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  1. #11

    Consumer Reports weighs in

    I just received the April 2007 Consumer Reports.

    On page 83 they explain their reliabilty ratings:
    "Because problem rates in some trouble spots are very low, we do not assign a (black circle) or (half black circle) unless the model's problem rate exceeds 3 percent. If a problem rate is below 2 percent, it will be assigned a (half red circle). If a problem rate is below 1 percent, it will be assigned a (red circle)."

    The Civic Hybrid reliability information is listed on page 87. Under transmission, the '03 model has a (half black circle), the '04 - '05 models have (half red circle) and the '06 model has a (red circle). So, at least 3% of '03 HCH owners have had a problem with their transmission. Did Honda make a transmission change between '03 and '04?

    Interestingly, the regular '03 Honda Civic sedan rates higher in some areas than the Hybrid. I thought they were virtually identical.

    Of course, compared to other manufacturers, you won't find very many "black marks" in the Honda line up. On page 25 they list the predicted liability by make. Toyota and Honda are tied at the top, followed by Scion, Acura and Lexus (all brand mates!).

    I hope that when Consumer Reports subscribers complete their upcoming reliability questionnaire that the transmission trouble spot does not slide to a (black circle).

    I have an '03 HCH and have had the fluid change/burnishing procedure done as a "courtesy warrantee". My brother also has an '03 HCH and has had the same procedure, too. So far, so good. I'm glad I got an 80K Honda extended warrantee.

    I really think Honda owes all of us 1st generation owners a free repair when they find a permanent solution to this problem.

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  3. #12

    04 hybrid - lemon law

    Thanks for this post. My Honda dealership looks at me like I am crazy when I take the car in, and they have comments like, "well, the tech thinks he has seen this before." That does not give me much confidence.

    In South Carolina our Lemon Law protects lessors and buyers from three repairs for the same thing. So, I would encourage you to look into the lemmon laws for your state. I was dissapointed to read that this occurs in only 4% and I just got that lucky, huh?

    After the 53K slippage, It has now returned at 55K. The dealership charged me 250 for the first fluid change, and wants 136 for the burnishing. Thats a togal of 386 (impressed with my math skills, aren't you?) and I have to wonder what a new transmission would have cost me. Besides I am only leasing this car, so I am paying for a repair to someone else's vehicle. I think it's time to let it go, or let them hit lemon status and see what my rights are then.

    Argh. Nonetheless, thanks for giving me some amunition for resolve. I appreciate it.

  4. #13
    "The easier solution is to replace the Transmission fluid more frequently than called by the service schedule."

    It would be nice if Honda could issue a "paper" schedule for the recent models that rely entirely on the maintenance reminder, with a disclaimer or whatever it takes. MSantos, do you have any links or info on this.

  5. #14
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    Bad transmissions in 03 Civic Hybrid

    I am about to get my third transmission at 24,000 miles. And I already have a new hybrid battery (which is supposed to last for 80,000 miles). the lemon law in my state doesn't cover this situation and the dealership is happy to give me a new transmission, but who would ever buy this car - and I was just about to sell it. I am so disappointed and in researching on the web, it appears that nearly every site from carreviews to car complaints, to edmunds to consumer reports show serious problems with this model of the hybrid. I want a refund not new parts annually. Does anyone have experience in getting a refund.

  6. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisaf View Post
    Does anyone have experience in getting a refund.
    I wish I knew of any "refund" examples to comfort you. Instead, the examples I know of are likely to do just the opposite - in part because many folks decided to not take the high road and burnt a few bridges along the way.

    Have you spoken to a consumer advocate or lawyer yet?
    If not, and until you do, I suggest that you collect as much information (as you probably have already) in terms of receipts, complaint dates, etc, as possible.
    Also, try to remain cordial to the service personnel, for a hard as that may be, and write a few letters to you local or regional Honda office. Be VERY assertive, accurate in the description of your problems, and most of all... avoid demonstrations of anger - document everything they say.
    In the meantime look up a consumer advocate or a specialized lawyer and just to find out what your odds are.

    I do know of instances where the manufacturer offered a credit towards the purchase of a newer model. This (and others) may be an adequate negotiating route especially if you have willingness & energy to exploit these types of opportunities.

    Please PM me if you wish additional details or clarifications.

    Good luck;

    MSantos

  7. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendel Leisk View Post
    It would be nice if Honda could issue a "paper" schedule for the recent models that rely entirely on the maintenance reminder, with a disclaimer or whatever it takes. MSantos, do you have any links or info on this.
    Sorry Mendel;

    Honda has not released any additional information onto the channel pertaining to the servicing and maintenance of the new CVT units. However, they've done a much better job in outlining (rather explicitly and comprehensively) the related maintenance procedures in their service and training literature than they did for the previous model (2003-2005).

    Also, Honda has made public the design and manufacturing measures that were accommodated for the new HCH Gen 2 model, in particular improvements to promote higher CVT reliability.

    So far, the HCH Gen 2 CVT appears to be baselining quite well with very few reports of issues or problems.

    Cheers;

    MSantos

  8. #17
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    Slipping Problems Too

    Thank you so much for this post.

