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 just bought a 2009 rebuilt HCH with 28,500 miles on it. I was horrified to find out the Feb 2014 Consumer Report Survey for the year before found 30 percent of the 2009 HCH owners ima battery failed and that rebuilt salvage cars are not covered by the warranty for the battery. I was wondering anyone who got help from Honda for a ima battery that had a rebuilt car.
    I also wonder why the 2009 and 2010 HCH have such very high ima battery failures.the story is here:

    • I own a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid I purchased new and had to have the IMA battery replaced in late 2011 at about 51K. This was covered under warranty. Now in late 2014 with approx 110K I need to have the IMA battery replaced and Honda said it is no longer under warranty. The cost to replace the battery will be about $2850 and I need to pay upfront before the dealer can order the battery.

      • Google GreenTech in Rancho Cordova, CA to see their 8 amp battery for $2250 when you give them your old battery. It is guaranteed for four years, too. When my present 2003 Honda Civic hybrid needs a new hybrid battery, that’s what I will do.

        I bought another 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid new and the hybrid battery had to be replaced at 123,000 miles. Honda replaced it free, saying the warrantee in California had been extended to 10 years or 150,000 miles, so I lucked out there. After we gave our daughter this 2003 Civic Hybrid, I bought another one last year where the seller said he just replaced the hybrid battery, but it did not come from Honda, and was purchased somewhere over the internet, but he would never tell me where, so will be interesting to see how long it lasts. So far, so good at 149,000 miles.

        Good luck.

        • I’ll go you one better. I bought a 2009 Honda civic hybrid used from the Honda dealer and was told I would have the remainder of the original purchasers battery warranty, (THEY LIED), the contract said 3 years. So here it is Feb 2015, I just paid off the vehicle this week and the IMA light is coming on every day triggering the engine maintainence light when it comes on when the IMA light does. To top it off it’s due for inspection and WON’T pass, AND THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL I’m going to pay $2800 for a battery pack made of D size cells PERIOD. I’m now VERY STRONGLY considering turning my TAGS in and foregoing the pleasure of paying the Honda dealership $130 for an inspection and fee to do a possible software update (it already had 5 previous updates). NO WAY in HELL will I buy or recommend ANY MAKE, MODEL of HYBRID/BATTERY POWERED Vehicle to Anyone. I’ve had it with the whole Electric Green Crap , too rich for my blood, (on a very fixed income), They can shove it where the sun don’t shine. Lets face it you can buy a gasoline powered vehicle that gets 40mpg now and $2800 buys a hell of a lot of gas. Just remember this your battery IS GOING TO GO OUT AGAIN in 4 years or so to the tune of $2800 AGAIN. ALL Batteries have a very definite life time expectancy, save the frustration, just buy a straight gas vehicle and be done with it . One of the people in the Honda service department admitted to me they personally wouldn’t own a hybrid.

          Sincerely , ONE VERY PISSED OFF EX HYBRID OWNER !!!

          • I’m in similar situation. My hunda hybrid 2006
            IMA&check engine lights comes on just like yours. My inspection is due month and I’m on a fixed income. I’m disappointed with Hunda about this issue.Can I trust hunda to replace or do something with the software?

          • On a bright note from my repair, I recently received a letter from Honda stating they were extending the warranty on my battery “…and you make be entitled to a refund…” I did return the form and proof of paying for my repair a few weeks ago, but have not received anything back from Honda, as of this point in time, in the form of refund of my repair or stating my claim has been denied.

    • We purchased a 2008 HCH new in the Fall of 07. We have about 190,000 miles on it and the IMA battery just went out. We are paying 2600.00 to replace it at our Honda dealer. (Iowa)

      • I just bought a 2007 Civic with 93 k miles and was wondering if you know what the Iowa warranty is because I’ve heard every state is different.

  2. If anyone is still referencing these comments…

    My 2007 Civic had the hybrid battery replaced in 2011 with 40K miles. This very day, with 66K miles on the car, I had to replace the battery AGAIN. After only 26K miles on the “new improved” battery. And yes, the IMA icon lit up. That’s pitiful performance from Honda.

    • You might consider trading in your Honda civic hybrid before it hits the end of the 95,000 warranty for the battery. You have exceptionally low mileage on your car.
      To keep the battery in tip top shape, you must run the car every day, and not let it sit idle. I was putting 100 miles a day on my 2006 Honda civic hybrid, but when I retired and the car was not being used. The IMA battery deteriorated, and the IMA light came on. I got a new battery, but I know it won’t last long unless I run the car everyday. Its best to trade the car in, and get a regular Honda civic

      • Hey John,

        Thanks for the reply. I do drive the car every day although sometimes not more than 10 miles, most other days @40 miles and the occasional r/t to see the grandkids which is @300 miles.

        The dealer didn’t answer my question about the warranty of 150K. Is that from date of purchase of the car or of the new battery? If it’s 150K total then I’ll dump the car for sure. Great marketing: Buy this car and get a 150K miles – maximum.

        • My new hybrid battery, came with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty. I have 118,000 on my 2006 HCH. I don’t know about the 150k warranty. In California and some other states, the hybrid battery has 150k warranty, but where I live, its 95K.
          I had to pay $1859 for a new hybrid battery, because I was over the 95K warranty for hybrid battery replacement. Did you get your battery replaced for free? It sounds like your within the warranty.

          • Seems odd that a Honda factory warranty would vary depending on the area. It’s 150K here and this battery will be warranty, as was the first one.

            I’m going to go electric in the next 5 years. Lots of good choices on the horizon. I’ve had it with all the maintenance and upkeep associated with internal combustion engines.

          • There is know “add” for replacing the ima battery. You need to call Honda of America, and ask them for “Goodwill Coverage” on your vehicle.
            Good Luck!

      • I had to change the battery of my 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid at 115k. No warranty. I drive it 500 miles per week since I work doing deliveries. It worries me I might have to replace it again in the future. I changed the battery this year, June, 2014. I’m considering a trade.

        • I have similar 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid with 126K and light has started to come on and go off. Looking at getting it replaced. Not sure what to do. I drive 100 miles a day 5 days a week and another 100 the other two combined.

  3. Hopefully you still check these but recently my 08 HCH has been acting up. The battery goes from full to 2 bars during a 15 minute drive (or less). I have also noticed that when my battery level is low, at times when I start to accelerate, the car sputters, as if it is going to die. When the battery level is low, it is hard to accelerate, I feel like I have to put pressure on the gas to get it to even 25 mph (quite dangerous trying to merge into traffic or the freeway). Once I reach 35-40 mph the sputtering stops. When I was climbing up a small hill, the engine light flashed rapidly but once I drove the car after that, the engine light has not lit up. I looked online and those who have the problem with their batteries say it is the IMA battery. The IMA battery for my car was replaced in Feb. of 2013. I am at 116,500 miles in CA. Am I still under warranty or do I have to pay for the IMA battery? I really do not have the funds to replace the battery.

    • In California the IMA battery warranty is 150,000. Lucky you!! I had to pay, but it sounds like your IMA battery is about to go bad. Look for the IMA light to go on soon, and take the car to the Honda dealer.
      Never buy a hydrid nickel-cadmium battery car!

      • The HCH does not use NiCd batteries. It uses Nickel Metal Hydride just like almost all other hybrids including the Toyotas. The problems with the HCH are probably because Honda’s power management software is inferior to what Toyota uses. Welcome to the 21st century where software controlled electrical systems are pervasive and the quality of the code matters a lot. Unfortunately, nobody except Honda can try to improve the code and since they have no incentive to improve the software in old cars the owners are stuck.

