Civic Hybrid Owners Disappointed with Battery Software Fix

Last week, we reported that Honda finally acknowledged a problem with the batteries of the Honda Civic Hybrid by issuing a “technical service bulletin.” This comes after one year of complaints—more than 100 on the HybridCars.com forum alone—about diminished fuel economy and power after a year or two driving, especially in hot weather conditions. Drivers have also complained about a reduction in the battery’s ability to hold a charge.

Official Honda Service Bulletin

On July 23, 2010, Honda announced a product update “to
help prevent IMA battery deterioration.”

To address the problem, Honda earlier this month started to install a software update on Civic Hybrids (model years 2006 through 2008). Letters were mailed to more than 100,000 Civic Hybrid owners on July 30. According to the Los Angeles Times, only about 4 percent of the vehicles have received the software change so far.

As the first set of Honda Civic Hybrids receive the software update, the results reported in our forums are mixed.

“My 2008 [Civic Hybrid] purchased new started having these problems about 6 months ago. Now Honda reprogrammed the software. Made it even worse.”

“I took my 2007 HCH with 38,000 miles to the dealer for the software update a week ago. Prior to the update, I had no problems or complaints with my car. I loved it. Just the right combination of mileage, 41 mpg average with adequate power. After this update my mileage has dropped to 35.5 average with a noticeable loss of power.”

Apparently, the software change does not directly address the battery problem—but instead reduces the vehicle’s reliance on the batteries and electric motor. Essentially, the “fix” extends the life of the battery, but turns a Civic Hybrid into a standard hybrid in the process. As a result, fuel economy is reduced from low- to mid-40 mpg, to the level of a standard hybrid in the mid-30s. The change also deprives the Honda hybrid system, known as Integrated Motor Assist, of its ability to “assist” by receiving a power boost from the electric motor during acceleration.

On the other hand, at least one forum visitor reported that the computer upgrade successfully boosted mileage. “If this improvement does not prove to be false I will be very pleased.” There are other reports on the web that the software update reduced problems with the battery, without sacrificing mileage and power.

More Complications

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Honda software updates caught the attention of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The agency, which complained that it was not properly notified of the modification, met with Honda officials last week to determine whether the changes would increase emissions. “It becomes a potential air quality concern for us,” said John Urkov, chief of CARB’s in-use vehicle branch.

In March 2007, two Honda Civic Hybrid owners filed a class action lawsuit against Honda because their cars were averaging 31 miles per gallon—well below the advertised mileage in the mid-40s. In December 2009, Honda settled the suit by giving nearly 160,000 owners of the 2003 – 2008 Civic Hybrids a small rebate or discount on the purchase of Honda cars.

Ten years after the introduction of hybrids in the U.S., reports of battery failure have been extremely rare. The current issue with 2006 – 2008 Honda Civics could represent the first hybrid battery problem beyond a few isolated issues. There are currently nearly 2 million hybrids on U.S. roads.

It’s not certain if reports of Civic Hybrid battery problems in the past year have tarnished the reputation of the Honda Civic Hybrid or other Honda hybrids. Yet, so far this year, U.S. sales of the Honda Civic Hybrid have dropped by more than 70 percent compared to last year. The current model year of the Civic Hybrid was not included in the software update, and we have not seen reports of battery failure in model years 2009 and 2010.


  • Indigo Halo

    Man… I am glad that I bought an Insight-II instead. I’ve been averaging 38 MPG (city) and 52 MPG (highway). When I get into hypermiling mode, I can get 62 MPG.

  • Evan Matzen

    I am a very unhappy Honda Civic Hybrid owner. Purchased the 2006 used with 32,000 miles. Used to average 40mpg with constant AC. Now average 33mpg without using AC at all. My Honda, plain and simple, has a bad battery pack, but Honda America isn’t interested in replacing it. This car gets worse gas mileage than the Echo I traded in to purchase the hybrid. On the plus side, my used Prius averages 45mpg. Spectacular. Boo to Honda.

  • Dave – Phoenix

    I had battery issues with my 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid.

    In less than one year I have battery issues. A software update made the problems even worse.

    A couple months later Honda “reluctantly” replaced the battery….

    Many other have reported issues similar to mine. Honda has also been reluctant to replace their batteries….

    The batteries in this vehicle are looking to be a real duds.

    One can only hope that Honda is hard at work developing an upgraded battery that won’t die within a couple years…..

  • Dom

    “Drivers have also complained about a reduction in the battery’s ability to hold a charge.”

    This seems typical for most of the batteries I’ve ever experience, be it laptop or other portable electronics, UPS (uninterruptible power supply) systems, and standard car batteries. Cells go bad, or loose their ability to hold a charge with use and age… why would a hybrid car’s battery pack be any different??

  • Dave – Phoenix

    If you have a good battery and if charging and discharging is done properly, battery life for NiMH batteries can be quite extensive.

    Prius owners are not reporting nearly as many battery issues as Civic Hybrid owners, even those who have had their Prius for many years.

    Why?

    1. Prius has a larger battery which is not being pushed as hard as the Civic Battery.
    2. Toyota has a better handle on charging and discharging procedures so as not to shorten the life of the battery.

  • Anonymous

    this kind of makes me appreciate the quality of prius.

    hopefully honda can restore people’s faith in their civic hybrid line because insight and all other future honda hybrid sales will likely suffer because of this.

  • Bruce

    What the heck is a ‘standard hybrid’ ???

    I consider the Honda IMA and Toyota/Ford/Nissan design to BE ‘standard hybrids’. The Prius is designed for MPG, the Camry hybrid more for power, thus the sucky (relative to the same size Prius) MPG. GMs ‘mild hybrid’ is no hybrid at all, just an engine stop/start system. OK and a puny amount of ‘belt assist’ when accelerating hard.

    I feel for the Civic owners and the hybrid in general. News like this just feeds the “hybrids don’t work” evangelists.

  • dave.baragona@gmail.com

    Honda IMA is actually a “mild” hybrid because the electric motor is not sufficient to drive the vehicle, even at low speeds. The electric motor in the Honda can only “assist” in acceleration.

    With the Toyota/Ford “standard” hybrid solution, the electric motor can drive the vehicle for short periods at lower speeds.

    The GM start/stop system should be called “light” hybrid….

  • Anonymous

    I have had my hchII for 56k miles, and just had the recall work done
    on the battery. The Soc now does not stay long at the 2 pips, like it use to. Which is a very good thing, my mpg’s are still in the 43 mpgs as before. The 43 mpg’s is with the a/c on all the time and mostly intown driving. I am pleased so far with the recall.

    thanks
    hchIIluv

  • Jerry

    I have a 2008 Civic Hybrid with about 40k on it that I bought new. I was getting about 48 mpg hwy and 41mpg city. We started noticing about a year ago that the battery wasn’t keeping it’s charge as well and when we would take it in all they would tell us is that it’s just the way we drive and it was normal.

    Just before this last upgrade I started expierencing even more of a battery loss .

    Since the update, the car drives like CRAP, it stalls out on you in the intersection and will not hardly go at all. The AC only cools part time.

    The new update is a bunch of BS.

    I’ve read that Honda has settled a class action lawsuit with a group of civic owners but only gave them $1000 towards another purchase on a honda. THAT is CRAP, you know the Civic you now have is worthless and you won’t get nothing for it when you trade it in or try to sell it.

    It looks like HONDA has taken us all for a ride to the bank and we get NOTHING!

