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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • Ogre_GEV, please allow me to direct this to you, and anyone else experiencing this that wants to pitch in.

    -HondaCivHyb 2004
    -first owner
    -125K miles
    -problems galore :lemon: including slipping, 02 sensors [recently replaced]
    -latest issue: IMA

    Orange IMA light came on couple days ago - late in the weekend. Didn't drive much this past weekend. Then the red battery light on yesterday - Monday morning. She made a funny coughing sound when on ignition. That's when I saw the red battery light. Very poor acceleration. Iffy braking. No battery charge whatsoever. Drove her to dealership same day. They quote ~$3500 for refursbished battery [they say only the shell is refurbished]. I beg and plead for Honda to help me out. I should hear back tomorrow on whatever discounted rate is available.

    We had one of our hottest summers here in TX if that's a factor :shades: .

    My questions:

    >Honda says the car is driveable and I can still drive it as I make a decision. True? Safe? Am I harming anything else?

    >If I don't replace battery, can I sell? Who would buy her?

    >If I do replace battery, better chances of selling?

    >Do the software updates have anything to do with my problems, as I see some forumites have alluded to?

    >Am I just "lucky" to have had it drive this long w the battery intact? Was this just a matter of time?

    I am sooo sad. :( I don't feel anger, irritation at this point... just sadness. This car has given me such problems for being so expensive and supposed to save resources... please let me know some thoughts before I jump off a cliff - more like drive off a cliff...

    Thanks :cry:
  • That's a good question. I've known for a year I needed a new ima battery. I didn't need some orange ima light to come on. The problem I had was intermittent at first and I even had the ima light come on a second time however, every time I took it into Honda it performed perfectly. The time when the ima light came on, the car lost all power. I would pull out in the road, and I'm not exagerating here, I could have got out and pushed the car at least as fast if not faster. The next morning the light was off but there was a dc to dc converter recall so they took care of that. Anyway the performance of the car got worse and worse. Back in August I had honda keep it overnight. The service guy drove it home and had it perform a recal in him. He was astonished by it but when they called the tech line they told him that it was normal, it could happen. Well I'm fine with that if that's what it was. What Honda was referring to is the ima dropping to about 4 bars, minimal assist and the engine taking more of a load to charge the battery. What I have been having is dropping from 8 bars to 2 bars no assist and very very frequent, several times a day. They told me to call Honda corporate. Honda corporate told me to have the dealer call in the district tech. So that's what I did. By the time I had them look at it, the car was having this occur on average every 8 miles. That just is not acceptable. No ima light. Honda kept it for 3 days and sent all kinds of information to Honda. They finally called me and said that they were replacing the battery. Said that the battery is actually still good but it is on the verge of going bad. (the battery is bad. Their latest software update just has higher tolerances. I mean this whole think started with an ima light and software update to mask it). Anyway I wasn't going down without a fight, my warranty only had 1000 miles left. So it goes to show they will replace it without and ima light if there really is a problem. Good luck. I get my new battery installed tomorrow. I don't know if it was relief of worrying about it or what but on my way home today after filling up, I've maintained 72 mpg for 23 miles. I'm sure that will be blown with my start up tomorrow, one of the things I expect to get better after the new battery.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    8 years and 125k miles is a typical life for these batteries and is actually good for the Texas heat. $3500 is about $500 more than the national average, but you should be aware that there are batteries available mail-order in the $2000 range.

    if the red battery light (I don't mean the IMA light) is on all the time, then you cannot drive the car. If it goes out when you give it a little gas, then you can drive it, but avoid idling it for long periods of time (also keep it below 3800rpm).

    At this point, you should fix it (let's face it-a part wore out) and drive it another 8 years before the battery needs to be replaced again. O2 sensors and catalytic converters are a 3-5 year item with this car due to the IMA system, and you've already repaired the CVT issues, so this should be a low-cost car to keep running, and it gets excellent gas mileage.

    Don't get the software updates if you are getting an aftermaket battery.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    I'm sorry, but I'm going to call you on this one. You are exaggerating. I've driven CVT and MT 2003-2005 Civics with their batteries removed and bypassed and they are pokey that way, but they're still quicker than some econoboxes or even some SUVs. The 2006+ are a tad wimpier, but not much.

    Not fun and definitely not desirable, but definitely drivable - especially if you turn off the AC (which should automatically be disabled in the kind of IMA failure you experienced).

    Anyway, I'm glad you got a new battery under warranty.
  • So how can I bypass my battery and who will do that? How do I find them? I need to replace my battery but I'm seriously broke right now. But I need to have a car! I've looked at the NY battery place online - is that a good route to go for replacement?

