Update: Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Battery Replacement

After spending quite a bit of time at my local Honda dealership’s service department, I’ve come to know my service advisor pretty well. The other day I was I his office picking up my Fit EV and someone came in to drop off his 2008 Civic Hybrid for an IMA battery pack replacement. I was surprised at how easy the whole process was for him.

I wanted to write up a quick update for visitors of my blog, since most of my views come from civic hybrid owners with deteriorated IMA batteries looking for answers.



Unfortunately, I no longer have my 2007 Civic Hybrid. After the 158V IMA battery module was replaced, but before I could sell it, I was rear-ended by a Nissan Rogue traveling about 30mph (I was stopped) and the car was totaled. The car held up very well and someone very lucky will get my salvaged battery pack, which only had 200 miles on it.

Apparently Honda has become much more lenient when it comes to the IMA battery replacements. My service advisor said that they are doing about 2-3 Civic Hybrid battery pack replacements per day. He told me that Honda has been approving almost all of the repair requests, even if the car is out of warranty, as long as the IMA light is on. But remember, the latest software update does a great job of keeping that light off well past the point where the battery should have been replaced. My service advisor said me only car that wasn’t approved for a warranty repair had 200,000 miles on it, was on its third owner, and had a salvage title. Sounds reasonable.

If you have a civic hybrid who’s IMA battery has failed, but the IMA light isn’t on yet, there isn’t much you can do. I have one friend who sold his car and bought a Tesla Model S. If a Model S isn’t an option for you, there are quite a few other EVs out there, all with battery management systems, unlike the Civic Hybrid. Or you can wait for the IMA light to come on. Many people find my blog searching how to destroy or wear down the Civic Hybrid battery to the point where the IMA light comes on. Unfortunately, I don’t know that there is a way to do this, aside from driving around a lot, without voiding your warranty. It’s sad that so many people have bad IMA batteries that aren’t “bad enough” for Honda to fix. However, I am glad that they have recently started replacing more IMA packs.

IMA battery location, behind rear seat

IMA battery location, behind rear seat

If you drive (or drove) a Honda Civic hybrid, I’d love to hear if you had any issues with the IMA battery and if you were able to resolve them. Leave me a comment and let me know.

Thanks for reading, and best of luck if you are dealing with a bad IMA battery!

562 thoughts on “Update: Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Battery Replacement

  1. I’m this boat now, 130,000k miles and can’t get the car inspected. I won’t buy another hybrid vehicle.

    • I use a Honda Civic FD3 (2010). There is a problem in the Hybrid battery. Went to the local agent who said that it need to be replaced even without checking. it is so expensive in Sri Lanka & not affordable to me. how can anyone help me on this. Is it possible for conversion in to non Hybrid by the way of changing the engine & gear box ect…

  2. My 2013 Honda CRZ (manual transmission if that makes a difference) was recalled for the airbag igniter. A bazillion Hondas have been recalled for the same reason. I took it to the dealer, the parts will not be in for weeks to months so they wanted to store my car on the lot. I got a rental for the entire time so that is fine. When they looked at my car they felt they were not likely to be able to return it to me in the same condition as when they got it. It is absolutely perfect and they have upwards of 100 cars stored on the lot. They let me store it in my own garage. I was to start it and let it run for 20 minutes once a week to keep the battery charged. It went from 7 bars on the charge indicator to 2 bars in that 20 minutes. Would this be something that you would expect? Is there any way to work around this other than driving the car? My service rep has not returned my call.

    • I’ve seen similar behavior from my HCH when it’s been parked at the airport for a week. When I park it the IMA is close to fully charged but after a week of sitting the battery level tick down very quickly even when I am using very little battery boost. After getting close to bottoming out and having the charge light on for ~15 minutes the battery gets back up to a normal level. My IMA battery was replaced by the dealer with a refurbished on about 40k miles ago so it’s starting to show its age. When I drive it daily the battery behaves pretty well as long as I do not do a lot of stop and go driving. My 9 mile commute with few traffic lights is well suited to this car and over the past 10k miles I’ve still managed to average 44.2mpg according to the car’s computer. I’ve become used to having to treat it gently but to another driver it would probably not have the patience for it.

