Honda Civic Hybrid Cutaway[UPDATE June 29 2011]: There seem to be a lot of interest on IMA battery replacement. I just called my local dealer, and he said, for sure Honda does NOT offer free replacement of the IMA battery. He was not aware of any service bulletin that offers it. He also said the California State EPA law may extend the warranty for the IMA battery, but not the 2003 HCH.  So, unfortunately, for those who still have the 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid, you’ll need to shell out $4000 (plus labor) to get a new IMA battery.  Alternatively, sell it and get a regular non-Hybrid car because IMA batteries are just costly to replace.

Every car owner worry about spending money to repair his/her car due to regular wear and tear.  An equipment with so many moving parts will require a lot of maintenance work.  It’s a necessary evil.  With an electric-gasoline hybrid cars, there is an added problem: the main battery.  When it’s damaged, it’s going to be expensive to replace.  This is what hybrid owners have been dreading, including myself.

Honda does not have an official word on why a Civic Hybrid’s IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) battery might fail.  But a technical bulletin to service dealers suggested a similar problem with Honda’s first hybrid cars, the Insight, which used the same IMA technology.  The letter said modules controlling the battery charging mechanism, allowed overcharging.  However, repeated overcharging could cause overheating and reduce the life of the battery.  Combine that with the hot weather in places like California or Arizona, the battery would die even faster.

The letter might explain my situation.  For the past few weeks, there have been record high temperatures in Southern California.  I noticed my 2003 Civic Hybrid car’s IMA light came on and off, indicating a possible problem with the main engine battery.

Last week, I took the car to a local Honda dealer down the street and had them check it out.  They told me that it was possibly due to a false reading in the ECM (Electronic Control Module) device. This should also fix the issue I had with the Check Engine light reporting a catalytic converter failure.  They summarily reset both indicators and returned the car to me.  This Monday morning, the light came back on!  It looks like the ECM software update doesn’t fix anything.

In California, there is a warranty extension for the IMA battery to 10 years/150k miles.  However, this only applies to Civic Hybrids with SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicles) specification.  For some odd reason, the State only gave my car a ULEV.  So I’m out of luck.

Now, I may not have a choice but to replace my IMA battery.  I called a few other dealers and they quoted me about $3000 to get a new one!   I can buy a lot of gas with that money! Or a down payment for a new car!

I don’t want to give up on my car just yet.  In the past few weeks, I watched the battery charge and MPG indicators.  I noticed I was down to 41 MPG on a full tank, or roughly 500 miles per 12 gallons. Even with the IMA battery poor condition,  I’m still getting a much better mileage than all economy/compact/sub-compact cars out there.   So it got me thinking:  Do I really need to replace the main battery?  My answer, at this point, is no.  The car is still drive-able and still saves a lot of fuel.

Some people suggested, after 5 years, the car’s life is at the end anyway, so it might better off for me to buy a new car.  It may be true in a cold climate cities when the car goes through adverse weather conditions and salted roads. In Southern California, the weather is moderate and mostly dry.  A well maintained car can last more than 10 years in this part of the country.  My last Civic was 8 years old when I had to trade it in for a larger car.  Similarly, I plan on using this Civic Hybrid, if it lets me, to go beyond 10 years, or at least until 2011 when my car pool lane HOV sticker expires.  There’s really no motivation for me to get rid of this car right now.

With the IMA battery still operational in a somewhat limited capacity, the car still getting a quite decent mileage and still in good condition, my hybrid car woe is not too bad. In the meantime, I think I’ll write to American Honda to petition a warranty exception for my car’s battery.  I’m hoping Honda has the sense to take care of me, one of their loyal customer. I’ll update this blog when (if) I get a word from them.

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161 Responses to “Hybrid Woe – IMA Battery”

  1. calgary1 says:

    So Honda, has had my 2003 civic in the shop for over a month now and Honda Canada/Japan has no solution for it in the forseeable future. They wrecked my IMA computer with their latest update in the summer of 2011. It only runs when the temperature is above 0F. I’m now to the point I may consider parting it out. The car has 100K Miles, It has a brand new factory IMA battery from their first attempt. I put 4 new struts, relatively new winter and summer tires. Engine and trans working. Final thoughs, I’m never buying another Hybid again no matter who makes it.

