Last post on Dec 09, 2013 at 4:52 PM
You are in the Honda Civic Hybrid
What is this discussion about?
Honda Civic, Hybrid Cars, Coupe, Sedan
#135 of 1535 Re: 2003 HCH doing just fine [Ogre_GEV]
Sep 20, 2009 (1:27 pm)
Dear Ogre: You sound like you work for Honda or own stock in the company. The reality is that people have paid good money and received a hell of a lot less than promised. The car has design and drivability problems that I suspect Honda is unwilling to fix. They are just patching things until the customer goes away in frustration. You can call it a recal, crash or just plain taking a crap for itself, but it is dangerous and definitely not what people have paid for. And I'm one who loved my car until American Honda basically said to go screw. I understand that the Accord hybrid was discontinued because it was far worse than the Civic, if that's possible. Junk is junk and putting a happy face on the problem will not make it go away. Buying a different brand will.
#136 of 1535 Re: Duplicate IMA Malfunction On Demand? [gibraltarla]
Sep 21, 2009 (6:37 pm)
i got my car taken care of at Long Beach Honda on Spring St (Signal Hill).
#137 of 1535 IMA Battery Problem...
Sep 24, 2009 (4:28 pm)
Here's the latest, from Honda about the battery crashes on my HCH. There's good news and bad news. Honda is going to make some fixes, but not what I really want. Read on.
First of all, I had the update done. I had no idea it was such a bad thing to do. As I said earlier, I lived with the battery crashing as just a nuisance for probably close to a year, but it was just a nuisance so I let it go. Then one day earlier this month I was getting on a freeway onramp that goes uphill, and lets the cars out onto the FAST lane (instead of the usual slow lane) of the freeway (a strange onramp) -- and at that very moment the battery crashed. There was almost an accident because of it, so what was once just a nuisance, I decided needed to be fixed. If I knew then what I know now about the update severly cripping the hybrid I still might not have brought it in (though at some point when the battery died, I'm sure they would've done the update anyway).
Well the update was done, the hybrid hardly turns on.
I'm not sure what parts of the update were done (another poster here mentioned it's in 3 parts?) I don't know if all 3 parts were done or not, and I'm afraid to ask. I've just been told that I now have the latest software update on my car.
So as you all know, now the hybrid hardly comes on. While I can still coax the car into all-electric mode for short periods of time at slower speeds (such as been 30-40mph), I no longer can do so at highway speeds (55-65mph) even though I used to be able to do so all the time, especially at one stretch of freeway I take all the time. No matter how gentle or how many times I try, when the car is going at highway speed and I lift up on the pedal and then very gently push it down ever so lightly (the same technique that still works at lower speeds, and used to work at ALL speeds), it no longer works at highway speeds -- it'll go right to gas. In everyday driving, only THREE bars of assist are allowed -- never more than 3 unless you really step on the gas (and thus by flooring it, it totally negates the reason to have a hybrid in the first place). And you have to press on the pedal more than you used to for ANY bars to kick in at all. And again, it'll never go above 3 unless you really floor it.
So I'm stuck with a barely-a-hybrid car now.
Plus, the update did NOTHING to stop the battery crashes.
So I called Honda Corporate in Torrance. They assigned the case to a 2nd level (rather than the first level of rep you first speak to) rep, but when he called me back, he said there was no fix, to basically just live with it, that Honda doesn't "know" if it's a battery problem that causes the battery to keep crashing (yeah, right), and that because of that, they don't do any "blind repairs." Doesn't matter that I was able to bring it into the dealer right as it crashed to zero for them to verify it (in the records). They didn't get an error code (meaning the battery can still be charged if only for a short time before it keeps crashing) so Honda would not do a thing. But the car kept crashing, and I asked to speak to someone higher up, and the rep refused, telling me he was the highest person I'd ever be able to contact, and saying absolutely that nothing will be done with the car and that's the way it's going to be.
Meanwhile after the software update, the crashes kept happening. I documented a bunch of them with my cel phone camera while driving (after the first few I changed the odometer to show the odometer miles instead of the temp or mpg as verification of how often the battery keeps crashing). The day after the update it crashed. A few days later. And again. And again. And again. (So this is when I called Corporate and was told there was no one else I would be allowed to speak to). Crashes kept happening, all the while I barely have a hybrid.
