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Old 03-01-2011, 08:04 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Civic Hybrid owners: 'Fix' ruined my car

Quote:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Faced with complaints of battery packs in Civic Hybrids dying prematurely, American Honda Motor Co. offered a free software upgrade last summer to fix the problem. Many owners say it only made things worse.

"My mileage went from 40 mpg to 25-28 mpg after a software upgrade last year," one woman said in a comment posted earlier this month on the automotive Web site Edmunds.com.

The software patch followed years of complaints that battery packs on the Civic Hybrid were failing prematurely.

Batteries in hybrid cars are generally expected to last for 100,000 miles or more. Consumer Reports magazine recently tested a 2002 Toyota Prius with over 200,000 miles on it and, after comparing test results with those of an identical car tested when it was new, found virtually no change.

But many people posting on Internet discussion boards complained that Honda Civic Hybrid battery performance faded after just 30,000 to 50,000 miles.

"I have a 2007 Civic Hybrid that began exhibiting gradually degrading battery performance at around 40,000," wrote one person on the Edmunds.com discussion board.

In some cases, Civic Hybrid owners were able to have the battery replaced under warranty. When not covered under the car's 8-year/80,000 mile hybrid component warranty, a replacement battery costs about $2,000, plus installation charges.

A Honda spokesman would not discuss the Civic Hybrid battery and software issues because they are the subject of lawsuits against the automaker.

Consumer Reports' surveys show that, while battery problems occur in only a few Civic Hybrids, the car has a higher rate of battery trouble than do Toyota Prius Hybrids or Ford Escape Hybrids, said David Champion, heading of auto testing for the magazine.

Complaints like these can be damaging to an automaker's reputation, especially when they focus so consistently on a specific model.

"You just don't see these discussions around the Prius or the Escape," said Bob McDonald, who runs the hybrid vehicle message boards on Edmunds.com.

The fix that maybe wasn't
Honda's software update altered the way the car used its hybrid system and was supposed to reduce wear on the battery pack without reducing fuel economy.

Owners claim the new software only made matters worse.
"In a couple cases it seemed as if the car did not want to accelerate from a stopped position," Honda Civic Hybrid owner Tim Lake wrote in an e-mail. "This has put me in a dangerous situation more than once when trying to cross an intersection."

Rhonald Shaw said the fuel economy in his Civic Hybrid dropped from the mid-40-mile per gallon range down to the low 30's, or about the same as a non-hybrid Civic.

"I'm not getting reasonable power and I'm not getting the hybrid assist and I'm not getting the fuel economy," Shaw said in a telephone interview.
Cars: Consumer Reports Top Picks

Consumer Reports' Champion cautioned against putting too much credence in drivers' own fuel economy claims, since they're not based on carefully run tests.

On-line message boards, in general, can also tend to magnify the occurrence of what may be relatively rare problems, Champion said. People having trouble with their car tend to seek out forums and post messages while those who aren't having problems stay silent.

Not every owner was ultimately dissatisfied with Honda's repairs. Danny Nail, a Civic Hybrid owner in Florida, wrote in an email that the software patch did not help but that the situation was ultimately resolved when his battery was also replaced.

"The car now functions normally and gets good mileage," he wrote.
Honda will release an entirely new version of the Civic Hybrid this spring. The new Civic Hybrid will have a more powerful lithium-ion battery that is completely different from the ones used in past versions.
http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/01/auto...on=money_autos
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:27 AM   #2
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Yup. Although I ultimately think it's pointless (see my "futility of the Prius" thread in OT), I will nevertheless argue until the bitter end that the Toyota HSD system is technically superior to the Honda IMA setup.
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
Yup. Although I ultimately think it's pointless (see my "futility of the Prius" thread in OT), I will nevertheless argue until the bitter end that the Toyota HSD system is technically superior to the Honda IMA setup.
I don't think anyone would argue that. The only advantage to honda's system is cost.
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by industrial View Post
I don't think anyone would argue that. The only advantage to honda's system is cost.
Go to vtec.net and watch a bunch of Honda cockswinging tools argue how wonderful their system is.
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:33 PM   #5
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I wonder if it's like the Chevy Volt, where they have the IC run after the battery loses 40 percent of it's charge. Once the charge gets below 60 percent, it links up the IC motor to save the batteries.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:34 PM   #6
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No. IMA is a far less complex system. It probably never discharges more than 40%.. but it doesn't really move the car independently from the ICE. It's basically just an acceleration booster that gets recharged slowly over time as the engine runs and from some regen braking. If you drive a Civic Hybrid, Insight or CR-Z in anger you'll deplete the battery pack within a mile... which probably is the cause of most of these problems. These owners should learn how to drive their car properly.
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:56 PM   #7
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You mean like the slow pathetic battery powered spineless weaklings they are?
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Old 03-01-2011, 07:31 PM   #8
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Precisely.
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Beaverboy View Post
If you drive a Civic Hybrid, Insight or CR-Z in anger you'll deplete the battery pack within a mile... which probably is the cause of most of these problems. These owners should learn how to drive their car properly.
I highly, highly doubt that the problem lies with the owners or the way the car is driven. What evidence do you have that they are "driving in anger" all of a sudden or are somehow "driving their car improperly?"
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:35 PM   #10
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I put just under 150k on my 2005 civic hybrid. It never cost anything besides a set of tires and 10k oil changes. The battery needed some new cells, but at 150k, I didn't put a dime into it and traded it for my wifes Mazda 3 S Sport in November. We really liked the Civic Hybrid, but my wife loves the Mazda. We also have a 2010 Prius and I like the Hybrid system in the Toyota better than the Honda system. Sure the car looks like an egg, and corners I can take in my wifes Mazda at 65, I only take at 50 "dicey" in the Prius, but at 54mpg average and 550 miles a week, I'll drive the egg. My average speed around the DC area is 33mph in the Prius and my wife is 31mph in the Mazda between fillups. You can only go so fast with traffic. I will say the Mazda is way fun to drive, but the Prius is very practical for weenies with 1200cc superbikes sitting in the garage next to the weenie mobile
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryguy32789 View Post
I highly, highly doubt that the problem lies with the owners or the way the car is driven. What evidence do you have that they are "driving in anger" all of a sudden or are somehow "driving their car improperly?"
From the OP:
Quote:
Owners claim the new software only made matters worse.
"In a couple cases it seemed as if the car did not want to accelerate from a stopped position," Honda Civic Hybrid owner Tim Lake wrote in an e-mail. "This has put me in a dangerous situation more than once when trying to cross an intersection."

but mostly just conjecture.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Beaverboy View Post
From the OP:
I don't see how that says anything about driving improperly.

Regardless, the car should be engineered to withstand any style of driving, barring total abuse.
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryguy32789

I highly, highly doubt that the problem lies with the owners or the way the car is driven. What evidence do you have that they are "driving in anger" all of a sudden or are somehow "driving their car improperly?"
real life experience tells me that many hybrid owners drive like asshats, especially from a stop. it no longer surprises me when i get my doors blown off by one.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhat
real life experience tells me that many hybrid owners drive like asshats, especially from a stop. it no longer surprises me when i get my doors blown off by one.
Electric assist means low end torque. Good at the stoplight, not so helpful on on-ramps.
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