  2. Todd says:

    How much do you want for your car Calgary1 ?

  3. calgary1 says:

    On the open market it seems to be worth about $6000 but at this point I would consider $4000.

  4. Danie says:

    Hi I just found this site today. I had no knowledge about the battery problems with these cars. I just bought a 03 civic hybrid yesterday from a guy, he did not tell me there was any problems with the battery.

    Engine light came on this morning, when on my way to school, this car has 165,000 miles, checked The carfax and this car had the first battery replaced at 79k miles. Never been in an accident and always kept up to date on maintenance. I got it for $3200. I thought I got a pretty good deal being the car looks like new, clean carfax and all.

    Am I screwed? Should I try to see if I can give this vehicle back? My dad is a mechanic and maybe if I can get a cheap battery somehow he can install it. I’m freaking out… I’m a girl and Had no clue about battery problems. Please advice. Thank you.

  5. Todd says:

    Danie, you did get a GREAT DEAL on the car. $3,200 for a Hybrid is a great price. Just because the check engine light came on, does not mean that it is a IMA Battery Problem.

    There are many systems in the car that can set different lights. First thing you need to figure out is what light/lights came on. The check engine light is a myriad of issues, it could be the O2 sensors, it could be something as simple as you forgot to put the gas cap on.

    If the “IMA” light is on, that still is not specifically a Battery Problem. There are mutiple components in the IMA system.

    What you need to do is to bring your car to a Autozone/Checker or your local mechanic (or dad if he has a scanner)and have the codes read and possibly reset. Once you get the specific codes, we can give you additional information but you could sell that car for more than you paid.

  6. calgary1 says:

    The dealer has installed the latest computer code for my 2003 Civic Hybrid. Honda Japan only took 2 1/2 months to come up with a fix. The car is now driveable again. I probably won’t be able to test the cold weather symptoms until fall. Its too warm here now. I hope they got it.

  7. Scott says:

    So I have a 2003 HCH with 152000 miles. Few months ago the IMA light comes on and stays on for a few days. I take to dealer. they install update ($99) and light goes out. They say if light comes on again will need new battery. A month or so goes by and IMA light comes on. After few hours or a day it goes off. (Is that a recal?) and does recal mean recalibrate? Another month or so goes by and it happens again and it seems that battery does not fully recharge. The guage goes up and down, but doesn’t seem to reach all the way up. IMA light comes on again. I loan car to friend who leaves on a portable tire inflator running off the battery and the car won’t start – battery run down. She jumps it, drives it on a long (60 mi trip) it fully charges (battery guage goes all the way up to top) and IMA light stays off for over a month again. Car continues to usually get 42 mpg, sometimes 46 mpg (not the 46 to 50 mpg I think we should be getting) but the assist motor is working per the guages. IMA light still occasionaly comes on for few days then goes off. I assume it is recalibrating per the updated computer program. Any thoughts?

  8. Todd says:

    Scott, what you are experiencing is over time, the batteries are gaining a memory, not able to charge completely and what will correct your issue is reconditioning the batteries. The software updates do help but not the answer. Inside your batter is 20 sticks and in each stick is 6 “D” cell Batteries. When one battery is not performing as necessary, it takes out the ability of the entire stick. When you start to lose 2 or 3 sticks that are not performing, the IMA system will identify this shortcoming and set the light. Then when they get above the AVERAGE, the light will them go off. Reconditioning the battery will prolong the life of the Whole Battery for 3-5 years and will improve your MPG. Purchasing a Battery from the dealer for $3,000 is not the answer. You can have someone qualified or experienced do it for 25-35% of that cost. I have now done quite a few and walked others through the process. I do hope this information helps you.

  9. Roy says:

    Sooo, I need my battery Reconditioned. Based on all the blogs and trips to Honda Dealerships Ive been through. Ive tried numerous contacts off the Internet Todd. No one making feel like Im dealing with a normal buisness. Is there anywhere close to Virginia I could drive in, shake someones hand and pay them a grand or 1200 dollars to do this. I feel like if I send it off Im gonna be one of those stories that get sent around talking about the latest scam?

