery. Which just means that there is probably one or two bad cells. It probably can function a long time like this.
  • It is always at "full" charge. If the battery is going bad, how do I get the dealer to acknowledge the problem?
  • That's the hard part. They won't generally do that until the IMA light comes on. You can tell them what is happening and that your mileage is reduced and see what they say.
  • The same thing is happening to my 06 almost every morning. I've taken it twice to Honda and their response is the IMA battery is fine according to their tests and that the IMA light is not on. I strongly suspect that the IMA battery is beginning to deteriorate and the Honda dealer essentially agreed with me the second time I took it back. But he said his hands are tied by Honda corporate. He did say I could send him a video or photos of it recharging daily and he would go back to Honda corporate. I'll give it a try but I'm not optimistic at this point that Honda will replace my IMA battery.
  • Sometimes you can get the IMA light to come on by driving in such a way as to discharge the battery heavily and then let it sit overnight and start out the next morning doing the same thing. Once it comes on the info will be stored. Hot weather and using the AC heavily helps to discharge the battery. Good luck.
  • I have noticed that putting the car in neutral while coasting will stop the regeneration phase. This should help drain the battery. Does this assist in geting the IMA light to come on? Any ideas about this?
  • Anything that drains or prevents the battery from charging should help. Keep in mind that all this will only turn the IMA light on if the battery is truly faulty in some way. It is like a stress test to highlight a problem. Hope it works for you. Do you ever get down to no charge bars. Mine did that before the IMA light ever came on. Even then it did not come on the first time it went to zero bars.
  • My car had zero bars several times before the IMA light ever came on, but once it began happening frequently, it wasn't long before I took it in and got the failure code.
  • I've had zero bars several times. Still, no error code.
  • When I received my letter and phone call from American Honda early in early August encouraging me to have my IMA software updated to extend the IMA battery life, I complied the very next day. Shortly thereafter my 2006 Civic Hybrid with 110,000 mi. on began to experience IMA problems. Battery charge would drop to 2 or 3 bars and the car would have extremely poor acceleration, within a minute the battery would be a full charge almost immediately with acceleration back to normal. I returned to the dealership and informed them of the performance issue after the software update. For the record my Honda ran great even with all the miles on it and would recommend it to anyone until the update. The dealer said there were no issues and the car was operating fine. I objected and asked to have the old IMA software reinstalled, the dealer said they could not. I put the dealer on notice that this problem was a safety issue more than a performance issue. If you can not trust your car to accelerate when merging onto a highway or make a left turn from a complete stop what good is it. I prohibited my teen new driver from using the Civic. I next called American Honda's Consumer Complaint hotline and filed a complaint with them they said they would investigate. After a couple of days Honda called me to inform me the car was operating fine. I again objected and and asked them if I was on recorded line, they said yes. I put them on notice that if anything happen to me or one of family members American Honda was responsible. To make a long story short, two weeks ago the dealer calls and asked me to bring the car in for a district manager to test drive. They also stated Honda was having some issues with the software patch...oh really. My wife and I began keeping a log of when the problem occurred, battery charge level, mileage, time of day, and outdoor temperature. We gave them a copy of the log. After several days(they supplied a rental) of the dealer going to bat for me, Honda relented and installed a BRAND NEW IMA BATTERY with the old version of the IMA system software. While we have only had the car back to us a few days, my wife has commented that it drives like a new car. Thank you Honda for coming to your senses before somebody was injured or worse. I believe it only will be a matter of time before Honda issues a mass "good will" IMA battery replacement.
  • Thanks for this very worthwhile information. Do you think the "goodwill" effort will include rebates for us who paid at least half the cost of the new IMA battery?
  • Like many I had my upgrade back in July. Since then my IMA will not work all the time. What I mean by this is NOT what they outline in the letter. If I merge onto the freeway/highway and try to accelerate my IMA should kick in, but it doesn't, not at all. Then next time it will work again. I drive up the same long steep hill every day, some days my assist kicks in and everything is great, some days it does not and I have a pile of cars behind me.
    My friends at Darryl Waltrip Honda in Franklin are telling me that what I'm describing is exactly how it works now. All the way up to the service manager, "this is how the car works".

    1 - They asked me to do this upgrade, my car didn't have any issues before.

    2 - The "upgrade" letter did not mention 'sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't'. I certainly wouldn't do the upgrade if it did.

    3 - Really? If you make it so my IMA only kicks in 80% of the time that will increase the life span? That does not sound like an upgrade, sounds like a bunch of crap.

    4 - For 2 weeks after the upgrade I did experience a drastic loss in MPG, from 42 ish down to 30. The 3rd time I took it in that problem stopped. They said they did nothing.

