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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • I think I'll try bringing the car to the other Honda dealer in town and have them try to apply the update. The one I'm currently going do tried re-loading it with no change, perhaps the copy of the firmware that they are using is bad. Worth a try, I'll see how it goes.
  • Bought the 2005 new in Oct '04. On a trip in '05 and was rearended in OKC stopped at a stop light. While car was drivable, it needed to have extensive rearend repair. Once back home, after completing our trip, the car sat in the driveway for three days before it could be accepted into the Honda body shop. During that time, the IMA battery failed. Honda replaced it, but could not determine what caused the failure. It is now Nov '11, and on the 1st I had a check engine lite come on; took it into the dealer, and they said it was a sofware update that needed to be implemented. Did that, and now, Nov 22 the check engine lite, as well as the IMA battery lite or on, and the Honda dealer says we need ANOTHER new battery. Car has 72k+ on it, and is now on the 3d IMA battery. It never gave us the MPG that was adv't, but at 37 city 41 hwy I wasn't going to complain real loud - it was better than anything else I've had in a while. I've owned Honda's since the '67 model, and tend to replace them about every 6-8 years, and this is the first one I've had that has had to go back for a single item! Also own an '11 Insight which is working just fine!
  • OK, here is some information about getting a software upgrade on your 2004 civic hybrid. We got the O2 sensor update then 3 days later the IMA and CEL light came on. I checked the codes (1600 1433) and reset it. Every thing was fine again (no recalls, etc). Then 2 weeks later the complete IMA system went off line with the IMA and CEL lights on with the only code of 1600.

    Went to the dealer and found out the O2sensor update was a 2 phase update with only the first part applied. The dealer told admitted to the mistake and re-applied both updates. The car (so far) is now back to normal.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    P1433 denotes that the battery's capacity has dropped below 10% of its' original 6.5Ah

    In other words, the battery is worn out.

    Resetting the codes forces the car to re-evaluate the battery and it can initially take some time to return he same codes.

    You need a new battery.
  • I just had my IMA battery replaced under warranty at 56000 miles. With the batteries failing back in Sept I took a 2200 mile trip including mountain terrain. I was amazed I averaged 46 mpg on this trip. My batteries failed about 2 weeks ago and Honda agreed to replace only if I would do the software update. I resisted but was told I had to get the flash or Honda would not honor anymore warranty which is still another 24000 miles. I had no choice but to agree...I have put 1700 miles on since and watched my mileage go to 39mph...the lowest ever. I fine in the city the auto stop works much better but on the hiway I get very little boost. Nothing like I got when the car was new. In other words so far my mileage has dropped from 43-46 to 39...very disappointing.
  • I have read many posts about the HCH 8yr-80,000 mile warranty on the IMA battery but I am unclear about one point. I want to know if the warranty is transferable to the second owner.I bought an 06 back in 09 and the IMA light has just started to light up. The code was poa7f.I hate going to dealers unless I know what I am talking about. I don`t want to start with them unless I know the battery is covered under this warranty. Also where can I find this information in writing outside of Honda ?
  • The warranty on the battery is a manufacturers warranty and stays with the vehicle regardless of the owner. In some some states the warranty is 150,000 miles. Only time I've heard of it being voided is if the car is salvaged after a wreck.
  • sak6sak6 Posts: 8
    I have a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid Automatic at 107k miles on it. I was driving Home and all of sudden in middle of drive, IMA and CEL light came on. So I went direct to Autozone to check code. The Codes were, P1600 and P1449.
    The Vehicle runs fine with Charge and Assist happening, but the Hybrid battery charge level indication is showing full and goes to half way and to full. I did check on web for P1449 stating battery issue, so should i need to replace it completely? how much usually cost?
    Should i go to dealer?

    Note: Prior to this 3 months earlier in August, I had P1600, P1601, P1435 and P1570 and replaced with a MCM module and everything was working fine since then. Now this issue.