  10. Todd says:

    Roy, I absolutely understand your fears. I have sold my business in Utah and now reside in Massachusetts and no longer have a Store Front but have done quite a few of these over the past few years. I still have my Hybrid and love it and love the 42-53 MPG that my car gets (Depending on City or Highway). I do not know what to tell you except I obviously have been on here for years trying to help others with their Civic Hybrid Problems and there is not a negative comment from anyone I have helped.

    I wish I had 2 battery packs, I could recondition one and then you could drive here and install a reconditioned one and you could be on your way but I only have one extra at this point. If you want to talk on the phone, maybe you would feel more comfortable but that is up to you. The Process of Reconditioning and Re-Testing takes almost 2 weeks and then replacing the bad cells and reconditioning that cell adds additional time. Any thoughts?

  11. Roy says:

    Ok, hit me up at my junk email address. I can hit you back from there with my regular email address. Maybe there is something we can make mutually benificial. Im in the Washinton DC area of Virginia. Im troubleshooting an electrical draw right now when the car is at rest, ignition off. Kills the regular battery in about 2 hours. It seems I can bring the condition in and out playing with the relay/fuse box under the hood. If I figure that out I want to keep driving the car. The gas savings is pretty huge at 4 dollars a gallon. Im still getting 43 MPG even with the IMA battery being bad for about the past 50 thousand miles.

  12. Ricardo says:

    Hey Roy

    Have you checked if the 12 v. Battery is still getting charged? As far as I´m concerned, when the IMA battery gets too much deteriorated, it would not charge the 12v battery any more since there is no alternator.
    Todd helped me on instructions to fix my battery and it worked. His help is very well recommended from my side
    Best Regards

  13. Ray says:

    Hello everyone,
    I have a 2003 HCH and my engine and IMA light are on. Got the codes from the Zone and are as follow P0420, P1600,P1639,P1634,P1445. Im afraid i will need a new pack or have it reconditioned. Todd, or anybody, is there a way you can guide me through the process, I am pretty handy with mechanical and electrical systems. Thank you

  14. Cathie says:

    Todd, My IMA light came on as well. My 2005 Civic Hybrid has had it’s share of problems but it has over 165,000 miles on the speedometer. I’ve heard you can buy reconditioned batteries for less than half the cost of a new battery but if I could learn how to recondition it myself that would be a greta help. How can I contact you?

  15. Todd says:

    Cathie, Like I have told many people before… Reconditioning the battery is a VERY DANGEROUS process. People have DIED doing it. I tell this to you to let you know exactly how serious this is. Your IMA Battery has more Amperage than a HOUSE!!!

    With that being said (and I say this or something along the same lines to ANYONE…

  16. Cathie says:

    Well, I don’t think I will attempt it then. I love life much more than a stupid car. With all of the problems I’ve had with this Honda car, I have decided not to buy Honda’s ever again! I’m buying old classic cars now, I can work on them and I don’t lose money when I drive them off of the car dealers lot!!!

  17. Todd says:

    Cathie, Honda’s are a quality car and not overly expensive to maintain. Hybrids are more expensive but there is a trade off. I love my 2003 Hybrid, great mileage and I can maintain the entire car. Someone who is not handy could cost them more than the car is worth in the long run. If you lived close by, I could assist you and there are people around i have met on-line who can help you. My comments were not to SCARE YOU as much as to let you know that it is dangerous.

  18. Scott says:

    Hi All: About 3,000 miles ago I wrote that IMA light was coming on for a few days and then would go off. Now it came on with engine emissions light, simultaneously. I assume that I could get error messages. Do I need to take it to a dealer for that or is there another way. The battery and IMA system is still working and I am getting 40 to 46 mpg. I really dont want to buy the $4,000 new battery and would be happy with reconditioned one; just where to get. The savings at $3.80 gal gas is really good now. I estimated that at lower prices I still saved about $5,000 on fuel so far, but to pay 80% of that to get a new battery, would take some joy out of the car. Of course the fuel savings has resulted in environmental benefits we can appreciate.
    Rudy, thanks for the site,; Todd, thanks for the info in your previous response to my previous post; and thanks to all on this message board , Scott

  19. Todd says:

    Scott, as your battery continues to deteriorate, your light will come on and off more frequently. As the system degrades, it will show other items within your system that are now being effected by the drop in battery performance. Can you drive you car the answer is YES, the issue is going to be when you have to get it Inspected for the State. If your car does not NEED or REQUIRE an Inspection, you are only going to lose 13-15% of the Effectiveness of the Electric Assist. You will still be getting over 38MPG with the system being ineffective.