    Sorry for the ranting but I am PISSED off. The ONLY reason I bought the Hybrid was for the gas mileage and now that’s gone!

    We’ve been HAD…….

  • Malcolm Meachen

    The owner will benefit if a mains-powered Battery Charger ” a Grid Charger” is used to replenish the Ima battery ever couple of weeks.

    The Charger needs to deliver not more than 350mA of current for a period of about 6 to 8 hours. It cost only pennies to run, about the power of a small lightbulb in the home

    This procedure keeps the Batteries at equal levels of charge and capacity, among other benefits.

    This is practised by a number of 2000 – 2006 Insight enthusiasts that Car has the same cells in the IMA pack.

    You usually have to make one yourself though some individuals make them to order.

    This website is where the idea first surfaced

    http://www.insightcentral.net/

    Why Honda have not caught on to this is beyond me.

  • Eddy

    Well I just had my firmware updated this morning. Now I only have drove the car from the dealership to work. So I haven’t had much time to test the difference. But in my 5 min ride to work, I have noticed that I didn’t have any battery assist when I went over 2k rpm half the time. Also the head mechanic came out to talk to me about this. He wants me to drive the car around this weekend and report back to him on how the car “feels”. He didn’t want to tell me what he was looking for in case it put some notion in my head. Just wanted an honest opinion. Not sure what else he plans on doing for me. Will just have to wait and see.

    I have a bit of a road trip tomorrow so I’ll report back if I find anything else.

    For the record I have an 08 Hybrid that I have drove for 2 years now. The battery hasn’t been holding the charge as well as it did now for the last 6-8 months. I have seen the battery do it’s drain and recharge maintenance as high as 3 times in a month. And on hot summer days I will have minimal if any battery assist until the interior of the car has cooled down.

  • 2007 civic hybrid owner

    I just got the new Software update and My MPG sucks especially
    in City driving. The loss of power is bad for pulling out into traffic and
    I will have less power when it snows (not good).

    I called my dealer and told them to place the old software back in.
    They are giving me “we do not have the old version story”.
    I told them I got 26MPG with the AC running in city driving.
    Highway is less to 40MPG down from 42.5 to 45 on long highways trips.

    The loss of power is harder on the engine to move my car.
    I think the company should go back to the old software settings and
    place a larger alternator on the car.

  • 2007 civic hybrid owner

    I just got the new Software update and My MPG sucks especially
    in City driving. The loss of power is bad for pulling out into traffic and
    I will have less power when it snows (not good).

    I called my dealer and told them to place the old software back in.
    They are giving me “we do not have the old version story”.
    I told them I got 26MPG with the AC running in city driving.
    Highway is less to 40MPG down from 42.5 to 45 on long highways trips.

    The loss of power is harder on the engine to move my car.
    I think the company should go back to the old software settings and
    place a larger alternator on the car.

  • Keith

    Ditto. I hope someone is considering a class action law suit. I’m so aggrevated by my wonderful new non-hybrid civic. When they issue updates they should be required to disclose the new government mandated MPG ratings. Would you have applied it if it said 30 / 36 ?

  • L Ross

    Does anyone know if the Honda Accord hybrid is using the same battery? I know, there aren’t many of us, but I can’t find any mention of our Accords being affected by faulty battery systems. And I was told by Honda that they weren’t going to discontinue this car before I bought it, so I can’t trust them to give me an honest answer.

  • Anonymous

    For the record, Honda cannot reflash an older PCM software setting. There is also no alternator. Open the hood, you won’t find it. The DC-DC converter, located in the IMA pack, charges the 12-volt battery via step-down current. Try letting the car air out for a moment on hot days then setting the AC at 78 or so and gradually working down. Leaving it set at “lo” or 65 degrees or whatever will quickly drain the pack with results that are no better than a gradual change in the AC setting. For the record, I’m not that thrilled with the update on my 2006 HCH II though I know at least some of the problem is a lack of driver education re: hybrids.

  • Anonymous

    If you think your civic hybrid poses safety issues due to this, log a safety complaint with NHTSA: http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/

  • Cali

    HCH owners are getting shafted. I’m pretty certain that the dealer updated the software without even telling me because since my oil was changed I’ve not been able to finish a tank of gas with higher than 34-35 mpg. Since I’ve owned my 2006 HCH I’ve always maintained 40-42 mpg, depending on the season. This is a travesty and they are using our checkbooks to protect their own. Why should Honda be able to recode our vehicles (which, by the way, were originally touted on the invoice/sticker as 50 mpg) to use more gas and emit more toxins to spare themselves from abiding by the battery warranty. We need a class action lawsuit because these big businesses just keep getting away with this nonsense!

  • Elinor

    I have a 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid. I was getting 40 to 41 MPG until this update was done to my car 2 weeks ago. Now I am getting between 33 and 34 MPG.

    I contacted Honda Customer Care Line today and they basically told me that the update was to make the car more efficient and that I need to relearn how to drive it.

    After hearing that insulting statement, I indicated to the person from Honda that no one had to show me how to get 40 MPG when I got the car so what is it that I am not doing now. He was basically blowing me off and indicating that they are not going to do anything to put it back.

    I have gone back to my dealership who totally gets it but cannot help me as their hands are tied. They are going to ask their regional manager if there is any course of action.

    Does anyone out there have any advice? I am outraged.

  • Eddy

    Well after the dealership kept my car for a few days to test, I was told that I have to drive the car for a few weeks to let the firmware “set”. This is what tech support told the mechanic to tell me. Until I do this, there is nothing the dealership can do…

  • Denise C

    We also have a 2008 Hybrid that we bought new that has just over 21,000 miles on it. Took it in for the software upgrade a few weeks ago. We now have very limited acceleration now. I almost got hit trying to accelerate onto the freeway. Acceleration kicks in when you are up to about 12 miles per hour. Gas mileage has lost about ten miles PER gallon. The electrical engine hardly kicks in so no doubt the pollution from the car is now as bad as any non-hybrid car. Took the car back to Honda today and they said we should put the highest octane gas in to fix the problem. Guess what? We have always put the highest octane gas in. They know what the problems are and aren’t willing to fix it. So now I have a car that drives like and old clunker and gets terrible gas mileage and pollutes just like any other car. I bought this car mostly because of the help to the environment. I hate this car now and agree with you that “We’ve been had!”

  • ag,btown

    > … and they said we should put the highest octane gas in to fix the problem. Guess what?
    > We have always put the highest octane gas in.

    This is a load of baloney. You do not need higher octane gasolene, and if you use it, that does nothing good for you or the car. Your dealer is being disingenuous.

    Of course, I am sorry to hear you are also having the same problems reported by others on this forum. As a fellow-owner of an HCH-II I follow these threads with bated breath since I could be in the same position as you. Just wanted to point out the misunderstanding about higher octane gas.

  • Anonymous

    I just got the new Software update 2007 problam stat???

    please
    go back to the old software settings do not up date new software .
    car going faster u can not slow down with out braks.

  • Oregon HCH

    I love my ’08 HCH, great mileage and decent acceleration. Then came the software update :(
    I know when it was hot and I drove less than a mile in stop and go traffic the battery would drain fast, but still quite manageable. This software update was supposed to fix a problem that according to my dealer wasn’t a problem, at least when I complained about it last summer.
    Ah the update…being used to computer upgrades and software updates I’m always hesitant when these come out. I had a computer turn into door stop due to a bios “update”. Now it appears my beloved HCH has turned into an anemic underpowered dog, the equivalent to a automotive doorstop.
    I just hope I can dump this pile of crap before word spreads and the resale value plummets to zero.

