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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • tj09hchtj09hch Posts: 14
    I took my 09 out on the highway, finally, since the 02-01-11 TSB update. I had four trips of about 40 miles each and got about 44 mpg (that's a lot of 4s). :) On that tank there were also a couple short "around town" trips. That's a little less than pre-IMA trouble mpg, but I was encouraged that it was close. I know mid-40s doesn't sound acceptable to some, but remember, I live in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. If I can get upper-30s to mid-40s, I might be able to like my HCH again.
  • viawviaw Posts: 34
    edited March 2011
    what was your mileage when you had the IMA light turn on and subsequent replacement of IMA?
  • viawviaw Posts: 34
    when i asked Honda rep about what i can do to save gas while a battery drain occurred, there was complete ignorance on that side of the line. i do not know what your driving habits are, each person is different. NO DRIVING HABIT can recover the lost gas that is used during a battery drain. the engine is ALWAYS running, which contradicts the purpose of a hybrid system. if i'm driving city, 70% of the time, i am driving an underpowered, non-hybrid vehicle that is always in constant regen mode. i start the car, the drain occurs within a minute. i go somewhere, all the while trying to regen past the 4.5 bar level. i park the car. i come back. i start the car. i drive for 2 minutes. the battery drains again and the routine starts over. though it MAY drain once in a while in the owners manual, it has instead become it WILL drain at any time during the day, night, location, temperature, speed, driving condition, weather, moon location relative to sun. it doesn't matter, it's become a broken record, repeating the same problem over and over again.
    i drive mostly freeway and can utilize the CA carpool lanes for another 3 months. that's how i hypermile it. i get mid to high 40's in summer. but i get low 40's in the winter. yes, formulation is one thing, but the drain is the big culprit.
    then there's the lack of power issue. i showed that acceleration with ima vs without ima (during battery drain) was significant - about 3 seconds difference from 0-40 (ok, not official, but works to show the point). just imagine that you had to pass a semi, or get on an inclined on-ramp (like i did in Vacaville). well, you all can imagine what goes through your mind when you see cars coming at you at 70mph, let alone 75-80mph when you can only muster 40-50. so for anyone to say that there isn't a difference, i welcome you to drive my car and put your kids in the back and tell me that there isn't a problem. it's easy for anyone to say that someone else's car has no issues, but when it comes to your own life, you would tell a different story. you can't comment unless you've been in our shoes (car).
  • Has anybody noticed bizarre behaviour by the IMA while on cruise control?

    This weekend, while I was cruising at about 40 mph, the stupid IMA would assist when I would go downhill and charge when I'd go uphill.

    Since the car was on cruise control, nobody can blame my "driving habits" for this nonsense.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    My IMA light came on at 91,140 miles at which time the software update was done. The IMA battery was replaced at 92,737 miles. The milage was actually somewhat less because Honda agreed to a 5% odometer overstatement error on this car. My IMA warranty was 80,000 miles.
  • viawviaw Posts: 34
    edited March 2011
    too bad you did not purchase your car in cali. 10/150k is the extended per state requirements.
    i'm hoping that my light pops up before then. only 45k left before i lose my warranty. :mad:

    by the way, did your car exhibit the daily drain or even multiple drains in a day?
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    "by the way, did your car exhibit the daily drain or even multiple drains in a day?"

    Yes. It started well before the IMA light came on. It would be charged up at night and in the morning it would re-calibrate and recharge. The car also began starting off the 12 volt system instead of the IMA. This all happened before the IMA light ever came on. After the IMA software update the light never came on again, even though I continued to have the same problems, even though not quite as bad. The car continued to get less gas milage and had less pick-up. After the battery was replaced, the car was back to normal with gas milage averaging between 45-50 mpg and the pick-up was good again.
  • i live in Calif. I have the 150K warranty. I got the iMA update in Sept. 2010. My mileage immediately went south to about 32mpg. Honda America says my battery is performing "as designed". I say no it's not, I bought a car that was supposed to get 45 (which I expected to be 40 because the EPA numbers are always high). I was getting 40 mpg until the update.
  • Please go to this FB page started by disgruntled HCH owner with same problems (very recently - about a week ago). It's very informative and great advice. There are sample letter copies we can use to write our own letters. If we ALL write letters to BBB, NH Safety Board, Honda America, etc., etc., maybe Honda will finally get sick and tired and give us all the new batteries we deserve to honor their warranty and give us the mileage that WAS THE REASON WE BOUGHT THE CAR IN THE FIRST PLACE! Sorry, I'm shouting now :-)
  • viawviaw Posts: 34
    actually got my BBB decision just yesterday and they denied my claims. they quoted Honda's manual as already stating that the battery "may" drain. so that in itself is Honda's over encompassing BS excuse. also had filed with NHSTB about 4 months ago. they sent a questionnaire, but haven't heard anything more from them.
    been posting on FB as well regarding my problems and BBB updates.