    The Issue is going to be when the CHARGING SYSTEM fails, then your car will die and will not run. The same charging system for the Battery also charges the 12V system. Your car requires 12V to run the Fuel Injectors and other Auxillary Electrical systems. I have had some people send me their batteries and I have reconditioned them with great success (Not a single one returned). Maybe I should buy a few Cores and have Battery Packs ready to install and people can come to me and swap one for one but you never know how many Cells you have to replace and that costs around $50 Each STICK to replace…

    The Variables go on and on but I have had only (1) that was over $1,000 and average somewhere around $750 for a completed Pack. Oh the questions, what to do, what to do. I am living in Massachusetts if you are close or want to ship it to me, then I can help you get your done and back on the road.

  20. Buck says:

    Hi Todd,
    I plan to buy HCH 2003 by next month from used car dealer. What is the most important /expensive part should I check to test drive the car? How could I know whether that certain parts got problem or not? Is it all the mechanical parts for this car same as HC 1.7 parts?


  21. Todd says:

    First, the parts are NOT interchangeable for the 1.7 liter engine. The 1.7 is used on the NON-Hybrid and then available on the 2006. The Hybrid has a 1.3 liter engine.

    The most common problems with the 2002 HCH that you are going to come into contact with are
    a. IMA Battery Pack
    b. CVT Transmission and components
    c. The 1.3 liter engine.

    The IMA battery will show with a illuminated IMA Light and Check Engine Light. The one quick way to determine if there is a problem is this. Check the DTC’s (Diagnostic Trouble Codes)since reset. Many of the Used Car Guys will try and trick you and turn off the lights… If there is less than 20 DTC’s since reset, I would be weary. If it is less than 5…. They are playing with the car and I would probably walk away.

    CVT Transmissions have a failure rate after 120K, There is also an issue with the Flywheel stripping and breaking and the Torque converter breaking. There is also a slippage with the Chain/Belt that will make a strange noise and a rumble when you accelerate and take off the gas pedal.

    Listen to the engine, they are good engines if PMS is taken

    Other than that, there are not any glaring problems with the cars….

  22. Buck says:

    Normally, if the CVT Transmission got problem how much it will cost? If the charging system fails is it expensive to repair / replace?

    Let say, if we have a difficulty to find the spare parts for this HCH 1.3A exclude to the above 3 major items, what is the similiar of Civic model for the part could be replace with?

    Thanks Todd..

  23. Callie says:

    My 16 year old son bought a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid 6 weeks ago from a local mechanic/used car lot. He paid $5200. It had 135,000 miles. He drove it two days then left for vaca for a week. The check engine light and IMA light came on the day after we returned home from vaca so we brought it back to mechanic to run the codes. Mechanic reset it and said it was because it sat for a week without driving and Hybrids do that. A friend had referred us to the guy and said they have used him 25 years so we trusted him. A few weeks later the car left my son stranded on the side of the road. Towed to the guy we bought it from and it was determined that the transmission and radiator both went. $4500 repair. We asked him to help us with the cost since we just bought it from him and he had worked on it. He said no and offered us the option to get an $800 warranty from him and he would back date it, let it sit in his lot for a month and then put it through. Yep, warranty fraud. We said no thanks, realized he’s totally dishonest and had it towed off his lot the next day. Did necessary repairs to trans and radiator but the IMA light kept coming on for another mechanic. He took it to Honda and they told our mechanic that this car had been in their shop several months back for the IMA light. The battery was bad then and it was not repaired. The problem was the same. The battery is $2500 to replace. We inquired to see who had brought the car in for this problem. They gave us a name, you guessed it, it was the mechanic that sold us the car! We were taken. Not sure what we should do. This is my 16 year old sons first car and he is out of money after the repairs. Do we help him and fix the battery now or just ride it till it dies without the battery? Considering taking the guy to court but not sure if we have a case since it wasn’t under warranty. Please help us to know what to do.

