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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • dowjddowjd Posts: 14
    Please, stay away from any HCH. RUN. DO NOT even consider buying one. Save yourself the misery.

    I have a 2009 HCH with 69,000 miles and I have had two batteries fail. Honda has replaced them, but it is pretty obvious the batteries are inferior.

  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    Could some of the poor mileage problems described here be due to transmission problems?
  • therosctherosc Posts: 2
    I purchased a 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid in Jan. of 2011. Car ran great! I got the mpg up to 45.9. Then I got a warning light for the IMA system at about 36, 000 miles. I took the car to the
    dealership and they said the Hybrid battery was bad. Since it was under warranty (8 years, 80,000 miles as per federal mandate) it was replaced. Since then the car has steadily declined in mpg and performance. The system is not assisting the engine as previously done and my mpg is down to 38.4 and declining. I took it back to the dealership and they cannot find anything wrong. I am so disappointed that I am considering selling the car. I may also look for possible legal action if I cannot get any satisfaction from Honda.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I have read other cases similar to this. Don't know why this tends to happen. To my knowledge the batteries are replaced with refurbished ones, not new ones. Maybe that has something to do with this scenario.
  • I traded my 2007 HCH in a little over a year ago. Honda offered me $6,000, and VW gave me $10,000. I drove away as fast as possible before they realized they were crazy. No matter what the dealership tells you, or what they do to your car, you will never have the car you purchased. I loved my car for the first two years. I averaged 45-50 mpg without any regard to my driving habits. After the update and new battery, I couldn't hypermile and get anywhere over 38. I am now getting 40-43 hwy and 35-37 city in my Jetta Sportwagen TDI. I can actually pull out into an intersection without fear of safely getting across. I can use the AC and still merge onto the interstate at over 40 mph. I spent almost two years trying to figure out a way to get back the car I bought. Honda wouldn't budge, and I was no longer willing to compromise my family's safety. I'd rather pay for a car that lives up to the promises of its manufacturer. I am thoroughly satisfied with the fuel economy and performance of my diesel car. I am so very thankful I managed to get rid of my car before it put me and my family in a dangerous situation.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    edited August 2012
    You did great Heather, that was a good move. I'm also contemplating getting rid of my 06 HCH. My IMA battery gets so low after sitting for a couple of days that the starter now cranks the engine to start the engine, that's the first time I ever heard the starter in this car in over 6 years. The electric motor usually cranks the engine. I now have close to 100k on the odo. I'm hoping for the IMA to kick the bucket so they(Honda) replace the battery, then I will sell the car. I'm looking at the Chevy Cruze, no more electric cars for me. How many miles did you have on your odo when you sold it? Are you happy with the Jetta? No more Honda for me!Bye.
  • I hope this is within the rules of the site. I have a 2003 Honda Hybrid (standard trans.). Loved it until the software upgrade, which cut my mileage. I started having the IMA light come on intermittently. When the light was on, I took it back to the dealership where I bought it, Fairfax Honda. They were rude and unhelpful, telling me I'd have to pay for a new battery without even looking at the car. I then took it to Koons Honda in Manassas, VA. They said they'd replace it for free and promptly made an appointment to do so. Kudos to Koons! I'm now getting 43-45mph around the DC area in pretty heavy traffic.
  • vidarvidar Posts: 18
    First, with the CVT transmission, it is a necessity to change transmission fluid at less than 30,000 miles. Slippage starts becoming noticable at around 25,000 miles. Also after a fluid change notice better response within 1 mile or less. CVT fluid from Honda is around $9 a qt, and takes 3.5 qts for a fluid change.
    Second, never having got the software mods since originally purchased, my 2005 HCH gets around 38 mpg after the A/C compressor was replaced at 192,000 miles. Before the compressor went bad got 42 mpg with AC running. With the AC turned off can still get 50 mpg with moderate driving below 60 mph.
    The story with the A/C is that it is an original Honda part, but not from a Civic Hybrid. My guess is that there is some low-friction design in the HCH specific part to get better mileage from the engine.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    The software mods don't exist for your car. They only apply to 2006+ vehicles.