So I finally decided to go to the local county courthouse and pick up the documents on how to file a small claims case. I was told that I need to file it in the jurisdiction of where the dealer is, not where Honda corporate is (even though the dealer is just doing what Honda Corporate directs it to). The analogy used was "if you want to sue McDonalds and it's in small claims, you don't go to Chicago or wheverver their head office is, you do it at the local branch where it took place." Well, next I went to a totally different dealership to see if they would do anything, only because it was close to the courthouse. They didn't, and the head guy there didn't know anything, insisting at no point can the car go under electric-only mode, insisting if my car ever did, then it was defective (I managed to show it to him in lower speed on a test drive). We were just going around in circles, so I left.
Over the last weekend, the car battery crashed on Friday. I left a message on the Honda Corp rep's voice mail (after hours) on Fri that it had just crashed again, to please call me back. I didn't use the car on Sat. Then on Sunday, after the battery had charged up, it suddenly crashed again. Once again, I left a mesasge on the Honda Corporate rep's voice mail that it had, once again, crashed, and asked to be called back. It's Thursday now, and he never called me back. Nice.
I thought about it, and decided I was going to file a claim in small claims court. Up to $5000 it costs only $50 to file, and what do I have to lose? Honda uses defective batteries that do NOT last the 8-10 years that Calif laws covers on the batteries, and doubly screws its customers by trying to ride out the clock by installing software that cripples the hybrid so much they're hoping the battery never gets used and never has to be replaced. So armed with the documents (which I hadn't filed yet) I went to the local dealer today -- the one that I generally take the car into for warranty stuff, as they were the ones that installed the software update (as per Honda's guidelines).
There's a really nice, decent service guy there, and he was totally understanding of what was going on (and he was the one who had seen it visually himself when I was able to bring the car in right during a battery crash). Though I was completley unable to get Honda Corporate rep to do anything, and he refused to let me speak to anyone other than himself, left the car off at the dealer, making sure they typed in the service record what I was requesting (so it'd be in the record for the court case) and even showed the decent service guy there the celphone pictures (with mileage) of the battery down to zero on some of the crashes I was able to document with the cel phone camera (dated and everything). He said he'd see what he could do.
Well, he just called, and it's a good news/bad news thing. They are going to replace the batteries on my car. That's good. But they are saying it's impossible for them to install the old software. I can understand the dealership... he said it's not like they have the old software to install.
CONTINUED NEXT POST
#138 of 1535 Continued
Sep 24, 2009 (4:37 pm)
(CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST)
The dealership said it's not like they have the old software to install... he said they'd have to get it from Honda, and they're not going to send it. They consider the new software the correct software.
I asked him "well what about cars that don't have battery problems... it's not a recall, so they're still running with a full hybrid." He said yes. But he also said (don't know if it's true or not, but it's what he said), that the latest software doesn't fix JUST the battery problem, but a group of problems that may occur on the car. So if someone comes in with Problem X or Problem Y or Problem Z (one of them being the battery crashes, but it's not the only one) then they'd get the "update." He also said (again, I don't know if this is true or not -- can someone verify this?) that Honda considers this new software to be the normal software now, and that ALL THE NEW 2009 HCHs HAVE THE NEW SOFTWARE IN THE CARS.
Is this true?
I noticed someone posted something just a few posts back that said:
>>I also informed you that I would never have bought a vehicle that performed as the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid did, nor as my 2006 is performing now.
So is it true then, that the 2009 HCHs have this software that makes the hybrid only 1/2 to 1/3rd as useful as it originally was?
If so, I'm assuming it's because even with Honda replacing the batteries now (and for new 2009 car sales) they don't want to be flooded 2-3 years from now again as the replaced (or new) but still cheap/defective batteries inevitably go bad. So I guess Honda is making sure everyone from now on's hybrid system never gets much use? So that the battery will have a longer life?
At this point I'm not sure what to do. The batteries are on order, and are supposed to come in next week and be installed. It's about time, because the crashes are happening all the time now. The "update" didn't fix it of course. But the car I bought and paid $4000 more than a regular civic for, is hardly a hybrid anymore. In my court case, I was going to demand either $4000 or no monetary compensation if they put the IMA software back to the way the car was when I looked it over and decided to buy it. With Honda replacing the batteries, that's good, but I still don't have the car I bought and paid for.
By the way, I'm only writing this above to show what has happened in my case. Everyone's case is different. The crashes increased in frequency (to where they'd happen on consecutive days), was able to show it to the techs themselves, have been documenting it with photos showing the zero level and miles on the odometer, and was ready to file a small claims case (already had the paperwork in hand).