    however, there will no recourse for Honda since they haven't anything to gain from giving everyone new batteries. their software has degraded our mileage. the battery drain is normal as they call it. their comments about driving habits are insulting. i mean, what do we think they're going to do?

    it was actually kind of a slap in the face when the Honda rep said to the arbitrator in my hearing with regard to the software change. "these things that are being described were things that we informed about regarding the software change." wait a second, yes, you informed us, but you also said that if i didn't do my upgrade, you will not honor the warranty. so you forced us to upgrade it in the first place.

    just circular logic from a bunch of denying goons
  • I'm pretty ignorant about cars. Are you saying even if they DID give us new batteries, due to the software change it won't make a difference.
    While I'm not happy about the mileage, what really worries me is what will happen when the car becomes undriveable, which according to the man who clued me in on this when he saw what I was driving, as well as many other postings all over the internet, I can expect to happen soon, probably this summer.
  • viawviaw Posts: 34
    i'm sorry if my writing came out wrong. i DO think the battery change will help - this is based on what people have written about getting a new battery. it appears that people no longer have the drain issue with a new battery. now, the software is a different story. i am assuming that these are two mutually exclusive issues. the software upgrade/downgrade where the IMA is accessed less - thus providing less juice/support. this will probably still remain an issue in comparison to the original software. however, the battery drain, i think, will be mitigated with a battery change. over the long haul, the battery will degrade as any normal battery. i think there was some inherently designed in flaw that caused the HCH2 ( :lemon: ) to have these drain problems - reason being, you don't hear about the same types of issues on any other hybrid model, make, or manufacturer.
  • Hey, I was reading an older post and you mentioned driving in Vacaville. I live in El Grove. We're practically neighbors.
    Anyway, thanks for clarifying things. I just know how much gas I have, is the oil light on, is my car overheating, and what my mpg according to the indicator.
    I am wondering if I will get a Voltage Converter recall notice. A former co-worker with the exact same car as mine just got one. I think she's hoping this will fix her mpg problem, which I assume she has - she wasn't clear on it in her e-mail.
    I think she will be sorely disappointed.
    One day, I will look at the you tube videos, etc., carefully to understand what my battery indicator is telling me so I can understand it.
  • lowbridlowbrid Posts: 5
    Actually its not just California that gets the 10yr/150k warranty.

    Its all the states that follow California's CARB standards for the AT-PZEV rating. These are: Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona, District of Columbia and Bernalillo County, New Mexico. Source:
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I am getting the voltage converter replacement Thursday. I don't think it relates to milage at all. It either charges the 12 volt system properly, or it doesn't. Mine seems to work fine but it is being replaced as a safety precaution since if it fails and the 12 volt battery discharges too low the headlights won't work and the engine will die and not restart. There is an internal part that deteriorates over time and can cause failure.
  • oijibuuroijibuur Posts: 4
    edited March 2011
    I was beginning to notice a significant drop in mileage about 2 months ago so I took the vehicle to the dealer and the new firmware was installed. Since the patch, the Battery meter will not drop below 4 bars, nor will the IMA assist when it hits 4 bars on the battery meter. Has any else experienced this?
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I did, but it is not a problem with a solid battery. Most of the time I still get assist with 4 bars. Also, I never get about 7 bars anymore.
  • hpdriverhpdriver Posts: 18
    edited March 2011
    Yes. This is the result of the IMA software upgrade. Here a summary of the events most bloggers seem to experience:

    1) There is an appearant drop off in MPG after 6 to 8 months - this is probably caused by the poorly designed/ defective IMA battery, which as is deteriorates provides less assist and decreasing MPG;

    2) After about 14 to 20 months the IMA alert and Engine light will go on - this would indicate that the IMA battery has failed. Most people experience dangerously low acceleration rates (like running a go-cart on the highway on ramp). While the problem is that the battery is depleted, no good, garbage... Honda will say that it just needs a software upgrade and everything will be okay.