  • bossless

    With all these problems being experienced why can’t a successful class action law suit be lodged against Honda? My 2006 Civic Hybrid seems to be working fine now after the software upgrade and a new battery pack. However, I had to pay half the cost because I was a few thousand miles over warranty. With a track record of defective battery packs, Honda should have to pay the total cost up to at least 100K miles.

  • IRT
  • Margaret Ross

    This makes me so glad that I traded in my 2009 Civic Hybrid two weeks ago for a 2010 Prius II. Those two weeks have told me that the Toyota hybrid technology is vastly superior to Honda’s, plus the design of my Prius allows me to carry some cargo that I could never have carried in the Civic. The Civic was OK…but the Prius is terrific. Love it! Getting 51/52 mpg on a motor that has less than 500 miles on it.

  • Rick S

    And I thought I may have been the only one with this experience and problems.

    I have a 2007 Civic Hybrid which I purchased new in 9/07. The car has 52,000 miles on it. At Honda’s request, I took it to my local Honda dealer for the software upgrade. I thought the car ran fine prior to the upgrade. I live in a very hilly area (the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at 3,200′ elevation). Ninety percent of my driving is up and down hills. Given the terrain I drive I averaged 38 mpg average, day in and day out. Hwy mileage averaged 42. When I replaced the OEM tires with new tires in 12/09, I took about a 10% “hit” on overall mileage but improved my vehicle’s handling tremendously (a worthwhile trade off).

    NOW, after the software upgrade, my car is sluggish on takeoff, has a lag between when you put your foot on the accelerator and when the power “kicks in”, is slower to accelerate and just doesn’t perform as well as prior to the “upgrade”. I want my old software back!!! My Honda dealer service technician is well aware of my complaints and has notified Honda Corporate. I was advised the CVT software will “adapt” to my driving style and performance should improve over time (huh?). It hasn’t and it has been about more than a month since the upgrade.

    I never had the battery problems as described by others here and, fortunately, due to our climate here, don’t use the A/C that often.

    In short, my 2007 Civic Hybrid ran better and got better mileage prior to the software upgrade. I’m not satisfied. It makes me consider trading it for a new Civic EX. At least I’d get a sunroof with the EX…

  • Rick S

    And I thought I may have been the only one with this experience and problems.

    I have a 2007 Civic Hybrid which I purchased new in 9/07. The car has 52,000 miles on it. At Honda’s request, I took it to my local Honda dealer for the software upgrade. I thought the car ran fine prior to the upgrade. I live in a very hilly area (the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at 3,200′ elevation). Ninety percent of my driving is up and down hills. Given the terrain I drive I averaged 38 mpg average, day in and day out. Hwy mileage averaged 42. When I replaced the OEM tires with new tires in 12/09, I took about a 10% “hit” on overall mileage but improved my vehicle’s handling tremendously (a worthwhile trade off).

    NOW, after the software upgrade, my car is sluggish on takeoff, has a lag between when you put your foot on the accelerator and when the power “kicks in”, is slower to accelerate and just doesn’t perform as well as prior to the “upgrade”. I want my old software back!!! My Honda dealer service technician is well aware of my complaints and has notified Honda Corporate. I was advised the CVT software will “adapt” to my driving style and performance should improve over time (huh?). It hasn’t and it has been about more than a month since the upgrade.

    I never had the battery problems as described by others here and, fortunately, due to our climate here, don’t use the A/C that often.

    In short, my 2007 Civic Hybrid ran better and got better mileage prior to the software upgrade. I’m not satisfied. It makes me consider trading it for a new Civic EX. At least I’d get a sunroof with the EX…

  • RJM

    My wife’s 2007 Civic Hybrid was routinely getting more than 39 mpg before the software update. Now she barely gets 32 mpg. The integrated motor assist is now only intermittent, at best.

  • HemiSync

    Wow! Glad I hung onto my 2005 MT HCH-I. I was considering trading it in this year, but was made to reconsider and just drive it till it rusts into the ground, which is what I usually do. I have 110k miles on it and have never reset trip A and have an average of 55.6 mpg over the life of the car. Would be higher but I replaced the OEM Bridgestone B381s tires with Michelin Greens and took a 3-5 mpg hit, but am happy because they are more stable on winter roads than the B381s. Other than that I rarely push my SOC below 50% and always strive at having it full. 5 years now and no battery problems. (knock on wood)

    Sorry to hear you HCH-2 owners are having all these frustrations and hopefully with this continued bad press Honda will get off their duffs and find a real fix to the issue.

    I will drive this car until a viable, affordable, EV becomes available that I can charge using normal household current or it falls apart. ;)

  • Robin F

    I originally bought new 2003 Civic Hybrid,seemed to me no power when i needed to quickly move out of way averaged around 41-42 mpg. Bought new 2006 Civic Hybrid , loved the ability to get out way better and mileage closer to 45 mpg but switched to tires to help with wet weather in pacific nw and mileage dropped to 39-41. Just had software update and now hanging at 37 and now i dont have that power to get out of the way!. Its scary actually..hope they come up with better fix

  • leekshuster

    Hi,

    I’m a newbie here and have a 2004 HCH Manual that just turned over 85,000 miles. I bought the car in 2006 with 53,000 miles, from a local Honda Certified Used Car dealer. The car has seen mostly urban driving cycles the past 2 years, with the occasional bi-monthly highway trip. A/C does see seasonal use in May-Sept.

    On a side note: I recently replaced the under-hood 12V battery (this was NOT really necessary, I just wanted the peace-of mind with winter fast approaching),

    And as far as I know the IMA (144V) battery module has never been replaced. The car performs well and typically gets an indicated 38 – 42 mpg in city use and close to 50 mpg highway. (We do live at 5000 ft ASL, which reduces mileage and power.)

    About a week ago the IMA and CHECK Engine lights came on. (P1600 and P1433). At the time they come on the SoC dropped from 75% to roughly half that. Throttle response becomes noticeably sluggish, but the REGen/ASSist meter still works. And the SoC gradually moves up and down. The most I have seen it come back to is about 67 % when the codes are thrown.

    When I clear the codes, I observe the following: REGen/ASSist immediately at idle shows (GREEN) charge and the SoC rapidly comes up to 100% within a couple of minutes. When the car is driven, throttle response is crisp and instrumentation shows “like-new” REGen/ASSist and SoC behavior in urban driving.

    Then, usually with a day or so (usually less than 20-miles) the same codes return (P1600/P1433).

    To the best of knowledge, the ECM has NOT been re-flashed or “Upgraded” by Honda.

    1) Is there a way to determine the ECM Version level? Especially, from the factory built original version?

    2) If a Honda dealer flashes the ECM, will it potentially mask the P1433 code? Making AH less likely to replace the IMA battery of DC-DC converter under warranty?

    3) What is actually happening when the P1433 code is thrown? It seems to put the system into “LIMP” or “LAME” mode? This obviously affects the performance (Power and fuel economy) and places greater wer and tear on the ICE powertrain?

    4) Does anyone have experience with Honda’s Certified Used Car POWERTRAIN Warranty or Third-Party Warranties, with respect to premature IMA failures? I still have mileage and time remaining on my AH Certifed Used Car POWERTRAIN Warranty. Is the IMA Battery considered a POWERTRAIN component, or excluded because it is a battery?

