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You are in the Honda Civic Hybrid
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Honda Civic, Hybrid Cars, Coupe, Sedan
#493 of 1532 Some additional thoughts on the "IMA Situation"
Aug 15, 2010 (11:32 pm)
I have been lurking on this board for several weeks now, reading each and every person's unique experiences with the IMA situation. I thought I'd throw in what I'm seeing as well.
I bought a 2007 Civic Hybrid new just about three years and one month ago. I have run the puppy in the Phoenix heat ever since, putting 39,000 miles onto it so far. The car got about 42 MPG in the winter and about 40 MPG in the summer. I usually attempted to keep the the gas mileage up in the summer by limiting my A/C demand, with occasional body sweat consequences, but nothing too uncomfortable.
However, it wasn't until about three months ago that I really noticed a problem. At first it was just that the MPG for entire tanks had dropped to about 37. The reason for this became more and more apparent every day. Each morning I would start my car after it had been unused for between eight and fourteen hours. The battery indicator would imply decent strength, about five or six bars. But after about twenty seconds, it would drop to one or two. The car would then barely assist me in getting onto a 65 MPH freeway that is right next to my house, an issue that has become more severe each day, as I get NO assist by the time I'm on the on-ramp. From research online, apparently this is known as a recalibration, and I began seeing it every time my car was off for more than about five hours.
I took the car in once the recall letter arrived. I let the tech know that I was seeing a major MPG drop, and that I was having issues with the IMA battery recalibrating to effectively no bars every morning. They repeated the party line - "The software update should fix everything." Also, they had me pay to purchase a new 12V battery, as they said it was very weak and could be a contributing factor to the issues.
I'm about 450 miles past the software update. My MPG is now at a measly 32 MPG, and this as I am literally driving it like a grandma now, something I never had to do to achieve 40-42 MPG just six months ago. From my observation of the battery gauge and how it affects the assist and the auto-stop, I have my own theory on why this so-called software fix could actually be helping some people and plain killing the rest of us. I'm sure others have considered the same thing. This software fix does NOT do anything to repair depleted batteries. It just finds clever ways to use the battery less, especially when the charge is low. Well, what about those of us whose batteries are probably over 50% "damaged", "unchargeable", whatever the term?
What I'm seeing on my battery gauge is as follows: it rarely goes above four bars. When it does, it usually jumps from five bars to a full bar reading in a ten second period. The full bars dive back to five bars in the same period of time when assist is required. I don't have any inside info on this, but I'm just thinking this could be related to some of my cells being damaged, unable to truly be charged, etc. So what I'm left with is a car that is usually around three to four bars. The new software update effectively prevents my car, in it's most common charge state, from providing much IMA assist. Auto-stops are at this point a non-occurrence. My IMA assist onto the freeway is even worse now, as I am usually less than four bars when I enter the on-ramp.
I can imagine that the software update could provide people with decent batteries an improvement, because their batteries could possibly hold legitimate charges above a few bars. But what about the batteries that are MOSTLY damaged? Honda refuses to replace these batteries unless they are basically fully dead? What if they only have 20% capacity? The new software update renders them useless at that point. The MPG is now atrocious relative to the advertised fuel economy, and the pick-up power is that of a bicycle. It almost makes a person want to figure out how to just kill the rest of the cells so the damned battery finally reports itself DOA. Honda doesn't want to take responsibility for their warranty, so they are keeping the batteries from completely dying. Great. Easy to do. Stop allowing it's use past a certain capacity threshold.
Battery technology has always been the worst moving technologies in the electronic era. Laptop batteries have only improved to keep up with a 3-5 hour charge for most portable computers over the last 20 years. I guess I was stupid to think that these hybrid batteries would be much better. However, I'm trying to find out if there is a significant problem on the other hybrid cars, such as the Prius. I can't find as much chatter online about Toyota's hybrids. So why is Honda having a more common problem?
Finally, how the hell are we all going to figure out how to make Honda live up to their warranty? Do we have a chance, or do we have to just cope with driving a transitional technology that will be [hopefully] forgotten in ten year's time?
#494 of 1532 Re: Heat Related IMA Problems/Solutions [Ogre_GEV]
Aug 16, 2010 (1:36 am)
Those were YOUR words. Look up the thread a piece and read 'em.
#495 of 1532 Re: 2006-2008 HYBRID OWNERS BEWARE!!!!! [mabecane]
Aug 16, 2010 (3:46 am)
> Doesn't the computer takes over and override the procedure.
No the reason for the 3500 rpm is that above 3000 rpm, the dc-dc converter (the "alternator") is shut down. While the dc-dc converter is running, there is a parasitic power draw that makes it hard for the car to accurately test the capacity of the battery. By raising the rpm, you remove that draw temporarily.
> I'm wondering if I should hold on the update and see what happens. My wife did mentioned that the bars dropped down to one once at the traffic stop.
I think you should hold off. The updates will change how the car acts and until you have a better feel for how full your battery normally is, you won't know if the changes will negatively affect you. Mostly highway drivers like yourself often come to see me with 160,000+ miles before a problem. Some come in with 250,000 or even 300,000 miles.
The recal that your wife saw is not a problem. It is normal to recal once or twice a year.
