After 2 years my 2005 HAH Panasonic start up/accessory battery was drained. I looked at the acid level from the side,since the walls are translucent, and it was low. Although Panasonic labeled it non serviceable,I removed the label and saw removable caps on all the cells so I added acid that I had bought from Napa. It started good for another six months, then I had to jump start when the car sat for more than twelve hours. What I then observe is when the head lights is on auto on/off this happens. The battery lasted another year. I went to Sears to replace it with a Die Hard Gold and the tech told me to go to the Dealer because it's a Hybrid. I then went to K Mart to get my DieHard and change it my self... The reasin for the DieHard is after my '94 accord battery died at two years old (in 96) I replaced it with one of these and I sold the car in '05 with over 250,000 miles with this battery. I have no problem with starting my HAH since.
After 2 years my 2005 HAH Panasonic start up/accessory battery was drained. I looked at the acid level from the side,since the walls are translucent, and it was low. Although Panasonic labeled it non serviceable, I removed the label and saw removable caps on all the cells so I added acid that I had bought from Napa. It started good for another six months, then I had to jump start when the car sat for more than twelve hours. What I then observe is when the head lights is on auto on/off this happens. The battery lasted another year. I went to Sears to replace it with a Die Hard Gold and the tech told me to go to the Dealer because it's a Hybrid. I then went to K Mart to get my DieHard and change it my self... The reason for the Die Hard is after my '94 accord battery died at two years old (in 96) I replaced it with one of these and I sold the car in '05 with over 250,000 miles without changing any more battery. I have no problem with starting my HAH since.
My 2005 HAH "starting battery" was replaced by my dealer in 2008 "under warranty"; the batteries are checked at every oil change and has only one time been called upon to crank the engine. BTW, a good dealer, like Don Carlton of Tulsa, is worth as much as the EXCELLENT 2005 HAH.
If your "starting battery" is regularly cranking your engine at startup then you have bigger problems than the "starting battery". If your dealer can't fix it after two tries, RUN to another dealer in a bigger market. To me, a low charge battery is an indication primarily of a marginal alternator/voltage regulator, bad/slipping serpentine belt, or a worn out / bad battery.
The issue of a dead starting battery goes deeper than "starting" the car with that battery. The computers in the vehicle are powered by the starting battery. Therefore, if something drains the starting battery down, the computers are not powered up. You are correct that the engine is normally started by the IMA battery pack. However, if the computers are not powered up because of a dead starting battery, then the IMA pack will not start the engine either. Both have to be charged in order to normal start up.
What I have seen in several instances is some intermittent problem, like a sticking relay in my case, that periodically "happens" and drains the starting battery down. A sticking relay may happen only once in a blue moon; otherwise, everything works normally and there is no problem. No matter who your dealer is or how good the technician, if the problem does not exist when he is trying to diagnose it, it will be impossible to find. In time like these, experience is a good teacher!
I hope this helps someone, because I have ran across several Honda's with similar problems.
2 cents worth.
I have considerable battery experience with my EV and off grid solar. 12V battery maintenace is sort of a art. "They are all alike and all different." What you do to the battery can so easily change the lifetime characteristics. So some will greatly out last others and perform differently, even from the same manufacturing lot and in the same car.
The HAH is not a particularly 12V friendly place. Not worked hard but abused in other ways. Fortunately it is not a "expensive" battery and they are recycled. Failure at the 3-4 year point would not be unusual.
If you ever run the battery down by leaving the key on (engine off) or something like that I strongly recommend that you charge it to 100% with a good external "smart" charger. The HAH itself will take a long time to do this and will likely initially undercharge the battery resulting in a cell getting out of balance and a future failure.
FWIW The right battery for the job matched to the right charger can last a long time. The 13 12V batteries in my Solectria powered the car for 10 yrs and 23000 miles. They were replaced as the performance dropped but none failed.
If you want to get in practice for owning a BEV or a PHEV fit the 12V battery in the HAH with a good smart technology float "tender" and plug it in all the time. If you do that and it is nearly new and a good battery will likely last for 4-7 years, a premium one maybe 6-10. Most owners would rather not be bothered. The cost of a good charger, the time, and the watts all add up to a reasonable excuse. Other option is a 100% 4 yr warranty.
If you use the car for commuting on a regular basis you might as well add a block heater and a timer to the modification and be able to drive off with the car "ECO" ready at start up.
What should I check for this issue? (test-driving '05 HAH)
I don't own a hybrid (yet), and this is my first post here. I've been researching & looking for an used '05~'07 HAH. (I first looked at '08 regular Accord, but '08~'09 seem to have an issue with rear brakes without an official recall 'yet', so I backed off 'for now'...) I understand that this hybrid is for "more power for free" than "save gas" (Toyota), and I'm OK with that. I also test-drove an '07 HAH the other day (just for the "feel"), and (I think?) I can live with the gas-engine shudder upon taking a foot off the brake from a stop.
