Honda to Fix Battery Software for 90,000 Civic Hybrids

Bloomberg reported today that Honda will fix a software flaw in about 90,000 Civic Hybrids sold in the U.S. that can cause their batteries to wear out sooner than expected.

For the past year, issues related to the Civic Hybrid battery have been discussed by numerous owners in the Civic Hybrid forum.

Honda informed owners of model years 2006 through 2008 Civic Hybrids to bring the vehicles into dealerships so the software could be reprogrammed. Other model years do not need the repair, according to Honda. The repairs are being done as a “technical service bulletin” rather than a recall.

The batteries may deteriorate and fail much earlier than their warranty of at least eight years and 100,000 miles, Honda said.

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  • Reid Loveland

    I received the recall last week and had it done Saturday. My battery now seems to drop charge levels a bit faster, but I can’t say if this necessarily bad.

  • AndrewTx34

    I just had this done to my car and it does not appear to be much different. As others have said, this car is not worth the hassle and be quite dangerious. Honda has no desire to fix the real problem and all of the local dealers are just as confused. Good job Honda, way to go after the new sales and screw your currnt customers. Avoid this car!

  • andrewtx34

    I am not trying to start a flame war but unless you own one of these cars don’t talk about it. Nothing is more scary than having your car drop the DC motors out and take your horse power down to 110 in the middle of traffic or when you are trying to pull out in traffic. If the car showed no charge I would expect the drop/sluggish start BUT it does this when the battery shows FULL charge.

    I have an ’06 civic hybrid with 42K miles on it. The first 15-20K miles on the car were great, no issues worked fine and then…. Dealers are stumped and the last two software upgrades don’t address the problems.

    Be warned.

  • HCH Driver

    I was waiting for this story to break and I have put the bit below on one other website in addition to this one.

    I received the notice too. I was not surprised because I have on occasion, in very hot weather, while at autostop, noticed the battery completely depleted by the AC. Upon taking off, the gas motor struggles to get the car moving. The engine has simply been tuned to let the battery provide torque at very low speeds. I could see where this could be dangerous, for example, turning left in front of oncoming traffic.

    So when I was at a long stop in very hot weather, I would just take my foot off the brake and then reapply the brake, causing the engine to restart. Problem solved.

    However, I did take my car in after the notice. IT IS NO LONGER THE SAME CAR. Honda has “dumbed down” the IMA so much that the battery hardly ever recharges, the car hardly ever auto-stops, and the electric assist is negligible. I was routinely getting mid-40s for mileage in my car. And I even got 56 MPG once on a long flat highway trip. Now I cannot get more than 30 MPGs out of the Honda Civic, even on a flat highway. It is utterly ruined.

    I have called the dealer and told them they need to “undo” the update or replace the battery. This week I am either going to sell it outright to the dealer to get rid of the car or trade it in for a Prius.

    I am so dissapointed by what Honda has done because this will damage the reputation of Hybrid cars and their batteries. It is also a major annoyance for me to have to get rid of the car. I really loved my HCH before the update destroyed it.


  • Jerry

    I have the 2009 Civic Hybrid

    Used to get 48 to 50mph on long trips

    Now we’re lucky to get 30mph after the update, This car is Dangerous to drive now and I won’t let my wife drive it. It scares you to death trying to get on the interstate. People honk at you when your at a red light and it turns green because it takes you so long to get going.

    My AC doesn’t even work properly now because of the update.

    I ONLY bought this car because of the gas mileage, now thats gone, I am so upset…

    DON’t BUY A HONDA!!!

  • Revolution

    I come from the Netherland. Three weeks ago i brought my Honda Civic Hybrid 2009 for maintance.

    The performance now is awefull. The car is dead slow and the fuel economy is awefull!!!

    Honda made it a awefull car! I was verry pleased with my honda before the update. Not the car annoys me over and over.

    The must undo the software update!!!! Else i want to get rid of my Honda.

    It used to be a fine car. Honda wrecked it!

  • Felix Owl

    Agree the performance now is awful. Clearly the fuel consumption is also going to be worse, as the battery is used less. I have written to the Chief Legal Counsel of Honda and asked them to reinstate the performance of my car. No response other than somebody from customer service calling me to claim they couldn’t do that.

    So Honda basically damaged my car, without my permission, and the car no longer meets specifications.

    I am looking for a class action lawyer.

  • R. smith

    I have read all of the reports listed in this site and can confirm an identical experience with our 2008 HCH . I’m not impressed with Honda’s deception regarding the recall actions, apparently designed to have consumers subsidize their battery warranty policy. I have done the math based on our driving habits and our additional annual expense amounts to about $500/yr. as long as we own the car.

    We made our purchase solely based on making an environmental statement. Now, no thanks to Honda’s short sighted, apparently desparate actions, our investment in this effort is diminished by 25%, not to mention the dangers that an underpowered car creates.

    I understand that the new car industry may be floundering with the state of the global economy, but I don’t feel like Honda should get away with these decisions. It may take more than the sounding board of this web site, and if someone knows of a higher profile media outlet that we could collectively use – please offer the rest of us the opportunity to pursue this further.

  • SteveA

    I have kept detailed records of the gas mileage of my 2008 HCH. Before the software update I averaged 42 to 43 mpg. After the update it is in the mid 30s. There fix seems to be not to use the battery as much which comes down to less acceleration, gas engine running while stopped. I was very satisfied, but now I don’t think I will ever buy a Honda again – that is, unless the get honest and fix the problem.

  • Brian Fellows

    I have a 2003 HCH which had the same or very similar updates done with much the same consequences, not as drastic though. And insult to injury, I had to pay for the updates because Honda and the dealer claims that MY IMA warranty does not cover firmware updates only hardware

  • Allan

    I have been a loyal Honda owner since 1964 and one of their best unpaid salesmen. That has all come to an end. My 2006 HCH has also had the update, at 75,000 miles, with the same miserable results as everyone else. The car has lost 10-12 miles per gallon and hovers around a 50% charge most of the time, but not to worry my new Prius arrives in two days. Goodbye Honda!

  • JustinC

    Same here. 2006 Civic Hybrid, the “software update” has ruined my car. Has no power most of the time, very much lower MPGs, the battery discharges all the time, wont even recharge while braking like it used to, this car is complete crap now. In fact, it is DANGEROUS to drive tho, because you never know when it won’t have available power, in traffic, etc.

  • tapra1

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  • Loren Stephens

    Get everyone to go to Honda’s Facebook page and write their comments on how Honda messed up and not to buy Honda. You will get a response then.