    50 mpg is good, but put 44 lbs in your tires and you should be able to get 60 or so. I have a 2004 CVT and it's the same car as yours.
  • gnatggnatg Posts: 7
    edited August 2012
    Sounds like your luck was worse than mine. I bought a 2006 Civic Hybrid in April 2006, and in August 2010, I got a notice to go to the deal for a software update. Since then, my mileage dropped from 40 mpg to between 25-28 mpg. I wrote everyone I could, including the president of American Honda; and I even met with the factory representative. Several honest Honda dealers told me it was the IMA technology; Honda doesn't know how to fix the problem of degraded mileage. I have had two recent visits to my Honda dealer because my "small" battery light came on, and on the last one, they said my IMA battery needs replacement (I am at approx. 67,000 miles). Thank goodness, it is still under my extended warranty, but my mileage is still very low, AND I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER HONDA NOR RECOMMEND ANYONE ELSE DOES!!!!!!
  • nyhondanyhonda Posts: 13
    Same experience as you had with the same year HCH. I gave up in Feb and traded the junker on a 2011 Prius. I think all of us can speak out against Honda actually as are best weapon.
  • In the last few weeks my 06 only starts with the starter if I let the car sits more than 24 hours.
    I wonder if my IMA will finally die soon. Last January the faulty code showed up, then the dealer erased it and installed the bloody patch. I still have 4 years warranty on the IMA. The sooner the battery gets replaced the sooner I sell the car. That's if anyone wants to buy a 06 HCH.
    Honda really screwed that one up. :lemon:
  • Same thing happened to me. First, they did the software upgrade and then they replaced the battery. Everything is back to normal now and I am averaging 51 mpg. I recommend you get rid of it about 3-6 months before your warranty expires.
  • I found this post online if you have enough time & patient to read it , then I thik it will be helpfull
    :D :D :P

    Honda IMA batteries can last a very long time, but they do not typically outlast the car. With the ten year IMA warranty expiring on the earliest Honda Insights, and the warranty void on Salvage cars, I hope this information will be useful to some EcoModders. You can repair your own IMA battery for $100-350 including equipment and replacement cells, instead of paying someone $1000 to do it for you, or dropping $3000 at the dealership.

    Warning: This post is longer than most, and parts of it may not be of interest to you.
    Warning: High voltage is dangerous. Read the section on safety, and don't work on things you're not comfortable with.

    Do I have an IMA battery problem?

    You can tell how much usable capacity the Insight's battery has by observing the range of its state of charge (SoC) gauge. A healthy battery will move through the entire range. As the battery degrades, it will move through fewer LCD bars on the gauge. A check engine light will come on with the P1447 code once the battery's capacity is reduced to about a third of what it was when it left the factory, which corresponds to a battery that moves through only about 5-6 bars on the gauge. You may want to repair your IMA battery even if you don't have a check engine light, just to obtain longer-lasting assist and regen.

    What goes wrong with IMA batteries?

    Battery imbalance: Honda IMA batteries consist of a large number of NiMH cells in series. Due to unequal rates of self-discharge, some of the cells will have a higher or lower state of charge than others. This is easy to correct, but failure to do so results in diminished battery capacity, and can damage the cells that are too high or too low.

    Cell degradation: One of the treatable problems that diminishes the cell's capacity is the formation of nickel dendrites in the cell. Rapidly charging and discharging a cell through its full range can help restore its performance.

    So how do you fix an IMA battery?

    Battery state of charge imbalance is easy to treat. If you take a NiMH cell that is fully charged, then continue to apply charging current to it, it will convert the extra current into heat. Provided that the current is small so the cell doesn't overheat, this doesn't appear to damage the cell. Thus if you apply a little charging current to an imbalanced battery, the cells that are high will peak first, and begin to convert the current into heat while the other cells catch up.