    5) Have any other Honda Civic Hybrid owners here joined the Class Action Suit against American Honda?

    Any advice (or dare I say Insights?) would be greatly appreciated.

  • Robyn

    Before the battery update, my 2006 Civic hybrid was doing just fine. Its earlier 50-55 mpg had fallen to 45-50 mpg over the course of 4 years, and I was wondering if the battery might be on its way out, but it was still better than a lot of HCH owners got. Nonetheless, I got the software update because I didn’t want to void my warranty and I thought it might help (updates are supposed to help, right?). Wrong. Since the update, I’ve had much worse fuel economy (38-42mpg) and the car is EXTREMELY underpowered. The battery assist is pitiful, and my rpms are running much higher under my normal driving conditions. The assertion by Honda that HCH owners can get the same MPG if they “relearn” how to drive with the new software is ludicrous – I’d have to go 15mph (and consequently get run over by all the trucks) to get the same fuel economy as before. What is MUCH WORSE is the DANGEROUS lack of acceleration that has accompanied the software update. I’ve suffered several instances where the motion of my car from a stop has been delayed from when I pressed the accelerator. The first times this happened, I almost got into a car crash because I was turning left through a gap in traffic – the gap would be reasonable with a normal level of responsiveness but when your car doesn’t respond for a few seconds and then lurches forward as it gains momentum, it’s just frightening. My dealership has forwarded my complaints to Honda but says there is not software fix available at this time (I’ve even asked to have the old software and void my battery warranty for my own safety). I’ve been so insistent that they fix the problem that now the dealership is going to check all the software updates in the whole drivetrain and check my transmission, although I can’t see that there’d be anything wrong there, since the car worked just fine before this battery software update. It is unbelievably frustrating to invest money and love into a vehicle and then have it sabotaged by Honda. They’ve stolen from me (I can’t sell the car with no power) and they’ve put me in physical danger. Honda needs to fix this immediately.

  • materas

    I’ve been having IMA problems for over a year. Honda tech told me my battery is shot but they can’t replace it under warranty because the IMA failure code hasn’t appeared. How convenient for them. Honda’s unofficial position is that if the code hasn’t come up, then all must be just fine. It’s pretty clear that Honda knows it has a problem on its hands with the batteries in the Civic Hybrids. Just look at all the complaints on the forums. This software patch is meant to delay battery failure until the warranty has run out by using the battery less, but it will reduce the amount of power that the car has as well as decrease the gas mileage. If it was possible to get the same gas mileage and power and use the hybrid system less Honda would have done that with the original design. So of course mileage will take a hit, as well as performance. It’s like they sold us a six cylinder engine and then put a software patch that makes it run on only four cylinders. Seems unethical if not illegal to me. I’m guessing Honda is expecting a class action suit out of this and gambling that it will cost them less than replacing many of the batteries under warranty. Is there anybody else (other than who has already posted a comment) who was denied a battery change under warranty (like I was) and was able to talk Honda into replacing it anyway? I don’t think we’re allowed to talk about class action suits on this forum but if anybody is interested in talking about other options via email, contact me at stephen@materaphoto.com. And let’s all make sure Honda knows we would never buy another Honda if this is how they treat their customers.

  • MM

    A successful class action was brought against Honda for the 2000 to 2006 Insight, several years ago, Honda lost, they had to give a 10 year 157,000 warranty extension and refund owners who paid for repairs.

    The problem centered around Battery compartment temperature and overcharging of the Batteries, so new Batteries and controllers/or software monitors were required at Honda’s expense

    Initially only about certain US states were covered, “the Hot States” such as Texas and California etc, soon amended to all of them

    It is a little bit ugly as even the Honda dealers cannot always figure out the new terms of the warranty, but many owners received and still continue to receive new batteries on the basis of the legal ruling

  • Rob1986

    Hey man, I have a 2004 HCH Automatic. Bought it Honda Certified Used in 07 with 65k miles on it. I saw your posts here and on Greenhybrid.com.

    My IMA and Engine light came on last week(P1433), so I made an appointment to get it checked out at the dealership.

    Anyways the point I am making is that I live in California and my car is certified PZEV (partial zero emissions vehicle) and that status requires a warranty of 10 to 15 years on all emissions related parts.

    So since i have a PZEV car the failing IMA Battery Assembly (P1433) that they recommend replacing is covered under warranty.

    This warranty applies to PZEV cars owned/registered in California, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont.

    If you live in one of these states you can Email me at r_carvard@yahoo.com and I can send you a scan of the warranty parts list the service adviser gave me yesterday.

    hope this helps.

    Robert

  • Irwin

    I drive a 2010 HCH and have put 18K miles on it over 9 months. It is possible that I will experience problems such as those mentioned above when pushing into the 30-40K neighborhood but so far it has performed superbly. I average 48 mpg with 70% hwy/30% city miles and notice no significant fall in efficiency in temperatures exceeding 100 F with the AC on. I have noticed that driving technique is intrinsic to getting good mileage in the HCH. When I am rushed my MPG drops rapidly into the 43 range due to excessive acceleration and breaking. Since the battery is relatively small it is important that you keep your acceleration rate in the zone that permits maximum assist while maintaining a constant speed as much as possible to avoid frequent charging/discharging of the battery. Does driving style impact battery life and performance? I don’t know but it certainly might. Incidentally, the HCH can be driven on battery assist alone in the 20 mph zone but it does require a delicate touch on the accelerator. Those who insist on classifying hybrids as “full”, “light” or “mild” are wasting their time. Is a “full” hybrid in a vehicle averaging less than 30 mpg somehow better than a “mild” hybrid in one averaging 48? I don’t think so. The important thing is to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of the vehicle and how they match up with your driving needs and preferences.

  • Tom in Atlanta

    I have a 2008 HCH with 47K and got the software update. Same story as most others on this thread. Combined gas mileage went from 41 to 35. Much less activity from the IMA. Now I’m Basically driving an underpowered 4-banger.
    The dealer service reps (Curry Honda) insulted me. The rep from Honda America refuses to admit any problems.
    I’m ready to sue.

  • PJ in MA

    Is anyone having this issue on a 2009 Honda Civid Hybrid?

    My car is at 34K, and the engine and IMA light just came on. I drive in the Northeast, but often in stop & go commuter traffic with the AC on. On a few occassions, over the summer, I noticed the battery charge dropped suddenly on the commute, but didn’t make much of it.

    I have never gotten above 40 mpg, and now with the light on I’m getting about 33 mpg.

    Any suggestions on how I should approach the dealership and Honda?

    Please advise.
    PJ

  • Steve (from Vancouver)

    As a owner of a HCH II 2007 and a hypermiler, I used to get 60+ MPG in the summer and 50+ MPG in the winter (Vancouver Canada). The overall average mileage for 3 years (~30000 miles, mostly on a 35 miles daily commute) was 55 MPG (with a 72 MPG high and a 50 MPG low). I was a very happy HCH owner… until the firmware update.

    Now I get 45 MPG in the summer and below 40 MPG in the winter. I know, some people will say 40+ MPG is still a good number. No! It is not. My average summer commute after the upgrade was ~50 MPG compared with ~60 MPG for the same period last year.

    What is worse is the loss of power — the engine feels so underpowered now. I consider this firmware upgrade a serious safety issue. If my life would depend on this engine delivering in a dangerous situation, I would likely get injured or even worse…
    I’ve got almost stuck several times trying to go uphill from stop lights in intersections and got honked by other drivers who could not understand what the heck is going wrong with me or my car.

