Last post on Dec 09, 2013 at 4:52 PM
You are in the Honda Civic Hybrid
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Honda Civic, Hybrid Cars, Coupe, Sedan
#180 of 1535 Re: Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problem [shonda3]
Nov 30, 2009 (6:28 pm)
If I climb a mountain in my Insight, I am likely to drain my battery before reaching the top. Does that mean that my car becomes a "menace" because it has no more assist?
According to fueleconomy.gov, the 2006 gets slightly better mpg than the 2003-2005 models. The 2006 is 93 HP while the gen1 cars are 85 HP (and the gen1 insights are 68 HP but weigh less).
If I can get 63 highway out of an HCH with an adjusted (new calculations) EPA rating of 38/45, why were you only getting 46 mpg out of a car that is now rated at 40/45? I even managed 53 in local traffic (20 mile loop on local streets in New York City).
I won't dispute the fact that your mileage has probably dropped significantly now that the battery is recal-ing, but that is because the car is applying a charge to the battery almost constantly. It does this to test it to determine the SOC (State of Charge). You cannot determine the amount of charge or capacity of NiMH batteries by measuring the voltage. You must add or remove charge and monitor how it reacts as you do so. That testing is a constant 4 bar regen which sucks out 5-10mpg.
I'm not disputing the fact that your battery is 95% likely to be failing right now. I was only telling you why Honda won't swap it out until it dies: because of that 5%, and because it has not yet failed. It costs them about $2000 plus labor to replace a battery and if 5% of them don't need it, they save an average of $100 per car. Also, people who rarely or sporadically drive their cars tend to have much shorter battery lifespans, so if they changed it right away, they might have to change it three times under warranty vs maybe only twice if they wait until it actually fails. I spoke to a gentleman today with a 2000 Insight with 30,000 miles on it whose second battery has died. What he didn't know until I told him was that he had one month left on his 10 year warranty (Insights have 10/150,000 warranties). He only drives the car occasionally, so he'll need another battery in 2-3 years.
In case you think that what your cars are doing are isolated incidents, look back here and on the insight central board and you'll see the exact same behavior from the gen1 Insights and Civics. The only difference is that your car is a few years newer, so they had these problems a few years before you did. (And gen1 Priuses have battery problems as well.)
Honda batteries seem to be lasting about 60,000-160,000 miles depending on how frequently the owner drives the car. Due to the nature of the gen1 Insights, they get driven a lot, so a large percentage of gen1 Insight owners have had batteries replaced. More and more 2003 HCH owners are having out-of-warranty battery problems as well.
It's the nature of the design. You can't keep 120 cells that are in series balanced. If you want to blame someone, blame Chevron. Chevron, until a few months ago, owned Cobasys who owned the patents on NiMH. Cobasys would not allow any cell larger than a "D" cell in capacity to be built, because electric cars would be in direct competition with Chevron's gasoline business.
Lithium will actually be worse. The lifespan of NiMH is up to 30 years, so a failed battery can be rebuilt and the bad cells swapped out and then keep running for many years. A lithium battery lasts for 10 years - max. At the end of that time, the battery is shot. The longest-lived chemistry is probably NiCAD, but it requires special handling to keep it healthy. NiMH is the most durable and forgiving of the three chemistries.
#181 of 1535 IMA causes check engine light to turn on
Dec 03, 2009 (3:31 am)
Any way to clear the check engine light if IMA light comes on? I can clear it with a diagnostic, but it returns in a few minutes. Just want to drive the car without hybrid, because of high cost of battery replacement. Won't pass emmisions with check engine light.
#182 of 1535 Re: Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problem [Ogre_GEV]
Dec 03, 2009 (6:22 am)
Orge_GEV - Thanks for providing such detailed & solid information. I have to say though, in regards to your getting 52 & 63 MPG, those #'s are not realistic across the board. I too can also get 50-60 MPG in my 06 HCH but that is with optimal conditions (outside temp between 70-80 degrees, flat terrain, driving about 30 mph, etc). I also have an 01 Nissan Pathfinder that if I drive it like a "Hypermiler" I will also get 20-30% better fuel economy....as will anyone driving almost any car if they drove it differently. But driving like a "hypermiler" is a job in itself & most people already have a full time job in this life & thus don't want another one. The reality is that unless you drive like a hypermiler (which it's probably safe to say that most HCH owners probably don't even know how to drive this way as it takes a good deal of effort) the majority of owners will see city MPG closer to 42-44 & HWY MPG of 38-41.
My current 06 HCH was my first hybrid purchase & it will be my last. My father-in-law purchased an 08 VW Jetta TDI & all I can say is WOW! Of course I'm doing more HWY driving these days so the TDI makes a good deal more sense given it has 240 lbs of torque, is a diesel that will go for 300k miles without blinking or needing a new $3k battery pack every 80-100k, & gets 38 MPG overall. I know VW has had some reliabilty issues but the new TDI's are rated very high. And you have to appreciate a car who's initial MPG estimates were 29/40 & owners have always consistantly been getting higher averages (new ratings went up to 30/42). Unlike the HCH which when I purchased it had ratings of 51/49 MPG... which is a joke as the new 40/45 is quite a bit more realistic overall.