  • I'm not exagerating but let me clarify. The second time the light came on, the car would get up to speed but pulling out was what I was referring to. It was extremely slow, literally felt like someone was trying to push me out in the road. Very scary and very unsafe. After getting moving it would be okay, but starting was a nightmare.
  • I have a 2006 HCH and the batteries have been failing for couple years now. I too opted out of the firmware flash and bingo Monday the IMA light came on. The dealer was very willing to replace the IMA when the required code came up. What I do not like and objected too was Honda required the replacement to include the firmware flash. Basically same story as yours. I fought it but Honda simply does not care. Can u tell what to expect when I get the car back?

    btw I was getting 45mpg for the first 2 years and b4 the failure was down to 36.
  • I am interested in runing mine with out the IMA battery assist. How do I disconnect it safely?
  • It sounded like a good idea at the time, What I have saved in fuel cost I have spent in repairs.
    2 bad transmissions one covered by extended warranty the other not. Need a 2800 battery to pass a emissions test. Need all the moter mounts replaced, I am at 170000 miles. I would to God I had bought a 5 speed Civic at the time was 10k less. live and learn and the Greenies can jump in the river
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >So how can I bypass my battery and who will do that?

    Contact me via email.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > It was extremely slow

    Yes, but the lbs/hp is identical to a Prius with a depleted pack and LOWER than a Land Rover Discovery.

    It's slow, but it's still faster than a Yugo, a VW Lupo, etc.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >I am interested in runing mine with out the IMA battery assist. How do I disconnect it safely?

    Contact me via email.
  • Got my new battery yesterday. At first I was not impressed but it seems the longer I drive the better it gets. Could it be that the computer was used to the state of the old battery and is/was treating the new one as such. Since the system never actually takes a battery reading, could it be so that it has to learn, by trial and error, the condition of the new battery?
  • Well apparently that's what it was. The second day it went into a long calibration, like 10-15 mins. Came out and been a different car ever since. Battery stays around the middle as the software says it should. I always have assist when I need it. Car is much more responsive and smooth than before. Its weird, I look at it and think, recal is coming but it doesn't, even when it gets to 4 bars I still get plenty of assist and auto stop. The old battery wouldn't drop below 5 and was getting more and more to where it would drop at 6. Called Honda and they were surprised. Since the IMA light never came on they didn't expect a new battery to make much difference if any. It's amazing how I can tell them for almost a year that it needs a new battery and without their almighty IMA light and even when all the testing they did they still thought it wouldn't help. Either they are clueless idiots or in complete denial or both. Anyway I'm happy. The car has never performed this well since I bought it.
  • I decided to erase the PoA7F code with my scanner to make sure the fault was not a fluke before bringing the car to Honda. Now I have been driving for nearly two weeks and the IMA light has not come back. But!!! the car gives me a better mileage, up to 46mpg from 41. Same driving conditions. The battery re-calibrates in the morning and the car drives perfect . There is more activity with the bars than before the fault came on. I know the computer has to relearn all the settings, but it's been two weeks, highway driving stop and go in the city, cold start warm starts. What happened? My guess is the IMA battery will eventually fail, then I will bring the car. I did not want to bring the car to Honda and be told it was a faulty connection and be charged $200. If the PoA7F code was on and was legit, it will come back. That's my thinking.
    to be continued
  • I've got a 2007 with about 80K. Been having IMA problems for over 2 years, but no IMA light. Main symptom is frequent recals and quickly depleting charge with just a little load.

    The danger I find is that if you are trying to accelerate when the IMA decides to do a recal, then the car will hesitate for about a second. It's like it's expecting IMA assist and it takes a second to decide it won't get it. Only then does the gas engine give power. If you are trying to merge into busy traffic when this happens, which is likely if you're just starting out in the morning when you get your morning recal, then you are in a quite hazardous situation.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    That one is new to me. The engine performance should be tied only to the mechanical linkage in the gas pedal, as your 12V battery is in-line to power the spark plugs.

