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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • mdshekermdsheker Posts: 3
    This is the exact same thing that happend to me for the past 2-3 years.
    Every morning, I had one or two bars, and I drive to charge up the battery,
    and when I go to the grocery store, e.g., for less-than half-hour, and when I get back into the car, the full charge drops down to two bars. And when I start to slowly accelerate at a stop sign/light, sometimes the full charge drops down to two bars, and I have no power to go. The IMA battery indicator light never came on, and Honda keeps telling me the battery was good.

    I took my car to another Honda (6 months ago), and they too told me there was something wrong with the engine. I think they were going to charge me about $100-$200, to check the engine. When they did some tests onto the engine and battery, and they found the engine was good, and the battery was indeed bad, and they replaced the battery under warranty. (I have 2006 HCH, with 65K miles). [fyi: Honda is waiting for your warranty to expire, then they're going to tell you that the battery is bad.]

    So, to answer your question, NO. Honda told me my IMA was good, and the engine was bad. But, it turned out the engine was good, and the battery was bad.
  • After telling Honda to stop and give me back my car (and a few choice words that came out of my mouth to Honda), they called me back and asked me to bring the car back in for further diagnostics at no charge. The had the car for a whole day, reset a bunch of software, ran the car some more, tested it again, etc, etc. After telling me that it was my engine, that it was likely my fuel, or my fuel injectors, blah blah blah.... they finally said that it could be my IMA. They told me to drive it for a week and bring it back after 7 days and they'd rehook it up to diagnostics and see what the computer tells them. While I did notice the car didn't do it's normal immediate discharge of the battery within three blocks of my house, the battery is still fluctuating. Guess we'll see what happens in a week time. I'm not holding my breath and I still want the IMA replaced before my warranty expires.
  • xlntmpgxlntmpg Posts: 8
    edited March 2013
    That was a good video showing how a recal happens.
    Makes sense how a tech may not see it unless they really pay attention and drive the car for a full 10 minutes or more.

    Eric Powers
  • After a week of driving, I brought my car back to Honda and guess what?... my IMA is bad! Hmm... I think I told them that at the very beginning. Now I'm taking my car in on Monday to have a new IMA installed. (and still under warranty - yay!)
  • xlntmpgxlntmpg Posts: 8
    Glad you were able to get your work done while it was still under the factory warranty.

    Once you are out of warranty, specialized independent shops can rebuild the battery pack for less money than the dealer, but it is still a couple thousand dollars.

    Eric Powers
  • thebull425thebull425 Posts: 1
    Irishgirl76, its always the IMA battery. They know there's a problem with it, they were just trying to stall hoping you'd hit the 80k mile mark and you'd have to eat the $3k bill to replace it. They did the same thing to me, I had about 75k miles on the car but I don't drive very far to and from work so when it kept lighting up showing that there was a problem I recorded it on my cell phone and brought it in and made them replace it. I read that some people were able to get good warranties on the replacement batteries, one guys sale listing said 3 year 36k miles. They gave me 1 year and 12k miles on mine. I ended up just selling it. I'm glad its off my hands. BTW I never had a problem starting the car or driving it with the dead IMA. It seemed to work fine. The battery would just discharge to 0 bars and the IMA light would come on but I was still able to get wherever I was going.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    Did you have the software upgrade? It has a more aggressive charge protocol when the charge gets below four bars that helps keep the IMA light from coming on.
  • satyemsatyem Posts: 5
    Guys, I got my IMA battery replaced last month, and after replacement the battery charges and discharges very quickly. either a battery problem or software update problem. When I told this to the dealership, they told that unless CEL light turns on, I shouldn’t worry and the battery is all fine. I have captured this video today, do you guys think it’s normal behavior? I am wondering how can a new battery exhibit such a behavior. Watch the video at
    Civic Hybrid IMA battery problem
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    Not great, but I would not say it is out of the norm.
  • Careful with the advice about indie shops rebuilding the battery packs; I called a local shop that I rely on and was told the battery packs are now 'Honda proprietary' and indies are out of luck, not to mention the consumer.

    What's new, right?!
  • I've read several messages about a few of you selling or 'getting rid' of your malfunctioning hybrids after the IMA shuffle around-the-block so many of us have gone through. I want to get mine off my hands before the second IMA malfunction goes on and I'm really out of luck because the 2nd warranty period would be over.

