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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • I have been experiencing similar problems with my '06. A lot of regens and just diminished battery performance. Finally the IMA light came on. The dealer ran diagnostics and came up with error code P0A7F. They said that they will need to apply four updates first and then retest for error. If it still reports the error then they can order a replacement battery.

    So I'm in this predicament. Do I get the updates and hope the error still comes up? If I do need to replace the battery, I'm afraid that the updates will "mask" it and not report the error and I'm left with more problems.
  • dwa2dwa2 Posts: 4
    My IMA light came on too. It also had a fail code of PO7AF. It only had 11,000 miles on it! How in the world could the battery be shot!!! They did not tell me that if the IMA light came back on that I could get a new battery. Was the software upgrade a temporary fix. Would I be smart to trade it in whlle it is still getting 41.4 miles to the gallon?
  • jeb858jeb858 Posts: 10
    The updates will remove alot of hybrid assist and in my opinion cover up a multitude of concerns with the IMA system. The bottom line is I do not have the same car that I did when I purchased the vehicle!
  • gregr2gregr2 Posts: 14
    I agree with Jeb. I had my 2009 civic battery replaced and now I'm getting about 10 miles per gallon less than I was getting when I first bought the car.

    As I stated before, I am amazed that this problem with these vehicles has been kept relatively quiet. Honda continues to sell these vehicles as fast as they can get them on the lot.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >My IMA light came on too. It also had a fail code of PO7AF. It only had 11,000
    >miles on it! How in the world could the battery be shot!!!

    Seriously, how often do you drive your car that it only had 11,000 miles on it? The #1 killer of batteries is leaving the car to sit for weeks at a time. A single 90 day event is enough to guarantee a failure within one year. This is not a fault of Honda, but a simple fact of physics based on the design of the car. I see lots of 2003 HCHs with 160,000 or more miles before a failure and there are no fundamental differences between the gen 1 (2003-2005) and gen 2 (2006+) packs. These people, however, drove their cars 20K miles or more per year. I've also gotten in a couple of 100K packs from 2006 and one 2006 with only 30K miles, but it was a salvage vehicle and sat parked for six months as it was repaired.

    >They did not tell me that if the IMA light came back on that I could get a new

    For the duration of your 8/80,000 mile warranty, if your IMA light illuminates and the error codes report a battery problem, it will be replaced for free, as many times as necessary. That warranty expires at the 80,000 mile mark even if the battery went in the day before.

    After the warranty period, if you pay for a battery, it comes with a 3 year warranty (on just the battery).

    From the 2000-2006 Insights and the 2003-2005 Civics, I have seen enough batteries to state that most last about 7 years (no matter what the mileage is), provided the car is a daily driver. I don't have enough information about the 2006+ models, but I know enough about the batteries to know that the changes are minor (10% more cells, more compact package, some sensors eliminated, etc). Insight owners are unhappy with the latest software also, as it makes it harder to hypermile.

    >Was the software upgrade a temporary fix.

    I wouldn't call it a fix, I'd call it a re-tuning of the BMS (Battery Managment System). It may help tremendously with your usage patterns - or not. It is not temporary. This is how the car will behave from now on, unless the software is updated again.

    >Would I be smart to trade it in whlle it is still getting 41.4 miles to the gallon?

    And get what? A 30mpg car? You've already taken the depreciation hit. Over those 11,000 miles, you are talking an MPG difference of what, 50 gallons? So how big a hit will you take? $150?

    You've got 4-7 years left on your warranty depending on the year of your car. It's unlikely that you'll drive more than 10,000 miles per year, so the warranty will keep you up and running for some time to come (enough time for any replacement vehicle to have gone from new car to old car). Catalytic converters are covered by federal 8/80 warranties, and the car isn't known for being overly unreliable (quite the contrary). So why switch?
  • > ...if your IMA light illuminates and the error codes report a battery problem, it will be replaced for free...

    Is it that simple? My light came on with the P0A7F error code reported. Honda requires you to update the softwares first. They won't replace the battery until the error code returns. The dealer tells me this is the process that hs to be followed.