    Is it possible that you've got to put your foot into it further to get over the stumble?
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    Lots of people asked me here for instructions, but nobody followed through and emailed me. Just click on my ID to send an email.
  • I don't think there is a mechanical linkage. That is why the pedal pivots from the bottom. If you mash the pedal to the floor, it will not hesitate, but give the gas engine full power. If you accelerate normally, there will be a hesitation.
  • How often is it happening? I had a similar issue. Complained to Honda for nearly a year but they could never reproduce the problem. However it got to where it was calibrating every 8-15 miles. Honda was able to see the issue and agreed that it wasn't acceptable. They kept it 3 days and finally said they were replacing the battery even though it "wasn't" bad yet and didn't believe it would help much. They were wrong!!!! It's like driving a completely different car. So if yours is doing it really often to the point Honda can reproduce I wouldn't hesitate to take it to them and have them keep it a couple of days. Have one of the techs drive it home and stand your ground. I was at 79,000 miles when they replaced mine and wasn't going down without a fight.
  • My recals aren't as frequent as you describe. But it will recal if it sits more than a couple of hours and even if I'm driving open highway with a slight headwind. Not uncommon for a recal every 30 mins under those circumstances.

    I'm definitely not giving up. Fortunately I bought an extended warranty when I got the car, so I've still got nearly 20K miles before warranty is up.

    Thanks for telling everyone about your encouraging results!
  • Best offer! It won't pass emissions but still get 42MPG
  • Mine was acting as you describe immediately after getting the update. I didn't think it was acceptable then and complained about it but it's considered normal operation. To me more than once a day is unacceptable really more than once a week but they don't see it that way. If you're having several a day, say 8-13, I would be bugging Honda about it. Good luck. BTW I could be wrong about this but generally everything I've heard about extended warranties is that they do not cover the ima battery or "don't really" cover them. Always try to find an excuse not to cover it.
  • I'm also having troubles with my 2009 Civic Hybrid especially after the "update". Bought the car new ~7/2009 (37 miles) and had nothing but great things to say until receiving a software update in February 2011. I saw solid MPG all over the local Tucson area averaging 47-52 all year, on long drives to Phoenix (about 100 miles of flat 75 mph interstate) I saw 55-60 MPG consistently even on days in the 100's with a full car. Nice quiet ride too once up to speed ~75 or so the CVT smoothly moved the gear ratio to a great spot resulting in RPM that would rest ~1800-2000 just like any good car in overdrive.

    After getting this update, identical trips and even trips with just me driving to Phoenix, completely different story. City driving is about the same if only slightly lower at 42 - 47MPG. At speeds past 60 however, very poor MPG. Now on rides to Phoenix the car burns much more gas and feels like a 4 speed.

    For example: at 75 MPH the car now remains at 2800-3300 RPM to maintain speed, its almost as if someone took away the overdrive. The trip is louder too. Then the Gas milage drops to 30-38 (from 55-60). I used to be able to drive to and from Phoenix with more than half a tank close to 3/4, now I come back with 1/4 of a tank.

    Not only that, since I'm already at 3k RPM if I need to pass the engine goes to Red Line! It never did that before the update and can be quite scary. Speed limits in TX go up to 85 running at over 4000+ RPM just to maintain speed on a flat road. Near the Grand Canyon on a road with a 65 speed limit and slight incline the car stayed near 6000 RPM for about 15 miles which resulted in a reading of 17 MPG (wish I took a picture) for a ~50 mile odometer trip reset. Going uphill in this car now a challenge where the car red lines all the time and at times it just will not go any faster. Did not have these troubles in previous trips on these same roads.

    Honda dealer can't undo the update and Honda customer service stated they cannot do anything to help me and 2 complaints fell on deaf ears. This is my 2nd Honda and with incompetence like this coming from them possibly my last. Apparently correcting a CVT gear ratio is rocket science.

    Has anyone else noticed this significant change in how the CVT operates at freeway speeds on the Civic Hybrid? Or know of a solution to this problem?
  • I think that more than an occasional recal is unacceptable, but several times a day is absolutely unacceptable. When I finally have time to take it back to my dealer (who I think has actually been quite sympathetic and would truly like to resolve the issue) I will stress the hazardous aspect of needing to accelerate when the IMA does a recal. I have been in several situations where I've been pulling into traffic right as the recal starts and the engine will hesitate a second before the gas engine engages. It can be really scary.

    As to the extended warranty, they had darn well better cover it or I will go ballistic. My dealer has alluded to it a couple of times, as in "well, you've still got X number of miles before your extended warranty expires," so I'm expecting it to be covered.
  • 2007 HCH Owner: What Honda is doing with this battery issue is criminal. I mean literally criminal - it is fraud. I'm not a lawyer, but really, what else can you call it. I get recals constantly. There used to be an AutoStop light I saw all the time. A few months ago, I saw it and thought for a second "what's that"? Then I remembered besides by mileage going to hell and the car's responsiveness and ride changing for the worse, before the upgrade the AutoStop light came on maybe 90% of the time I was stopped. Now maybe it's 2%.
    My Honda service manager is a d*k. When I went in to complain in person, he told me "Honda pays the bills". Huh,,,, maybe your bills but not mine. I am part of paying HONDA's bills by buying their cars (this is my third Honda) and having them serviced at Honda.