        • You are partially correct. There are a lot of “Opps” moments in the Honda software, something you don’t see in Toyota’s and others. These are what we see as recals (recalibrations) and if they happen under heave assist or regen, damage to the cells can occur. The other part is the battery tech itself. While Honda and Toyota did both use NiMH, Honda used NiMH dry batteries and Toyota used NiMH wet battery (with the except of the very first, non-US Prius). The dry battery is like a “D” cell flashlight battery, while the wet battery is built more like a flooded lead acid battery. A dry battery suffers from electrolyte loss much more than a flooded battery. When either battery loses electrolyte they lose capacity, but with a dry battery the resistance also increases – which then leads to more heat and electrolyte loss. Battery tech has increased greatly since Honda (Panasonic actually) first designed these cells, which is why you can now get a 8AH battery from us and others, thats better, costs less, runs cooler and will last longer.

          • Just a slight correction – electrolyte loss is not what causes hybrid batteries to fail. It is extremely rare to see a vented cell in the car environment; It just doesn’t happen. The only time you see vented cells is when the pack has been gotten into and cycled on external equipment. High rate hobby chargers will vent the cells in a severely imbalanced stick very easily, and it is hard to notice unless you slice the heat shrink open or it happens to be one of the end cells.

            I’ve seen vented cells in all of the major rebuilder’s failed packs – Hybrid Battery Repair(defunct), Hybrid ReVolt, Greentec, RochaTek, etc, but never in a “virgin” battery that has never been outside of the car.

      • Is it possible to just take it in without the IMA light showing? I really don’t want to take risks since my commute to work involves the freeway and lots of hills. Also is the sputtering of the car normal? I read most comments and it rarely mentions their car also feeling like it is going to die. Also thanks for replying so fast! I’m going crazy worrying about my car.

        • I’ve been having some of the same issues you are, particularly the low acceleration power when the battery is low. The problem I’ve been having is that I can park the car in the garage at night with 4 bars showing on the charge level and sometimes when I start it in the morning it will be down to 2 bars. On the days it does that, I’ve noticed that it will charge while driving and get to 5 bars and then, within a minute or two, will go to 8 bars, indicating a full charge.

          This morning, for the second time, took my car to the dealer without the IMA light showing. The first time I took it in, they tested the battery and it reported OK. This time, it started reporting a fault code and Honda has approved a battery replacement.

          68k miles on it and I’m going to put another 25-30k on the battery, then trade it for something else. I’m not particularly happy with Honda because they apparently have changed their software to limit the battery to a 50% depth of discharge and that, by itself, is reducing my mileage.

          • Ok, I have a 2003 and have had the light on numerous times and have ignored it and the car runs fine. It is now 11 years old and have been ignoring that light for several years. I can’t figure out why so many people freak out and think they have to run to the Honda Service Department. i did that the first time and they told me it was fine and reset it and the light went off for a while. It comes on again in a month or two and I ignore it and just drive the car. when I take it in for the yearly checkup they reset it and off I go. I think I have been really lucky but also think that some if not most of you people do what I did you might find that it runs ok and last longer than the so called replacement batteries. I know I am going to have to replace mine sometime soon but am so happy that it has lasted me this long. I have a feeling that Honda when they came out with this Hybrid had no idea what they were doing as to when to replace the batteries and also how long they might actually last, at least some of them. Anyway I hate that I am going to have to replace mine, I actually think I am going to get a Hyundai of some kind and not have to worry about a hybrid battery ever again. I have to admit the last couple of years have been a little stressful wondering when and where my car when die on me. I live in upstate New York with the horrible winters and I would hate for it to die during a winter storm on me. Anyway I have been really lucky and I know it. After years of Hondas in my family, at least 6 that I know of I hate to go to another brand but I might not have a choice.

    • I had same exact symptoms with HCH 2007. 2 weeks ago, I took it in and they replaced spark plugs. It seems to have solved my problems.

      • Yes! This was what the problem was. I had to buy new spark plugs and when they showed me the original spark plugs that were giving me the problem, it was horrible. Thankfully nothing too serious. The car worked perfectly after that. =)

  4. Hi I am going to buy a 2008 honda civic hybrid tomm what should I check before buying it it only 62000 km on it

    • I say go for another car. I think due to the numerous complaints I have seen on here about the Civic Hybrid you might be sorry you bought one. I have had good luck but I think I was one of a very few that has had. I know my luck is running out soon and worrying about what to buy but I know unless Honda replaces my battery for free it won’t be a Honda Hybrid.

  5. I am the owner of a 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid. I purchased it new in May 2007 in Philadelphia Pa. Around 149,000 miles, the Check Engine and IMA light started coming on intermittently. I attached my OBDII meter and saw the PA07F “Hybrid Battery Deterioration”. My gas mileage had gone from 42mpg to 33mpg. I called Honda America and explained my situation about the battery. Their response was sorry, warranty has expired (8yr/80k miles). I was hoping to get some relief on getting it replaced. I called around at various dealers for a price to replace the battery. Prices were $2600 to $3500 (parts and labor). One of the dealers called back (Conicelli). I explained that I didn’t want to become a one car Honda owner (by trading the Civic for another manufacturer) and that I had no problems with the car after 149k miles and that I never had a chance to use the extended warranty. He went to his regional service manager and they came back that American Honda would go 50/50. My cost would be $1350. Sold!. The work was done last week. They said the warranty on this remanufactured IMA battery would be 3yr/36k miles. I am hoping for another 150k miles. It does pay to call around, be nice, plead your case.

    • Wow same exact symptoms as our hch. ours is 133 k miles and we had the extended warranty too. Will definetly try to call around. One thing I am wondering is what about that class action lawsuit a couple years back? They sent us something promising $1000 towards a new battery then we never heard from them again. Also why is warranty on the replacement battery only 36 k miles?

  6. Hi< I have a 2007 Civic Hybrid and I am beginning to have problems with my car. The battery light came on and I took it to the dealer to check out. The "regular"battery that I had replaced 6 months ago was fine, but since the IMA gauge kept going up and down they figured it was the Hybrid Battery deteriorating. I have 122,500 miles and they quoted me a price of $2600. I called the original Honda Dealer and they could not help me other than to give me the Honda Service Number for American Honda. So, I have called and I will wait to see what they can tell me. Any other ideas anyone has, please let me know. FYI – I did purchase an extended warranty. That cost over $900 and I never used it.

  7. I have an 08 hybrid 120mi, ima light goes on and off. def needs replaced. I know the warranty is long gone, how do I go about getting an approval?

    • Contact Honda of America, and ask them for the “Goodwill Warranty coverage” on your 08 Honda battery. They may pay half the cost.

  8. I have a HCH 2006 purchased what seems to be known as “salvaged”. Since I have never had a Hybrid Car I don’t know if the poor performance are due to battery failure or is just the way hybrids work. Please help me here, these are the syntoms: my car has the IMA light turned on, it stalls when the car needs to climb an inclined street or park exit from total stop (sometimes it does not climb it at all so I have to step back a few meters and come out full speed as a Batmobile!), I have never detected that the gas engine stops while the vehicle is in stop, when the traffic jam is really heavy, even with the air condition off, the radio off and other non-vital systems off, the car battery (both of them) just die.
    I’m in Mexico where “normal” cars after 8 year old are obligated not to circulate one weekday per week and two weekend days per month, but hybrids can circulate any day so I want to recover the full functionality of my HCH… but I don’t know what is normal. Thanks for your help.

    • It seems that your IMA battery or system is not functioning. A healthy civic hybrd will have good acceleration at low speeds. There may be related problems with the DC-DC converter that keeps your 12V battery from being properly charged.

      The first thing to do is have a mechanic shop read and print out the OBDII error codes. This will help narrow down the specific problems. If you have a reliable local hybrid mechanic, ask them to check the connections (in case someone disabled the battery) and to give it a good long trickle charge with a grid charger. If that fails to remedy the problem, you should look into purchasing a new or refurbished battery pack.

    • While it does sound like a typical IMA battery failure, you should also have the 12 volt battery load tested and replaced if bad. These cars can hide a weak 12 volt battery very well and it will result in all sorts of other problems. If it turns out you need a new hybrid battery we can ship them to Mexico – just click my name for our website.

