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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • Dear Fellow Honda victims: This is my last post. The final straw came this week when I put my 2006 HCH into reverse and waited. And waited. I waited until the car was good and ready to proceed. I have suffered outrageously diminished mileage, menopausal driving characteristics (ladies, I apologize), and cupped tires from a manufacturer's defect in the rear axle. Apparently, because of the flightiness of the battery systems, all sorts of pressures are placed on the balance of the car. My transmission was beginning to go at 41,000 miles. That was my limit. I wish you all the best of luck with your cars. It will be a cold day in Hades before I purchase another Japanese car. Best wishes, Shonda no more.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    This is a poor commentary for Honda's Civic Hybrid. I have the same car and have experienced the same problems except for the transmission. However, mine got fixed and is performing well at 95K miles. It is such a nice car to have to be plagued with so many problems. It should not be and I understand your displeasure.
  • We'll miss you, Shonda. Please tell EVERYONE you know or meet or strangers on the street about your experiences with Honda. THEY ARE A VERY UGLY COMPANY. Never never never never buy another Honda product ... not even a lawnmower!
  • I've been following this blog since mid-October when my IMA/Engine lights came on and Honda did the software "upgrade" on my 09HCH. I finally have a couple of tanks worth of evidence, so I took the car in last Monday (12/27). My list of complaints included mpg less than my 99 Civic non-hybrid, no Auto-Stop, no accelleration, battery draining on inclines (I live in the foothills of the Cascade Mt range in Washington state). I told the service manager I do not want the car back until they put it back to its performance level BEFORE the software upgrade. I received a second status call tonight (12/30), and they still have my car. Interestingly, the first status call, the service manager called to inform me what was wrong with my car's performance. He repeated, almost word for word, what I took the car in for. I told him, "I told you all that Monday. What is Honda going to do about it?" Stammer, stammer, um, uh. . . . . . (I took a printout of the first and last pages of this blog when I took the car in.) I reiterated that I DO NOT want the car back until they fix it. Tonight, he "graciously" informed me that I am not the only complaint regarding these problems (duh, I told you that too), and Honda is aware of the problems (duh, I told you that too). Now for the NEW news: he said that Honda is currently working on a fix for the software upgrade. He said that, while the software upgrade corrected one problem (it wasn't a problem for the consumer, it was a problem for Honda), it created another (duh). He is waiting for a call back from the district service manager to find out the status of the fix for the fix - next week, next month, next year? While I'm hoping he is being honest, my husband thinks he's blowing smoke. Stay tuned. This is our 8th Honda from this dealership in 10 years. Looks like it may be out last.
  • How do I find out whether I have "The Upgrade"? I bought my 09HCH two months ago and am not thrilled with the performance. It is better than the old car i got rid of (15mpg @ 145000mi), but not what I was expecting.

  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    If the upgrade has been performed, the dealer is supposed to center-punch underneath the fifth character of the engine compartment VIN.
  • dowjddowjd Posts: 14
    edited December 2010
    Ok my wife and I purchased a 2009 HCH. When we first got it we got about 43mpg, then slowly it dropped to about 37MPG. In October 2009 the IMA light came on and Honda did the software upgrade. In November 2009 the IMA came on a second time.

    We took to Honda and they found the P0A7F code and subsequently replaced the battery.

    However the car has not performed as when new. Both city and highway mpg is about 37mpg and frequently drops to 34-36mpg. The IMA charge bars only maintain at about 4-6 bars and periodically drop to one. We advised Honda and their response was to pull over and rev the engine to recharge the battery. The IMA sometimes stops working, even if the battery shows 4-6 bars which is un-nerving. We noticed when driving up hill the assist will drop off if the RPM's climb above 3000.

    Today December 31 my wife was driving the car and the IMA and check engine light came on about 2 miles from home and stayed on while going to the gym. When she started the car to come home the IMA went off, but the check engine remained on.

    I called Honda and scheduled an appoinment. So is it the battery again? Judging that some people here have gone through two batteries, I wouldn't be surprised.

    We will wait to see what Honda says, but I am looking into filing a complaint with NHTSA if I don't like what they say.