    When my HCH was in warranty I experienced the same problem and like everyone else, I had the CVT fluid changed. Again, like everyone else, it solved the issue for a few thousand miles; twice. Now at just over 50K miles and feeling the slipping again, I am also experiencing a dangerous jerking when starting off from a stop light while the AC is on. I have to turn off the AC, take off from the stop light and then turn it back on. Even then, there seems to be a strain to get up to speed, the battery is at half life and the mileage is way down. I also read the post about the batterying dying overnight. I think this has also started to occur.

    This post may allow me to get to the root of the problem much more efficiently and the replies may give me recourse Honda does not resolve the issues to my satisfaction.

    Good luck with your issue.

    Jeanne

  9. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    I have an 03 civic hybrid with CVT transmission. I got it certified used at about 36,000 miles and it was supposed to have fresh trans fluid and I believe it did. The powertrain is warranted to 100,000 miles since it was certified used. I am at 74,000 now. At about 66,000, when it should have been due for itís transmission fluid change, it was making a slipping/grinding sound when starting off, especially on a hill. It had previously been very smooth and quiet. It gradually became a problem. It was not all of a sudden. It was hard to know for sure that it was not my imagination, except for it being real obvious on an incline and it was getting worse. The dealerís mechanic heard the sound, too, and said letís start with the fluid change it was due for. The change made it great again, but only for a few thousand miles. When I went back they said they had learned about a process called burnishing the transmission band. I believe they put their foot on the brake while putting on the gas, almost to the point of stalling (I think) to clean up the band. Mine would be the 2nd car they would do it on. It also requires a change of fluid after because it is supposed to take the crud from the parts and put it into the fluid. They did it for free since I had already asked them to work on this problem, and I had paid for the fluid change to fix the same problem. Again, after their work it was nice and quiet and smooth, but about 3,000 miles later it is coming back again. I donít know if their process did anything, or if it was just the fresh fluid that helped like it did the first time. I am concerned repetitions of the process might decrease the life of the transmission.

    The best outcome for me would probably be a complete transmission failure at 99,000 miles because then I can get a new one.

    Anybody having similar problems?
    I don't know what Honda Dealer you're going to, but mine here in Rock Island, IL (Zimmerman) informed me that there was an extendended warrarnty issue from Honda that deals specifically with this issue. I have an '04 HCH with CVT and they are taking care of it. First, I had to have the starter/clutch burnished to see if that fixed it...which it did for one or two days....now, they've ordered a brand new start/clutch for the transmission and will replace the old one when it arrives...they are on back order though, so it might take a couple of weeks.

    The cool thing, this was all covered by Honda, so it has cost me nothing...i'm even getting a loaner to drive when it's being repaired. Demand better service from your dealers! If you need specific information, call my dealership...it's called Zimmerman Honda....oh, and stay away from Lujack's...all they did was charge me an arm and a leg for a trans. fluid change....jerks.

  10. #19
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    I received an official warranty extension notice about this from Honda in the mail today. I've been noticing the "judder" in my '03 HCH for a few months now. I kept hoping it would just go away. But, since Honda says they will fix it for free, I guess I'll be taking my car in for service soon as I can! And, yes, the judder is just killer-bad on hills. Fortunately, living in the San Fernando Valley here in LA, I can easily avoid hills. Leastwise until this issue is fixed.

    Out of stupid curiosity, does this problem affect MPG achieved?

    On another note, sometimes (if I'm lucky!) I don't get the judder at all. But, most times it's there, all right. Not sure if how strongly one accelerates from a stop makes any difference.

    Oh, and if you had paid to get this issue fixed, they're also apparently offering a refund. Instructions came with the notice detailing how to go about getting reimbursed. So, check your mail, folks!

  11. #20
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    Warranty Repairs

    You may or may not have noticed that there are two problems. One is a very faint and short "grinding" noise when taking off from a stop. It is really subtle unless you are attuned to it. The other is the hesitation/lurching/jerking or as it has come to be commonly known; bucking. Another side problem that seems to arise out of all of this is sluggishness, lack of power. You step on the gas and the car acts as if itís still asleep and really doesnít want to move. If you have not experienced it yet, you probably will and it is scary. Be very careful when pulling out into an intersection with oncoming traffic. If you don't get the problems fixed, they do get worse and from what I've heard and experienced, they are scary and dangerous.

    I just had my warranty repair done and the problem seems to be MUCH better, but not gone completely. The problems do seem to affect the mileage as well as the IMA battery charging, but I cannot be sure if the mileage will again improve until I re-fill my tank as it was half full when the repairs were done; so, half of the mileage was with the problems and half of the mileage was after the fix. I do seem to see a slight improvement with the mileage and the IMA, so hopefully I'll see even more after I fill up again today. I'm going to wait a while to see if the slight hesitations I am still experiencing are just normal or if they get really bad again. The "grinding" noise is completely gone for the first time since I purchased the car, so that is good and I am no longer worried about it, but as I said before the jury is still out on the hesitation. I'm not going to wait too long though because my car is over 50,000 miles and I'm putting 100 miles per day on it, so the warranty will be up fast.

    I'm just glad that Honda finally owned up to the issues and kept their reputation for quality and responsibility in tact. This could have been disastrous for them not to mention the environment and the popularity of hybrid technology. After some strong concerns about their integrity, I have been won back over. They finally stepped up to the plate before they were forced to do so. It will save them untold grief going forward and will enable them to keep their stronghold in the hybrid market. Prius may be more popular, but Honda has proven their superiority in my book with their style and integrity.

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