    How does a software fix a battery?
  • I'm going off on a tangent but, has anyone looked into or sold their civic hybrid? Where would be a good place to sell? Does Carmax offer good price?
  • Honestly I got a better payoff at the dealership where I bought my new vehicle at. I bought a Nissan at Gunn Nissan. I think Gunn is only in Texas so I would suggest go to Carmax to at least get an offer but also give the dealership a chance.
  • I bought an 09 HCH in September 09 on the west side of Los Angeles. It was manufactured a year earlier and originally on a sales floor in Riverside, CA.

    Just like many others, at 6500 miles the IMA light came on, went away, then came on a couple more times. I started reading these boards and decided there was no way I was going to get the 'update' until I had to (assuming I needed it - some 09's apparently already have it).

    Well, the driver's side window malfunctioned and I decided that, since the window needed fixing, I'd just go ahead and see what happens with the update - I'm not going to sell it with the light on and I'll need it gone to pass emissions - I've read posts on how to fool emissions, but eh.

    So I got the update on 1/30/09 and noticed that the mpg dropped to 36 driving around the side streets. I had *always* gotten around 43 prior to that. I keep a log at each fill-up.

    So, I started getting worried b/c it's happening... The same thing everyone else is posting about is happening. BUT today on a roundtrip to work and back (40 miles total) on the freeway I get 48 mpg! That's never happened.

    I've noticed that the car is acting much differently. It has a lot more power as it's warming up and the battery gauge is all over the place. It's full one moment and then empty the next w/o even driving very hard. It acts this way until it warms up and reaches some level of steady-state. Also, while driving on side streets it seems like it is depending more on the gas engine than before.

    It will take time to verify, but I think this 'update' makes it perform less well on side streets and better on freeways. That might explain why some people have a good experience with the update and others do not.

    Oh, and the window - They wouldn't fix it on the first trip and only lubricated the guide channel for a short-term fix. On the second visit they will replace the regulator for a real fix. I don't have time for this.
  • To follow up on my previous post on Feb 1... After a week of driving I am getting 46 mpg. It looks like the software update did not impact the efficiency for me in my situation, so far :)
  • I'm trading my 2009 HCH in today, after only one year. I complained to Honda customer service about the fact my mileage dropped 25% after they reprogrammed the IMA, and they were HUGELY snotty with me....claimed that they had received no complaints, there are no bulletins on the problem, knew nothing about any problems, blah, blah, blah. They called me back a week later to say there was nothing they would do.

    Meanwhile, my MPG continued to drop, hitting 27 MPG this past week. I'm trading it in for a MINI Cooper Clubman today, which gets better MPG, ironically enough.

    I'm sending a letter to the Attorney General of the state of Illinois to ask them to investigate Honda's practices on this. Essentially, Honda is telling you when you purchase the car that you will get over 40 MPG, and then they disable the feature that allows that. That is shameful behavior.

    I would encourage everyone else having the same problem to notify state authorities of your suspicions about Honda's business practices. Then copy American Honda on the letter.


    Pastor Keith
  • gregr2gregr2 Posts: 14
    good idea. I am thinking about doing the same. My battery was actually replaced and I'm getting 10 mpg less per gallon than I was when the car was purchased new. I also have a 2009.
  • I have 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid. In my experience, MPG does go down, when outdoor temperature drops. I get about 39 ~ 43 mpg in Spring, Summer and Fall, but in Winter it drops down to 28 ~ 31 mpg. Once engine warms up, the MPG comes back up, which seem to takes about 15 ~ 20 minutes if driving.
  • I'm sorry. They already know all about it and don't give a damn. If they did a recall as Toyota has the good sense to do, however belatedly, then they would have to spend billions around the world to correct the problems that their miserable engineering created.
  • Seriously, do you work for Honda? Your response sounds like something straight out of a Honda customer service letter...and has the same snotty edge as the response I got over the phone from them.

    If you work for Honda, it's really not appropriate for you to be doing their propaganda on this forum without identifying yourself as an employee or agent.

  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >Seriously, do you work for Honda? Your response sounds like something straight
    > out of a Honda customer service letter...and has the same snotty edge as the
    >response I got over the phone from them.
    >If you work for Honda, it's really not appropriate for you to be doing their propaganda
    >on this forum without identifying yourself as an employee or agent.

    No, I do not work for Honda. I own Hybrid-Battery-Repair. Please feel free to call me to discuss it if you feel that my answers are snotty. I take care not to promote my business here, just to let people know that there is an alternative to a $3000 dealer bill.