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  11. Well, “goodwill” battery replacement did not work for this owner! Just got off the phone with the American Honda customer service rep. I have a 2003 Civic Hybrid which currently has 119K miles. The big battery was replaced at the end of 2008 at 73K miles (under warranty). It just failed again and they want $3500 to replace it now! So, I only got 5.5 years/46K miles out of the replacement battery. So much for Honda! They also blamed me, saying I didn’t drive it enough —that it MUST be started every 2-3 days; so much for vacations or being sick! Wish they’d let potential buyers know that! So like others, I am done with hybrids and on to a good mileage Hyundai Elantra

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  13. I have had the Honda IMA 2003 Civic from new bought from a main agent in UK.
    Very low mileage as I had a firms vehicle to drive shortly after buying the Honda only 57,000 miles done . Retired to Cyprus in 2010 and earlier this year 2014 the IMA battery light lit. Complained to Honda and got nowhere, took it to a Cypriot main dealer who charged me 2,700 euros in advance and took 6 months to supply a refurbished battery which he states is only warranted for 1 year. What a rip off.
    Replaced so far oxygen sensor in 2013 and 12 volt battery just after the IMA battery was fitted. Shame an otherwise good car spoilt by this sort of thing. I initially bought two new Hondas one of which a hatchback for my wife and the IMA. I will not be buying Honda again.

  14. Perhaps I am the lucky one here. My whole family has had Honda’s and I was the last to buy-in to the brand. My brother had an Accord, Fit and Element plus an Acura. My parents had an Accord. My sister had 2 Civics and an Odyssey. I have a CR-V and a Honda Civic Hybrid.

    The IMA battery display on the dashboard started acting very strange. I have a 2006 with 107k miles. I took it in and found that I had a bad cell and an overall rating of 27%. I just got a call from the dealer and American Honda is going to replace my IMA battery for $250 +tax.

  15. I have had a lot of problems with my 2008 Civic Hybrid batteries. I got a new one when my car was about two years old because I was getting horrible gas mileage. I just got my third new battery that Honda did pay for (YAY) but there were rules. I have 153000 miles on the car. My battery was at 37%. They told me my battery had to be at 20% or less and I could not be over 170000. It only took a couple of weeks and a lot of giant hill driving to bring my battery down to 20% and I got my new battery. I do thank Honda for that. They really came through. But now my transmission is dying. Honda won’t pay for that. So I have a car with a brand new battery and getting gas mileage like it was new and I have to get rid of it. Im sad…

  16. So…when Honda replaces batteries, are they replacing them with the same batteries that have all the problems, or have they replaced them with a new design? And I’m not just referring to battery software.

    • The general consensus among those in the battery business is that Honda is using refurbished units at least for their warranty replacements and possibly all packs. These typically last only a few years. Its not clear if the batteries Honda has you pay full retail for are new or refurbished. If they say its 100% new, make sure they put that in writing. The other problem is that Honda will require you (or even do it without your knowledge) to get the latest software updates. While the software is good at hiding a weak battery, it has not proven to improve battery life. In almost all cases it drastically reduces your MPG.

      Trying not to sound overly commercial, but here at Hybrid ReVolt (and *some* other suppliers) we provide batteries with new, better than stock cells at a price much less than dealerships charge. Ours are 8AH, while stock was 6.5AH at best. This provides a cooler running, longer lasting pack – that is still a drop in replacement. Plus you don’t have to get stuck with the updated software. If you’re interested in what we offer, just click my name for our website.

      • What does a ReVolt battery for a 1st Gen HCH cost with shipping? Is it installable by a layman as the Youtube videos suggest? Is there any development in the aftermarket of replacement batteries for hybrids based on Li4Ti5O12? A Lithium Titanate replacement battery would be an incredible upgrade in terms of charge time, discharge rate, and cycle life (based on the performance of Toshiba SCiB cells).

        • Our new pack is $1695 with a 1 year warranty (plus $500 refundable core deposit). A 2nd or 3rd year can be added for $100 per year. Shipping is quoted at actual costs via our website, which includes return shipping of the core.

          Any replacement battery of a difference chemistry will require a BCM designed for that chemistry. Designing the replacement BCM (and adding a BMS) to interface with the car adds considerable expense to the replacement. We have been working with LiFePO4 batteries in our Plug-in Prius project and have designed our own BCM/BMS for it. Once this project is complete we have plans on making either a plug-in Civic or Insight. At this moment we feel that LiFePO4 is the best choice from both a cost and safety perspective for larger than stock replacement packs.

      • Is it possible to revert to original battery software? If and when I replace my 2005 HCH IMA battery (currently showing signs of weakening) I would prefer going back to the original software with deeper discharge and consequent better MPG.

        • For the 2003 to 2005 Civic Hybrid you can source a replacement BCM from a wrecker and easily replace it. The 2006+ Civic BCM’s are not as easy since they are encoded with the VIN.

          If you can, try to get the VIN from the donor vehicle. This way you can call a dealership to verify if there are outstanding updates needing to be done. If they say there are none, then that BCM is already updated so look for another.

    • At 88,000K, had my original IMA on my 06 Civic Hybrid replaced, luckily under warranty. Now, 52,000 miles and 3 yrs later, the 2nd one is going. The dealership only warrantied this one at 12 mos. I have a feeling they are using refurbished or old design batteries. Very frustrating. The bill is going to be 2700. so I’m looking to trade in. Why would I pay 2700 to last me a short time. I bought Honda hoping to drive over 200,000 and pass the car on to my daughter, but I guess that’s not happening.
      They get you coming and going I guess.

  17. Could a deteriorating 12v battery cause the check engine and IMA light to come on in a 2006 hch? I had auto zone unplug and check my 12v battery and it had 12. Something volts, and read that the battery was a bad battery. Is this possible, or were they just trying to screw me into buying a new battery?

    • These cars are very good at hiding a weak 12 volt battery and can typically use a 12 volt beyond when it would fail in a normal car. Once the 12 volt gets very weak it can cause all sorts of issues during startup – including random codes and decreased mpg.

      Think of it this way. A normal non-hybrid car performs a load test (by means of the 12v starter) on the battery every time you start the car. With a hybrid, all it has to do is “boot” the computers, then the larger hybrid battery starts the engine. There is seldom a heavy 12 volt load, thus a weak 12 volt battery may go unnoticed until it doesn’t have enough power to properly start the computers – but they typically still start. Just after starting, the DC to DC converter starts and charges the 12 volt. This sudden increase in voltage, from as low as 10 volts to 13+ volts can cause erroneous sensor reading – leading to false check engine codes.

      If the parts store did a load test on the battery and it failed, then you should consider replacing it.

  18. Just left the Honda dealer because IMA light came on. I had no clue my hybrid had two batteries. The service guy tested the smaller battery he said it was fine. He said that it was more likely the hybrid battery due to the IMA light coming on and that it cost 3K to replace it. Needless to say, shocked and in disbelief I left the dealership. I phoned another Honda dealer with whom I have a relationship with. The service guy told me that there maybe a extended warranty on the battery through Honda for my vehicle (he looked it up by vin#). The first service guy told me I could continue to drive the car on its regular battery without replacing the hybrid battery is this true? and if so how does it affect the performance of the vehicle?

    • You can continue to drive it with the IMA light on, the light you need to watch for is the 12 volt battery light (failed alternator light, located under the tach). These cars don’t have an alternator, but instead charge the 12 volt from the hybrid battery. With the IMA light on your hybrid battery has about 10 to 15% of life left. This is typically enough to last 6 months to a year – which gives you time to save up for a replacement battery. Grid charging may help restore the pack some, otherwise you will need to plan on replacing the pack. We offer both grid chargers, new packs, and refurbished packs – just click my name for our website. Honda’s packs are overpriced for what they are. You can get our better than Honda pack with new cells for about $2k installed.