    3) After software upgrade a variety of issues occur: MPG drops even further than before, especially for non-highway driving; the acceleration rate remains dangerously low; the IMA charging becomes extremely erratic with the battery periodically dropping to 2 or 3 bars and almost never going above 4 bars; Corresponding with this drop in battery charging is a decrease in the assist feature (which leads to the decreased MPG) and a decrease in IMA battery checking during deceleration and braking. But all of these symptoms, other than the MPG drop are subtle - Honda hopes you won't notice.

    4) Calls to American Honda Corp get one of 3 responses: a) Yes, the software upgrade will decrease the efficiency of your vehicle but will save the IMA battery from early failure = you pay more for gas and Honda doesn't have to replace as many defective IMA batteries; or b) Honda will tell you that "the vehicle is operating as designed", which you obviously know is a lie because ... it isn't!! or c) Honda will not call you back at all. That is their latest response. You can talk to a front-line CS rep, but no supervisor will ever call you back.

    Be careful out there Civic hybrid drivers. Let's not spend too much time looking at our dashboards and the screwy things our IMA indicators are doing. Right now, I've got to find a gas station -- I'm down to 30.4 miles per gallon. Thank you Honda!!!
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    "Also, I never get about 7 bars anymore."

    That should have been never "above" 7 bars anymore, instead of "about"
  • viawviaw Posts: 34
    thanks HPDRIVER for the nice summary. though it left out a few expletives here and there. otherwise, appreciate the cliff notes version of our problems.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    What would you say is the experience of most owners if they get both the software update and a new battery? That is what I got on an 06 and everything seems to be very good so far. It performs as well as it ever did getting an average of 45-50 mpg with plenty of assist. So far it has never gone below 4 bars of charge or above 7 bars of charge. I'm just wondering how long this will last. ( I live in Florida)
  • viawviaw Posts: 34
    lucky you on getting a new battery. sell it now before the drain cycle starts again ;)
  • It has been months since I posted here, but I did want to confirm what everyone already knows! I had the same IMA problems as everyone else - the weird quick draining & horrible mileage. After weeks of fighting it, Honda did agree to replace the battery; even though they insisted it was fine. Since replacing the battery in the fall, my gas mileage is much closer to what it was when I bought the car AND, more importantly, I no longer have the issues with suddenly loosing power.

    I did file a complaint with the NHTSA, and they sent a follow up form. I made it clear on the form that the ONLY thing Honda did that fixed my problems was replace the battery. Good luck to you all - I know this is frustrating!
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I think that it is clear that the hybrid battery is the main culprit for our problems. I finally got a copy of the February TSB 10-034 and compared it to the July version. It is for the same IMA software update. However, there was one added note that caught my attention. It stated: "If any system indicator lights indicate a problem when the vehicle arrives, troubleshoot and repair as necessary before doing this product update." I think this has not been followed in the past and the update has been installed with bad batteries that had disasterous results (low milage, no assist).
  • oijibuuroijibuur Posts: 4
    Is there a way to test the battery and prove to the dealer / honda that the battery in fact needs replacing, short of waiting for an error to be generated by the diagnostic software in the car?
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    There is, but not by your average tech. I think Ogre_GEV would know what it takes to do this.
  • hpdriverhpdriver Posts: 18
    I got a new IMA battery in late February. My mileage immediately jumped from somewhere around 29 MPG to 37 MPG. Didn't last long though. Last week was a damp rainy day in Chicago area. Had to run the front defroster, windshield wipers and lights. I watched my MPG decline from 36 MPG to 30.4 in a matter of half an hour - and the 36 had been based on half a tank of gas, so I was probably getting 25 MPG to drop it that quickly. It never recovered - getting 30.4 WITH a new IMA battery. The problem is in both the battery and the software - first the battery fails, the battery is replaced and then the software "upgrade" prevents the battery and car from operating properly.

    To any Honda Rep reading this thread: HONDA SUCKS!!! You are a disgusting company. I will tell EVERYONE I know about this situation, this thread of utter frustration and YOUR LIES!!!!!!!!!!
  • viawviaw Posts: 34
    edited March 2011
    i had my arbitration hearing a couple of weeks ago. i tried showing the video of the multiple recals occurring within just one day. unfortunately, the arbitrator quoted the 2006 manual that says - IMA "MAY" display only 2 bars and that IMA "MAY" drain during uphill. this is what the arbitrator is basing the decision on that this is NOT a defect and declined my claim. i don't think she understood what the crux of the issue really is. though the manual says that it "MAY" drain....that can be understandable. but it's happening practically every other time i turn the engine on. i was not demonstrating that it "MAY" happen, but i can guarantee that it "WILL" happen, and happen often. and when i drive city, 70% of the time, the car is under IMA regen.
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