Honda Hybrid battery failure and other hybrids

The mechanic I use told me how he repaired a fault with the Honda Civic hybrid battery that kept the check engine light on and indicated a code for a faulty battery. It appears that if the different cells in the battery have a voltage variance between them that is outside of the parameters set, the light will come on and stay on. The customer was told by Honda service that he needed a new battery, but the car was out of the warraqnty period.

The mechanic theorized that he could remedy this if he drained the battery down and recharged it. After two cycles, the check engine light went off.

I wonder if this would work for other hybrid owners?

Interesting. There are some folks out there that will go through Prius batteries and replace the bad cells for much less than the cost of a new battery.

But I wonder how long your mechanic’s ‘fix’ lasted…

Draining the battery and then recharging it may make an unequal hybrid battery last a little bit longer but the code will probably come back shortly.

There are at least a few people who have built “grid chargers” which charge the battery from house current and try to keep the cells even. Some people have claimed success in making the IMA battery light go off in this manner but I don’t know how long it works for.

When my battery went bad the IMA light would only come on for short periods at first, sometimes the CEL came on with it. Gradually the IMA light would stay on for longer periods of time until the last time it was on for over a month. The day before I went to get the battery rejuvinated (as mentioned by texases) the IMA light went off again only to come back on along with the CEL while driving to Phoenix the next day.

So what I’m saying is, this may be a short-term fix but you probably have at least one stick of batteries which just doesn’t have the capacity of the others. Soon enough the stick that is not pulling its weight will bring the rest of the pack down and the warning lights will come back on.

When I purchased my Insight it was 9 years old. I thought the battery was working fine up until I started having issues. Now that I have a reconditioned battery I realize that my battery was weak from the time I purchased the car, it has a much greater capacity now.

In days of old, depleting rechargeable batteries was something you did when they were new, to condition them. I’ve never heard of doing it to a malfunctioning battery pack, and I doubt this will be a permanent fix.

Lead-acid batteries will benefit from an occasional “equalization charge” which is an intentional overcharge done to equalize all the cells…But in the many celled lithium ion hybrid batteries, this tactic will not work as overcharging this type of battery can cause them to go into a self-destruct mode as the cells overheat unless VERY closely monitored…

Typically, ALL rechargeable batteries can only deliver so many charge/discharge cycles…When that number is reached, the battery simply fails…With most battery types, limiting the depth of the discharge will greatly extend the life of the battery. Nickle-Cadmium is the exception which don’t mind full discharges…

These hybrid batteries are NiMH, normally much more forgiving than NiCad and not as worrisome as Lion.