    For those looking here is the NHTSA link:
  • Rest assured, I have a big mouth and know how to use it.
  • tj09hchtj09hch Posts: 14
    Okay, so after not being very polite at the local Honda dealership, here's the scoop. They are hoping a "fix" will be available next week. I will be calling every week until it's ready. They assured me Honda is aware of the problem and working to correct it. In the meantime, I'm checking out filing with the state AG, possibly under our lemon law.
  • If you are going to try the "lemon law" you better act fast. Most states have a time limit that you must act within to claim a "lemon". In Illinois, for example, you must have returned the vehicle for service a certain number of times (3, I believe) and then must try to claim under the lemon law. But all that must be done WITHIN 18 months of purchase. I bought my vehicle in May of 2009. Want to guess what month the IMA and Engine light went on and the software upgrade was made?? If you guessed November of 2010 you would be right --- and that's 18 months.

    But either way, you should report to the AG of your state. They need to know that the 2006 - 2008 model year issue is still a problem in 2009 model.

    Oh, and one more thing, ... HONDA SUCKS. Bought my first one in 1985 (red Prelude, great car), an Accord in 2000, and this piece of CRAP in 2009. NEVER AGAIN, HONDA!!!!! It's not nice to treat anyone this way, but certainly not repeat customers.
  • tj09hchtj09hch Posts: 14
    Hmmm, I bought mine in April 09 and it went out in October 10, 18 months. Interesting.

    In the state of Washington we have 30 months to file a claim, and I believe the first unresolved visit must take place during that time. I have drafted a letter to American Honda Corp to be sent in two weeks if the fix has not been made. I am "demanding" an exchange for a vehicle of equal value and options (mine was loaded) but NOT a hybrid. I'm not holding my breath, but that is what is required by our lemon law. Then I have to allow 40 days for Honda to respond.

    This very well could be our last purchase as well. I cannot work with a company that does not stand by their product.
  • rhegderhegde Posts: 4
    Just wanted to update on my experience so far after the s/w update.

    I got my 2006 HCH back on Dec 29. Since my car was not starting, the dealer found a problem with my regular battery and replaced it under warranty (my car was 54,000 miles). The dealer also did a s/w update (It states something like Hybrid Reflash on my invoice).

    Today i drove 200 miles on my 2006 HCH, and the experience has been good i must say. I took a long drive from Orange County to San diego on I-5 this afternoon, the car accerelated pretty well and gave a mileage of 44 miles per gallon. I am gonna to watch out how it will perform on the stop and go traffic since that I experience most of the time. My HCH gave just about 33 miles per gallon in stop and go traffic before the update. Will compare to see how it behaves after this update..
  • rd5418rd5418 Posts: 5
    You can't skip the upgrade unless you don't take the car to Honda for routine service. Why should you do that ? It's funny how their story has changed over time.

    When I first had my problem, they blamed it on everything from my driving habits to putting stuff in my trunk for work. I got sick of it and just sued them.

    Of course I won and they had to take the car back and I put a ton of miles on it. Fine with me since they treated me like crap. I will never buy another new Honda.

    In court they tried to use the cover that MPG vary and that federal law preempts a car maker from being sued for any false claims regarding MPG. That is true, but that is not the point.

    The point here is that something in the software is malfunctioning and that is covered as anything else woudl be. The fact that the malfunction relates to MPGs does not give them the right to hide behind the MPG law.

    It did not work when I sued them.

    They had to give me all my money back and pay off my loan.

    Screw you Honda.
  • rd5418rd5418 Posts: 5
    Why are you wasting your time ? Sue Honda and get all your money back !

    That is what I did after a year of excuses. There is something wrong with the software upgrade and Honda is trying to hide this so they don't have to do a recall.

    You can sue them yourself throught the BBB. It's really easy and consumer friendly.
  • markrockmarkrock Posts: 6
    edited January 2011
    Did you sue the dealer or American Honda?
    At the BBB WEBSITE, did you start with the complaint form?
    Were you able to accomplish the suite entirely online?
    Mine is the '07, 110,000 miles, and my car's performance dropped in the 3rd year, and then worsened with the update.
  • I'd also be interested in the details of your successful lawsuit.
    This sounds like a good candidate for a class action suit.

