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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • nyhondanyhonda Posts: 13
    I had a 2006 HCH and was vey happy with it the first 2 years..Then the IMA began failing and my milage slowly dropped. The dealership told me of a software update but warned my milage would go I never allowed them to put the software flash in....until at 60,000 miles my ima failed completely. The dealership told me I was screwed because Honda would replace the battery only if the software flash was done. I called honda of america and was never treated so was all or nothing. I did finally get them to state 'honda will replace the battery but would void any further warranty". I had no choice then.. My car only had 60000 miles on it. My milage dropped to 37 from 43 on my yearly trip to Indianapolis. I traded it in in Feb for a 2011 Prius only after talking to many prius owners. I was giving 0% financing and ave 52.5 mpg. Honda owners only recourse is to get the word out. 60 minutes or dateline, etc...or as one fellow mentioned a sign on his car or even picket honda dealerships or honda of america.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    My experience is similar to yours. The update tries to preserve the battery by more aggressive charging especially when below four bars charge. If you have a weak battery that requires more charging you will get poor mileage. If your battery is strong you should not notice any difference in mileage with the update. Also, you need to drive more cautiously when the battery is below four bars to maintain good mileage. This should not happen often if your battery is good.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    "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."

    Yes, but they are not for the "Upgrade 2006-2008 MDM to 2009-2011 software". They are for a different update, and you will not experience the problems that the 2006+ Civics do. Your car is totally different than the 2006+ and actually is closer to the 2000-2006 Insight in design than to the 2006+ Civic. The name is the main thing they have in common. The earlier notices you got probably relate to your catalytic converter.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    Eventually, it will die. Driving the car DAILY will extend the life of your battery. Also, if your state has inspections, it will fail.

    There are at least two companies selling new battery packs for less than the refurbished (used) pack that the dealer quoted you.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    "I believe all the battery replacements are reconditioned, not new. They have a lot of failed ones to recondition."

    There is evidence to show that they started putting refurbs in in 2008. warranty batteries arter 2008 seem to last about 2 years.

    The warranty and the $2400 battery are refurbished, the $3000 battery is new old stock.
  • nyhondanyhonda Posts: 13
    The update does not do more aggressive charging of the least not directly....the update uses the battery much less which by definition means you will not get the same amount of boast therefore less gas image...<a href="keep in mind when my update was forced on me a reconditioned battery had been put in the SAME day....I LOST 6 MPG. Also keep in mind Honda does not sell a "real" hybrid card.....they sell an Eco boast as Gm now calls theirs.
  • MR SNAUMAN question .do you know any place who can do this kind a job for me i have a honda civic 2005 hybrid and the light IMA shows in my car i dont have money to expend 2000 in the battery
  • yeah I know a place in my locality...Where do you live enrique?
  • david296david296 Posts: 2
    edited December 2012
    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<img src="") gauge
  • That's it , I bought a Chevy Cruze Eco yesterday. The HCH is going out the door. No more Honda for me. :shades:
  • I live in PA and have a 2006 HCH with 116,000 miles. My IMA and battery lights came on intermittently a year ago...took it into the dealership (when the lights weren't on) where I bought it and it passed emissions. The lights would come on intermittently throughout the winter. When the warm weather arrived no lights throughout summer and fall . When it got "cold" the lights started coming back on, the battery light stays lit, the IMA light appears intermittently. Took it to a different dealership and they willl not put the sticker on it, failed emissions. Has anyone ignored the lights, gotten inspected and had no issues? Definitely issues with mileage when it's cold.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    I live in Florida where it doesn't get that cold, but my problem with ignoring the problem was the poor gas mileage and acceleration. Don't need a car like that.
  • I have a Honda Civic Hybrid '08, at 68,000 miles. The IMA battery light just recently came on. From what I have read, I don't need to get the software upgrade unless I want my car to have major trouble. I called the Honda Dealership (Buford, GA), and they said they need to test it. Then they would do the software upgrade because that is what Honda is requiring first. The rep did admit that it would "barely" change the gas mileage. However, Autozone says they can replace the battery right now for $130 (labor).
    Go with Autozone?
  • unc2unc2 Posts: 1
    About two weeks ago after a week of not driving, our 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid's (75,000 miles on it) IMA and check engine lights came on. I took it to the dealer and they said the IMA battery is going to fail and I need a new one, to the tune of $3000. I said no, we'd rather get a new car, at which point the guy said he'd talk to someone higher up and try to get the price down. Now he's offering to do it for $700 plus tax. I don't know if that quote includes a warranty or if it's a new or refurbished battery. I'm wondering if this is a shady deal or I should go for it? Why would Honda offer to pay for most of the battery??
  • ativarativar Posts: 3
    I initially entered this discussion to see if I could figure out why Honda would only guarantee their IMA battery for 80K, no matter when it was installed. I guess it is because of the update they mandated that seems to have effected the majority of those responding to other posts.
    In 2006, about 7 months after purchasing my 2005 CivicHCH we were rear-ended in OKC. This fairly well crushed the trunk, but the car was drivable, so we continued our trip and returned to SA, TX after being out for 18 days. When we got back, I took the car to my local dealer to get an estimate of the damage, and to see how long it would take to get the car repaired. I was told that it would take approx 28 days to completely rebuild the rear-end. I gave the go-ahead, and took the car home, as it would not be needed by the repair shop for 3 days. The car sat. When we tried to start the car 3 days later, the IMA light was on, and the car battery/IMA was dead.
    We were towed to the repair shop, and along with the rear-end being rebuilt, Honda replaced the battery. They did an upgrade of the software at that time.
    Seven months later, that battery crashed; and was replaced by Honda again. And this time, another up-date, from Jan 2007 was done.
    I have had no problems with the battery, the car still gets the 38/9 miles it has always gotten since we first bought it; and it now has 77K on the odometer.
    I do not know if the 2007 up-date made a difference, as we have not taken a long trip with car since the accident.