  19. I’m considering buying a car from someone that got one from an auto auction but the P0A7F Diagnostic Code was thrown when the check engine light came on today. Should I run for the hills or is there a slight chance of Honda taking care of this old one? (2006 with 150000 mi)

    • Apparently this car was a disaster and I wish luck to the sucka that ended up buying it. The mechanic I had it taken to in order to check it out said the engine was ticking, the body had been badly pieced together at some point, and the wheel lock key was missing. I lucked out and later that week found a cherry Civic with 100K, Nav, and full service record including recent tires, tuneup, regular maint work, and the IMA batt replaced only 40k ago.

  20. We have a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid. On Friday, Sept. 26 the IMA light went on. They are going to replace the hybrid batteries and the regular battery(we have to pay for that battery). But this is the second time we have had to have it replaced. The last time was 3 years ago when we had about 15,000 miles on it. Now we have 30,000 miles and it has to be replaced again. Does driving only a few miles a week wear down the hybrid batteries?

    • That seems really odd that it would go out so soon. Especially if they’ve done the ‘update’ to the software. Anyone out there have any experience with using a grid charger to condition the battery to prevent this? If so how often do you trickle charge it?

    • Just an added note. We have not had any other problems with the car except the hybrid batteries. We would like to keep it for four more years but the warrenty will be up in 3 1/2 years. We will probably keep it for 2 years and then get another car.

  21. If my 2007 honda civic has ima or other problems who can I consult? It has a little over 140000 miles and if the ima battery has a problem does honda help me out?

    • I’ve been doing more research on this grid charging thing and it sounds like it could help you out. It is designed to bring all the batteries (including those that don’t get charged properly, back to full capacity) Again, I’d love to hear from someone else that has used these

  22. I just bought a 2007 honda civic hybrid about 2.5 weeks ago. The IMA light is on as of yesterday 😦 unfortunately for me I am in need of driving 17.5 hours away to get to my baby nieces funeral 😥 I have called honda & they said the warranty went to 92000 miles & it’s @94000. So I would take any suggestions on what to do! This car was very taken care of even still has plastic on the mats in front.

    • I would ask Honda of America for goodwill warranty service on this since it is so close and you just bought it. Their willingness to grant you goodwill service will determine whether you ever buy a Honda again. I got 50% coverage of the cost of replacing the IMA battery on my HCH because I asked via my local dealer. It still wasn’t cheap but because I paid half the cost it came with a 3/36,000 warranty.

    • Also, having the IMA light on probably won’t stop you from making that long raod trip though your fuel economy won’t be as high. I drove mine for several weeks with the IMA on constantly and got in the neighborhood of 30mph

      • From years of driving a Civic Hybrid on flat terrain and moderately hilly highway miles, use of the IMA battery during highway driving actually decreases your mileage. If you see the IMA system giving the car “assist” during highway driving, you are losing efficiency and decreasing your MPG. I have operated my 2005 Civic Hybrid with a “dead” IMA battery and was still getting over 60 MPG on the highway with the cruise control set to 60 MPH. My best 100 mile trip (more than 80 MPG) was achieved by not allowing the IMA assist to ever kick in.

        This makes sense for the following reasons:
        While the energy needed to make your highway trip comes from the engine, your hybrid car can also store and recover energy while driving three ways:
        1) Elevation – climb a hill, store energy that you get back when going downhill
        2) Speed – speed up and your car can coast for a time until slows to your original speed. Higher speed means higher drag and wasted energy, though.
        3) The IMA system can store energy in the IMA battery and return it as power to push the car. The stored energy comes from what appears as “drag” on the vehicle, as it takes work to turn the IMA generator. The energy for the generator can come from descending a hill, from slowing down, from the engine, or from any combination of the three.

        Only #1 is lossless. #2 wastes energy to increased drag, and #3 has storage losses

        Note that during highway driving, the hills are generally gentle, and braking isn’t used (not normally, anyway), so the IMA system isn’t recovering any “wasted” energy.

        There is surely some sort of non-highway terrain (short, steep hills?) where use of the IMA system would help mileage, perhaps for folks driving in San Francisco

        It would be interesting to know how efficient the IMA system is during highway driving. Honda would have determined this while developing the vehicle. Anyone from Honda engineering out there? 😉

        • I think its generally known that the IMA system does not help on the highway. Its great in cities and for stop and go traffic. I don’t think we need any engineers for that.

          60 mpg just from setting your cruise control to 60? Yeah right. I’ve heard this from people but I will believe this when I see it. In a perfectly clean hybrid, with normal tire pressure, and the ac off we have never gotten more than 45. I don’t think 60 is possible without tricks like white-lining, coasting, driving behind trucks, over-inflating tires, etc – probably all these combined together!

          • There are plenty of comments showing many folks think a deteriorated IMA battery will really hurt their highway mileage, so spread the word – it won’t.

            As for the highway mileage on my 2005 Civic hybrid 5-speed, it works roughly like this:

            Cruise control set to 50, ~70 MPG
            Cruise control set to 60, ~60 MPG
            Cruise control set to 70, ~50 MPG

            Cold temperatures (below 50F) reduce MPG by 5 to 15 MPG

            A strong headwind or tailwind can add or subtract 10+ MPG

            I drive mostly in the southeast USA, so a typical temperature range is 60F to 90F. Interestingly, AC use hurts mileage less than cold temperatures. Also, I was convinced to try a different type of tire at one point, but the mileage dropped 10 MPG at highway speeds, so I went back to the recommended type.

            If you have never gotten more that 45 MPG (assuming you are driving a Civic Hybrid), it could be your driving habits. It took a while to adjust to a new mindset that takes advantage of the car’s design. If you floor it for a green light, and stop at the last minute for red, it will seriously hurt the mileage, and you will lose the advantage of having a hybrid. You can coax a lot more mileage out of the car with thoughtful driving.

        • Thanks for writing back. I am interested in your findings though I still have trouble believing them. It makes sens that you would get better mileage in warm climate because warm air is less dense than cold air and causes less air resistance. Ditto your tires, rubber is less viscous when its hot.

          Bu the mileage you get is still puzzling. Driving habits cannot be a factor, since, we are talking about cruise control. My wife drives the car much more than me and she is a very chill driver, but anyway f its cruise control its cruise control. believe me if the car could get above 50 on the highway Honda would advertise it, bu they don’t. I think you have some other trick up your sleeve.

          • Air density and the corresponding aerodynamic resistance has little to nothing do do with better fuel economy. The relative difference in aerodynamic resistance from air at freezing temperature and air a 100F is not going to be significant even the level of 1/2 mpg. If the temperature has a direct impact (which it probably does) it is from the differences in the mixing of fuel and air in the cylinder at higher temperatures and the behavior of the hybrid battery’s charge and discharge rates at differing temperatures. Those are impacted to a far (FAR) greater extend than aerodynamic drag. Likewise for the rolling resistance of tires. The relative rigidity of the rubber in the tires at lower tempertatures is a nearly insignificant factor that is far offset by the negative impact on mpg that the drop in air pressure in the tires from the drop in temperature would have.

          • Would love to see your math on the air resistance question, since you are arriving at such a specific value of > 0.5 mpg. What’s the difference in DaN? But I suspect you have no idea. Because the bit you wrote about tires is pure fantasy. The rolling resistance of a tire depends not on the rigidity of the rubber but on tan delta. A 10 % increase in temperature will lead to a 10% difference in pressure. This will lead to a 5 % improvement in rolling resistance. But a 10 % rise in temperature will lead to a 5-20 % reduction in tan delta, depending on the rubber. Both factors will lead to lower RR at high temperatures.
            That said, IMA batteries really are worse in cold temperatures, but the discussion here is about highway driving, where they do little.

