Replaced my 2006 Civic Hybrid Battery - GreenHybrid - Hybrid Cars

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Old 08-08-2012, 12:28 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Default Replaced my 2006 Civic Hybrid Battery

I've posted this elsewhere also.

I need to share the story of my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid. This was my 4th Honda and I pre-ordered the car and paid full price with no trade in. I’ll try to stick to the bad hybrid battery, or hybrid battery failure issue that I recently experienced, rather than go into all the other issues with owning this Honda and dealing with Honda Dealer Service, which I could really go on about. I successfully replaced my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid battery for about $525.00

I commute 3 times a week, 200 mile round trips. My car was dealer maintained at all recommended intervals and I accrued 185,000 miles when suddenly the IMA, Check Engine, and Battery lights came on. I lost the IMA System and was able to drive without it, although it was difficult to get the car moving from a stop due to a lack of power. Highway speeds were actually not difficult once it was going. During this time the IMA was obviously offline and the battery neither charged nor discharged. It remained at the level it read on the indicator prior to the “major malfunction”. Although I may have noticed some hints at an impending battery issue, like slightly quicker than normal battery depletion prior to the failure, I assure you that it was not obvious or severe before failing, and that I constantly watch the battery levels as well as mileage as part of my driving routine or habit.

Honda Dealer Service at Carbone Honda in Utica, New York told me that I had a bad IMA battery. The estimate for repair was $5,500.00 and included the battery control unit which I believe was $1,500 out of that figure. They told me that they figured they may as well replace that control unit because there was a chance it was bad. I’m serious. Finding myself with a repair bill that exceeded the value of my high mileage vehicle (although well maintained), and being well out of warranty, I began to question the wisdom of a hybrid purchase. I suppose that may be off topic, so I’ll continue without going further.

Assuming that I could find some source to repair the battery, I sat down with the Honda Service Manager and gave him my difficult situation. I said I’d like to get the battery repaired or replaced by some outside source, and after doing so, I assumed that it would require some type of factory programming to complete the change out. This was my assumption of what would be required because of the nature of these computerized systems. The service manager fully expressed a willingness to help at this theoretical point in the future. I outright asked him if they would have any issue working with me if I work out the battery myself. He said absolutely not.

It turns out that nobody repairs these batteries yet. Pre-2006 model years, yes, but nothing after 2005. I found that some salvage yards sell salvaged batteries. The closest salvage source was convenient to get to and when I spoke with them, they told me that the batteries have a 6 month shelf life once removed from the vehicle. They said they tested and dated the battery and then put it on the shelf. It was from a 2007. The best info that I found online indicated that the batteries were identical from 2006 through at least 2008. This battery was ~4 months on the shelf. Other salvage yards that I called did not offer any similar information on their batteries. They did not keep track of shelf life or mention it in general.

I bought the replacement for $450 (not only was it the closest salvage yard, but also the cheapest). I replaced it myself within 2 hours with minimal tools, although I had to run down the road to grab a T30 torx bit to remove the screws to the battery panel cover. The rest of the bolts were 10MM hex head. I had to remove the rear seats to access everything. I am an electrician, and I am familiar with the potentially lethal hazards of working with electricity including a battery capable a rapid rate of discharge. I can’t recommend that anyone do something like replace the battery themselves because I don’t want anyone getting hurt if they do not know what they are doing. I will not explain how to replace the battery because of this, but I found it to be simple and well within my personal comfort zone. There are steps for the process that a local mechanic printed from his computer. Go ask a mechanic. That same mechanic gave me the list of salvage yards with batteries.

After the replacement I started the car. The IMA and Battery lights went out, but the check engine light remained on. The battery charged up from a low level to 4 bars in a short time, but the power steering felt heavier than normal and the car bucked at greater than 3000 RPM’s. That bucking had occurred since I took it to Honda and they told me the original battery was shot (not during the 200 miles I drove it without the IMA, and before taking it to them). The replacement battery charged and discharged in a normal manner while driving.

I then took the car back to the dealer to ask them to check it out and reprogram whatever they may need to in order to complete the repair. I also mentioned that the car bucked at 3000+ RPM’s since I brought it to them last. They acted as if I was completely crazy for replacing the battery myself.

After a day in their shop they told me that the replacement battery was incorrect. When I asked questions like “aren’t the batteries from 2006 through 2008 all the same?”, or “is this not a 158 Volt nickel metal hydride battery, just like the old one?”, I got nowhere. They guy eventually told me that there were “subtle differences between at least 3 available batteries for the Civic Hybrid.” They offered a part number for “the correct battery”. The part number provided does not physically appear on either the original battery or my replacement battery. No remotely similar numbers appear on either battery to suggest a “close, but not exactly the same” type of indication. Next, told me that I was in luck, because I apparently have proven that the battery controller did not require replacement, and that if I still have the original battery as a core, and if it is still in perfect physical condition, that they would replace it with a new battery for $2,500.00 and it would solve all of my problems (check engine light, bucking over 3000 RPM’s, and heavy power steering). No other satisfactory explanation for the cost difference in the battery replacement from the original quote could be offered. He just kept telling me that there was a $3000 core charge and that my battery had better not be damaged. The math just does not add up any way you try. Their story stunk and they sent out only an underling level guy to tell me this info while the manager hid out in the back. They guy could not change his own oil, let alone pass off proper knowledge of my hybrid vehicle’s problems.