  24. Buck says:

    To recharge the battery cells, is it possible to disconnect IMA Battery for that purpose and let the car just running continue recharge 12V battery?

  25. Saleem says:


    Firstly I got to say there is some serious information on this page for all HCH owners. Being said that, I could not find any tip or anything related to the problem I’m suffering with my HCH 2007 with 62500 miles.

    I m living across the ocean in UK, thought you guys might drop me a line and help me in understanding the possible cause of this problem with a solution.

    Here goes my dilemma:

    Bought this car almost a year ago from a honda dealer with 27K mileage and full service history, really enjoyed driving it since then.

    The problem started couples of week ago, used to get 45-48 mpg around town and 53-55 mpg on motorways. The IMA is not kicking in properly when I put my foot down, the battery is assisting just up to 2-3 bars on the assit meter during normal driving and then no assistance. If I floor the pedal then it assists a bit better, but not the way it used to. Since this problem hardly getting 38-39 mpg around town.

    On the other hand, during last two weeks the AUTO STOP has been functioning properly, the battery is getting charged properly when driving down the hill or by applying foot brake.

    It happened thrice today……… after applying brakes I could not get any charging indication on IMA charging indicator. Before that there was no such problem. Has it got to do with braking system? i.e., brake pads? Changed the front brake pads almost two weeks ago and confronting this problem since then.

    Took the car to the same dealer from where I bought it, they could not find any error on the diagnostic machine…….Thanks

  26. Todd says:

    In order to further assist you, I need some additional information. Currently they are on the 3rd Generation of HCH, Can you tell me what year your car is please and then I can get back to you pertaining to what is happening to your car. It actually does make a difference. BTW, is there any chance that your Emergency Brake is dragging? Is the Tire Pressure correct on your car? Can you be more specific on what is happening with the Gauges? Where is the Total Charge, how quickly does the battery deplete when using the assist?

    BTW, I have noticed that if you gently apply the Brake the AUTO STOP does not work nearly as often. When you Feather the Brake and take it off and then gently re-apply 2 seconds before you come to a stop, I can make mine come on EVERY TIME and if I do not then it is very sparse for it to activate.

    First generation (2001–2005)
    Second generation (2005–2011)
    Third generation (2011- Present)

  27. Saleem says:

    Hi Todd,

    Thanks for getting back to me.

    Here is the info you need, it is 2007 as mentioned in my query, so it is the second generation. The IMA battery charge indicator show full bars when i start the car and deplete two or three bars while driving around town. The maximum it depleted to 6 bars (below the half way mark) on motorway runs for a short while when driving uphill or overtaking and then charges up again to 8-9 bars on the charge meter.

    Emergency brake isn’t dragging at all and the tire pressure is correct (checked once every fortnight), a regular driver can easily feel the brake drag and low/high tire pressure. I reckon both these are not causing a problem in my case.

    The problem in my case is that the battery is not assisting the petrol engine properly. You can see it is fully charged and when you need it to start assisting the petrol engine at around 1500-2000 rpm and above, it assist the petrol engine upto two or three bars on the assist meter just for a while and then stops assisting (no bars on the assist meter) bearing in the mind the battery charge level shows charge between 8 to 9 bars or some time full bars. One can feel the petrol engine needs assistance from the IMA battery, but IMA battery has got a mind of its own :) Hence hardly getting 38-39 mpg around town, because the car is running on petrol most of the time.

    The battery is not assisting even when it is fully charged. Why I mentioned brake pads in my last query, I changed the front brake pads with OEM brake pads. I can send you pictures/videos to understand the problem and figure out the possible reason causing the problem.

    The IMA battery charging process is working alright now.

    Hope you will come back to me with some beneficial information and a solution. Or which areas I should look into to get the problem resolved. Thanks.