And not to mention the lack of power when using cruise control produces 5,000-5,500 RPM's to get uphills. Since most HCH owners do city driving, they don't ever have to engage their cruise control to experience this design flaw. But this is a MAJOR design flaw & deal breaker for me. Having to listen to such high, mind numbing RPM sound is not ok...not to mention the long term effects this will have on the engine (premature engine failure for sure). The HCH is not a car for anyone who does any amount of HWY driving. CITY driving ONLY & this car can make sense for people in major metro areas like NYC, Boston, etc where CITY driving is all you will ever do. Otherwise, buy one of the many regular gasoline cars that get decent gas mileage...cause the Hybrid simply isn't worth the added expense on the lot, battery replacement, & hassle. A Hybrid will not save you money after it's all said and done....you will get to drive around in an under powered civic with a "Hybrid" badge on the back though!!!!!
#183 of 1535 Re: IMA causes check engine light to turn on [dieseldawg]
Dec 03, 2009 (8:09 am)
No. The IMA system is throwing the code. What code are you getting? It isn't always the battery.
#184 of 1535 Re: Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problem [sholmes717]
Dec 03, 2009 (8:39 am)
I had the pleasure of having Wayne Gerdes (look him up on wikipedia) teach me how to hypermile. With him as copilot, driving is strenuous, and terrifying. He taught me how to get over 100 mpg city in my car, but there is no way I'll ever drive that way. He managed over 150mpg in a 2006 HCH.
I got those figures by simply puttering along at 50mph on the highway (the speed limit here), and driving 30 on local streets (also the speed limit) and accelerating gently and braking gently. I drove it like it was an AMC Pacer and I didn't use the AC. I also kept the revs below 2500 on initial launch from lights and below 2000 the rest of the time.
Now it has been proven that cruise control cannot return the same mileage as not using it - to the tune of 3-5 mpg so keep that in mind when you drive.
Let me give you an example of how driving style affects mpg. I drove from NYC to Iowa, around Wisconsin, down to DC and back home last July on about 50 gallons of gas. I was driving 75 mpg and using the AC some of the time. I also had nine batteries in the car by the end of the trip (overloaded by 600 lbs). I averaged 60.5 for the 3,050 mile all-highway trip. When I drive 50-55 with the AC off, I get 75-80mpg.
How fast are you driving when you get 45mpg highway?
#185 of 1535 Re: Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problem [Ogre_GEV]
Dec 03, 2009 (2:36 pm)
I had to pick up a couple of 2006 HCH battery packs from a junkyard today, so I used my wife's 2008 Chrysler Town & Country (3.8L V6). When I got in, I saw that the mpg meter read 12.9. I reset it and drove a mixed highway and city loop of about 40 miles. I also turned off the AC (it's December). The car has a 6 speed automatic, so I watched what the tach was doing as I drove it. I wasn't in a hurry, so I just took my time and kept up with traffic. The tach only went over 2000 twice when I had to enter a highway with lots of truck traffic (route 1&9 in NJ). The rest of the time it stayed at 1500 or 2000 depending on the gear it was in. I was not trying to save gas.
The result? 19.8 mpg overall for the trip with a peak of 22.3 on the highway. The car is EPA rated 16/23 with a median of 18.
My wife has a lead foot, I do not. Her minivan is so un-aerodynamic, that it's almost impossible to go over EPA without working at it. Honda's hybrids are a different story. By nature, they will perform significantly better than EPA when driven with a feather touch.
#187 of 1535 2009 HCH IMA/Battery Issues
Dec 06, 2009 (11:23 am)
My IMA issues began at 5200 miles. It first started when the battery would begin to recall more frequently and at times I would not have electric motor assist due to the low battery (1-3 bars). This was a safety concern when trying to merge onto a highway. One morning I observed the recall once again, no assist when merging, when rpm reached 5000-6000, that is when the IMA light illuminated.
The HCH was taken to a Honda dealership (not where I purchased the HCH) and it was determined that a software update was needed. A couple of days later the software was uploaded to the vehicle. Within a couple of days from that upload, the battery would start to recall at a countdown (bars: 6,5,4,3,2,1). When departing from work in the morning, the recall once again began, I accelerated to merge on the highway and the IMA light illuminated in addition to the engine light.
The engine light would remain on at every start and the IMA light would illuminate a few minutes after. I took the HCH in to the same dealership and it was determined that a replacement battery pack would need to be ordered for replacement. The battery pack was replaced and it seems to have corrected the problem but just the other day my battery did a recall. The battery charge dropped to one bar and once again I did not have electric motor assist to merge on to the highway. The charge did eventually reach 4-6 bars after a couple of minutes in which assist was available.
My mileage has been between 40-50mpg throughout this whole event. This thread has been very educational on the IMA/battery issues.
#188 of 1535 IMA issues on 2006 HCH II
Dec 10, 2009 (8:58 am)
Ive been experiencing similar problems with my 06 HCH II. At around 45k miles my mileage began to drop from mid forties to mid thirties. I had the dealership do a software upgrade hoping that it would improve things but then the IMA indicator began to be very inconsistent and often dropped below 4 bars where it wouldnt provide any assist particularly on an uphill grade. Ultimately Honda replaced the battery at 70k miles (without any error codes showing) under warranty but the problem still exists so it seems like a firmware issue rather than a battery issue.
#189 of 1535 Re: Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problem [shonda3]
Dec 10, 2009 (12:54 pm)
I purchased a 2009 Honda Civic hybrid and was getting 41-43 mpg for the first 2000 miles. Then my IMA light came on and my moderates dropped to around 34-36 mpg. I took the car in and was told the "computer need an update". The light stayed off but the mileage stayed down around 34-36. Yesterday, the light came on again.
It sounds like these batteries are crap. I am wondering why Honda hasn't corrected this problem since it sounds like it has been going on for several years. Interestingly, they keep selling a lot of these cars. This does not seem to be a very well-publicized problem. I was not aware of it when I bought the car and probably would not have bought the car if I had known beforehand of this problem.