I was just looking to sell the car. I had been offered $3,500 as is and $5,500 if the battery worked. This was by a salvage car buying company out of New Jersey. They would pick up the car from my driveway. A friend called a friend with a local Auto shop, and this was the offer he found for me as a favor. He said there were at least 3 similar companies that make these bulk vehicle purchases and thay they send a car carrier to Syracuse, New York to pick up vehicle on a regular basis.

I called the local shop that found me the offer on the car. When I told him my story, he asked if Honda reprogrammed the car. I said “I don’t get the feeling that the Honda Dealer knows how to reprogram the car.” He then told me that his shop is Honda Certified for repairs. I did not know this previously. I would have gone there sooner and would have had them replace the battery (at least before I found how easy it was). They reprogrammed the computer and charged 1 hour labor at $69 for the service. The car is working as designed. All issues vanished. Nimmey’s Auto, 2001 Bleeker Street, Utica, New York. They were beyond nice and I don’t know how I have never used their shop prior to this. Thanks, Matt Nimmey, for quick, honest, professional service offered to a new customer in a bad situation.

I can only imagine with horror what would have happened if I bought a new battery from the dealer. Could they have programmed it? Were they screwing me all along? I don’t know. I have read online about dealers that replaced batteries in this situation and left customers with inoperable systems. I’m happy I did not try.

I did go back to the dealer and politely tell them about my $69 successful repair. They said they “did not understand how that was possible.” No kidding you don’t. Thanks for charging me for your ignorance and or dishonesty.

For the record, Honda USA had told me to go pound salt. They were incredibly rude about the entire situation. I was only looking for token help from them and they were extremely insulting. That was my 4th and last Honda.

I hope the story may help someone.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:28 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Grand Forks B.C.
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Default Re: Repalced my 2006 Civic Hybrid Battery

Thanks for your story, interesting. H
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:57 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New England
Posts: 733
Default Re: Repalced my 2006 Civic Hybrid Battery

Yes, thank you for your detailed story.
When in the Utica area, my family & I will keep Nimmey's Auto in mind if we need service. I wrote their info down for future reference.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:03 AM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Toronto ON, Canada
Posts: 72
Default Re: Replaced my 2006 Civic Hybrid Battery

Thanks for sharing, loyal Honda owner. Sorry to hear your dealer is ripping your pants off.

Yeah when it comes down to the top brass (Honda USA, Honda Canada, etc..), by then they won't really help. Last time when I was dealing with Ford Canada, they didn't help me either. What I actually did was to INVOLVE the news/media and told them the story. Then they made a few phone calls and e-mails...only then the Ford dealer would dance for me.

Anyways I have 2 hybrids and for the purpose of this forum, I own an 2006 Accord Hybrid!

Glad that so far the battery is still doing OK. I am not certain where I can fix this when my battery finally dies on me though as I am in Toronto, Ontario in Canada.

Hope owners out where will do the same as me when problems comes their way...consider involving the news/media if in doubt and not going anywhere.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:05 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 40
Default Re: Replaced my 2006 Civic Hybrid Battery

Really interesting story!!
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:59 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 92
Default Re: Replaced my 2006 Civic Hybrid Battery

Originally Posted by Labrador View Post
I had been offered $3,500 as is and $5,500 if the battery worked. This was by a salvage car buying company out of New Jersey. They would pick up the car from my driveway.
Name and number please. I need someone to get my old Insight & that figure is a lot higher than the $1000 the local junkyard offered. Thanks :-D
For the record, Honda USA had told me to go pound salt. They were incredibly rude about the entire situation. I was only looking for token help from them and they were extremely insulting. That was my 4th and last Honda.
Honda can't do anything about *independent* dealerships. BTW you should tell us the dealer's name so we can avoid him.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:31 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 92
Default Re: Replaced my 2006 Civic Hybrid Battery

Name and number of the scrap dealer please.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:14 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 17
Default Re: Replaced my 2006 Civic Hybrid Battery

If you have a any problem on civic hybrid battery related then find the solution on internet. There are so many hybrid repairing sites are available on internet which are repair your battery with cost effective price.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:52 AM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Toronto ON, Canada
Posts: 72
Default Re: Replaced my 2006 Civic Hybrid Battery

Well for Canada, I got good news. The last time I spoke to Honda Canada they are very helpful with a safety problem on my Accord Hybrid. I know this is a Civic Hybrid thread but since I contributed last time I felt I want to say more here to help Honda owners.

My problem was a brake issue when very cold, brakes will loose vaccum and get stiff as if the car didn't start at all while you pump the brakes.

To keep this short, Honda Canada was very the dealer my car was in saying that they will cover the charges associated for my problems.

So for me, problem solved in Canada when calling Honda Canada Customer Relations.

Maybe similar case in future if dealer is not treating you right or you feel your Honda needs attention you felt you shouldn't be responsible for, call Honda Canada and they can help. Mark was my rep.

As for the battery, normally it should last about 180k miles or about 300k kms befor needing replacement. My Honda Plus warranty will expire in 2 months so 7 years and 168k kms later, I will be toast soon and will have to pay for everything going forward.

Hope the battery will last as long as others claimed.
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1
Default Re: Replaced my 2006 Civic Hybrid Battery

That is an AWESOME article, thanks so much. Was about to buy a Civic Hybrid and didn't know enough to get it right. Now I can replace that battery myself!
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