    Each of you has experienced one battery failure. I have experienced my own battery failure in my 2001 Insight and had the added problem of it being out of warranty (2000-2002 Insights cost $4800 for a battery and computer modules).

    The difference is that I have dealt with hundreds of people with battery problems or failures and I have examined hundreds of failed batteries. I can offer some information based on what I have seen.

    1. LOTS of batteries die at about 7 years with 160,000 miles on the cars.

    2. There is no fundamental difference between the technology of the gen 1 (2003-2005) batteries and the gen 2 (2006+) batteries other than the addition of 10% more cells. There is no reason to believe that the newer ones are any more or less reliable given the same programming.

    3. The new updates for both generations and the Insight are designed to extend the battery life and they negatively impact the gas mileage of some drivers (notably the ones who use the battery the least).

    4. Once the battery is a year or more old, every time the car is left sitting for more than 3 days, it does a tiny amount of damage to the battery (throws the battery balance off by a little bit). These accumulate and longer stretches do more damage. Eventually this will kill the battery. Parking the car for 90 days straight guarantees a P1447 or P1433 or PA07F error nine months later plus or minus two months.

    Is that snotty? I don't think so. Is it helpful? I hope so.
  • I had the updates on my 06 Hybrid Civic because the IMA and Engine lights were on. The did the computer updates and lights went off. I'm getting 41 mpg but the IMA charger is dropping to one or two beads when I start the car in the morning and periodically drops while driving. The other day, I actually heard the starter turn over when the IMA charger dropped to one bead. Incidentally, when the IMA is recharging very quickly to a full bead indication. Seems to me the battery isn't holding its charge? I took the car to the dealership and was told the hybrid battery was fine. So does anyone know what's going on with my hybrid and what the fix might be?

  • My battery did not fail. I had only 14,500 miles on the car when I traded it in this weekend after only one year of ownership. I traded it in because Honda had led me to believe that I would get more than 40 MPG, and then did a bait and switch to reprogram the car for THEIR convenience, not mine, and left me with a one year old hybrid vehicle that was now getting lower MPG than standard cars do. I traded it in because it now was laboring to get up to highway speed because the IMA was not kicking in. I traded it in because I resent a company that would treat me that way.

    Maybe the problem here is that we're dealing with two separate issues: battery failure and MPG drop due to IMA reprogramming. I suspect that the folks who had battery failure and replacements were also subjected to the IMA reprogram, and may not realize that's what happened.

    I reacted to your comments because you seem to be blaming the owners, or at least what you perceive as our ignorance...and that came across as a defense of what I see as an indefensible practice on the part of Honda that has nothing to do with how batteries behave...this is about how companies behave, as I see it.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    I think you may have a problem with the battery (okay, I KNOW you have a problem with the battery), but it technically hasn't failed yet, so officially the battery is "fine". The good news for you is that it will throw a code soon. Be sure to keep your paperwork from the dealer because that mileage will can be used as proof that the car was in warranty.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >I reacted to your comments because you seem to be blaming the owners, or at
    >least what you perceive as our ignorance...and that came across as a defense of
    >what I see as an indefensible practice on the part of Honda that has nothing to do
    >with how batteries behave...this is about how companies behave, as I see it.

    I'm not defending Honda, but I can see why they've done what they have done. From a technical standpoint, they have come up with a "reasonable" (at least to them) solution. The updates are designed to make the battery last longer. Without them, it appears that you're looking at about 7-8 years max. It is hard to pin down exactly what the new updates are doing in a Civic because it is a CVT and the driver is not as informed about what the engine and transmission are doing as it is in a manual transmission Insight. Insight owners can even quantify the mpg changes that 5lbs of air pressure in the tires will give and how seasonal gas changes and temperatures affect MPG - because they are more "into" mpg savings (or they wouldn't have bought an Insight) and because the lighter weight, smaller engine and manual transmission allow you to feel the effects better than the cushier ride of the 4 cylinder Civic.

    Multiple Insight owners have reported that the upgraded software makes the car more likely to regen when the SOC gauge (battery gauge) is below half and that it is much more likely to assist if the SOC is above half. This has an extreme effect on the mpg of hypermilers and those that drive with a very light touch and almost never use the battery. Drivers with a heavier touch or even a lead foot don't see as much of a change because the percentage change is smaller.