    Very disappointed. I’m seriously considering selling this car for good if Honda does not come with a real solution in the near future.

    Honda screwed us big time with this one…

  • bill dewey

    I have a 2008 Honda and am disappointed with the mileage. For the extra $4000.00 you pay over a standard Cvic, It would take 20 yaers to have the Hybrid pay for itself. BUY A Sonata

  • Equally unhappy 2007 Civic Hybrid owner

    The behaviour reported in this post is e-x-a-c-t-l-y what we are experiencing. The firmware update pretty much made the extra premium we paid to have a Civic Hybrid instead of a standard Civic a big waste of money. Up until now, I’ve been a very loyal Honda customer, but that will change if they do not address this problem.

  • anjy834u

    Those fuel economy stats are out of this world. do u really get those?

  • anjy834u

    honda cra does have mileage issues but then with proper maintainance you can extract good mileage from them

  • anjy834u

    battery issues will persist in honda cars

  • anjy834u

    trye batteries have a lifetime , after that a hybrid car’s battery or any other for that matter won’t give good service

  • anjy834u

    true , battery maintainance is important in order to extend it’s life

  • anjy834u

    am sure they’ll come with better batteries in the upcoming editions. honda is a major brand after all

  • anjy834u

    hybrids are cool but yes coming up with a real hybrid is a touch nut to crack. most of them just casually name them as hybrids

  • anjy834u

    having said that , the assist in honda hybrid is good

  • anjy834u

    now that’s what u call maintainance

  • anjy834u

    you indeed have every reason to be pissed and honda cars are known for battery related hiccups ; however i hope it’ll resolve the issue in coming editions

  • Oil Gas Man

    I was considering buying a Hybrid because I drive so much to clients and such. I test drove this Civic and it drove well but I see so many posts like this I think I am going to look at some other options!

  • Upset Dad

    My daughter went to her local Honda dealer in Montreal, Canada and was told she needed the upgrade, and charged her $100.00 for it. I have not seen anywhere that there was a charge for this, and think that once again, a female got taken by a fear tactic. Lucky for them that I live in Ohio. Is there a phone number she can call to get someone’s butt in a sling??

  • Upset Dad

    To be fair, I will reply to my own post. If you buy a Honda in the U.S.A., Honda will not pay for warranty work in Canada, so the $100.00 charge was in good standing. My daughter came home for Christmas, arrived on Tues. Dec 21. The IMA light had come on about half way home, so we took it to our local Honda dealer as soon as she got in town. Her car was on a recall list for an IMA battery replacement. The dealer found one in the parts system, had it shipped in and was installed in her car, the car washed and looking like a new one, and returned to her on Thursday, Dec 23. The total cost for this outstanding service? $0.00 That’s right, nothing. Everything was under warranty. Oh, did I tell you she purchased this car in Chicago?? WOW, what a dealership. If you want to see an outfit that has their act together, stop in the next time you pass through Lancaster, OH

  • KS

    I have a 2006 HCH and my wife has a 2005 HCH. Although our commutes cover different terrain, she has always gotten better mileage that I have. Her’s is a manual too, by the way. She consistently gets about 47 MPG, mine has never topped 42 MPG.

    I stupidly took Honda up on their offer to update the IMA software. I knew it was a crap shot. Well, I lost the gamble:

    Specifically:
    1. The car now feels totally under-powered. It doesn’t have them responsiveness as it did before.
    2. When starting “off the line” there is a lag of about a second. When you press on the accelerator from a full-stop, it’s almost like it’s not “listening” to your request to “hurry and move the hell on” from me.
    3. As others have stated, this is really bad when your trying to do a start while on an incline. I can see how this is a SAFETY ISSUE (can you see this, Honda?). If I am on a hill with people lined up after me and I’m on a hill (not even that steep either,mind you) and I try to accelerate I get that sinking feel that the car has just died, but because I’m moving a little, the car in back of me thinks I’m moving. I see a rear-end collision being caused because of this. To make matters worse, because there is not enough power available, the car can actually move backwards a little. Yikes.
    4. My mileage has never been anything near to what Honda claimed. But I was OK with topping out at a little over 40+ MPG. I also had a nice responsive car too with a lot of zip (much more than my wife’s 2005 HCH). Now with the software update I am getting about 30 MPG and it’s seem to be getting worse, not better. How’s that for “learning” my driving patten?
    5. The IMA battery is charges up very quickly; almost suspiciously quickly. But it’s like a faux-charge. The indicator says it’s full. But the minute the IMA kicks in to use the battery reserve several ticks are taken off the gauge. This can be caused from simple accelerations (for a few seconds) while moving, or from going from a dead-stop to a start. I used to maintain a relative high-level of IMA battery reserve and rarely get down to two “ticks”. It’s not unusual for me to be running at near-empty on the battery guage, which further adds anxiety to my drives. Without the IMA power, you’ve got a nearly useless car that may malfunction altogether.
    6. In general, I don’t like the car anymore. It used to be fun to drive, but it isn’t anymore. I feel like Honda is incompetent and isn’t playing straight up with its customer (remember, I bought TWO of their products).

    I plan on trading the car in and getting a non-hybrid vehicle. I would probably get better mileage with a compact Ford and not have to worry about all the battery BS. Let someone else be beta testers for new technology; I’ve learned my lesson.

    If anyone can tell me how to revert back to the old version of the software I’d appreciate it.

  • CM

    I too am having the same problem with my 2008 Civic Hybrid. I consistantly would get 46-48 mpg’s on the highway for the last two years with aproximately 50,000 miles on the car. I did the mpg math myself since the onboard computer wasn’t as accurate. I received the software update from DCH Honda in Oxnard, CA in fall of 2010 and since then my mileage has plummeted to 36-38 mpg’s on the highway. Additionally, there is a significant loss of power, especially on hills from a dead stop. I’ll have the accellerator floored and the engine rpm’s wind up to 5-6000 rpms and the car creeps up the hill at less than 5 mph. Unexcepatable! Also, when I drive the freeway and go over a small grade (Camarillo grade), I get no battery assist bars. Instead I’ll get battery assist at times when I don’t need it like on flat straight-aways. I took the car to DCH Honda and informed them of the problems and their computer diagnostic inspection stated everything was operating within normal limits. I asked for my old software to be reinstalled only to be denied and their advice was to take it up with Honda’s Corperate Customer Service at (800)999-1009. It appears to me that this software update is to benefit Honda so as to limit the number of warranty issues by increasing the longevity of the batteries and be a disadvantage to Honda Hybrid owners in return for poor mpg’s.

  • MM

    The IMA light is on, your Car is still in warranty, return Car to a Honda Dealer, they will have to repair the Car at Honda’s expense. Do not attempt to erase the IMA code by disconnecting the 12V Battery or allowing the 12Volt Battery to go flat. Honda need to see the Ima error light to pursue a Warranty repair claim

  • WJ

    I live in Colorado and have the same problems stated above. In addition, I can only make 25mph going up the hills on I-70. I never had a problem before. I am ready for a new car. I loved this one prior to the update!

  • sergio baca

    I purchased a 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid, and late last year (2010) I had the IMA update installed, like many others have done. Honda service techs told me it was essential to have this update done. After that work was done along with an major service, I noticed that my mileage went down below 40mpg. At first, I thought, this is normal, and the engine just has to get back in sync. After several miles of driving, I noticed my mpg was either getting worst and never better.