      • Thanks Walt! The car has been perfect since I bought it and the quick loss of IMA charge was a surprise. The dealer finally called back on Friday and I was told that the car is built to switch over to charging the IMA battery at just about the point where I am now. This may be why your car charges back up so quickly. Honda has been working very hard to make this recall as painless as possible for me and the promise was made to replace the IMA battery with new parts for 10 years or 150,000 miles. Given that this is a second car/toy, I should be fully covered for 7 more years.

        Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question!

  3. I bought a 2007 civic hybrid last week. 104,000 miles. The IMA and check engine light came on YESTERDAY. I contacted dealership and was told park it immediately, was also given hefty quote to replace.. I should’ve done more research on hybrids before purchasing, but was simply going on the fact that it was a Honda. Once the light comes on, should I really park it? I cannot afford $2k+ to replace now. I’m pretty flipped out…

    • Sorry I thought I replied but it looks like my answer is not showing. I drove around for 30 k miles in my 2007 Civic, from 100k to 130k with the IMA light coming on intermittently. Acceleration was bad and I had to be very careful. But in my case it could be done. But others have said that their problems were worse. Then when I found the money I got a Bumblebee battery for $2300. Hopefully will last longer than the crummy Honda refurb one. Also be aware the warranty was extended and if your IMA reads out the right code Honda should replace your battery. Call their customer service. The warranty extension is till 160k miles.

      • Customer service is telling me 90k miles, 9 yrs. I think this varies by state? I’m wondering if letting gas get real low has any link to light coming on. Read that from someone and the car was almost on empty when it came on. Ima light went off sat, then ck engine light went off yesterday..

        • I don’t think it has anything to do with gas to be honest. I think it was worse when it was cold.

          Ask customer service about the lawsuit settlement. warranty does vary by state but the class action lawsuit was nationwide.

    • 2k+ is the lowest quote I’ve heard so far for a dealer reconditioned hybrid battery pack.
      There are several companies with shops around the country you can take a hybrid to for repairs, besides the dealer. My opinion is that the dealer is one of the last places to take any out of warranty car for repairs, especially hybrids in the US. I hope you got it fixed by now, good luck.
      hybrid battery reconditioning

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  5. I just found this thread while researching about Honda Civic Hybrids. I currently have a 2005 model and this morning when I cranked my car I noticed it took a little more effort for the car to turn on and the red battery light comes on but not the IMA light. What does this mean? Does the whole battery pack need to be changed? I bought this new 2.5 years ago and recently had to have work on the engine done so I’m afraid that this will be another large amount of money out of pocket. I could really use some insight on this. Thank you!

    • Sounds like you might need a new regular battery. Best go to Autozone or one of these places, they will test your for free and sell you a new one if you need it.

  6. I bought car used, the folks I bought it from had a recall and replaced battery at 87,000 miles. It now has 123k and battery shot again. Costing $2600 to replace!

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  9. I have a 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid that I just rolled over 50,000 miles this weekend. My IMA light came on today and when I called Honda America they said that my warranty expired this past March. I am only the 2nd owner and I don’t want to pay $2500 for a battery of a car I have only had for 4 months. Any suggestions?