    You can build a grid charger/balancer for around $100. Insight guru Mike Dabrowski came up with this design, which is an adjustable 174V-210V, 350mA constant current power supply. Leave it charging your battery (with the battery fan running) for 36 hours or so, and it will top off ALL your cells, restoring state of charge balance. You can do this without removing the battery from the car, and it may be enough to get you back on the road.

    You should occasionally have the car run the battery through its full range of SoC. Go heavy on the gas until it's depleted (an assist/regen disable toggle switch, or some hills, will help). Then let the car charge the battery until it's full. Do not do this with an imbalanced pack.

    Advanced methods

    If these things are not sufficient, you can get a more thorough repair by removing the battery from the car and disassembling it. An Insight's pack of 120 NiMH D-cells breaks up into 20 sticks of 6 cells each. Using a battery charger/discharger/analyzer like the MRC Super Brain 989 ($150), you can charge and discharge each stick through its full range. Write down the discharge capacity of each stick, and keep cycling each stick until the capacity stops improving. Once you have finished cycling each stick, charge it fully and write down the date and time. Come back in a week and charge it again, and record how much energy it took to charge. That is that stick's weekly self-discharge rate.

    You'll probably find some of your sticks have an abnormally high or low rate of self discharge. These are the sticks that are causing the pack to go out of balance. If you grid charge monthly, you can live with that problem indefinitely. You may also find that while most of your sticks have 5500-6500mAh capacity, there may be one or two that are stubbornly lower. These weak cells will hold back the entire pack. You will need to replace the weak sticks. A professional repair involves building a pack out of used sticks whose capacity and rate of self-discharge matches.

    I pulled a battery from the junkyard and cycled each of its sticks. The chart at the top right is the most important one. You want all your cells to match as closely as possible in terms of self-discharge, and the performance of the pack will be the same as that of its weakest cell. This particular junkyard pull was probably a fairly new battery that didn't need anything more than a good, long grid charging.

    You many be wondering what settings to use on the Super Brain 989. You want to go as fast as you can without overheating the cells, so I chose 7A charge, 10A discharge, and I didn't need to run the battery fan, with ambient temperature at 62°F. The Insight's cells are 6500mAh nominal, I used 5mV per cell peak detection, and 0.9VPC cutoff.

    How to access the Insight's battery

    First, remove the key from the ignition. This de-energizes the power cables leading from the battery to the inverter and DC/DC converter. Second, remove the rear carpet from the car. Remove two bolts from the little door at the center of the IPU lid to access the service disconnect switch. Throw that switch to Off, which means the battery is no longer a complete circuit. There's still dangerous voltage differences under the plastic covers on the junction board, so treat the whole battery with respect. The IPU lid is held on by a dozen T30 bolts and a dozen 10mm hex head bolts. Remove it, and you'll be looking at this:

    The battery module is on the right, with its fan in the foreground, its computers on top, and its junction board on the left. If you wish to attach a grid charger, you must attach its + terminal to the "hot" side of the high voltage relay or bypass relay (that's the bottom), and its - terminal to the battery's - terminal.

    If you want to remove the battery module, it's held on by six bolts, four cables, and six wire harness connectors. You'll need to move the car's center bulkhead aside to get at some of the bolts, which involves removing some interior trim. If you'd like to disassemble a battery module, it's pretty self-explanatory, but remove the contact grid (which puts the cells in series) from the side of the battery opposite the junction board before you do anything else. Once you do that, the battery is pretty much safe, with no more than 17V anywhere.

    Warnings and Safety

    Foremost, know what you're doing, and don't
  • How did you get them to replace a battery from 2003? How many miles do you have? When did you but it? I am in Northern Virginia and I have received notice that I need the software upgrade for my 2005 HCH. I have the IMA light (on for a year) and error codes (P2000). My problem is that the car won't pass emissions with error code - but I don't want to get upgrade. Looks like i have no choice - but I'm very happy with the way the car runs now - getting about 43 in everyday driving. Does anyone know what Honda claims this upgrade will do? besides fix error codes?
  • P2000 is a failed catalytic converter and has nothing to do with your IMA light.