    I could have purchased a regular Civic and paid less for the car in that case. What a rip off by Honda. This IMA upgrade made all my mpg go right down the drain, what’s the deal? When the car was new, I took a long trip down California, approximately 300 miles away, and was receiving well over 50 mpg. Not anymore, that upgrade/update completely ruined any great hybrid mileage I use to have.

    I want a refund, and a new car for all my troubles. I know Honda will not do anything about this issue, since they don’t even know how to fix this issue, but they must listen to those who have purchased their product for what was advertised as mid to high mpg from their product.

    I”m pissed to say the least, and the service folks, gave me a number to call and complain, but said they could not help me otherwise.

    Where can I make a formal complaint?

    Help.

    Sergio

  • Paul Albanese

    I have a 2004 Civic Hybrid. Bought it new. A month ago the IMA Battery went bad. The dealer replaced it and informed me that the new unit would only be waranteed until the time period of the original warantee (10 Years). This means that after Nov 2013 if the Battery fails again I will be out 3 to 4 thousand dollars. If this hybrid technology is so great why isn’t new replacement part garanteed for the same 10 years. What a rip off. Up until now the car has been operating very well and as advertised. currently only have 37,500 miles on it. after reading all the posts I am very concerned about Honda’s reputation and unless they make things right I will not buy anything else from them.
    These battery modules should not cost so much to replace. If you examine how they are made this is BS. There are companies that will rebuild them for about 1/3 of the dealer cost – what does that tell you. I am not happy.

  • Highbreed

    I’m joining the disappointed club. I have a 2006 Civic Hybrid that was working great until I brought it in for the IMA update last year. I was assured at Honda Service it was a software update and wouldn’t affect my car’s mileage or performance. Performance remains good, but my mileage promptly dropped from 42 mpg highway to about 37. I’ve been driving it now several months and the mileage isn’t going up. My battery had been working fine before the update (at about 53,000 miles). I haven’t had other performance issues, but when I bought my car in 2007 I plunked down another grand or so for an extended warranty, on the buzz at the time that the batteries could wear out around 80,000 miles. Now I feel I should’ve saved that money, because the update will likely extend battery life by decreasing functionality. If I go Hybrid for my next car I’m getting a Prius.

  • Frank Schilder

    We have the same problem (Honda Civic Hybrid 2006): gas milage dropped significantly after “software update” and it’s getting worse since then. Average gas milage during the winter is 33miles/gallon. I even noticed that the battery is being charged while I accelerate. That doesn’t make any sense except that Honda is trying to extend the life expectancy for the battery but obviously doesn’t care about the gas milage. I don’t recommend buying any Honda Hybrid to my friends.

  • Steve Wintrow

    i just purchased a 2008 civic hybrid and i am happy with my mileage. the car had 63500 miles when i bought it and i am getting 48 mpg on hwy. the one thing i have noticed is that i figured the mileage the old fashioned way by hand. the in car computer shows mileage is off by about 10 mpg only showing about 38 mpg. i will continue to monitor this and see what develops and will be back to report. i will also monitor just city and combined driving. i normally drive about 50/50 mix of highway and city.

  • michael buchanan
  • michael buchanan

    make this go viral people please visit
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002405862892

    comment and friend me, pass it on. We Have an damn good case.
    lets go to work!

  • michael buchanan

    sorry, been a long day. link is correct.
    i will repost if necessary
    thanx

  • jeff

    The first two year of owing my 2008 civic hybrid I averaged 42mgp on 30,000 miles. I then began having problems (34mpg) and notified the dealership who told me I didn’t know how to drive a hybrid. Then the software update came and I was the first in Tulsa to have it installed. It brought my mpg down to 30 with the battery charging most of the driving time. I returned to the dealership where they reloaded the software to fix the problem. Then they said they couldn’t do anything else and I would have to call Honda. After calling Honda they again told me I didn’t know how to drive a Hybrid and the car was operating normally. Because the IMA light doesn’t come on there are no problems according to Honda…..BS.

    I think that I would be better off is the hybrid system didn’t function at all because of its constant charging while driving, especially on hot day.

  • ginny

    I have a 2006 civic hybrid. I took my car in for so called recall on battery and since then gas milliage sucts and performance sucks. If there is not class action lawsuit soon, Honda owners are going to get into major accidents because of performance and milliage that some engineer got into their head about saving the company money on battery replacement. I like the size of the civic and I did like my hybrid until the milliage and performance got screwed up by Honda stupid engineers. Honda, when I called them twice is too bad. I!d say fire the stupid engineer this bright idea came from and give us a car that car we paid the extra money for and the cost of gas to.

  • joe

    I’ve been monitoring this for some time but have been reluctant to have the software installed. Last week I took my 2008 in for an a/c leak and they put the software fix on while it was there. My mileage dropped from 42 to 34 mpg. If anyone knows of a lawyer that is interested in bringing a class action suit, I’ll join in. This kind of mileage isn’t the reason I bought this car. I would’ve thought Honda would own up to it and replace the defective batteries, but they are not the old Honda I used to trust. Guess it time to find another car company where reputation means something.

  • joncruz

    I too own a 2009 and am having the same problems. I will be taking it in to the dealership tomorrow morning to find out what can be done.
    Sorry I dont have any useful information to help you but just wanted let you know I’m in the same boat.

  • Munchiniwa

    Went to the Honda dealer last week for an oil change in my 2007 Civic Hybrid. They told me that there was a service update that I needed so I said sure. Apparently it was the software upgrade that I’ve been reading about here. Now I’m getting 26mpg. The battery is almost NEVER charged. It sits around two bars most of the time. The battery will suddenly go to complete charge (you can actually watch the bars go up) and then completely discharge in less than two miles.
    I never had this problem before and the car used to run great. Now it sounds like the engine is constantly straining.
    How do I get the software “update” reverted back to the way it used to be??

  • Sue

    I drive a 2008 and have complained about the degredation of my mileage the last 2 times I took the car for an oil change. The dealer claims my car is within spec. I used to get 42 mpg and now I average 33 mpg. My car has no power and my battery is usually around two bars. They say they installed the “update” and it has not helped at all, only made it worse. I wish I could force them to try to fix it!

  • Shelly

    My car has been whining and rolling backwards since day 1 of purchase. Does anyone else have this problem. The dealership said the noise is from the transmission. Other shops say the charging system that is located above the transmission. Any opinions out there?

  • MikeRo

    I just bought a 2007 hybrid, I was thinking I must be doing something wrong, I bought this car to save gas, maybe I should of just bought the SI! I am averaging 33 mpg. Not happy! Wish there was something that could be done but after reading these feel more like im just pounding sand…

  • Amanda

    Three days ago I took my 2007 Honda Hybrid to Honda because my IMA light was on. They gave me my software updates. On my way home, the lights came back on the next day I took my car back up to Honda. They then told me that my IMA battery is shot. They said that it will be $3025.00 to replace. I wish I would have read all that was out there about this car before I purchased it. Beng a single mom who works fulll time, I now have to figure out how to pay for this. They told me it would be fine to drive for now, but when I try to get on the road the car has no power and I almost get stuck in the road. Its a death trap!!! Nothing I would want to drive my son around in. I work full time and with rent, car payment and other bills, $3025.00 is no where near my reach. Thank you Honda for holding your customers in such a loving grasp, thank you for being so responsible thank you for being such a life changing experence for me!!!