  • Long term, this car sucks.

    I have 2005 HCH. ~14 months ago, IMA light came on, battery identified as bad. Dealer replaced it but first required me to do the software update. The software update sucked because it reduced my mileage. The ne program uses the batteries less because they can't make batteries that last.

    The real problem comes when my replacement battery is failing after just over 12 months. "sorry, not our problem, have a nice day" is the honda position. Wow. So I'm working on how to live without the batteries because I don't want to pay the money for replacement.

    REPLACEMENT BATTERIES - like anything with cars, the dealer is the last and worst place to go imho. I did find a guy here in town (Denver) who sells an aftermarket battery (NOT refurb) he claims is better than the original. It runs around $2k. His comment to me on batteries made perfect sense. He recommended not to buy a refurbished battery because one ends up where I am right now over and over. i.e. get a refurb and just over a year later back in the same place.

    So moral of the story i see is dont buy honda hybrid. I'm now in the process of exploring how to live permanently without the hybrid battery. But this is likely an uphill battle forever as Honda relies on the hybrid battery to charge the regular car battery at idle (below ~1500 rpm). Ugh.

    Hate to be so negative. I was excited to buy this car new. But my approach is own a car until the end. And the end is way too soon it seems with HCH.


  • I have a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid & was told a long time ago that if the battery went bad, it was not required to run the car, so I simply made up my mind that should that day come to pass, I would run the car as is. It has another battery - like "normal" cars and it runs on gas, so I don't need the electrical componenet.
  • lowbridlowbrid Posts: 5
    To all Honda Civic Hybrid owners, especially 2006-2011 please read: orts-says-175349961.html

    I have a 2009 that needed a new Hybrid battery at around 50k. Mileage is only around 35mpg with light acceleration.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    Yes and once your 12v battery dies out ,how are you gonna start the car?. The HCH does not have an alternator, the big electric motor was the generator and starter. Once my IMA battery started to die, the car was started the regular way , with the starter activated by the 12v battery, and it also died after a while. So no running with out a good IMA or 12 v battery. I sold mine. :lemon:
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    The 12 volt battery is charged from the IMA battery. If it won't charge up then the 12 volt battery does not get charged. You can externally charge or change out the 12 volt battery to temporarily drive the car.
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    Yes it sounds like fun, charging every time you want to use the car. The Flintstones's car was more reliable
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    Not talking about fun. Talking about getting the car to a place to repair or unload.
  • We purchased a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid new in November 2005. We had very few issues with if for the first five years, but then things went bad. First the catalytic converter went bad, but since we don't have emissions in our region, I didn't spend the money to fix it.

    In early 2012, my wife's car wouldn't start one cold morning. We jumped the car, drove it around and it appeared to charge. On my wife's way to work, the battery suddenly discharged. She took it to the dealer and they told us it would be $3,000 for the IMA battery, $1,500 for the catalytic converter and $1,500 for the AC compressor. At this point the car was 6.5 years old and had only 130,000 miles on it.

    We decided to wait on the repairs on we didn't think the car was even worth $6,000. A few days after we got the diagnosis from the dealer, we got a call back from the service manager at the dealer that they (Honda) would replace the battery at their cost and split the cost with me....something like $1,200 for the battery, but I still had to spend another $3,000 on the AC compressor and catalytic converter.

    While we were debating what to do, the IMA system appeared to be holding a charge. My wife took the car to Carmax and they said they would give us $4,000 for the car. We had been researching cars while we debated what to do and pulled the in the 2005 Civic Hybrid for a 2012 Mazda3 Wagon. The gas mileage on the Mazda is nearly the same as Civic Hybrid and I don't have to worry about the battery going bad. The only disadvantage to no longer having a hybrid where we live is we no longer can ride in the HOV lanes during rush hour by ourselves....but that won't last forever.

    My extended family has owned at least 10 Hondas over the past two decades and our 2005 Civic will be our last one.
  • actuallly yes the HCH has an alternator installed, if there wasnt an alternator installed in the car then the 12v battery would be dead within few days if u kept running constantly or whenever u shut the car off.
  • if your ima battery is no good then you are forced to use your conventional starter that is activated from the computer and power by the 12v battery
  • if your ima battery is no good then you are forced to use your conventional starter that is activated from the computer and powered by the 12v battery
  • I took my 2006 HCH into the dealer today. After the software "upgrade" they did on the car two years ago, I've lost 10 mpg on my vehicle, the battery continually drains from full to two bars in a matter of blocks and sputters from a stopped position. I have 78k miles on my car and wanted to see about getting the battery replaced before the 80k on the warranty hits. I was told today by my local Honda dealer that the IMA is perfectly fine and that the issue lies with my engine. They're telling me my engine is not functioning properly and it's really my IMA that is driving the car and that's why it's draining so quickly. They said it would cost me $150 to continue diagnosing, so at that point I told them to stop. All my car symptoms are identical that I keep reading on the 2006 HCH. Anybody been told that their IMA is fine, but that the actual engine was a problem??
  • slider162slider162 Posts: 16
    They are full of crap. You need to video what is going on like I did.

    Until they see what is happening and then Honda, not the dealer, will watch the video and decide to replace the IMA battery. There will be no diagnostic fee because it will be covered under warranty.
  • I had the exact same problem. It's the battery. Video the constant regens and send a copy certified mail to Honda. Good luck.
  • bosslessbossless Posts: 179
    This is a battery problem. The software upgrade makes it more difficult for the IMA light to come on because it causes a more aggressive charge when the battery gets below 4 bars usually keeping it above two bars.
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