          • “A 10 % increase in temperature will lead to a 10% difference in pressure”

            I did not do the math and my assertion of >0.5mpg is purely a guess. MY point being that the aerodynamic resistance varies far more based on the speed of the vehicle than it does on ambient density related to air temperature and Boyles law. Aerodynamic resistance changes far more with the increasing or decreasing of speed from 50-60mph than it does from the air temperature changing from 32F to 100F. If that were not the case, the quarterback from the Gree Bay Packers throwing the football at Lambert Field in December would be throwing the ball a lot shorter than he would on an away game in Miami just because of the air temperature. Don’t bother extrapolating the aerodynmic affects of air temperature using your car, try experimenting with a baseball or a football. Throw it a thousand times in the hot summer and average the distance of your throws and then see if they are shorter in the cold winter because of the denser air.

            With respect to the tire pressure, is an increase from 32F to 64F a 100% increase or only a 6% increase? The shape of the tire does not change even as significantly as 6% as a result of the pressure change inside the tire becausethe surface area of the tire in contact with the road does not change in linear proportion to the change in air pressure inside the tire. The components of rolling friction are not varying in a linear relationship to tire pressure.

            Attempting to apply some linear relationship to change in air pressure inside tires and changes in aerodynamic drag resulting from differing air densities is not going to produce accurate results.

  23. Wish me luck, if anyone reads this. HCH 2004. In January 2013, I went into a dealer for the IMA light on. They told me it was out of warranty, so I said forget it, I will drive it into the ground.

    Well, now it’s October 2014, and it’s still going strong … With the light on. Problem is, I need to getting inspected. Low and behold, I find that since I bought it in NY, the warranty was actually 10/150k, and I was not out of warranty at that time. (I am now, though.)

    So I’m going in to see if they’ll cover it, based on them giving me erroneous information at the time I brought it in.

    • I just called Honda to find out if there is a warranty on my IMA battery since I purchased the car used in 2013. They advised me that there is an extended warrenty up to 162,000 miles or 11 yrs… I have 144,000 miles and my IMA light is on…

      • This had to have been a car originally purchased in one of the states offering the higher mileage warranties to begin with. The rest of us only have until 92,000 miles

  24. I have a 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid. Great gas mileage. I had the IMA replaced. After the replacement my car wouldn’t start at times. That was early 2013. I now have to get my other battery replaced. It’s time for it. Other than that. I have not had any major issues.

  25. On Friday, my 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid had intermittent IMA and check engine lights come on. Searched online and found this forum.

    Since CA has the 10yr/150k warranty for non-salvaged Honda Civic Hybrids battery packs, I thought I was lucky.

    On Sunday night while on the freeway, the IMA and check battery light came on and I felt the engine sort of give or lose power slightly. I had to press the gas more to continue at the speed I wanted. I take that to be the IMA not working.

    This morning when I took it in, only the check battery light was on, and I told them I did NOT want the new firmware since I knew what it did. I was thinking that maybe I should have waited until my IMA light was on to take it it. But Honda Service Department employee told me Honda will NOT replace the failing IMA battery until the firmware is flashed with their new software.

    This afternoon, I got a call from Honda saying the check engine light indicated there were voltage problems with the IMA so they automatically upgraded my firmware for me. No other issues besides that IMA battery.

    Now my gas mileage will suck until next battery replacement. When I come in next time for IMA replacement, I will have to pay another $150 for diagnostic before they replace the IMA battery pack. Ugh!

    At least $300 is much less than $2000+ for a refurbished battery pack.

    So I guess I’ll be stuck with an under-performing lower MPG hybrid engine until the IMA battery falls below their new threshold.
    Anyone know the threshold level for battery cell charge before the IMA light will turn on between the older firmware and newer firmware?

    Anyone have any details on how much lower our MPG will be?


  26. I’ve got an 07 Civic Hybrid that we bought in 2011. From what I’m reading, it doesn’t look like they ever performed the recall work. The check engine and IMA lights have been going on, then off periodically for the past couple months but I notice now with the colder weather they are one more frequently and today we noticed a jerking issue with rapid acceleration.

    We’ve got 105000 miles on it. From what I can tell the warranty expired at 92000. Does it sound like there is any special recourse if the dealer we bought the vehicle from didn’t perform the recall work before reselling it as a certified pre-owned vehicle? Or am I better off without the update? We bought it from a Honda dealer in New Mexico.


    • Type you VIN into the search box at http://www.honda.com/recalls to determine whether the software patch was ever applied. You may still be able to get goodwill coverage for a partial cost-share on the replacement of the IMA. Ask American Honda if they will cover 50% of the cost of replacing the IMA.

      My HCH is a 2004 but FWIW the software patch that was applied when the IMA battery was replaced did not have much of an adverse impact on the performance except in lots of stop and go traffic (because the IMA gets depleted quickly). In normal driving the software patch seems to do only one thing which it to start the charging cycle when the charge level is depleted to 50%. That has not adversely impact my driving habits much and I am still averaging 45mpg over the past 3000 miles.

      • Thanks Walt, I checked the VIN and it says no recalls pending so I guess they did do it. I will be calling American Honda tomorrow. Is there a way to tell where it was “distributed” and does that mean where I purchased it or where it was initially sold? Also I now live in Maine which has the 10/150000 warranty. Will that be a factor at all?

        • I believe that all boils down to whether the car was originally equipped with the California emissions package and sold through a California dealer. That information be encoded in the VIN but I don’t know which digits or letters identify it as a California vehicle.

          • Look at the rear, drivers side door window for a decal. If its “AT-PZEV” then it originally had the 10 year / 150k mile IMA warranty. Of course, you also have to reside in and have the vehicle registered in one of the following states (at the time of requesting the warranty): CA, NY, ME, VT, MA, CT. However, if the window says “PZEV” or “SULEV” then it doesn’t have the extra warranty and won’t matter what state you are in, it won’t qualify.

            See this link for more details:


            Of course, if you need to pay 50% for a refurbished unit, its not really worth it when you can buy a better than OEM battery from us for not much more. Plus we don’t require any software updates. Just click my name for our website.

          • Ok, so here’s an update to my situation. As I said, I purchased the car used in New Mexico (8/80000 state) and moved to Maine (10/150000 state). I have 105000 miles on the vehicle and called up the dealer here in Portland. They had me come in for a diagnostic. Both the check engine light and the IMA lights were on at the time. They have agreed to replace the battery pack with no questions asked!

            From reading the warranty information this makes sense. it says “The California column applies to all vehicles registered and normally operated in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, or Vermont.”

            So it doesn’t matter where the vehicle was purchased or where it was originally sold. It’s all about where it’s registered.

            Neither the VIN nor the window give any indication of where it was distributed or if it was “AT-PZEV” or not. From my research, I believe every Honda Civic Hybrid built from 2005 to 2010 is AT-PZEV, it’s just a matter of the states recognizing California’s work and requiring Honda to extend the warranty.

    • Its possible. You need to find a non-updated BCM. The catch is you must have the VIN stored in the BCM programmed to the car. The dealer CAN update the VIN without reprogramming the BCM, you just need to find a willing dealer.

      How can you tell if the BCM is original? You will need the VIN from the car it came from, then check for recalls at the link below. If it shows that it needs any recalls to the IMA system, it most likely has original or very early software.


      We also have a stack of BCM’s for the 2006 – 2008 Civic for cheap. The catch is we don’t have the original VIN’s – but they were all pulled from wrecks over 2 years ago and I have not heard of any having the newer software. Click my name for our website and contact me from there for more details.

  27. I am the second owner of a 2003 HCH purchased in early 2007 with 137K miles on it. I just took it off the road (12/2014) with 250K plus miles on it. A confluence of body rot, exhaust system replacement, O2 sensors and general old age influenced my decision. So it took 250K miles on the original battery before I had any issues with the IMA. Not all fail early. I have an untested hypotheses that the HCH needs to be driven regularly and a lot for the IMA system to remain functioning.

    • I would say that a 6 1/2 year old car with over 104K miles would be considered “a lot” and I am on my second battery. I love the car, but really have to think long and hard about replacing before 150K since each of the first two batteries lasted about 50K. Further, since Honda would not stand behind their product by not providing any relief on the purchase of the second battery despite the fact I only had it about 50K I highly doubt my next vehicle will be a Honda.