    I took my car for maintenance last winter and they didn't mention anything about a software update. My batteries weren't malfunctioning at the time so maybe they didn't bother. My problem started in the last 6 months or so.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I don't believe you can go through the BBB unless it is a warranty item and you are still covered.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    How is your new battery working?

    Unlike the people who are having problems with the software update, you have a Gen 1 Civic. It has not had this update issued because it is a very different car -no PTZEV mode, no AC during auto-stop, a smaller IMA battery, a lighter car, etc. At 268,000 miles, your battery simply wore out. Most 2003-2005 Civics last 120,000 - 160,000 miles before their batteries die.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263

    Is the problem 100% solved now? Which relay was it?
  • tj09hchtj09hch Posts: 14
    rd5418, I would very much like to hear the particulars of your suit.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,755
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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,755
    No problem... just a reminder of the rules of the road is all!

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  • patk27patk27 Posts: 1
    My Insight was delivered in August 2000 and has 121,000 miles.
    While driving, my IMA and emission control icons lighted. When this was first noticed the IMA charge indicator was on full charge, the charge assist readouts were/are dark. The charge indicator has remained on full charge without variation while driving. No other indicators are lighted. I have not disconnected the 12v battery or pulled any fuses.

    I have driven my Insight at least 150 miles since these things happened. I appear to be obtaining the same satisfactory acceleration that I was obtaining before this happened. My mileage has dropped from 52 mpg to 47 mpg.

    With the IMA switch “off” the car would not start.

    My local garage coded the car at p1449.

    I live up country in Minnesota and need to be able to drive my car. I understand that it if nothing else goes wrong the IC engine should continue to provide power enough for highway driving. Is this correct?

    The owner’s manual and web site do not give enough information for me to understand what I need to know about the system(s) of the Insight so that the IMA battery pack can be disconnected and/or removed from the car while continuing to safely start and operate with the IC motor and an electrical system that will serve the accessories as needed. Some other questions that seem important are:

    1. Do you need to bypass/remove the IMA battery pack so that you can safely drive the Insight on the IC engine?
    2. If yes, how do you bypass or remove the IMA battery pack so that you can safely drive the automobile on the IC engine?
    3. The Honda web site says that the IMA motor acts as the starter, generator, and IMA motor. Will the IMA motor continue to start the IC motor if the IMA batteries are disconnected?
    4. If not, does the 12 volt battery crank the IMA motor/starter or is the IC engine started by an independent starter?
    5. Will the IMA motor continue to generate electricity for the 12 v battery if the IMA battery is disconnected from the system?
    6. If not, does the Insight have another house battery-generator system that charges the 12v independently of the IMA motor?
    7. What components does the interior fuse box IMA fuse disconnect? Should this be pulled?
    8. What components does the exterior fuse box IMA fuse disconnect? Should this be pulled?
    9. What components does the IMA ECU fuse disconnect? Same question for the FI ECU? Should either of these be pulled?
    10. The car will not start with the IMA switch turned off. Why? What components does the IMA switch disconnect?
    11. Does the 12 volt battery always or ever supply electricity to the accessories, lights and other electrically driven items other than the IMA? If so when?
  • vidarvidar Posts: 18
    edited January 2011
    I would say yes, the problem is solved. The relay replaced was for the A/C compressor. It is located under the hood, drivers side, in the fuse and relay box. My mileage is down to 46.5 mpg, which is due to using the window defogger quite a bit this season. Note, I never got the software update that was recommended by Honda. I am going to to a odometer vs. mile marker comparison on the next long interstate run. Since the defogger is run from the A/C in a heat pump mode, finding the problem was a bit of a minor necessity beyond the IMA problem. I currently have 148,000 miles on the car. which is over 10,000 miles since the start of the troubleshooting, and 6,000 miles since the relay was replaced. This may not be the solution to all IMA problems, but for $14 it is a good starting point. To keep people up to date concerning this fix, my car is a 2005 civic hybrid model.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263

    Please contact me privately to discuss how to disable the faulty IMA battery and bypass it in your 2000 Insight. I'll provide you with instructions on how to do it and also diagnostic steps to find out why the car wouldn't start with the breaker off (it should have).


    Before anyone else asks, this can only be done on 2000-2006 Insights, not on Civics or Accords.
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