#496 of 1532 Re: Heat Related IMA Problems/Solutions [shonda3]
Aug 16, 2010 (4:22 am)
I said that all the batteries were degrading. I also said that on average across all the Honda hybrids they are lasting an average of 7 years for those cars that are driven daily. I did not imply that they are all failing, but rather that they all eventually will fail (ie they will wear out).
I don't see the 2006 batteries as having any more or less problems than the earlier years. Your post implied that the 2006 batteries were all failing at an alarming rate. I was just answering that I don't think it's that high a rate. Parts on cars break. That's normal. Having them break while within their warranty period (aka their minimum acceptable lifespan) also happens. That's why there are warranties. When it happens a lot, it is a problem that shows that something is wrong. With an average life of 7 years, there is obviously something wrong, but we don't know what the life will be with these software changes. Honda is stating that the updates are designed to improve the lifespan of the batteries. The reason that your statement is a problem is that none of the gen2 cars is more than 4 years old.
I don't know for certain why the mostly-highway car's batteries seem to last longer than the city-only cars. Because I see mostly cars that have more than 12,000 miles per year (I don't see the ones with less because they are still under warranty), I can't draw any firm conclusions, but I'm starting to see 2000 Insights that are beyond their 10 years.
I THINK it's because the batteries are more full. Why this matters isn't clear yet. Maybe the batteries are getting less use (although I've seen 180K packs that get lots of use) or maybe it's just them being parked full (so that they don't unbalance as much before they're driven again).
The average (and i strictly mean some more, some less) driver is not seeing problems until the car is 7 years old. Possibly these updates will change that number for the 2006+ cars.
I do NOT have a vested interest in this. I'd rather the batteries lasted longer and people were happier with their cars. They will eventually need service and I'll see them then. I turn away a couple people per week because they didn't realize they were under warranty or because I give them tips on how to get another year or so out of their batteries. Why? Because I don't cheat people and they will turn to me for help later instead of a competitor, and they'll also recommend me to friends.
#497 of 1532 Re: Heat Related IMA Problems/Solutions [Ogre_GEV]
Aug 16, 2010 (4:41 am)
I admire your business approach. Customer service is not what it used to be. I live in a small town (9000 pop) where you would think repeat business is a must to survive. My experience here is that service business owners think they're doing you a favor and some are even arrogant and argumentative. I guess it's because the closest competition, a bigger city, is 25 miles away. People with your philosophy will retain loyal repeat customers.
#498 of 1532 Re: Some additional thoughts on the "IMA Situation" [dgiff52]
Aug 16, 2010 (4:46 am)
Your IMA battery problem is almost exactly like mine. My batteries may not have deteriorated to the level of yours yet, but are getting worse. I also have a 2007 HCH with 39000 miles.
#499 of 1532 Re: 2006-2008 HYBRID OWNERS BEWARE!!!!! [Ogre_GEV]
Aug 16, 2010 (5:12 am)
Thanks for the info.Ogre
Now after reading the messages these last few days and paying more attention to the car battery performance, I have come to the conclusion that my 06 71000 miles HCH IMA works the way it should. Close to full battery bars when parked all night, 6 or 7 assist bars when passing on highways or whenever climbing inclines.. Never drops below 5 or 6 bars battery bars. It's working perfect.
Like I mentioned earlier the battery charge bars only dropped to one once at a light. We do mostly highway driving , parked in garage every night, /north East weather conditions.My wife babies the battery, she will turn the ignition off when parking if the idle mode is on , so not the restart the engine before shifting into park. In a way it's a crazy thing Honda designed, you come to a stop to park, the engine stops in idle mode then as soon as you put the shifter in park it restart then you have to turn the ignition key off to stop the engine again. Kind of crazy and wasteful.
9000 miles to go before the end of my bumper to bumper warranty expires, i will keep a close eye on the car and this forum. i think most HCH owners do not know if the car has a problem and most don't come to this forum, so I would think the people on this forum have a legitimate concern and complaint, if nobody complains no one listen.
#500 of 1532 Re: Some additional thoughts on the "IMA Situation" [grunn320]
Aug 16, 2010 (5:57 am)
Same here. Not quite as bad, but getting there. I have a 2006 with 92K miles, which means I have no warranty left. Not sure what to do.
#501 of 1532 Re: Some additional thoughts on the "IMA Situation" [bossless]
Aug 16, 2010 (6:27 am)
as I have stated previously, my problem has been very similar except mine started a lot sooner. Bought a brand-new 2009 hybrid and after 2000 miles my battery light came on. Into the dealer, software upgrades, drove another 2000 miles and light came on again. I was told the battery was "no good". Battery replaced. When I first bought the car, before the first problem I was getting 44-46 mpg. Now I'm getting 36-37 mpg. Not driving any different. My battery is never fully charged according to the indicator. Don't get the assist that I used to. I am selling this car before it gets worse. as I have seen by multiple posts, this has been a problem with these batteries for years and Honda has not come up with a solution yet.
#502 of 1532 LA times article regarding the problem.
Aug 16, 2010 (7:01 am)
I hope it will get somewhere
LA Times article
Officials of the powerful California Air Resources Board are concerned that a battery management system software fix Honda has engineered to increase battery life also reduces fuel economy and might increase the cars' tailpipe emissions, potentially violating state clean air standards.