    • My first suggestion is to acknowledge that you’re going to have to pay some amount out of pocket to get it fixed and that the goal in your situation is to pay substantially less than $2500. I was in your situation three years ago. I had bought a 2004 HCH (with 132k on it at the time) and four months after I bought it the IMA light came on. I was advised by a Honda mechanic that I contacted through JustAnswer that there was a technical service bulletin in effect for the defective batteries but that the extended warranty period had run out. He told me to contact Honda America and request “goodwill coverage” of the repair. Honda America offered 50% goodwill coverage on the battery replacement so I ended up paying half the cost of the battery and labor which amounted to $1600. It was a lot more than I wanted to pay but it was a lot less than the retail cost. The other alternative would be to buy an aftermarket battery like the ones sold by Bumblebee and have a competent mechanic install it. My 2004 HCH is a quirky and underpowered car but I’ve put 50k miles on it myself in the past few years and its averaged about 42mpg which was the reason I bought it in the first place. If I had it to do over again and I had the time to find a bargain I would have just bought the plain Civic but having bought a first-gen HCH I’ve made it work.

    • MK are you sure the warranty is expired? 50 k seems very low. Do you mean 150 k? Then yes you will have to pay some money.

      • Yep, I was correct when I said 50,000 miles. I bought the car because I’m a social worker, it was very low mileage and Honda has a reputation for being very reliable. I’ve been told the warranty won’t cover because they have the “whichever” comes first clause.

  10. I have a 2008 Honda civic hybrid and my IMA battery light has been on for two years and still hasn’t gone out. So just BC the light is on doesn’t mean it HAS to be replaced. I drive every day sometimes 50-100 miles per day and the only battery I’ve had to replace is the car battery which is like $80-$100 from AutoZone. My Honda is at 170,100 miles on it and even though the light is, I haven’t had any issues.

    • I think you are like the only person who does not experience the engine power loss. Interesting.

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  12. I just purchased a 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid from a private seller, 36,000 miles and the IMA light is on. Engine seems to drag a bit. Is it possible I need a new battery? Mechanic said it will charge itself, but ultimately car will just shut off? Will Honda cover it under warranty if I’m not original owner? Had to fix some other issues with the car already…not excited about the possibility of another big fix!

    • Yes they should cover it. Original owner or no. If the IMA light is on the dealership should take care of it. 36k miles is really low. Just a quick tip, if the engine is dragging and the battery is not charging try driving in S instead of D. It saved my bacon a few times.

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  14. Hi, Im from Colombo – Srilanka, My Honda Civic ( Hybrid) FD – 2007 is done 72 k now. for last few months the IMA light was indicated in yellow. My car is alright for flat road and very comfortable. But for short climbing’s it`s totally failed. What i have to do now. Please advice. Appreciate your kind appearance over here.

    • Hi Asha, warm regards to you form South Carolina in the USA. I have a 2007 HCH which started to have those same problems around the same time, 90k miles. The problem was fixed when we finally replaced the IMA battery (at 120k), which is expensive (2.5k here in the states). If you have a lot of time and electric systems knowledge you can take apart the battery and regenerate the cells individually but unfortunately I am not aware of any other fix. Good luck.

    • I should add that depending on the laws in your country the car may still be under warranty. Once the IMA light goes on (it should fairly soon) they should replace it for sure, maybe even before if they like you. I would try.

  15. so i got a refurbished ima battery for a 08 Honda civic hybrid i put it in nothing we reinstalled it again thinking maybe we missed something, nothing, it is not even acknowledging that we replaced the ima battrery i paid 1500.00 for by the way,
    now its at the dealership i have to pay 170.00 for ecu update, and that may not even work, what was i doing wrong, why wont it work i know it may be a bad battery but do you think the update will make the car work possibly .. just wondering if anyone else had this problem ,

  16. 2007 hybrid civic here. 250k miles on it. Honda replaced them at 125k and now the IMA light is on again. Researching replacing myself and possibly regenerating the existing ones. I bought the car New so the goal is to run it to utter failure. Any insights are welcome. I’m from SC but I don’t think any state would have warranty help on a 10 year old car with 250k

    • 250k is great I am at 160 and also on third ima battery. How did you get Honda to replace yours at 125? They would not do it for us we paid outright. I am thinking of getting a tricle charger for it but it’s lole 400 bucks. If you find a good way let me know I am in Greenville SC maybe we can share gear when mine goes bad again.