    This is what I have done lately (I've tried to forget the fact I've been robbed but every time I get in my car it makes me remember!) When I called SVC Mgr. months later, he said "It was because I didn't have low-resistant tires". They make 1 to 2.5 mpg difference, possibly 3. Whenever I mentioned the performance of the BATTERY, he completed ignored my question and would sound irritated.

    So I decided to do something. Not saying it will help me but you never know and it makes me feel I'm doing "something". And if "we" owners are pissed off enough to convince Honda we're not dummies or woossies, and we're not going to just "go away" and trade our piece of junk in for something that works so that an unsuspecting new person gets our car used...maybe they'll do the right thing to replace our compromised batteries.
    Here's what I started to do:

    I printed out the MPG advertised stats for Honda Civic 2007 (real easy to find on Google). The HCH is listed at 42 average. I took a screen shot from Trip B, with 2000 miles on it, that shows 30.3. In between I put a sign that says Lemon, see "Honor Corporation Has No Honor" on FB. It's taped on the rear driver's window of my car.

    Next, I started taping the recals and pathetic performance of the battery on my iPhone. It easily fits on the ledge to video this and I don't have to touch it at all when driving. I get recals every 10 minutes or so, whether in city driving or on the freeway.

    Next plan: (I have family issues, unemployment, disabled/troubled child).. WHEN I feel I can deal with the time, annoyance (how do I transfer the video to my Mac? got to find this out, etc.) and stress it causes me to even have to be doing this, I will write a letter with DVDs to my nice, sweet service manager thanking him profusely for the info on low resistance tires but how does this affect the performance of the battery. I will also copy in the Southern California address, and Honda America.

    BTW I did call Honda America maybe a year ago? They told me the battery was "working as designed". That's their motto. I will ask them to reconfirm this in light of the evidence I have now provided them.

    Sorry to be so upset, while misery loves company, in this case it makes me more miserable knowing how many (as in ALL) HCH owners have this issue and Honda is just like "driving habits", "bad tires" and whatever other [non-permissible content removed] they can put out there that might stick.
    Thank you I feel better.
    I know we're not supposed to give each other's e-mail addresses. But if you Like Honda Corporation Has no Honor on FB (not my site - something I found googling this stuff) maybe we can exchange e-mails or privately FB each other in messages so that all this isn't there for the whole world to see.
    Just a thought.
    Again, thanks for letting me vent! And good luck to the above owners - for a 2009 owner to have to go thru this is terrible. Honda for SURE KNEW THE PROBLEM by the 2009 model.
  • ajk6ajk6 Posts: 1
    Thanks to all of you who have posted information on the IMA battery problems. I started experiencing similar issues with my 2009 Civic Hybrid about a month ago and the Honda Dealership Mechanic was useless...took the car in twice and the second time they said "Oh well, you'll probably need to keep driving it. Sometimes things have to get worse to get better". I did some research online, found your postings and used the information to talk with Honda of America about my experience and I just got a call from the Honda Dealership that they'll be replacing my questions asked, completely covered by my warranty as I only have 22,676 miles on the car. I'm looking forward to having my car back to running order but thinking about ditching it for a Toyota. The latest edition of consumer reports gives its lowest rating to the 2009 Civic Hybrid's electrical system and I'm thinking I'll probably have to sell the car for way less than I would normally expect for resale on a Honda. Oh well...
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I'm wondering if there were mistakes made in implementing the software update. Maybe you could get them to do a re-install or at least verify the update is working correctly. Software controls the CVT ratios. I had the update and a new battery installed on my 2006. It performs as well as ever. My rpm is about 2000 @ 70mph on a flat road. I have noticed that I get my best mileage by keeping the engine speed below 2000 rpm as much as possible.
  • @bossless, I think the key to the good performance you get is the "new battery". That's the only thing that will return our cars to good, "hybrid"-like, working order. How did you get a new battery? Who did you send a letter to? (
    Sorry if it's already posted somewhere above this huge thread)
  • suckedinsuckedin Posts: 5
    edited November 2011
    I have put one transmission in that was covered by warranty and now after another 100000 miles I need another one. Plus all My engine mounts are bad. Makes the little 1400 rock and roll
    Patric :sick:
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