    I'd rather not deal with Honda in any way, shape, or form again but it seems more people know about the Hybrid messes - and not just the Honda dealers. I don't want to sting anybody, but would sure love some advice on selling/trading or should I just take it out back and shoot it!?! What a fiasco...
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I was in the same boat you are in. Put mine up for sale 3.5 months before the additional warranty expired (3 yrs.,36K miles). I leveled with the potential buyers (had four after a Craig's List ad) and told them the battery had been replaced and had some remaining warranty. The car was in excellent shape. I showed them my long term and short term average milage on the trip meters which read a little above 50 mpg. They wanted to know at what milage the battery was replaced. Told them I had an invoice that showed the milage at replacement and stated the additional warranty. It sold right away for a little under $8K. Wholesale was $5.5K.
  • Thank you so much for the response and the great feedback. My 'new' warranty is 15 months old (3yrs,36K miles). I figured the 'honesty is the best policy' would bring normal good Karma and most everybody knows or can find out about the IMA problems with little to no sleuthing anyway. Besides, if I am righteously holding Honda culpable in their deceptive ways, it would be ridiculous to practice the same. Unfortunately for me, the mileage dropped from 50+ mpg short/long term average before the IMA replacement to a steady 37.8 mpg regardless. Still better than most other vehicles, but not what we were lead to believe would be our norm. C'est la vie? and buyer beware is all I can say at this point. Thanks again and best of luck.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    edited May 2013
    I sold mine back a few months ago, I did loose a few thousands on the sale because of the 06 issues, but on the lighter side Honda America is finally settling with me. I previously opted out of the $100-$200 settlements, since it was an insult. I joined an other class-action and it is finally paying off. I won't give numbers but the settlement just about made up for the loss in trade. It was a few thousands.
    My main worry was getting stuck with a car that would die on me too early and no option to fix it, since all IMA batteries are refurbished with old cells.
    I have a Chevy Cruze Eco that gives me just over 47 mpg on long drives and the Cruze is very responsive thanks to the turbo. No more mashing the gas pedal hoping the car will pass the truck on the fast lane. You can still sell the car and take your loss or you may want to shoot it out back.
    Good buy and happy motoring.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    edited May 2013
    The IMA battery charges the 12v battery, if the IMA battery is depleted or dead. Then there is no way for the starter to spin the engine there's no alternator on the civic hybrid,
    (of course you can jump the car with an other battery).
    Look for it. good luck
  • Thanks for your comments. Was your sale a trade-in, private party, with a Honda dealer?
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    When my IMA battery was failing, it would usually charge up some when driving the car. That seemed to be enough to provide charge to the 12 v battery. I never had the car fail to start after sitting overnight even though the hybrid battery was not performing its intended acceleration function. In the mornings it always started from the conventional starter. That is one of the signs that the hybrid (IMA) battery is failing.
  • Satyem,

    What you are seeing there is a recalibration and forced regen situation. What happened is this:

    1) The battery thinks it is fully charged, but may or may not be at full capacity.
    2) The battery is being used normally until you get down to about 5 bars.
    3) The voltage starts dropping. The regen system sees this and says "Hmm... maybe I am not really at 5 bars. Maybe I am close to zero bars."
    4) It "recalibrates" by pretending the battery is at 2 bars and "force charging" the battery until it sees the resistance to charging spike and sets that as the new "fully charged" with all bars. During this period, you will not have normal IMA available (hence the sluggish acceleration).

    Here is the kicker: A GOOD new battery pack that is properly balanced should discharge gradually to 1-2 bars and should charge gradually to full charge with a "Calibration and Forced Regen" only once in a while (like once a week maybe). If instead you see your battery drop gradually 2-3 bars, then fall like a rock and during charging you see it trickle up a couple of bars, then race to the top, that means your batteries are unable to hold a full charge. You are only getting a portion of their full capacity available before they lose voltage.

    I suspect the dealership put refurbished batteries in your car, and they are not properly balanced or were in bad shape to begin with. You need to take this video and take that back to the dealer and demand a functional pack. Just my opinion.
  • thereigo2thereigo2 Posts: 5
    Can you at least give us the name of the lawyer that did the class action? I have an 09 and have a car that I owe more than it's worth. I used to love this car and it got 40 to 41 mph always, until after the update, now it never gets above 37. Honda ruined my car and won't own up to it. Hope someone doesn't get killed.
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  • slider162slider162 Posts: 16
    Welp, the replacement to the replacement is on its way. I was told that since I did not fork over any cash for the last one, that it was not under warranty. I was under the impression that I had 3 years/36K miles warranty. So I sit at 98,500 miles on my 2007 HCH with a 3rd IMA battery on the way. Honda is charging a $500 "deductable" for the IMA battery and DC converter. Both will be installed next week when the parts arrive.

    My car has been for sale locally for the last two weeks. The best I can get out of any dealer, which is Honda, on a trade-in is $6,800. The next closest is $6,000. I was offered as low as $4,400 last weekend. I told them they were smoking some good stuff and quickly walked. I had dreams of a Toyota Matrix or a Honda Fit, but I will dump a little more cash into this dead horse if it gets me a couple more years. I am looking at the grid charger that 99mpg is offering. I'm thinking that would do the trick and keep the IMA healthy. I just don't know if I am going to keep the car long enough to get that serious about it.