Anyway, I just found an '05 HAH (at a local Mazda dealership) with only 31~32K miles (2 owners per CarFax), even though I kinda want a '06~'07 (newer, with sunroof). Then I found this whole thread here about dead batteries. So, do you guys have any tips for me with test-driving this particular '05 HAH? In regards to this battery issue, what can I specifically try during a brief 'test drive' at a dealership, or what should I look at/for? (BTW, I don't know much about batteries.)
Sorry for this slightly off-topic post, but thanks for your info in advance.
To clarify. This thread is about the group 35 lead acid battery in the engine compartment. I would not consider it a deal breaker when looking for a vehicle. Considering the small sampling of vehicle represented by this forum and the small number of HAH in general the car likely has about the same number of issues with the group 35 battery as it's non hybrid version V6. With a little care and understanding as I noted above this battery should last a long time. Or just plan on a new one every 3-4 years at about $65-75. This is not the IMA battery.
The 05 version of the HAH is lighter and that means it has a potential for better mpg #'s all things being equal. 06 and 07 are as far as I know the same car mechanicially and in regard to creature features. I would recommend a vehicle with a Hondacare warranty with some time and miles left on it. If your in CA (or the CARB clone states I believe) get a car initially registered there and the IMA battery warranty is longer.
I have experienced no such shudder from gas engine in my '06 HAH after driving it for 3.5 years. IMO gas engine starts smoothly and shuts off smoothly. When braking, regenerative braking stops around the same time when gas engine shuts off. This reduces braking slightly and one could stretch the feel of slightly reduced braking as surge, but I don't feel that way. To me slight reduction in braking is very expected knowing how the car works. All in all, if you are used to driving automatic transmission cars (I have always driven MT except for HAH), HAH should not feel any different. I would suggest you watch for how you feel about the IMA assist turning on and off, regenerative braking turning on and off and same with gas engine. I can tell when any of these come on or go off, but only if I am paying close attention. So it does not bother me least bit.
I have a 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid that is killing starting batteries. I am on the third starting battery in a little over three years. The car has been to the Honda Dealer twice for testing. Both times the dealer indicates that the battery drains to a 1/2 charge with in two weeks. This is with a brand new HONDA starting battery installed. This problem also exists on a used model they have in the showroom. In a months time the battery goes down to DEAD and will not start the car. North American Honda has been worthless in responses to these problems. I also have a Lexus RX 400H that does not exhibit this problem. I don't beleive that I should be expected to put a battery maintainer on the car when I go out of town for more that 2 weeks or left at an airport?
Has anyone heard of these issues or seen any TSB's about it?
My 2004 HCH had an intermittent problem like this. After nearly FOUR weeks in the shop, calls from the shop to Honda USA in California, the technician stumbled on the cause. The car was off, the keys on the workbench, the hood was up. The tech heard a clicking from a relay. It was the A/C clutch relay. It was draining the battery in a shut-off-ignition, but only sometimes. The swapped it with another relay and the problem went away. I'm awaiting the new relay's installation at this point.
What a headache! Problem manifested itself with an intermittent IMA light, the codes would not be retained for review, and it worked normally. Sometimes. The dealer finally saw the IMA light on when I picked it up after another two days of fruitless examination. Back into the shop, nothing concrete found except low battery voltage (Duh - we knew that!) Finally, the IMA, the ABS, and the BRAKE dash lights all came on and stayed on. Back to the shop - for two weeks. It was at this time the tech heard the A/C relay clicking with the ignition off and keys out.
Sometimes, old fashioned luck helps find persnickety problems.
This is EXACTLY the same problem that I ran into with my 2005 HCH that I have described above. There have been some ongoing replies about having the correct battery, etc. However, I hasten, again, to point out that if you have an electrical problem that is draining the battery, it makes no difference what kind of battery you have, it is going to drain down. The dead battery in this case is the symptom, not the cause. To solve the problem, one must drill down to the cause.
I am glad to hear that you have found the problem. In my case, the dealer never found the problem, I did. Then I had to try to convince the technician that the AC relay was indeed the problem.
Intermittent electrical problems can cause you to pull your hair out, especially this one. As you state, it would show up and then everything would work fine for weeks before it raised its ugly head again. It has been about six months now and I have not experienced any more problems since replacing the AC clutch relay. I have called the dealer back a couple of times just to remind him to relay this information on to the factory service rep so it can be documented.