  28. Anand says:

    Hi ,

    I have a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid with 120k miles on it. I see the check engine light and have taken it to the honda dealer who has recommended that we change the IMA battery which is going to cost us a lot. I have two specific questions.

    1) Ours is a ULEV and was wondering if our battery were still under warranty.. ( I know there is some SULEV VS ULEV thing but I am not sure).

    2) Do you know if there is a cheap way of fixing this. I am in salt lake city, Utah.

  29. Todd says:

    Hello Anand,
    The warranty for your 2003 Honda Civic is 8 years and the MAX is 100,000 miles. The 8 years is calculated from the Original Date of Purchase so it seems that you are completely out of Warranty.

    The second part of your question is a little harder to answer… There are options out there for you and if I still lived in Salt Lake City, Ken Garff would have referred you to me to have your Battery “RECONDITIONED” but I moved to Boston.

    I have been talking to many people and it comes down to the following options:

    a. Purchase a Reconditioned Battery from the Honda Dealership. This is not a NEW battery, it is a reconditioned one and the cost is approximately $3,000-$3,200 installed.

    b. Purchasing a used battery from a recycling facility but the problem with this is you have NO IDEA what the condition of the battery you are purchasing. You can purchase a used battery for $500-$2,000

    c. Purchase a Reconditioned Battery with some sort of warranty. The only drawback with this is HOW are they reconditioning them? I talked to one person and their definition was to remove from one car and offering it to you. This is normally $1,000 – $2,000

    d. Have YOUR battery Reconditioned, this way you know that you have a battery that will last for years to come. This normally comes with a Warranty. There are a few people who do RECONDITIONING but the drawback is the amount of time it takes to recondition YOUR battery (Normally 2 weeks)… The cost for this is $750-$1,200. (Plus cost for defective sticks of $40-$50 each).

    If you would like any additional information you can contact me directly ….

  30. Raymond says:

    Here is my timeline about Honda Civic Hybrid:
    2009-Jul-08: I purchased a new 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid.
    2010-Sep-29: The IMA and Engine light were on (code P07AF)
    Honda services updated PCM and IMA control unit.
    2010-Dec-22: Engine light was on again (code P07AF).
    Honda services replaced the IMA battery w/o charge.
    2012-Dec-28: Engine and IMA light were on again.
    Honda services found IMA battery died and is
    ordering a new IMA battery for replacement.
    Note: Honda IMA extended warranty,
    10 years or 150K miles

    I think Honda IMA battery quality is questionable here. My first one came along with new car lasted about 17 months. The replaced one lasted 24 months. In 10 years time frame (of the given extended warranty), this IMA battery will likely to have 5 replacements ($3200 x 5 = $16,000). I am glad that Honda stands behind its product; but as a consumer I don’t like this Honda Civic Hybrid and will get rid of it soon (by trade-in).

  31. Brad says:

    I can’t believe this. I have a 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid with 110,000 miles. The IMA light has been turning on and off, so I took it to a shop. They said the IMA battery is toast and it costs $3700 for a replacement!!!!! Are you kidding me?! I’ve owned this car less than 2 years and already a major problem like this! I had no idea Honda’s hybrids were total crap. What do I do? I’m thinking of just trying to trade it in, but I don’t know what to get instead and I don’t even know if they’ll take it as a trade-in if the battery is toast. Please, if anyone has advice, e-mail me at Thanks!

  32. Todd says:

    For the new people who are coming in and out of this forum… The Honda Dealership’s answer to your IMA issues for over 95% of everyone is (1) Your IMA Battery needs to be replaced and (2) That will be $129 please.

    If you want to save yourself some time and money, here is what I would recommend “FIRST”. As these GEN 1 vehicles are getting older in age is the batteries are getting conditioned to not accept a full charge, not balanced (Numbers along the same area), or going bad.

    I have been contacted directly by quite a few people and recommended they do the following:
    (a) Find a Hill, Drop the transmission into the LOW GEAR and drive it aggressively. What you are wanting to do is TAX or DEPLETE the battery. YOU want it to go completely EMPTY.
    (b) Once it is Empty, GENTLY drive it and allow the battery to charge all the way up.
    (c) Be like “Shampoo” and REPEAT 3-5 times…

    What this is doing is a partial recondition and you may find you will get your IMA Light OUT and extend the life of your battery.