    The Insight and Civic (and even the Civic 1 and Civic 2) software updates may or may not be comparable. I believe that they take the same approach toward battery longevity, so they should have similar effects on mileage. How you drive will affect how much your mileage will change with the new updates.

    What I did react to was the person who said that their car was a deathtrap when the battery recal'd. During that time, there is no assist available, and the person claimed that the car was unsafe to drive. To that I responded that every one of us has used enough assist to run out of battery power. At that point, the car is not unsafe, so why would a normal recal event be unsafe? Inconvenient? Yes. Annoying? Definitely. But unsafe? No.

    Recals are a normal corrective feature of the IMA system to adapt to the changing capacity of the battery as it ages. It is perfectly normal to get an occasional recal (like one a year or so), but when they happen frequently, it is a sign that the battery is deteriorating rapidly.
  • I purchased a 2008 HCH and same problem. 1st 20K got 55mpg, last 20 K got 28 MPG. Under the lemon law, I had to get the car serviced 3 times before I could file a complaint. Each time I brought the car in, Honda gave me another stupid reason why the MPG were so low.

    First time is was I had the oil changed somewhere else.... so I did the oil change with them and no difference.

    Then they said it was my driving or my choice of fuel, but I am the same driver using the same gas stations as before when I was getting 55 MPG.

    ON the 4th and final check before I filed the complaint, the dealership opend my trunk and took pictures of the brochures I had (50 lbs) and told me it was the weight of the cars.

    He also told me I had worn tires and cupping on the back tires.

    Indeed, the tires I had purchased 4 months ago, after wearing out the other tires were now having unusal wear.

    What he did not tell me is that Honda has a service bulletin on 2006-2008 HCH which causes those models to wear excessively due to faulty axel rods(Ask for bulletin 08-001.

    Before I found out about the bulletin, I had the car completely services by them including new tires, oil change and tune up. I gave my wife (110lbs) the car to drive for a week and used Chevron gas for that tank.

    I empty the trunk and guess what... no difference...

    Now I have not tried to rig the car to work without a driver, but I am certain the MPG would not change if I did. When I found out about the service bulletin, the dealership told me that they did not tell me about the bulletin because I did not complain of the wearing of the tires....

    While true, the dearler ship checked the car from top to bottom and that included filling the tires to the reccomended pressure. Now can anyone imagine Honda checking this car from top to bottom under treat of a lemmon law suit and not noticing the tire wear untill just after the warranty expired ?

    On the 4th and final exam of the car, he finnally found the worn tires eve;n though I did not complain about the worn tires on that visit. He also never told me about the service bulletin which I had gotten from another dealer.

    Long and short, something is wrong with the HCH when so many people are complaining of MPG drops around the 25K mark.

    I also notice a number of the complaints occuring after the first or second service when the dealership updates the software in the car.

    It has to be either electrical or software related. When the examined the car, it always registered ok on their computer checks (or so they say). I also had my right rear passenger window fail in the beginning although I am not sure it's related.

    Bottom line, File a complaint under the lemon law if you have owned the car less than 24 months. I am going a step further and getting my dealership and Honda on the local news and picketing them on weekends with a wheelbarrel full of lemons for all to see.

    Wanna bet Honda will be begging me to take my money back ?

    I will keep you posted.
  • jeb858jeb858 Posts: 10
    edited February 2010
    Good Morning,
    Yes recals are normal or a better word, abnormal now but in the first 1 1/2- 2 years of service they did not exist nor did my old school starter motor start the engine every morning when I head off to work at this point.

    The saftey factor is when merging onto the freeway with all the other speedy California drivers and trying to get to the rideshare lane to use my ride alone sticker that I waited so long for "and the only reason I bought this car, mileage was secondary" I go from 4-5 bars to zip very unexpectedly. Now I have a 3000 lb 1300 cc slug that will not get out of it's own way with a 4x4 Dodge Ram or a semi licking my rear bumper, not safe and very unnerving!

    The bottom line is these cars are not the same as when we bought them and we are being decieved. How would anyone feel if that beautiful 52 inch color led that you just bought turned into a black and white led after 2 years and the manufacturer would not listen to you.....or believe would you feel.