    Any suggestions please how to proceed?
  • viawviaw Posts: 34
    i complained for a 2nd time with Honda USA and they wouldn't do anything about doing another diagnostic because i was getting recals like 8-10 times a day. i filed a small claims a week later and they called back and said "hey, you willing to take your car to dealership to have it checked out since the last time was in january?".
    uh, why didn't you A-holes agree to it before a lawsuit?
    well, i am going to go with the technician for the test drive and have them drive it for an HOUR and experience the crap that i experience. the lack of IMA assist during recal, recal many, many times (up to every 7-10 min), lack of efficiency, all the crap!!!
    i want him to try and accelerate onto freeway traffic like i do when i had my family and risking their lives!
  • The warranty will not be honored if a new ima battery is installed and the software update is not done.

    this is a joke..u are to be given 100 to 200.00 depending which class u fall into

    if u sell or trade in ur HCH on another Honda u get a rebate of 1000 to 1500 depending on which class u belong in.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    2003-2005 Civics are a different car than 2006-2009 Civics. The "update" that the 2006-2009 owners are having trouble with is not the same as the maintenance update they put in your car. The latest update for the 2003-2005 Civics concentrates on keeping the battery half full. Gas mileage is affected slightly if you tend to drive fast or lots of local driving or lots of acceleration (if your battery isn't normally more than half full). This is just simply due to it applying more regen than it used to. Gentle highway driving should be unchanged, and the total mpg drop shouldn't be more than a few mpg.
    Typically, a CVT owner should see a drop from 60 combined to about 55 combined with a low of 45 local. This update is a general battery longevity change that was also introduced into the 2000-2006 Insight.

    The software update for 2006-2009 Civics is essentially the 2010-2011 software applied to the earlier cars. It significantly affects the way the car performs whenever the battery is low, and this in turn severely affects the mpg of some drivers, while affecting others not at all. It all depends on how the car is driven.

    Now as to why your battery failed: it has become apparent over the last few years that Honda's battery system is extremely sensitive to be left sitting - undriven. The short version is that every time you leave the car parked for a few days it does a little bit of damage to the battery and this damage in cumulative. The time it sat in your driveway should not have been enough to cause the issue, but your car probably had a severely imbalanced cell (of the 120) and when you restarted the car, it was so far out of balance that a P1568 error was thrown. Your dealer doesn't have a clue about the IMA system, so they'd have no way of knowing why it failed.

    Do you know your new error codes?

    BTW, your warranty is 84,000 miles, not 80,000.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    The dealer was telling the truth about one thing: low rolling resistance tires do make a large difference in mpg. LRR tires typically account for a 5 mpg difference on Civics and tire pressure another 3 mpg. It is safe on all tires to inflate them as high as the "max pressure" number on the side of the tire. Typically that is 44 psi (some are 34). The burst pressure is over 200 psi.

    Car manufacturers specify lower pressure because is make a softer ride and that sells cars.

    Higher pressure in the tires will increase mpg and possibly your traction, but will make a harsher ride. However, you can try it, and if you don't like it, just let some out until you find an acceptable pressure.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    P1433 is a warning (not failure) that the IMA battery is degraded and below 10% of its original capacity - it's worn out. The symptoms are a normal-acting battery that is very quickly depleted and recharged (because it doesn't hold much charge). The dealer should have replaced it. Resetting the system will make the car forget about it and force it to re-evaluate the battery which can take some time. Unfortunately, a battery that is that weak is susceptible to becoming unbalanced, so typically a P1433 is followed by a total IMA failure about 2 months later.

    The O2 sensor update that you had done is a software update to the ECU (by the passenger's feet). IMA updates reprogram the MCM (behind the back seat). There was no reason for the dealer to update the MCM, so he probably didn't.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    The warranty is on the car, not the owner.

    P0A7F is a "replace the battery" code equivalent to a P1433 error. Get it done (free) ASAP.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    P1435 and P1570 are problems with the IMA computer or wiring and are not related to the battery. P1449 is a battery failure. P1600 and P1601 just mean the IMA light has been turned on.