Can someone verify though, that the "update" is standard on all the new 2009 HCHs? Or is it in fact, just for people who have experienced one of the problems on the list of problems that the update addresses?
#139 of 1535 Battery Crashes
Sep 24, 2009 (6:58 pm)
Hi mrlar, that was me that test drove the 2009, that car did have the updated software, don't know if all the 09's have them installed or not. I am hoping to have some sort of response from the Honda Rep from the letter I sent, not holding my breath though. Am hoping that the battery in my car crashes, as of now, it simply sucks to drive it in the hot weather, N. CA, go figure... I don't know what else to do, as they continue to say that the battery is working as designed. No way would I consider purchasing an 09, how they have sold any if they all have the software update is beyond me! Keep us posted on your car..
#140 of 1535 Re: Battery Crashes [rosie2006]
Sep 24, 2009 (7:35 pm)
Interesting that at least some of the new 09s have the new software installed.
Does it work somewhat like the way I described above (ie, most of the time only getting 3 bars max unless you really press hard, and such?)
I guess Honda's throwing in the towel and instead of using better batteries, really toning down the hybrid. When I first bought the car I knew it wasn't a Prius, but I considered everything (it was close), and bought it anyway. Had it been the way it is now, I would not have. And when it comes time for the next car...
Just for the heck of it, I did a check of the Prius as well as the HCH to see what the service bulletins and recalls were. Couldn't find anything major for the Prius (I know there were stalls at first and software updates and such, but nothing really major like battery problems the HCH is having).
As far as weather, that's another strange thing. I live where it is MUCH cooler (by the beach). It rarely gets above mid 70s here even in the summer. Maybe there is one week each year where it gets hot (low 90s) for a few days, but for instance, no one here has air-conditioning. I park it indoors, and the garage is so cool, I store food there and even on the hottest days, it's cool. When I go to work, it's parked under shade. There are times of course in daily life where you drive to the store and park it outside, etc... but in 3 years of having the car, I have gone to a car wash ONCE. That should tell you how it's parked. So it's not constantly exposed to high temps the way it might be to someone in the Valley, or places like Arizona or Texas and such. High temps may indeed cause the battery deterioration faster, but the batteries go bad just fine in normal temps as well.
It's really a shame. It's a nice looking car that, until this point, I really liked. I guess now I have (practically) a normal Civic that just cost a whole lot more than a normal Civic.
OFF TOPIC UPDATE: I changed tires too recently, when (again, because of Honda's design problems), the flawed-designed rear control arm caused cupping on all the tires. They replaced the arm of course but nothing for the tires that went bad. I bought some of the Goodyear Fuel Max tires -- Low Rolling Resistance tires tested specifically on the Honda Civic (not the hybrid, but all the data for fuel savings the company posts is on a Honda Civic). It comes in the HCH's size and specs and stuff, so I paid the extra money for them (a lot of money -- though still less than the Michelin LRR tires).
After first putting them on, I noticed a huge drop in gas mileage. I hoped that as the tires "wore in" after a bit, it'd improve. I'm glad to report, it has. With the hybrid crippled on my car now, and hardly ever coming on, I'd have absolutely terrible mileage if it wasn't for these tires, which is helping me get only "worse" mileage instead of terrible. I can see it for myself: the hybrid assist isn't coming on much, but when driving even WITHOUT the assist (with NO assist whatsoever), the real-time MPG meter is showing mileage higher than it used to be with the old OEM tires. It just took a couple weeks for it to start performing well. So I can report that they DO work well (after an initial couple of weeks -- don't freak out at first, it WILL get good).
Specs on the tire are great (wear, weight, durability, etc) but of course it's still more than normal non-LRR tires. But after the initial few weeks, I DO see a big improvement on mileage where the hybrid isn't in use (driving the same roads and areas, comparing to similar situations with old tires).
It's the Fuel Saver tire by Goodyear. More than regular tires, less than the Yokohama or Michelin LRR tires.