  28. I have a 2013 Honda CRZ, bought it new. This is a second car for us and is lightly driven. I have 2700 miles on it, short drives a couple of times a week with an occasional 50 to 100 mile trip. The car is a manual transmission if that makes any difference. The car was bought to replace a CRX that I drove for 22 years and loved. On Christmas Eve the CRZ would not start and I had it towed to the dealer yesterday, diagnosis “a dead cell in the battery.” The battery was replaced at Honda’s expense. There was never any code that indicated an eminent failure with the battery, no problems at all leading up to this, it just died. The service rep blamed me for the problem “it is because you don’t drive the car enough.” How much trouble am I in here? An 18 month old car with less than 3000 miles should not fail as I see it. This was not the IMA battery.

  29. Am driving 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid @ about 36,000 mi, experienced failure of
    the IMA system which was eventually fixed by installation of most recent
    software upgrade/patch. And was told the original IMA battery was good and
    that it should last for at least 100,000 miles. Today @ 48,000 miles the dealer
    after doing $120 diagnostic, informed me that I needed a new IMA battery.
    The car is a California SULEV, which means that the replacement is no longer
    under warranty. Hoping Honda America will pay 50% of battery cost. Even if
    they do not, will be biting the bullet and replacing the original one with the Honda
    replacement. I am doing it this way simply to insure that the replacement meshes
    and continues to mesh, with both the car’s IMA system’s and the dealer’s
    diagnostic-and-repair system’s software. In other words, if a future IMA System
    repair is needed, I don’t want the dealer to say: Sorry. Due to incompatibility
    issues we can’t help you. Do you feel that I am being overly cautious here?

    • I understand your point and it would be valid if the battery they were selling you was new. Just try and get the dealership to put it in writing that the battery they are selling you is a brand new battery. The battery you would buy from the dealership is almost certainly refurbished – and don’t take my word for it, search online. These Honda replacement packs typically only last 18 months to 3 years. It just doesn’t make sense to spend $2500 or more for a refurbished pack that won’t last when you can buy a pack with new and improved cells from us for much less. As for the dealerships willingness to work on a car with an aftermarket battery – we regularly send our new packs *to* dealerships to be installed. Some dealers may balk at aftermarket parts, but most understand that the hybrid batteries from Honda are junk, and if they value you as a customer should have no problem installing one of our batteries. Another plus is that by avoiding the Honda battery, you don’t get forced to take the newer (and lower MPG) software update. Our batteries are compatible with all software revisions.

  30. Hi I have a 2007 civic Hybrid IMA light and Engine Light came one Has 93000 Miles on it and Honda quoted me 2800.00 to fix I do not have that kind of money to fix any suggestion on getting it covered under a warranty. Or at least getting to help me pay a partial of the bill.

  31. I think I got lucky with my ’04 HCHI 5MT. It was my aunt’s originally and I have had it for about 2 years. It has been rock solid. It is still on the original IMA battery and clutch at 110,000 miles. I drive it fairly gently, but I have been known to flog it from time to time. It still easily got well over 50mpg until an O2 sensor burned out recently. I have used it to move several times towing heavily loaded enclosed uhaul trailers. It has launched smallish fishing boats. I bought an old van with a 4mt and inline six and retired my civic from heavy hauling duty; atleast until i give it a good overhaul. I am in dire need of struts on this car, it bottoms out very easily with a load of passengers. I must say i have been nervous about getting an ima light, but the ima still seems to function well. I do make a conscious effort to use assist as little as possible and rarely let anyone else drive it. Its a great highway car, i cant imagine driving a cvt version out east through the mountains, it would be a serious dog.

  32. I’m the only owner of a 2003 civic hybrid and had the original IMA battery replaced under warranty in January of ’10. My warranty was 7 years or 70K miles. I sqeaked under both at just a few months shy of 7 years and about 3,500 miles before rolling over 70K. Both IMA and engine lights came on which I heeded and took the car in for service.
    My engine light came on after a fill-up recently and I was hoping it might be a gas cap issue. After a week of driving with the light still lit I went in for service and was told it was the IMA battery and they will charge about $3,000. I was told I could still drive but at some point the battery will degrade to where the vehicle will not run.
    After an hour of web-searching I believe I need to wait until my IMA light ignites before I can the the unit replaced. It seems the dealer service center was willing to do the swap without the IMA warning light so that is the first question to pose to them. “Don’t I have to wait for the IMA to appear on the dash in order to get Honda approval?” If they wanted to do the replacement without dashboard indicators then does that mean they were going to go through a third-party and not contact Honda for a battery pack? A question for the service center of course.

  33. Has anyone figured out how to get a new Li battery into an hch? Instead of the old NiMH? I have a 2007, the hybrid battery is on the fritz, and I don’t want to buy another if it will only last 36k miles!

  34. i had my IMA battery replaced on my 09 under warranty (thank God for tht) today, but just 3 hours after i drove it around, the engine light and IMA lit back on. I am still unsure if it happens as the battery is new or is their actually a fault with the new battery. Either way, i am so done with this honda hybrid crap, after i get done with this battery issue, i will sell it or trade it. Honda really sucked big time with hybrids. 😦

    • That’s not normal at all in my experience. I had my battery replaced 18 months ago and the IMA light has not been on since.

    • Its possible that the IPU fan has failed (the fan that cools the battery and the rest of the hybrid components behind the back seat). We have been seeing this happen more frequently on the 2006 and newer Civic. Other possibilities are a bad warranty replacement (warranty batteries are typically refurbished) or a bad installation.

  35. My daughter bought a used Honda Civic Hybrid 2008 with 177,000 miles on it. She is the 2nd owner. The check engine light has come on and the local Honda dealer told her she needs a new battery for $2,500. The car now has 181,000 miles. How can she get this done cheaper? She is a college student with very few funds!

    • When I found out the cost of the battery when mine went bad in November (I have a 2009) I was told the replacement has to be done by a Honda dealer because they need to do a computer software adjustment when they change the battery. Probably not the answer you want to hear, but it was not the answer I wanted to hear last November either!

    • We have a 2007 HCH with 135 k miles and it had the same problem. I just replaced the battery in it myself with a new battery from Bumblebee which cost $2400 with shipping. This is the best you can get, you might be able to get a cheaper one, but nothing for under $1500 I think. The good news is that I bet you the 1st owner of that HCH your daughter is driving has been dealing with this problem for 100k miles already. We drove for 40k miles with the engine/IMA light coming on and it was not a big deal. The only issue was loss of acceleration. In some cases when the IMA battery goes bad the car can suddenly lose acceleration which is especially dangerous when making tight left hand turns. If that is not a problem in her case she can keep right on driving, I bet. If it is, she should sell the car to someone willing to buy a new battery and buy herself a nice regular civic or yaris or something like that.

  36. my 2008 civic hybrid looks like it needs a battery. after reading the other posts here and hearing the service guy say it might be “thousands” of dollars, I am once again reminded of what a mistake it was to buy this car. the gas mileage was never that great to warrant all the hoopla and now we’re all faced with a repair for “thousands” of dollars? for what? we’ve been taken.

  37. I have a 2005 HCH my IMA light has been on for years. Last year I had to replace my transmission, I was told the car will drive fine without the IMA battery. Recently my car has been acting strange. It has shut off after driving 200 miles straight , well not really shut off not sure how to explain. The car was running but all gage’s dropped to zero and the wheel would not turn. Since stuff like this is happening more often where the radio will cut off or the gage’s drop all the service lights come on sometimes the car won’t start. I am not sure if these issues are IMA related or not….

    • I had a similar issue when my regular (not IMA) battery was failing, perhaps you could have that checked… except my issue happened soon after I started the car not after 200 miles. Did you experience a loss of acceleration due to the bad IMA battery?