    We looked at many cars before we bought the Hybrid that looked better and were faster, cooler, handled great, etc that are getting the same mileage or better than I am getting now, I just wanted that %*&% ride share sticker.

    I can't sell this car now and feel good about it and I can't put my loved ones in it and feel confident. I am stuck and that is a really crappy feeling. It's a shame that it will probably take a Toyota situation to take care of our vehicles, of course if that happens their value will go down, catch 22.

    I am done venting, off to work in my car that use to exceed all my expectations. Thank goodness it is only 8 miles to work..downhill...and I will experience my usual daily recal, with a half battery, at the 4 mile mark.
  • I've already reported how my 2006 hybrid battery failed, was replaced and how the mileage has dropped to that of a regular Civic, after Honda monkeyed the computer, so that the hybrid battery would never fail again. But, reading some of the above excuses on why the dealers are telling owners that they are getting poor mileage, is disgusting. My dealership initially told me that my mileage had dropped because of the new tires I put on, after the factory tires wore out. He said they weren't hard enough, even at 40 PSI. What a jerk. If we all had solid steel tires, I'm sure we'd get great mileage, no matter what kind of car we drove.
  • 2ae2ae Posts: 1

    I bought my hch in May of 09 and it ran fine until December 10th of 09 when the ima light came on and was taken into the dealer that day. Dealer said they did not find anything wrong but updated software. I didn't pay attention to the paper work at the time but did comment that a new car should not need an update so soon. After the update I noticed the milage dropped to around 28 mpg in town and 36 mpg on the highway when it was 38/46 before. Took the car back in and the dealer said eveything is fine and the reduced milage is due to "winter fuel" and longer warm up time. Today I did some internet research and found this site. After looking at my Dec. paperwork I found it said code POA7F IMA battery low charged so now things are making sense. I don't believe the dealer and after reading this forum on ima problems I contacted Honda America to complain and get a paper trail started. By the way, the lady I talked to had no knowldege of an "ima" problem with the hybrids.
  • gregr2gregr2 Posts: 14
    Welcome to the club. Big Honda coverup
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > paperwork I found it said code POA7F IMA battery low charge

    That is a pretty clear indication that the update is working at it's designed purpose - to extend the life of the battery. I wouldn't have thought a P0A7F was recoverable.

    The problem is that they're doing it at the expense of mpg.

    Then again, it has only been two months since you had it updated.

    BTW, "winter fuel" and cold temperatures are a legitimate reason for a drop of that type, but not usually that much. I get 60 in the winter vs 80 in the summer in my Insight. Your drop is probably due to the reprogramming, however.
  • I had an '09 HCH with 14,500 miles...I got $15,750 from the Mini dealer. Toyota offered me $13,'s no wonder these companies are going to tank. The Mini dealer was jammed the day I went there. Toyota had...well, me. That was it....

    Trade that sucker in and if enough of us do it, the values will drop...
  • Does you car run on water, too?
  • I'm not sure what your post means....
  • I've been reading through messages and think we may be out of luck, but I figured I'd ask....

    My husband has a 2004 HCH with about 86000 miles on it. Over the summer, he brought the car in because the IMA light came on and the battery started draining while he was just sitting at a light. By the time we got to take it to the dealer, the light was off, and it didn't throw an error code so they told us it was a fluke. Last week, he went out to start the car and it was completely dead. We had to jump it. No problem... then a few days later it started up with the IMA light again. After three days of it going off and on it started draining the battery again, so we took it to the dealer (again) on the 15th. This time we got a P1649 error code and they told us we needed the part replaced -- $3700.

    However, they also told us we could just turn the IMA off and drive the car, if we didn't want to fix it. Car's still being financed with about 3K left on it, and we just don't have 3700 to spend right now, so that's the option we chose for now. This afternoon, he had to get it jumped AGAIN because the starter battery died. (They replaced his battery relatively recently, too.)

    I'm still wondering if the two are related.

    I'm pretty sure we're SOL because we didn't get the problem officially 'diagnosed' until 86K, but we've had it in for the same thing. I'm going to call Honda and beg for help though, just in case.

    At this point, we're debating just unloading the car and buying something else if we can somehow swing it. We're having trouble justifying a repair that is so much on a 6-year-old car and we need both of our cars to be reliable.
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