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Driving a hybrid with a dead hybrid battery

My brother in law just gave us his Honda Civic Hybrid. We took it to the shop and they informed us that the Hybrid battery is not functional. The car has over 100,000 miles on it and we were informed the battery would cost $2500. The car is getting close to 35 mpg without a properly functioning hybrid battery and seems to be running well. My question is, can we simply drive the car without ever replacing the hybrid battery? Our service station doesn’t know the answer.

What is the model year of this car?

How long does the factory warranty on the propulsion battery run in terms of both odometer mileage and elapsed time?

(Hint: The guy at the service station will not know the answer to the second question. You will have to open the glove compartment to find the answer.)

Sure you can. The engine management system will detect that the drive batteries are dead. So it will operate on the gas engine continuously.


However, you will lose the mileage and environmental benefits of driving a hybrid.

I was wondering when this was going to happen (complete dependence on the gasoline engine). If you do continue to drive it on only the gasoline motor, you should remove the traction motors and batteries, if State law allows, to reduce the weight by several hundred pounds.
There may, now, be cheaper, more advanced batteries, you can install (vis a vis, the Tesla sports car).

I think it’s possible on this car–if I remember right, the older Honda hybrids always have the gas engine running, just using the electric motors for assistance. It might be more difficult with a Toyota hybrid—these can use the electric motors separately from the gas engine. The system would probably be pretty confused with batteries that are always dead.

Good question, perhaps only Honda knows for sure. What you will lose eventually is power. The gas motor is small and without help from the electric motor the car will be “underpowered” on the gas engine alone.

Next, will it hurt the car? I think it might because the generator is going to try to recharge the dead battery. This will put an extra drain on the gas motor and may harm the generator and the computer control system(s) that monitor and regulate the entire process.

This is like a “Timing Belt” on an interference engine in my book. A new battery is part of the maintenance of a hybird. Failure to do it will cause more damage in the end. See if Honda has a program to replace batteries at a reduced rate. You can delay this for a bit, but you should get a new battery.

See if anyone is selling them on ebay.

“Our sevice station doesn’t know the answer”?
Take it to Honda for a check and estimate.
You did get the car for no cost.

Was any notice given by a on-board device (did a light light up?) informing you that the battery was non-functional? I would think this would be monitored and a report given to the driver.

Have you googled “used hybrid batteries” ?? These cars get wrecked and their batteries get recycled just like everything else. Since you don’t have a new car, you don’t need a new battery, just a serviceable battery…

I usually avoid dealers if possible. They are always overpriced, often lie a lot, and don’t always do that great a job. But in this case, you are unlikely to find anyone who really understands your car’s engines and engineering outside of the dealer service department except maybe among hobbiests.

I’d use a search engine – Google, AltaVista, Bing to look for user groups/forums on the internet. If they can’t provide you with the answers you need, you probably need to talk to the Honda service department.