    • What you are experiencing is the final failure of the IMA battery. These cars do not have an alternator but instead rely on the IMA battery to charge the 12 volt battery. While its true that you can drive on a bad IMA battery for a while, sometimes many years, the battery will eventually get so bad it cannot even charge the 12 volt battery. Once the 12 volt runs down, the car has no power to run its computers, fans, or even the spark plugs – thus the gauges go dark and the car “shuts down”.

      How do you know when the IMA battery has stopped charging the 12 volt? Its simple, you get the “Red Battery” symbol on the gauge cluster. Once this happens, even a brand new, fully charged 12 volt will only last about 30 minutes before being completely drained. Fully draining a 12 volt battery just once is enough to destroy it, even a brand new one.

      At this point you really need to replace the IMA battery if you wish to continue driving the car. It may work fine for a few hours or days once you recharge or replace the 12 volt, but you never know when it will fail again – and it will fail again soon. You should also have the 12 volt battery charged and load tested – most auto parts stores will do this.

      How do I know all this? We have been dealing with IMA batteries since 2008 and see this all the time. Click my name for our website. We have IMA batteries with brand new cells for less than anyone else.

  38. I am wondering if anyone else on here has had this issue; I have a 2006 Civic Hybrid with 115,000 miles, a few months ago I was merging onto an expressway and my car stopped accelerating, no matter how hard I pushed on the gas it slowed down. I was able to get it onto a side street and make it to a dealer, they told me it was because my oil change was overdue. It was a bit, so this explanation made some sense to me though really it wasn’t more then a week since the light had come on. Since the oil was changed the car ran fine, then today the issue happened again. This time I immediately checked the oil life and I was at 20% the check engine light eventually came on as I was on the way to the dealer. When I 1st came in and explained the issue they seemed really concerned. They changed my oil, engine filter and coolant, worked on the car for 3 hours, checked the codes on the engine light and said the issue was the oil. The service manager assured me everything else was fine and there isn’t anything else I need to do but in the future except have my oil changed at 30%. He told me that I was doing all the right maintenance and that there is plenty of life left in my car.

    Obviously now I am very concerned and don’t really think it is that safe to drive. I did have the IMA battery replaced in 2012 under the extended warranty since then there have been few other problems though recently I have noticed the same warning signs that I had before the 1st battery went bad (loosing and gaining charge for no reason). Has this happened to anyone else? Does anyone know if the oil life being low makes sense? Thank You!

    • Hi yes I had the same situation. All the same problems with my 2007 HCH. The cause was the IMA battery because the battery life indicator was behaving strangely. It would show full but when I tried to accelerate it would go to zero and the car would not accelerate. The dealer would not replace it under the extended warranty (I have 130k miles on the car ) because the IMA light was not on. So we finally bought a new battery from Bumblebee Batteries for $2k and now it runs fine. I heard when Honda replaces the IMA battery they use “refurbished ” cells so they only last about 30k miles. So my advice is either buy a battery from a trusted 3rd party like BB or kick your dealer / Honda people in the shins until they do it for free. But I bet you anything its not the oil!

          • Thanks. I had my IMA replaced 24 months ago when the car had ~138,000 miles on it. It’s been performing well since then. Honda extended to me 50% coverage of the cost of replacing the IMA battery and a 3/36,000 warranty on it so my cost was $1600. If this battery fails I’m interested in a Bumblebee battery as a replacement. When you purchased from Bumblebee, who performed the installation of that battery on your car? Did you have to take it to them or did you do it yourself? Is there a software update that goes with the battery or is it a drop-in replacement?

          • Hi Walt, I replaced it myself. It was not too bad. There are a couple pretty good videos on youtube on how to do it. The battery has an internal circuit breaker which you flip before you even remove the battery cover to make sure its safe. the only weird tool you need is a torx wrench. The battery is a bit heavy, around 70 pounds, so I got my dad to help me swap out the old battery and put in the new one. So it was a nice driveway type of job. By the way good job getting reimbursement from Honda, I am wondering how did you did it? I tried to get them to pay, but the IMA light was not on even though performance was poor, so they said no. Good luck with your factory, hope it lasts and you never have to worry about another one!

          • Thanks for that information. What you described is what I was hoping you would say. If this battery dies and the car is still in otherwise good shape I might buy a Bumblebee.

            As for getting Honda to cover 50% of the replacement cost I consulted JustAnswer.com and Jim the Honda Mechanic answered my question. I posted earlier in this thread the link to the Technical Service Bulletins that Honda published in response to the class action lawsuit on the IMA problems that compelled them to extend the warranty coverage on the IMA battery. Mine was still beyond the warranty limit in mileage (138k at the time) so Jim said to ask the service manager at the Honda dealership (Pohanka in Fredericksburg VA) to ask Honda America to extend goodwill coverage. It was also probably helpful that my wife was shopping for used cars at that dealership while I was in the service department. My wife found a used car that she liked but told the salesman that it was probably not within our budget considering the unexpected cost of replacing the IMA battery. The salesman then went to the service manager and put in an extra endorsement that it would be a good idea to extend goodwill coverage because it might enable him to make another sale. I don’t know if that was what did it but in any case we got the 50% coverage so the cost out of my pocket for the part and labor to install it was $1600.

  39. Hi,
    I want to get your thoughts on my situation. I am the original owner of a 2006 Civic Hybrid. It’s got about 94k miles. For several years, I’ve noticed that if I don’t drive it every day, the battery light goes on for the first minute or so that I drive it…then it goes off. That’s not a big deal really, but I’m also noticing that my mileage is not what it used to be. I average around 35 mpg (mostly in town driving). My biggest concern is it’s occasional lack of responsiveness when I’m stopped at a light. Once I try to accelerate to go…it’s really sluggish, I have to floor it for about 5-10 seconds to get it to move like it should. If I’m running the AC or I’m on an incline, this is more likely to happen.

    I’m not seeing an IMA light and I don’t have any other issues but I REALLY don’t like this serious sluggishness that happens sometimes.

    I assume this is related to the hybrid battery and a sign of serious decreased performance but I’m not 100 percent sure. Any thoughts are welcome!

    • Hi Emily, Your experience sounds a lot like mine. Same problems I had for a couple years, really in the 100k-130k miles period. So I drove for 30 k miles with poor acceleration. Not a safe way to do it, but who’s got 2k to drop on a new battery just like that? I just took it easy, didn’t try to force any left turns. Got 35 miles per gallon during that time. Anyway one thing I can tell you is that the battery light (regular, not IMA) is a bad sign. After a few days of that light going on, my car totally shut down half a mile form my house. If it was the interstate and not just a side road I would have been in trouble. Good news is that replacing the regular battery fixed that part of it. So if you have not replaced your regular battery in a couple years you might want to go to Autozone or one of these other places that will check and replace your battery.

      Otherwise, take care driving until you replace the hybrid battery. Hopefully you can get Honda to pay for a new one. It kind of sucks that the IMA light does not come on earlier. Ideally the IMA light should keep you safe but the hybrid battery can be totally dead and the IMA light still wont come on. And if it doesn’t come on Honda’s warranty doesn’t kick in. I had to shell out 2k for the new battery. Perhaps you are more diplomatic than I though. Good luck!

  40. I just took my 2008 Civic Hybrid in to have the IMA battery replaced but the dealership is only giving a used battery and only a 1 year warranty on it wish I knew where to find out if this is actually legal or if they are pulling the wool over my eyes here in Oregon

    • Its legal as long as they don’t claim its new. Also their warranty states they can use refurbished parts for claims covered by their warranty.

      If you want new you need to go aftermarket. FYI – We offer batteries with brand new cells for less than the dealers refurbished packs, click on my name for our website.