  • Nara

    I have a 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid purchased 1/19/2011. On 11/13/11, my IMA light came on. My vehicle at the time had 29,700 miles on it. Yes, I drive the heck out of my car and plan on driving 36K+/year.

    My manual instructed the owner to take the vehicle into the dealership immediately. I dropped it off and they ran some tests. They said it was driveable and so I picked it up, but that they had to consult with Honda since they needed direction on how to handle this issue.

    There was an P0420 error concerning serious damage to the IMA battery. This was disconcerting since I’ve heard of many hybrid owners with this issue in the past decade. Prior to throwing any fits, I waited for Honda to weigh in on this issue. While I waited, I was looking at the Prius… As I’m sure most of you are as well.

    Honda came back and said they would replace the IMA battery free of charge. (They also updated the software on 11/13/11.)

    On 11/18/11, Honda replaced my IMA battery free of charge and w/o hassle. I was happy that this was the case. But I am still concerned that I had the hybrid less than a year with less than 30K miles on it and the battery was reportedly at 19% capacity (when FULL!). This cannot be good. I supposedly was told that I have a warranty of 3 years / 36K miles on the new IMA (replacement) battery. I’m wondering if I should …..
    a. continue to drive the heck out of my car and put on 36K+ miles on it in 2012
    b. trade it in for a prius and don’t ever look back
    c. put my head in the sand (see option a)

    I’m wondering if any other 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid owners have experienced this issue…? Please share.

    BTW, prior to my owning the 2010 Hybrid, I had a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid. Never had an issue with the battery. Only issues I had were the Catalytic Converter (replaced at 60K miles!!!) and then the Catalytic Converter and Oxygen sensors failing at 198K miles on it. Yes, I had my 2003 Hybrid for 8 happy years and 198K miles on it. I LOVED that car. AND, it was a stick shift…. which BTW, I was getting 51+ MPG on it (peak conditions – no AC/Heat, coasting, highway miles, etc.). My parents have a 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid and my brother has a 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid. Their experiences have been different than mine as well. But different situation there. 2004 – all in town mileage — they have total of 72K miles. 2007 – highway/20K miels/year – not sure how much mileage he has there. Different complaints there as well too. 2007 – issue with breaking distance. I have the same complaint, but I just give myself more room to brake. My parents have had their IMA battery replaced a couple times and have been stranded on the side of the road. NOT COOL!

    Not sure if Honda’s reliability is living up to it’s past record.. which is why I purchase Hondas. This is my 3rd Honda! It may possibly be my last… Very sad, indeed. :(

  • Matt K

    I have a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid I bought new in March of 09. I have about 25K miles on it, and just last week the engine light, and the IMA light came on. I brought it to the dealer, they did some tests, and consulted with Honda after they got the results. The dealer told me the battery was shot, but had to wait for Honda to get back to them on whether they would honor the warranty. I found that strange and kind of ticked me off.

    Anyway after a few days they got back to me and said yes Honda will replace the battery free of charge. So today I’m driving one of the dealerships loaner cars and expect to pick mine up tonight.

    I have a really bad feeling about the whole experience though, under 3 years driving, 25K miles, and the $3500 battery is no good?

    What happens when this happens to me next year or the year after and I have no warranty. Depending on the outcome of that last statement will determine if I ever buy a Honda again.

  • viaw27

    where do you live and how many miles is on the car when this happened?
    some states have warranties up to 10 year/150k miles.

    you could actually file a claim and say that the light never came on UNTIL they gave you that damn software upgrade. you can actually claim that the light never came on to show an issue UNTIL the software upgrade. one way or another, the system screwed up in notifying you of a battery issue.

    also, $3k is much more expensive. i got my battery changed via warranty, but got a price quote of $2500 from San Leandro Honda for a refurb.

  • viaw27

    if you are under warranty still, file a BBB arbitration case and/or small claims court. Honda will discuss options about bringing your car into a dealership for them to do a diagnostic. Honda won’t do anything until you file something to force their hand. when at the service, make sure they get a reading of what your usable battery is. if it’s getting to 20%, then the battery is ready to go. i had to go through this for over a year of BBB arbitration, multiple calls, and then finally a small claims court filing and serving those buttheads because the Honda engineers continue to say that the drain is normal. continue to badger these folks and tell them that it’s normal if it’s infrequent enough, but it’s not when it happens multiple times a day. just like a computer, it’s normal for it to crash once in a while (1,2,3,4 weeks), but should not be crashing every 10 minutes and having to reboot all the time, which is what your car symptom probably is…much more frequent than what the manual says “may” discharge.
    good luck

  • Corneliu

    I love my honda civic hybrid 2007 european-asian model. I made 68 mpg with the software update! I have the battery level at full!!! untill now i have 90.000 km

    im glad to be owner of the last generation of honda civic hybrid with NiMH battery pack. The battery is most good than ion-litio. and most expenseve tehnology

    why just in USA is happening this?

  • Corneliu

    I love my honda civic hybrid 2007 european-asian model. I made 68 mpg with the software update! I have the battery level at full!!! untill now i have 90.000 km

    im glad to be owner of the last generation of honda civic hybrid with NiMH battery pack. The battery is most good than ion-litio. and most expenseve tehnology

    why just in USA is happening this?

  • Corneliu

    I love my honda civic hybrid 2007 european-asian model. I made 68 mpg with the software update! I have the battery level at full!!! untill now i have 90.000 km

    im glad to be owner of the last generation of honda civic hybrid with NiMH battery pack. The battery is most good than ion-litio. and most expenseve tehnology

    why just in USA is happening this?

  • k4dwood

    I have 2007 hch with 55000 miles. It had the software “update”.

    The other day I went over 6000 rpm trying to accelerate to about 65 over about a one-mile distance so I could get into the next lane, ahead of slow traffic, before my lane turned exit only.

    The next day it went over 5000 rpm just to get my speed up to 45 (forty-five!) so I could safely merge onto the highway.

    I think I’m going to write a certified letter to Honda holding them liable for any injuries that occur to me or others while I’m driving my car that occur when I’m unable to respond safely by maneuvering in traffic.

  • Steve – Tacoma

    I also had problems with my 2009 Civic Hybrid battery pack. A software update was done in 2010 with not much change in mileage (upper 30′s mpg). A year later the “IMA” light came on again, this time it was diagnosed as a bad battery pack. Jay Lee’s replaced it without any argument (thank you very much). Mileage has improved slightly.

  • Jenn – Portland

    I’m about to have my IMA battery replaced for free by Honda but I am concerned that the replacement will fail. Anyone have comments about the replacement batteries being installed at the dealerships?