    Find out what other codes you have that may be lighting the IMA light. Your 2005 IMA battery is warrantied until sometime later this year if you have less than 80,000 miles. California vehicles are 10 year, 150,000 miles. If you have a P1447, P1449 or some other errors, you are eligible for a replacement battery.

    The software update for a P1420 or P2000 reprograms the car to be less sensitive to the efficiency of the catalytic converter and it may actually correct the problem (turn off the check-engine light).

    Lastly, 2003-2005 Civics are different than 2006-2011 Civics. The 2003-2005 models do not have a problem with software upgrades, just the 2006-2011 cars do.
  • diabdiab Posts: 1
    I bought 2 honda civic 2006 hybrid
    both got the same malfinctions:
    1-they could not climb a hill if they stopped while climbing, i.e. they couldnot resume climbing after the stop!

    2-when autostop runs the aircondition fails

    I asked a freind who owns civic hybrid 2008 and he said that he is suffering the same with his car!!!

    it seems that this is general problem in honda civic hybrid 2006-2009
    any body knows the solution??
  • The problem you described is very similar to what I experienced with my 09 HCH. It had an update applied around the time the battery failed and now I'm lucky to get over 38 MPG in town and over 35 on the highway. Had 47/55 for the first 2 years. Check out my previous posts on this thread about the higher than usual RPM and different gear ratio. Does your HCH seem to rev higher than it used to?

    Going on 18 months of back and fourth with the dealer & Honda with no resolution. Honda CS is useless and has a very poor escalation procedure (non existant I should say) The "case managers" are a joke and refuse to do anything to help. I submitted a BBB report against them but doubt the issue will get fixed but might as well make the complaint public. I plan on opening a flickr account with screenshots of the problem occurring too.

    No more Honda cars for me after this bad experience.
  • Diab and others - please let me know if anyone starts a class aciton suit. I would join in.

    I read of my first Prius battery replacement in all places "The Costco Magazine". The car was 11 years old if I remember. The dealer quoted a price of $2700+. The person who wrote the letter said that he contacted his Costco membership and found that if he ordered his replacement battery through them, he would get it for $500 less than the dealer quoter. Hope this bit of info might help someone out of warranty needing a new battery.

    I got taken to the cleaners financially and emotionally on the Honda Hybrid that I bought.
  • When did they make the replacement for you? The batteries became Honda's proprietary property not too long ago - more ($) for them, less for everyone else, even less ($) for the owners...What was the charge, please, from and what is their warranty? Is the warranty owner-transferable?

    Sorry for the question-filled reply. I'm a bit suspicious after my history with Honda, the dealer, and my vehicle. Thank you for your information.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    That was a bit of sneaky advertising disguised as a customer endorsement.


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  • My posting was a bit confusing. I did not own the Prius. Only the lemon 2000 Honda Insight Hybrid. I read a letter in the Costco Magazine where a guy had been quoted $2,740 plus tax for a new battery for his 2001 Toyota Prius. He got the quote from the dealer and was going to think about it. He read in the Costco magazine about a program offering members a 15% discount on parts and services at select dealerships. He went to the Costco website, located a dealer and saved almost $430 on that battery.

    Just put this info out there in case it would benefit anyone - did not mean this info as an endorsement.

    My Honda Insight went through 6 batteries and the last failure was just a few months out of warranty. The excuses given me were that 1) I drove it too much or 2) I didn't drive it enough, but never that Honda had a problem. And looking back, I believe (couldn't prove it) that I was given reconditioned batteries each time.