  41. I have a 2008 HCH with 115,000 miles and I started seeing the IMA light two days ago. As soon as I saw it, I drove it straight to the Honda dealer and it was a good thing I did because it has since turned off (the check engine light is still on). They determined that the IMA battery needs replacement. I have the CA warranty so they said Honda would cover it until it was 11 years old or 162k miles. I’m still getting about 37 mpg though, and I’m wondering if it would be advantageous for me to keep using the battery until it dies before getting the free replacement. Once I get the replacement (which sounds like it won’t be new), I will lose my current warranty and will only be covered for 3 years, 36k miles. If I do it now, it will only take me to 151k miles before I may need yet another replacement. My biggest concern is that continuing using this battery will damage other parts of the car, or that the light never comes back and they decide they will no longer cover it. I would love any advice- thanks!

    • One of the symptoms of the battery dying is sudden loss of acceleration. Thus can be dangerous and since they are offering you a replacement I say go for it. I did drive with the IMA light on for 30k miles but that was because I could not get a free replacement.

  42. Well my 08 Honda Civic just had to have it’s IMA battery replaced less than 59,000 original miles on the car and from the get go the refurbished battery is not working correct the battery will not hold a full charge. I get it to a full charge park it and get in 1 hr later drive 1 mile and it drops to 1/2 charge then have to drive at least 40 min to re charge and park it for 3 hrs get in drive it and with in 1 mile drops to 1/2 charge Honda of Salem Oregon agrees something in not right but won’t replace until the IMA light comes on this doesn’t say much for Honda on the warrantees and I just had to have my main 02 sensor replaced, I was told around $400 well they reset the light in hopes it was a fluke but no so when I went in to get the new sensor they charged me 596 almost 200 more the what I was told doesn’t say much for dealer ships or Honda

    • It seems like all the Honda dealerships use this “IMA light” standard to test if the car is operating correctly. This doesn’t seem right. The actual operation of the car is what they should be looking at. The IMA light is just an indicator – and it could be broken too!

      I got a new battery from Bumblebee and it holds a charge just fine. I think not holding a charge is a sign the battery is not working properly.

      What kind of mileage do you get now? Mine went from 35 to 40 with the Bumblebee bat. My only complaint is it seems to take a little while in the morning to start charging otherwise its fine…

      • I’m getting around 38 – 40 miles but I feel since this IMA battery was under warranty it should work like a regular battery and hold a full charge I’m happy to see comments about bumble bee as that is where I’ll go when this battery craps out.

  43. I replaced an ima battery in my HCH 2004 myself. Is it possible to recalibrate the hybrid system without taking it to a dealer. I noticed it immediately started better, but no increase in power and the 12v battery is being drained.

  44. So, any chance they still approving replacements? I purchased a 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid in 2012 and it was a certified preowned with only one previous owner. the IMA light has been coming off intermittently. I’m getting a check engine code: P0A7F which states Hybrid Battery Ditteroriation. I’ve heard there have been recalls but I never got anything from my dealership.

  45. I left the dealership this afternoon with these parting words, “Honda has just received the very last dollar from me that it will ever receive”. I purchased my 2003 Civic Hybrid brand new and now have 170,000 miles on it, and fully understand that repairs are expected on any vehicle at this age and mileage. Going on 14 years, at 6’4” and 250lbs, I have shoved my big but into that little car every day for one reason, the money I save driving it is much better spent on my wife and kids. Picking up my car from the dealership today, I realized it is time for a change and whatever that change is, it will not involve a Honda. I have come to believe that Honda is playing the game extremely well, and I the consumer will pay the price one way or the other. My first issue was the CVT clutch issue at 92,000 miles; I brought it into the shop and told the issue was with the transmission oil. They changed it (it was due) and all was well until the 105,000 mile mark and it started to shutter again. I brought it back in and guess what, I was 5000 miles out of warranty. A lot of words later with Honda, they agreed to fix it for free for two reasons; 1) I had brought the issue to their attention at 92,0000 miles and they should have fixed it then 2) There was a pending law suit to extend the warranty to 105,000 miles on a different Honda model and I was willing to start another lawsuit for the Civic. Next came the battery replacement at 116,000 miles, as far as I was concerned at the time, this fell under the expected cost of owning a hybrid and I had them replaced. At somewhere just past the 36,000 mile clutch warranty time, you guessed it, the shutter was back and now the fix was going to be my dime. The CVT transmission clutch issue that took 92,000 mile to happen the first time came happened again in 40,000 miles. Then last month, at 170,000, miles the IMA and Check Engine light comes on again and the Honda bean counters smiled again, the batteries that took 116,000 miles to go bad the first time, glided right past that 36,000 warranty they gave and crapped out at 54,000 miles. Then I am sure the Honda engineering department cracked open another bottle of bubblies, when the IMA light comes on they turn on the check engine light too, and cars cannot pass inspection the a check engine light on. I only have one kid left at home and before you know it, I will have money to spend on just my beautiful wife and me and the only thing not on my list will be anything made by Honda.

  46. I have a 2004 HCH, 147K, IMA & CEL lights are on, so recently had IMA battery removed & tested, all sticks balanced showing 8.2 volts + or -, IMA battery condition meter fluctuates radically, shows charge, very little assist, lights are still on, the car seems to drive ok, is there any need for concern???

    • Hi, I had similar symptoms when my battery was bad, however I also had sudden loss of power during acceleration. That was ultimately the reason I paid for the new battery. If we did not have the sudden loss of power, we probably would not have replaced the battery.

      On Sun, Feb 7, 2016 at 3:15 PM, A Perfect Fit wrote:

      > Steve commented: “I have a 2004 HCH, 147K, IMA & CEL lights are on, so > recently had IMA battery removed & tested, all sticks balanced showing 8.2 > volts + or -, IMA battery condition meter fluctuates radically, shows > charge, very little assist, lights are still on, ” >

    • That’s a common mistake. Voltage really doesn’t tell you anything useful. A brand new stick or one with 1% life left can still take a charge and show voltage. How long can it sustain that voltage under load is what matters.

      The IMA gauge bouncing between full and empty is a sign of a failed or failing IMA battery. While you typically can still drive it like this, the power available will be unpredictable – so always plan on under-powered acceleration and failure to restart from auto-stop. Your MPG will suffer in city driving, but could remain good on the highway. However, at some point the car will give up on the IMA battery, then its only a matter of time until it stops charging the 12 volt battery. The IMA battery charges the 12 volt battery via a DC-DC converter – there is no alternator. Once that happens you will get the red battery symbol on the dash (failed alternator light) and the car has at best 30 minutes before the 12 volt dies and leaves you stranded.

      Replacement IMA batteries can be had for about $1200 refurbished to $1800 rebuilt with brand new cells. We sell both, just click my name for our website.

  47. I just bought a used 07 Honda Civic hybrid. The IMA light came on. I do not have a warranty on it. I took it to a Honda dealership they said it didn’t qualify for the warranty & it will cost $2400. I’m so stressed out. I just spent all my income tax check on this car!

    • How does the car run? We went for 3 years with our HCH 2007 without fixing the problem. The car would sometimes lose acceleration, and this was a safety issue, but we didn’t have $2400 to blow! Depending on how your car behaves, you might be able to wait until next years tax refund to fix it up.

      One thing to mention is that the warranty was extended for many cases. You should call Honda customer service. I think its like 160 k in california and 150 k nationally or something like that.

      If you have to pay for it yourself I would recommend not getting it from your dealer because they will sell you a refurbished, not new battery pack that will only last 30-50k miles, based on my non-scientific internet research. Go with one from Hybrid ReVolt or BumbleBee Batteries, they sell new ones.

      • Here is a link to Honda Technical Service Bulletin 12-077 that addresses the warranty extension.


        I’d print it off and take it back to the dealer and ask if the vehicle is covered and ask the dealer to ask Honda America for “goodwill coverage” on the replacement of the battery. I did this on the advice of a certified Honda Mechanic (who provided to me the link to the bulletin) and was able to get 50% of the cost covered by Honda and they provided a 3/36,000 warranty on the battery that the installed.

        For what it’s worth I had the battery replaced in my 2004 Civic in 2013 when it had about 140k on it. The car now has 171k and the battery is still performing well.

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