      • I should say they charged me $1100 for the batteries and $0 for the labor @125k. Which I thought was good…. embarrassingly when I posted I was going on the report from my wife that the light was on. Once I checked it myself it’s actually the check engine light vs the IMA light. But yeah we’ll stay in touch neighbor cause like I said I’m keeping this car till it’s not economically feasible to repair it. It’s been a great car.

        • Ok that makes more sense. Our IMA light would not come on even through the battery was totally dead so we had to buy our own. 2200 for a brand new one. From Bumblebee Batteries. It only lasted 40 k miles but they sent us a new one for free. Hopefully this one will last longer. I put them in myself it’s actually pretty safe and say you just need a second person to help you lift. Now the question is how do I make this one last another 150k miles so that I can drive this car longer…. I am with you it’s a good car.

          • What is it with Bumblebee’s batteries? My husband purchased one for his Honda Insight about 3 years ago. It performed great at first so we also purchased one for my Civic when it needed one. However after the first year the one in our Insight started to act up and was replaced under warranty. Then the Civic started to develop a weird smell that was coming from the pack. It also was replaced under warranty. We are now reaching the point that both appear to be acting up again. One will be within the warranty period but the other not. Not sure what to do at this point. I have seen a few reports of their batteries dying early. Is this normal for a Bumblebee Battery? It just seems strange that we only get 1 to 2 years from their replacement when the Honda batteries lasted closer to 4 or 5 years. We really love both cars but would like the batteries to last much longer.

          • Eli from Bumblebee Batteries posted on this thread repeatedly in the 2013-2014 time frame. This would be a golden opportunity for him to chime in and answer questions about the Bumblebee products. Paging Eli…

          • Beth I am not sure… both the batteries we got from BB were made up of black cells but you can’t get a look at them without breaking the warranty stickers. I think the original Honda ones were blue so BB definitely uses different ones. They looked new, I guess? Anyway Honda batteries don’t last that long either. I’ve heard of them going bad after 30k miles. My original battery started to go bad at about 80k.
            I also wonder if there is a way to test my IMA system because I want to make sure the IMA system is not somehow causing the battery to run out quicker.
            Finally, one other possibility is a bad “regular” battery. Since the IMA battery also charges the regular batter, if that is old, I think it can make the IMA battery run down?
            Anyway I would try BB even if you are past your warranty period, they seem to stand by their customers.

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  18. There is a prcedure called forced charge in the service manual. Dealers with hybrids on the lot are supposed to proform this on the hybrid cars every 30 days.
    Instead of just letting the car idle, the car has to be run at 3000 to 4000 rpm to force the car into charge mode.
    Be careful when using this method – results will vary depending on the health of the battery pack.
    In most cases that I’ve heard of (in no way does this mean your cars behavior) it is best when the State Of Charge guage on the dash stays in the middle between fully charged and completly discharged. ie: don’t force charge all the way to fully charged unless your battery pack is in good health and you know exactly what you want to do with the hybrid system.

    Another piece of advise that may help some cars is to drive them at least 20 miles on the highway at least once a week.

    Try to turn off the A/C at every opportunity. The A/C in most honda hybrids is run from the IMA hybrid system.

    I think its a shame honda service has done such a poor job with thier hybrid vehicles in the past. After owning a regular civic of 16 years and a hybrid civic for 12 years, my take is that the cars themselves are fine if taken care of correctly.
    That just doesn’t seem to be the philosophy the honda service providers hold.
    Just reading some of the newer posts confirms, dealer service is still doing the same old same old,

    • Thanks for the charging while idling trick, Bill. I am now using this on hot days to give myself a couple extra bars of charge before I start out. Seems to result in a smoother ride. I was already driving in low gear sometimes but this gives me a boost quicker.

  19. Here is a youtube of another method to charge the hybrid pack.
    ” Just shift into Low Gear – you can drive the car slowly in low gear which will not give such a big hit to the mpg.

    watch here:

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