    You need to repair or replace your battery soon. A dealer is expensive, but there are alternatives out there. Either search on the web, or email me for more information.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,768
    This is why I always chuckle when people get all worked up about a car problem and start thinking about class action suits. Honestly, I get a couple of notices in the mail every year to join in some class action or other that someone has started somewhere about a product I own. I now just toss them in the garbage. Right off the top, the settlement, when spread over the number of members "in the class" is pretty much always VERY small. (I got $1.26 as compensation for a small issue with a washing machine once, no "fix" was ever done to the machines, and that was the end of that) The only ones making money are the lawyers, and all the fuss pretty much leads to higher product prices. Face it, if you were Honda and just had to pay out a settlement to a group of people who just "won", how would YOU get that money back?

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  • For less expensive products you may be right, settlement may not even be worth the effort. However, when you pay $24000. for a car and are given an update, without warning of the possible outcome, that not only doesn't improve the product but reduces performance, gas mileage and even makes it unsafe in certain driving conditions and the manufacturer refuses to fix the problem, a law suit may be your last and only resort. Look how many dissatisfied Honda customers are on this forum and there are other forums on the net expressing similar problems with Honda. This is a wide spread problem and must be addressed. I'll never buy another Honda.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,768
    But even with a car, look at the post I responded to. That settlement is going to be between $100 and $200. That's a handful of fill ups at the pump. The owners "won". Do they feel better?

    The problem I see is that people don't look at a lawsuit as a last resort, but it seems to be the first thing they come up with. As you point out the forums are full of complaints about all brands of vehicles (sort of the nature of message boards, nobody comes on to post "My car is just fine") and while some concerns ARE issues that may need to be addressed by the manufacturers, a lot of them are just "normal" problems that come with car ownership. Over on the pickups forums, I was amazed to read about a "problem" that a user was describing as a "manufacturing defect". Seems that if he drove his pickup truck over a certain stretch of road at a certain speed, the truck would "hobby horse" and bounce up and down. I have no doubt it was happening. It's happened to me with cars and trucks. It's called uneven pavement and going just the right speed so the bumps in the road come at just the right moment as your suspension is recovering from the last bump. But of course, it HAD to be addressed by the manufacturer and it MUST be a defect, and there ought to be a recall, yada, yada.

    Mileage concerns are particularly quirky. That "your mileage may vary" phrase is only too true. I've ALWAYS met or exceeded the EPA numbers on my cars. Probably a combination of my driving style and the conditions I drive in. But with the same model cars, some people don't get close to the number and think that means a problem with the car.

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  • Thanks for your advice.I made an appointment with the dealer today.I hope I don`t run into some of the issues with the dealer that I have read about in this forum.
  • My complaint is based on car performance and safety prior to the update vs after the update, not a change in my driving habits. Loved the car before, not so much since. Irregardless of settlement amount consumer receives, the point is Honda could pay millions to settle. Lawsuit settlements may be the only weapon consumers have to keep giant corporations like Honda from becoming even more insensitive to customer complaints in the future. This is my last post on the subject.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    I can understand your thinking. However, keep in mind that Honda might not be so averse to such settlements. Conducting a recall and replacing defective parts may have cost them more than they paid out in the settlement. Obviously, I have no way of knowing that this was the case... just speculating.

    If any of these suits resulted in the companies actually FIXING the problem (really making it right), I'd be all for them.


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  • "Mileage concerns are particularly quirky. That "your mileage may vary" phrase is only too true. I've ALWAYS met or exceeded the EPA numbers on my cars. Probably a combination of my driving style and the conditions I drive in. But with the same model cars, some people don't get close to the number and think that means a problem with the car."

    Obviously u do not own a HCH with a bad/weakening battery and a change of software....u see the software algorithms changed when and how the battery aids the small 1.3 engine. Without the battery functioning as it was originally the EPA "estimates" are NOT based upon the car as an original HCH

    Your arrogance sounds like the Honda corporation standard answer. Even you and ur exceptionable gas pedal dexterity would fail without a proper IMA battery.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    If you do, contact me via email and I'll help you fight it and get the warranty service you are entitled to.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    Regarding your comment about gas pedal dexterity and economy with a failing battery, I can tell you through experience that any IMA based car requires different driving styles with a good battery, failing battery (which produces a net drag) or NO battery.