    It has worked for the last 4 people I have talked with, maybe it will work for you?? You never know.

  33. Scott W says:

    Thanks for the tip, Todd. Both my IMA and check engine light are on and mileage has dropped to about 36 to 44 (from usual 42 to 52 for me, 46 to 54 for my partner – she drives like a grandmother, ha ha). the battery bars do drop down and go all the way up, but who knows how many cells are responding. Anyway, I will try the in situ reconditioning method and report back. Thanks again, Scott

  34. Caro says:

    Just had my IMA battery changed, 92,400 miles.

    Does a Hybrid function without the IMA battery? Other than gas mileage what else would not work?\

    Just wondering.
    Thank you

  35. Todd says:

    Caro, the answer to this question is multifaceted.

    NO, if you pull the battery out, your car will be missing a component in the “SYSTEM” and your car will not operate.

    Your Car Battery is charged through the IMA system. Your Honda Civic Hybrid “DOES NOT HAVE AN ALTERNATOR”. Your car has a Generator that is part of the Transmission and sends the current from it to the IMA Battery and back to the 12V Battery under the hood. Without the IMA Battery, your car is dead.

    NOW…… Can your car “RUN” with a defective IMA Battery, that answer is much more difficult to answer. Yes, you can drive for a very long time with the light on for certain things and for others… You got 15 minutes and your car will not longer work and will strand you.

    The Fuel Injection system requires 10.6 Volts to operate, without that 10.6 Volts, you will not have a running car..

    I can go on and on with information about the Pros/Cons and what will and won’t work but with today’s Safety and Emissions tests, the IMA Light will cause you to FAIL your inspection.

    So you can drive with your IMA Light on until your next inspection and then you will be required to make the repairs,…

    Does this answer your question?

  36. Caro says:

    Thank you very much for your reply.
    I just had the IMA battery replaced today, the IMA light came on on the 27th, I took it to Honda dealer who scheduled the replacement for today, luckely it is under warranty. When he told me the actual price $4,500, I posted question out of curiosity.
    I was content with my Honda Civic Hybrid but WILL NEVER recommend anyone buying any hybrid cars anymore. I paid $10k more than the regular Honda Civic, I thought it was worth it to save on gaz but the price of replacing IMA battery is not worth it.

    Thank you again for your reply, this is my last Hybrid car.

  37. Caro says:

    Now that I have a new IMA battery replacing the defected one in my Honda Civic, how long is the manufacture warranty will be on it?
    Thank you

  38. Todd says:

    If I am not mistaken, In the US, dealer warranty on “retail” hybrid batteries is 3 years/36k miles.

    In the UK, it is 1 year….

  39. Kaitlyn says:

    Hi Todd,

    I recently purchased a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid. I just took it in last weekend for an oil change and a full inspection last weekend, and the dealership said everything looked great. While on my way to work this morning, my IMA light came on. The car still seems to be running normally, but I don’t want to risk getting stranded on the highway. What do you recommend I should do next? Do you have any idea what could be wrong?



  40. Caro says:

    Please take it back to the dealer ASAP.
    IMA battery might be defected and needs to be replaced. It does not matter when you were at the dealer for maintenance.

    Best of luck

  41. Kaitlyn says:

    Thanks for getting back to me. I’ll get it in as soon as I can.

  42. Todd says:

    CARO… she brought it in for Service.. Oil change and Inspection but not from replacing the IMA Battery.

    I am not saying to NOT bring it to the Dealership, There are many things that may cause the IMA Light to come on. The 2003 has a Recall and an FREE update to the IMA system.

    Too many times have people been told to replace the IMA Battery and if that is the case, then you are looking at an expensive replacement.

    The IMA Battery can be reconditioned. I have walked people through a process to do a mini recondition to charge the IMA Battery and the light will stay off. Driving up and down STEEP HILLS in LOW gear will charge and discharge the battery and allow it to get within limits… DO THIS MULTIPLE TIMES…. DRIVE HARD UP and easy down. Get the METER ALL THE WAY DOWN and ALL THE WAY UP..