    I would never buy another Honda hybrid. My transportation now is my 1985
    Honda Civic that I bought new. It was the dependable car all the time I owned the 2000 Honda Insight which was just over 10 years.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I believe all the battery replacements are reconditioned, not new. They have a lot of failed ones to recondition.
  • I too have a 2003 Honda Hyrbrid and had to replace the battery pack at 50,000 miles at a cost of over $4000 in the summer of 2012. There went all my cost savings from fuel economy. When I first purchased the car I averaged around 42-45 mpg around town and that is now between 38-40 mpg. Since I have spent the money on a new reconditioned battery from the dealership I will drive it for another year and then get rid of it and buy an American car that gets just a good gas mileage as I get from my Honda and no battery pack to worry about in the future. I was told by the dealership that it was because I did not drive it enough is why the battery failed at such low mileage because of the recharging for my short drives.
  • vidarvidar Posts: 18
    I have read on this forum that the software upgrade doesn't exist for my car (2005), but know that I received at least 4 notices from Honda for the upgrade, and just found one of them when cleaning out my desk. Also received a notice three weeks ago for yet another software upgrade for something associated with the car. I can't remember the specifics, but it went in the trash. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    I currently have 198k on the car, just replaced a front left wheel bearing, and recovered 3 mpg over a 500 mile trip odometer reset. Battery is still hanging in there, and no IMA problem since your assistance with troubleshooting the bad A/C relay. The battery does degrade a little faster with the hotter weather, but charges up quickly without hurting the mpg.

    With that said, when cooler weather gets here and no need for the A/C, I am expecting getting back to the listed 48 mpg as long as I stay off the interstate.
  • whitemthikerwhitemthiker Posts: 1
    edited October 2012
    have a 2005 Civic hybrid with over 180,000 mi. - Engine light on - told indicates hybrid battery should be replaced - cost $2,400. Car seems to be performing normally if anything gas mileage better than before 45-50 mph for mostly highway driving. Want car to last at least 2 more years (about 60,000 miles).
    What is likely to happen if i do not replace battery? Maintenance advisor couldn't or wouldn't tell what would happen. Should i replace it?
  • The issue that started this thread has to do with 2009's and it seems to be a common occurrence with 2009 AFTER the upgrade. My car used to avg. 40 to 40.5 mpg easy, now it consistently averages 36 to 37. Honda first said I needed to change the Air filter and the tires, did all that, did not change the mileage. The power issue and the mileage changed AFTER the update. So that is why this is called "The update that broke my car." Honda refuses to take responsibility for something they have messed up and hopefully it doesn't take someone dying because they have to pull out into freeway traffic and the car will only go 20 miles an hour with it floored. My car had great pick up and great mileage, I loved the car I bought. Now I have a car that is NOT THE CAR I PURCHASED, and Honda won't do anything. They are the ones that ruined it. People ask me all the time how I like my Hybrid, I tell them I used to love it, Honda ruined it, would never by one again. Thought about putting a sign in the window to warn people about buying a Honda Hybrid, or even a Honda at all from a company that treats its customers like this. You want a Hybrid, buy a Toyota. Note too that my 2003 gets better mileage than the 2009, esp. now. :lemon:
  • That does not sound "BUNK" to me. I live in Dallas Tx. My 07 Hybrid has completely shut down 4 times. Usually in rush hour traffic. I have barely missed 3 fatal accidents from this car and countless fender benders. I have taken the car to the dealership 5 times and every time they say they just need to reprogram something. Then 2 times apparently 2 different sensor needed to be replaced, and my car still runs crap, gets 29 MPG sometimes and has no acceleration. I want to sue Honda. I have 2 small children and this is a safety issue. I don't want to have to wait for a fatal car accident before something is done. Has anyone else had similar issues?

    Obviously there are plenty of who completely unhappy with our Hybrids. Why don't we do something about it!
  • A year after I was able to convince Honda that my IMA battery was bad and had it replaced, I am satisfied once again with my 2007 HCH. I am convinced that if you lost gas mileage or are unhappy after the software update, that you have a bad/weak IMA battery. There is nothing wrong with the software update other than it does use the IMA less. I am getting just as good gas mileage after the update as I did when the car was new (before the battery took a crap).
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