    The new IMA battery will have a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty and the DC converter is 12 months/12,000 miles. I can't complain much for $500. I didn't even have to submit a video this time. I had one ready anyway.

    2007 Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Replacement
  • Doncha' love how they just make up the rules as they go along and - of course - that the rules always favor them...and you're actually rather pleased that it's only costing you $500 - for a 3rd IMA battery - that would be like a third complete engine for any other car and with only 98K miles. Amazing piece of machinery. I've got a 2005 and had one replacement and I'm praying every time I turn the key to start it. Guess now that the IMA is proprietary the game goes to Honda! So sorry for the situation you are in now. Hope it improves.
  • satyemsatyem Posts: 5
    Thanks Houstondave for the detailed explanation. I went to two dealers, first to the one who replaced the battery and then to another one, but both of them said this is normal. Looks like they just don't want to do anything until the CEL turns on. They said, Honda has changed software to ensure longer battery life and that's the reason I am seeing such a behavior and they can't do anything unless the CEL is on. I would take couple of more videos and contact Honda of America, hoping some better response. :0
  • leslieafleslieaf Posts: 1
    I went in to get a quick cup of coffee and left my hazard lights blinking so I wouldn't get a ticket. As luck would have it, I ran into a friend, forgot I left the hazard lights on and when I came out, 30 minutes later, I needed to get a jump to start the car.

    1. Did the hazard lights deplete the IMA in 30 minutes or the 12v battery?
    2. Is this reasonable? (BTW, I have not had any other problems with the IMA and have followed all recall instructions.)
    3. How will I know when I need to replace the 12v battery?

    Thank you so much for your help.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    edited June 2013
    Send me an email.. my id at gmail
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    edited June 2013
    It was a private sale. The buyer was flying in from Michigan to NYC to pick up cars. He came to look at my car after buying another in NYC then drove back to Michigan flew back to NYC took the train to New-Haven CT where I picked him up. And he drove back to Michigan. Hell of a way to make a buck.A nice guy still
  • slider162slider162 Posts: 16
    I'm by no means happy about it. But the car is paid for and the thought of going further into debt on a different car is not appealing. Trade in value is worse than a regular Civic, even after explaining the new IMA battery, remote start, upgraded stereo, window tint, reverse camera, etc . Best case is I get $6,800 out of it for a 2007 with 98,000 miles. If I am looking at a $15,000 car, the $500 "deductible" does sound really good. If I get another 3 years out of it, I will be in a better position to purchase a new(er) car.

    The replacement was flawless, the dealer even rented me a car for the day. It is the same dealer that did the last replacement. They have been really good to me. They didn't even question me after they were not able to reproduce the issues that I had described about the performance. They were not fazed by the fact that no idiot lights came on. Just a straight up replacement with warranty. I'm back up to 42 MPG with mixed driving and am happy for the moment.
  • satyemsatyem Posts: 5
    After calling Honda of America, I went to dealer again with those videos, they said that its normal because of the new software update. They drove the car whole day but they did not see any issue. In my case actually this behavior is observed when the car sits for few hours, especially when I start in the morning, then I always see this sudden drop. Honda of America then said that if the dealership is saying this is normal, then it’s as designed.
    I don't know where to go now , any thoughts? Or is this really normal as Bossless commented earlier??
  • slider162slider162 Posts: 16
    It might be normal for it to happen once after the software update. Not every day. If it happens every day, or once a week for that matter, the IMA battery has bad cells. I found half of the battle is that they have no idea what they are looking for. That is where the videos help. Or they won't listen to you when you tell them to let it sit overnight before driving it. As long as it starts, doesn't throw any idiot lights, and goes when you step on the accelerator, it is "normal" to the inexperienced mechanic. The fact that you get no assist from a hybrid car doesn't cross their minds as being abnormal. The fact that the car is dangerous to drive while the re-calibration is taking place doesn't faze them. You have to be persistent. Play the "I'm driving a death trap" card if you have to.

    I'm surprised someone hasn't been hurt yet. You expect a certain amount of acceleration from the car and time everything accordingly. When you don't have that extra assist, the car is an accident waiting to happen.

    The first time I had the IMA battery replaced, the mechanic sent my video to Honda for review. Their engineers confirmed that this is not normal. If Honda America is telling you that they are going to agree with whatever the dealer tells you is not acceptable. The dealer can have an engineer review the video and make a determination. They all have an Internet connection and access to YouTube. Don't waste their time though. If it is a 15 minute video, tell them what the important parts are to look at. If the battery goes to 2 bars (because it will never go to zero after the update) annotate it within the video after you upload it. When the IMA gauge magically shoots to full five minutes later, annotate it within the video. They should be able to launch the video and see what they need to see in less than 60 seconds.
  • Glad to hear of your good experience and good results. My best for continued success.
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