    So much information, too little time.

    I would DRAIN the battery on a STEEP hill and then charge it under normal driving conditions and then go back to the hill and repeat a few times (I have told this to 4 people in the last Month and ALL were able to get their car’s working properly)…

    It is up to you…

  43. Caro says:

    I didn’t want to alarm her, so sorry.
    I went through the exact same thing, I had maintenance done on Saturday, checked everything and it was great. The following Saturday the IMA light came on, when I took it back they changed and I was very lucky that it was under the warranty or it would have cost 44,500K.
    My modo is better safe than sorry, I wouldn’t want to get stuck somewhere because the battery ran out.

  44. Scott says:

    Hi all: scott here reporting back on my first in situ reconditioning attempt. Here is how it went. Living in southern nj there are few if any hills i believe are of sufficient vertical drop and length to really drain the battery. So I went to the nearest big hill a bit north of here. Vertical change in elevation about 500 or so feet (maybe). Anyway there were some dips going up the hill, so every time that happened, the battery would start to charge, so i would quick shift to neutral and coast to the next rise. Doing this going up in lowest gear I would only drain battery down to 3 bars. Then I would drive gently and it would charge to full. After 3 cycles of this i gave up. 1) it seemed that afer doing this some, the computer would be charging the battery going uphill under load when i clearly expected it to be draining. 2) Rather nerve wracking with the shifting to neutral to avoid charging and to low to load going uphill and i became concerned that i would cook the CVT and have two expensive problems. That being said, it seems now the assist and charging processes seem to switch better and the mileage seems better, have not yet needed to fill and use a tankfull to check. But still both check engine and IMA lights are on. I do know of a serious long hill climb (trucks must use low gear and i believe i recall a “runaway runout ramp” on the downhill side, but that hill is about 4.5 hour drive from here at a nice Pennsylvania state park, but that would be a weekend trip. I’d definately want to bring the kayaks. Can anyone else who did the hill climb deplete battery method relate their experience, methodology details here? Did you worry about causing some other “injury” to your car? Thanks, Scott
    PS to Todd. If the recondition on the mountain doesn’t work, I am in NJ near Philadelphia and my inspection (they only check emissions now and dont even test hybrids (unless the IMA light is on and then i would expect that to be an automatic fail) is in October, so maybe I’ll bring it up in August or September, if you are available, and take the train home (it is walking distance from my house) and then train up to pick the car up when you are done! Scott

  45. Todd says:

    Yes, if the IMA light is on… It will Fail the Emissions (OBDII). When you are closer, give me a call and we can talk and figure out something,…

  46. Scott says:

    Thanks, Todd. Will do. Definately getting better mileage since what i assume is a partially successful recyvel.

  47. Todd says:

    The more you do the Recycle, the better it will be for you.

  48. Olu says:

    Hey Todd

    You seem like a high tech honda Hybird Guru. Here is my problem. My cousin bought a 2004 honda civic hybrid from the auction for $3300 no check engine light or IMA light.. I got into the car and started to drive it when I noticed hesitation under throttle while the engine started shaking. Once I got the car above 30mph the shaking stopped and engine sounded smooth but as I stepped on the brakes to slow down under 30 mph the problem started again. The problem also occurred when I put the car in reverse. After driving a few miles to a honda dealer, the check engine light and the IMA light came on. The dealer’s service guy didn’t really know what was wrong so they tried to tell me to pay for a new hybrid battery because the light came on and they also said the 12v battery was bad, which I notice because I had to jump the car a twice in two days. Also when the transmission is set to park or neutral and I rev the engine, it doesn’t give the shaking/rumbling effect, it in fact sounds great. Please advice me on what to do or if you can chat over the phone let me know the best way to contact you.

  49. Todd says:


    Send me your phone number to my Email Address and I will give you a call.

    I have so many questions..
    a. What Auction did he purchase the Car?
    b. Was it a GREEN, Amber, or Red Light at the Auction?
    c. Do you have the documentation from the Honda Dealership?
    d. Need more information pertaining to the Vibration.

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