Sep 24, 2009 (10:56 pm)
Two PSs, one about the tires, the other about the hybrid update:
(1) Tires. Just to clear up something in my last post about the tires and MPG: since my hybrid is now in "low usage" mode... for comparison with the older tires, I'm not using the car's *total* MPG (since it's now much lower since the hybrid system is hardly coming on). What I'm using to compare mileage on the Goodyear tires vs the old OEM tires, is times when driving with NO hybrid assist at all (since that's the way my car is now most of the time anyway!) I'm always looking at the real-time MPG meter (the real-time one that constantly changes) and I know after 3 years of driving the car where the meter always is at certain speeds and places. So I'm not comparing apples to oranges but comparing only apples to apples -- comparing the "hybrid completely off/no assist at all" moments on my car now (which is most of the time) vs. the same conditions as it was with the old tires (times where no assist went on at all). And after a couple weeks, the mileage DID improve in comparison to similar speeds and places in the past where, like now, the hybrid system wasn't even coming on at all. Right now my overall tankful mileage is really suffering because the hybrid system is hardly coming on, but in driving with NO hybrid assist, the new tires help improve the mileage compared to the same situations before with the old tires. For the first week or two the mileage (again, same exact circumstances) was much worse, but the tires have now been worked in I guess, and the mileage while driving without any hybrid assist has improved over what the OEM tires gave under the same conditions.
(2) The software update: Before the update, the car would always be right at "2" on the RPM needle for most coasting speed operation on the freeway. I never really went above the "2" except maybe when passing. Right on the "2" is where the needle always seemed to settle when driving 63-65mph flat on a freeway, and getting good gas mileage. With the old software, even with just a tiny push at that speed and place, the hybrid would come on with the RPM there at "2". NO MORE. Now the hybrid will NOT come on at ALL at 2 on the RPM gauge, but only start if you push medium (not light) on the pedal, and are at or above 2.5. Doing so will give you only 2-3 measly little bars MAX -- and again, that's only when pushing down medium to accelerate. And while flooring it is required to see most assist bars (as was the same in the past), pushing down HARD (not flooring it, but pushing down hard) is now the only way to see even just 5 bars of assist. And unless you're in the process of accelerating at least medium-hard (like from a stop light), you won't see any bars AT ALL until 2.5 RPM. 3 years of constant driving around 64-65mph 2 on the RPM and eager hybrid assist are no more. Now it's a piddly 2-3 bars only at or above 2.5, only when pushing down at least medium hard.
One final thought: I think about it this way. Imagine buying a nice new large-screen TV with a volume setting that can go from 0 (mute) to 10 (max vol) -- and shortly after buying it (while still under warranty) a very loud buzzing comes on whenever the volume is at anything above "3." You take it in for repair, but instead of getting rid of the substandard parts, the company simply resets the firmware so that the volume only goes from 0 to 3 instead of 0 to 10! You can hardly hear your movie or TV show, but when you complain, the company says "the problem is fixed. No more buzzing, right?" And if you complain that you can hardly hear the TV, and it's absolutely NOT the TV you bought and paid for, they simply say "well you do have SOME sound. This is the fix for this problem. End of story." Then, even if they DO replace the defective part, they still refuse to restore and reinstall the original software, because the new settings will help them not have to address that defective part in all the other sets. At least those who haven't purchased the sets yet but are just looking can see there's not much there anymore. But for the rest of the people who paid for and bought those TV sets that now only go up to barely a whisper on the volume? Would you buy another TV from that company?
#142 of 1535 Re: PS [mrlar]
Sep 25, 2009 (2:19 am)
Dear mrlar: Honda must really be experiencing some afterglow since screwing so many people. I am having the same experience as you did, except American Honda keeps claiming that my case is closed. I always thought that the Japanese model was one of providing satisfaction to the customer. Now, I see that Honda is back to building shoddy goods as in days of yore.
#143 of 1535 IMA battery starting to fail?
Sep 26, 2009 (10:51 pm)
I've had a good run with my 2007 Civic hybrid, that is up to about three months ago. I've enjoyed fuel economy of over 45 mpg overall and 42-43 mpg in the summertime. However, since the beginning of June, fuel economy has fallen to 37-38 mpg. In this period I've had full IMA battery failures that had not occurred previously. I've had failures in the past due to summer heat in the Coachella Valley, but now it occurs in the morning when it is cooler. I have over 75,000 miles on the car. I've discussed the issue with my dealer who appears sincere about resolving the problem, even if it means replacing the IMA battery under warranty. There hasn't been any mention of a software update and I wouldn't agree to an update based on the comments I've read.
#144 of 1535 Re: IMA battery starting to fail? [scbrian]
Sep 27, 2009 (11:28 am)
Let me know if they actually replace it, without error codes, etc, American Honda is refusing to do much of anything... yup, had a great run with my 06 until recently too....