  • Claire G Fryer

    I purchased my 2008 Honda Civic as a used car from Allen Honda in Bryan, Texas. My reason for purchasing the car of course was because of the quality car one relates to when hearing the words Honda Ciivic. I had just retired and wanted a car that would give quality performance and a car that would serve me well for many years, as most Honda’s do. I was very pleased with the professionalism of the dealership and was told by the salesperson as I was leaving that the electric battery should last me a good 150,00 to 200,000 miles. On December 28, 2011 I took my car to the Honda Dealership in Round Rock, Texas to have the software IMA updated. On my receipt it is noted that if the CODE returns, car may need IMA Battery. I was told the batteries were $5,000. I did purchase a warranty and was told that the warranty will cover the battery up to 80,000 miles. I am over 70,000 miles and truthfully I am experiencing a lot of anxiety over this fact. My mileage is 37-40 mpg, and I could maybe accept less mileage, I can not accept the fact of buying a new battery and would be pleased for Honda to compensate me with a new battery. This is awful, so does this mean at 85,000 miles I am out of warranty on a IMA Battery and at that point a new battery cost is mine on a car that Honda has admitted that there is a problem and car owners were notified under Bulletin 10-034 about the updated software.
    Has anyone read or heard if Honda is going to extend the warranty for the IMA Battery? I so wish that I has purchased a regular Honda Civic rather than the Honda Civic Hybrid.
    I also concerns me of the fact, does this mean the salesperson and Honda dealership were aware of these issues when I purchased the car in June, 2011.
    I would so appreciate comments.

  • viaw27

    technically, your warranty should last to 84k as there was some mileage suit that said that civic was overstating the mileage by 5%. the class action has an item that says the warranty would be extended another 12 months/12k miles, whichever comes first (if you choose to accept the class action).
    the software is a joke as a spokesperson was quoted as saying “the software upgrade is intended to extend the battery life beyond the warranty”. so in other words, they are just prolonging the inevitable and you will be on the hook for a new battery.
    as for $5k. not sure if that’s real cuz the older 2006 NiCad replacements in SF Bay area dealership is ~$2.5k with installation/labor included.

  • VMT

    Hello L Ross:

    I also have a Honda Accord Hybrid it is a 2005. I do feel like the mileage has dropped but when I have mentioned it to the dealer during maintance visits they don’t seem to pay it any mind. Have you figured out if the Accord battery is similar to the Civil battery?

  • Diego-Orlando

    I also have a Honda Civic Hybrid it is a 2008. I do feel like the mileage has dropped (36.6mpg) , the car start like a regular car always in the morning when i get ready to go to work this problem beging in Mid January, the speed is very poor for 10 mint. and My car has no power and my battery is usually around two bars ,The battery will suddenly go to complete charge (you can actually watch the bars go up) and then completely discharge in less than I reach the stop light and all this happen when software update was done in November 2011.

  • carl calo

    With only 16k on 2009 hch my IMA light came on and off. Honda stalled for a while and finally said they installed a new battery; we will see.

  • Irwin

    I have 2009 HCH. IMA and check engine light came on last 10/2012. Dealer updated the software which decreased my mpg from 38 to 32. Four months later, IMA and check engine light came on again. Today, my IMA battery and IMA motor were replaced for free. I hope this will last long until I will sell or trade in this car. I will still the American Honda Motor to small claims court.

  • sw

    nara, i bought my car on the same day as you and it is also a 2010. ima/check engine went off today. dealer could not take it in today but i will bring it back when their “ima” guy is in. how is your new battery holding up?

  • tapra1

    My 2008 [Civic Hybrid] purchased new started having these problems about 6 months ago. Now Honda reprogrammed the software. Made it even worse.”Top VPS Hosting

  • Daniel Lawrie

    In 2010 I bought a NEW Civic Hybred in New York for 2 reasons. First because it was the only car allowed to travel in the HOV (high Occupancy Vehicle) lane with only 1 person on board. Second because of the 43 miles per gallon it was rated to get. The car is NOT very comfortable but for the first 70,000 miles I averaged 43.3 miles per gallon and I was happy. At 70,000 miles the Hybred Battery died and was replaced. Yes it was on warrantee and didn’t cost me a cent. The mileage dropped like a rock down to 33.1 miles per gallon, what little power the car had in gone and the idle is not even. Upon starting the car in the morning the idle as seen on the tachometer and you can hear and feel it. It goes from 500 rpms up to 1200 rpm ever couple of seconds and last for about 8 nimutes. This makes it very difficult to drive in traffic. Now I want to dump the car but know I’m going to get screwed. PS, I have been a major Honda / Acura advicate and my wife and 2 girls have owned 9 new Honda’s since 1996.

  • thankgod_i_DidntBuyHCH

    I am so glad I read everyone’s comments. I was planning on purchasing a 2008 honda civic hybrid with 53,000 miles tomorrow and I just had a bad feeling tonight and went online for more research and found this site. The car must have had the update since I experienced the no power thing while test driving. I highly doubt I will be purchasing and am very grateful for everyone’s input. What a bunch of sneaky b*stards honda are for this B.S update.

  • Sir Craig

    I bought a new 2011 Honda Civic Hybrid and noticed a lag immediately in acceleration. When I brought my Honda in for an electrical issue (idiot light came on), I was told a new software update was needed (why wasn’t I informed through other means, like a call or letter?).

    Following the software update, the acceleration lag went away for a little while and I was happy. Now it is back and with a vengeance: There have been a couple times I needed quick acceleration to get me out of a jam, only to have the engine feel like it was about to die. I have to double-pump the accelerator to get it to respond in situations like this, which I feel is unsafe as hell.

    As much as I loved my 2003 Honda Accord, I cannot stand my hybrid. The gas mileage may be good, but it’s not great, and the accelerator issue has soured me on ever getting a Honda Hybrid again.

  • Chris2006

    My 2006 HCH has all the same issues everyone else is reporting here.. “software update” made it even worse.. They’re clueless about how to handle it.. it’s just the new “normal.”

  • Bob Brambilla

    Unfortunately, we weren’t as able back then to research this issue as ” Thank God I didn’t Buy” did since we bought our “factory ordered” HCH in July 2008. My wife’s Civic actually rolled backward when trying to accelerate from a standing start on a grade while waiting for the traffic to move. Luckily, she had the presence of mind to lock down her brakes when her car started to roll backwards while she had it floored to proceed. It’s seems inevitable that some owners are going to require medical care when the inability to “Get into traffic safely” is undermined by Honda’s reluctance to correct this “flash update” degraded performance!

    We’re ready to join ANYONE who has already initiated a “class action suit” against Honda regarding this BS runaround their scamming us with. In Georgia, we have LEMON LAWS on the books, which we plan to utilize shortly. American Honda rep (Reggie) calls to see how we’re doing with resolving our issues. Pure eyewash, as he’s stated he can’t help unless the dealer notifies him of a need. Tired of the “it checks out normal” nonsense from dealers. My ’05 Accord V6 Hybrid is aces @ 121K, go figure!

  • Lawrence 5051

    I bought a used 09 Civic Hybrid I immediately started having IMA problems with. Software updates were done which only made the problems worse. Honda finally agreed to replace the battery. I noticed an immediate improvement with mileage until summer came. I started using the A/C more and noticed that the mileage was lower and the IMA battery gauge was consistently registering on the lower end and the IMA assist was feeling really bogged down. I can accept lower mileage with the A/C on, but does or should the assist suffer so much also?

  • John D

    This is really sad. I bought 2008 Civic Hybrid too and I am getting 33 to 34 Mpgs. I had Upper control arm problem for which Honda refused to pay. That is another technical bulletin they have released and they are not fixing it. I finally got it fixed at a Honda dealer here in San Jose for $400 and also got an oil change. Ever since that day, my milage has dropped from 38 to 33. I was not informed about any sw upgrade they have done on the car. I was not happy with the 38 and now I am getting a 33. I could have easily gone for regular civic, but it has its own set of problems.

    Honda better own up the issue and recall the cars. I was hoping to buy a 2013 duel engine Accord next year – if this is the quality of their Hybrid engine, I am not trusing their higher technology.

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