    I have owned Honda's my entire life (36 years). My mom worked for Honda out in Oregon. This is my last Honda. I cannot bleieve someone can look me straight in the face and tell me that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

    If anyone is interested in a car, I'm selling. It works exactly as Honda says it should.
  • What I would be curious to know is what is the difference in the battery state of charge when it works and when it doesn't work.
  • I have filed a complaint with Honda Customer Relations and I took it to the dealer and he test drove it. He said he couldn't duplicate my frequent discharge of my IMA battery. I called Honda Customer Relations and complained again about the IMA battery and also said the software update made the car unsafe and I wanted the old software installed. Honda said that they couldn't reinstall the old software and I would have to take it to the dealer to have them back up my claim that the car is unsafe because of the frequent discharges and the software update. Honda said I had the option to take it to another dealer to get a second opinion. Honda also said which made me really angry that the dealer could charge me for their time test driving the car if they couldn't duplicate my problems.
  • I'm desperate to improve the performance of my 06 Hybrid which has been discharging frequently and the software update made it more sluggish. I filled up with mid octane gas yesterday. My impression after 1 day of driving is the engine seems peppier and the integration between the gas and electric engine seems better. I'll see if this continues.
  • The Civic hybrid engine actually has a higher than normal compression ratio (10.8 to 1) so the higher octane gasoline may help. Here is a post on an Insight forum discussing higher octane and the Insight and Civic Hybrid rid.html.
  • Yeah, they made that same threat to me. I pitched a fit. And of course, Honda Customer Relations told you that they haven't heard this complaint from anybody else? LOL
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    edited September 2010
    Problem! what problem?
    \Even if a hybrid battery fails outside the warranty limits, Toyota would most likely still offer assistance, said Pearce.

    It's the same story over at Honda, maker of the oldest hybrid on the market, the Honda Insight.

    That's nice... what about the Brooklyn bridge.
    Don't sweat over hybrid battery failure
  • This mechanic repairs IMA batteries for far less than buying a brand new set If you read his webpage, he says that the IMA batteries tend to deteriorate early in hot weather. My interpretation is that Honda did not do enough testing of these IMA batteries in hot weather, or should have had a cooling system installed for the battery pack. (My understanding is that the Focus hybrid battery pack is kept at 70 degrees to help it last.) I would be curious if there was data on Civics hybrids with freqent recals and IMA battery replacement by region.
  • I understand there is a cooling fan for the battery. My battery did noticeably deteriorate this summer after about 90K miles. It was a record hot summer.
  • From reading all these posts, it seems like there are more 2006 Civic Hybrid owners complaining about battery & sofware problems than any other model year cars. Got my newest software update on my 2008 Hybrid about 2 months ago, and the car's IMA system seems to be smarter than before. I drove about 2 tanks of gas before the car's computer finally educated itself and kicked in. I had the same complaints as everyone else when I first got mysoftware done. Now, it seems to manage the battery usage better and hold a charge longer. Milage has been about the same in the 40-42 mpg, but it will drop in hotter weather. Using midgrade gas does help the car to get that extra poweer & pep. And yes, I switched back to 1 tank full of regular unleaded, and you can feel a difference in power.
  • I have a 2006 and the new software did not solve my problem. After three weeks the battery was replaced and everything is fine. Plenty of acceleration and milage around 45 which is pretty much the same has it has always been.
  • My 2006 with updated software and a new battery operates like new. It has 93K miles with NAV and all the options, well maintained and well taken care of. The battery has a warranty. I generally average about 45 mpg driving responsibly but not overly conservatively. If I decided to sell it, how much do you think it is worth?
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    $6000, at best.

    That may be a little pessimistic, but not much. It is after all a 5 year old car with 93k miles, even Honda's can't defy gravity.
  • This seems ridiculously low for a well maintained car in excellent shape with a new hybrid battery and warranty. I've always felt that how a car is maintained and taken care of is more important than just the miles driven. Honda's are know for their reliability and durability (notwithstanding the hybrid battery problem). What about another opinion from someone? If it is truly only worth this much, I might as well drive it for another 100K miles at an average 45 mpg and probably trouble free. (The only problem is my wife wants a larger car with more utility, but still a hybrid.)
  • I just checked Kelly Blue Book. Trade in value is listed between $6550 for fair condition to $8350 for excellent assuming you do not have nav. or any other upgrades. Remember this is Trade in Value! There are no 2006 Civic Hybrid selling on ebay for less than $10k. The cheapest is this 87k mile car which has 24 bids and currently bid up to $8k. VE-/130435817397?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item1e5e949fb5
    Selling your car for $6k would be like giving it away!
  • Thanks. This makes more sense. My car is in excellent condition (now) and has all the options including NAV. I was hoping for around $12K, but that might be somewhat of a stretch for this milage, but another trouble free 100K miles for a well maintained Honda is not a stretch.
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