    Just this fall, I drove a 2001 Insight with a new battery 5700 miles in 8 days of driving crossing the country, the Rockies and the Sierra Nevadas. With AC on and 85 mph highway speeds, I averaged 62. The same car averaged 72 from Wisconsin to NYC in the summer.

    I also drove a 2000 Insight with no battery at all 1200 miles in a day and a half (Tampa-Atlanta-NYC) at 65 mph with AC and averaged 64 mph. This same car with a new battery installed gets about 75 mpg highway.

    Around town the car gets 50 with no battery and 55 with, but you really have to drive it very differently (the insight has a 1 liter engine).

    What is the EPA?

    For the 2001: 48/60
    For the 2000: 49/61

    Similar test with a 2004 Civic hybrid (CVT) with non-LRR tires:
    45 highway with battery, 42 highway without.
    42 local with battery, 40 without.
    35 local with battery if my wife drives it. She gets 40 highway.
    Other 2004 CVT Civic Hybrids I've driven with good batteries and correct tires: 60 highway, 50 local.

    EPA 39/43

    So yes, your mileage may vary, but the battery isn't the biggest factor - driving style is.
  • Thank you for your offer to help,but it looks like I won`t need it. I got a call from the dealer yesterday. They said what I believe is the truth that my battery was degraded and needed replacing.They said the car was not drivable and they are ordering a new battery and will install it under the warranty.It was a five minute call with no hassle at all.I want to thank you again for all your comments and advice in this forum.I learned a great deal about hybrids and my car which helped me take action.
  • viawviaw Posts: 34
    edited December 2011
    good for you centerfield. here's my story in a snapshot - just got off the phone with the dealer and honda america:
    complained to honda over a year ago right before and after the software fix (~90k miles, so i was out of "regular" warranty, but still good under Cali warranty). the dealer diagnosed that there was no issue, went to arbitration, and lost cuz they said the recal does "occur" occasionally..ok, whatever. so i finally decided to say 'f' it and filed a small claims court as the recals were up to 8-10 times per day. a week before filing the claim, i called honda and they said that they would not pay for a diagnostic. only after filing a small claims court, 'oh, would you mind bringing your car in and we'll pay for it?'...a$$-hole$. so i got the call back from the service manager and he said, well, the battery charge is down to 23% and that the threshold for the light to turn on is 20%. well now...isn't that what i've been telling honda all this time that the car isn't running what it's designed to? well, the dealer (IMO) screwed up the first time cuz they said that they could not get a % level of usable battery....that could've saved me a year's worth of additional pain. well, honda authorized the replacement of the IMA (which i have not yet authorized to go forward with), but i am happy that this is being done. i have almost 6 years at 115k miles, so the new 3year/36k would more or less match the 10 year/150k from the cali warranty. if i were you folks, i would file a small claims court (if still under warranty) and force their hand to have them pay for your diagnostic and at the same time, make sure they give a print screen on the usable charge on your vehicle. bye and good luck to you folks.
    so in a sense, i tried all avenues for honda to investigate my problem, it did take a small claims court filing to get them to investigate more. i had videos and everything for the court to show the problem if needed. basically, if you bought a computer and it crashed once a month or even once a week, no big deal, that's part of a computer (and the same is said in the manual about the battery drain). but when it happens once a day and progresses to every 10 minutes up to 8-10x's a day, then it's a problem and you would say the same with your computer having to reboot so many times. there's a bug and it needs to be fixed.
  • I just purchased a 2006 HCH and I am wondering if the software update was done. Is there a way to check for it somewhere on the screen or anywhere else? I certainly am hoping that it hasn't been done. I do not seem to have any issues with the floating bars or poor acceleration at any time, although I have been doing almost exclusively city driving, so I am not sure what mileage I should be getting. Is there some way to check on it? I got it from a dealer and it is without maintenance records. Thank you for the information.
  • Not sure how to find out if it got the update but you should be getting mid-30's mpg city driving. According to the original EPA Estimates for the car it was about 40 mpg but that was inflated. If you're getting 28 to 31 mpg or so I'd say it had the update. That's what I get on my 2007 which had the update.
  • Thanks for your post. I have video also, a and my battery recals every 10 miles or so also. I will try small claims! Thanks. (I'm in California also).
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