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Honda Hybrid Battery woes

My 2003 Honda civic hybrid’s big battery is triggering the check engine light. The local dealership/repair people tell me its time to replace the battery to the tune of $3200. It still is charging okay, and the car still performs the same. Can I delay getting a new battery?

You may be over, but I believe there’s an 8 yr / 100,000 mile warranty on the battery.
Seems odd that if the battery is OK it would trigger the CEL. Did they reset the light, and did the code come back?

I’d think you could delay this a long time, but you may see your mileage drop as the battery pack contributes less and less power.

My car is not the model that gets the 8 yr/100,000 warranty. When they reset the light it came back on in a short period of time.

I would keep driving until it stops working, or until the car will not pass a state inspection (depending on where you live). Do you live in a cold climate? Does the battery seem to work better in warmer weather?

Any deals out there on a good used battery pack (like out of a wrecked car)?

The check engine light may come on if there is a difference in the voltage output of the many battery cells in the battery pack. If this is the problem, then the batteries will still work with little difference in performance, as the difference may only be in tenths of a volt, depending on how Honda programmed the software. Unfortunately, you are learning the hard way the true cost of owning a hybrid.

I am so against How much green we can do by driving electric hybrids. It is a near guarantee one will have a battery expense similar to yours.

There are rolling brownouts in the NE coast due to air conditioners, Now lets throw electric cars that tap the grid into the mix? Sounds like a recipe for disaster in my book.

Our 2003 did the same thing at 130,000 miles. We had the light reset, but eventually (within a hundred miles or so), the light came back on, along with the IMA light. It was obvious from the performance of the car that the battery was failing. We had the IMA battery replaced for $3200 by the Honda dealer.

I don’t know the ramifications of ignoring the dead battery and just driving the car on the gas engine. I’ve heard stories about people doing this, but don’t know the truth of them.

Also, I’ve heard that there are lots of hybrid batteries available at less cost than the dealer’s from junkyards and on eBay, etc.

Good luck.

The moral to this story is unload your hybrid vehicle BEFORE the warranty expires…$3200 will buy a lot of gasoline…As a matter of fact, it will buy a half-way decent used car…

My understanding is you can continue to drive even with a bad battery, but you may lose assist and your mileage will probably suffer. How many miles do you have on this car? I don’t have any experience with these guys but they might be worth a try: You might also want to contact someone higher up with Honda and see if they can’t work with you some on the price, someone from Honda corporate, not at the dealership. The dealership should be able to get you the contact info., or a quick search online.

It’s kind of like operating your laptop with a bad battery…The computer will still work as long as you keep it plugged in…Lithium-ion batteries only last so long…The only thing that restores them is $3200…

For the mathematically challenged Caddyman…

The gas savings MORE then covers the cost of a new battery. It’s well worth buying the new battery and keeping it another 130k miles or more.

The hybrid saved the OP 3,800 in gas (I figured gas at 3.00/gal - WHICH I THINK IS LOW) over the 130k miles as compared to the non-hybrid Civic which also gets great gas mileage.

Next To Go South Will Be The Gas Engine Parts Of This Wonderful “Hybrid.” Hybrids Aren’t The Best Of Two Worlds, They Are Two Worlds.


Why would the hybrid engine be more prone to failure then a non-hybrid engine. Properly maintained Honda engines have no problem lasting 300k miles or MANY MANY more.

Parts Of The Whole Gas Engine System, Including Cooling, Electrical, Ignition, Etcetera. As I Have Said Before, These Are Two Vehicles, One Gas, One EV, Rolled Into One Complex Vehicle.


That doesn’t explain why you think the engine is going to prematurely fail. In fact since the engine doesn’t work as hard in a hybrid it should last longer…And electric motors last 10 times longer then any gas engine.

Can they fail…Sure…But you’re making it sound like…BECAUSE IT’S HYBRID…it WILL FAIL…

What have you been doing with the money you saved on fuel?

That went the purchase price and premium of buying a Hybrid car.

I don’t fault anyone for buying a Hybrid and it being more expensive in overall ownership costs longterm. I purchase turbo charged (Subaru) AWD vehicles and enjoy them which also have higher ownership costs.

Purchase price is skewed a lot. If you compare the Hybrid to the base model…then yes it’s a lot more expensive. But if you compare it to the fully loaded model then the price difference is under $1000. Personally I haven’t bought a base model vehicle in over 30 years.

This is not typical of the hybrid battery life. 150k/10 years is typical. Can’t compare ONE vehicle and make the blanket statement that ALL hybrids will be more expensive to own.

"But if you compare it to the fully loaded model then the price difference is under $1000. "

But you can’t get the Civic Hybrid with a sunroof (and a few other options)… making a comparison with an EX-L difficult at best. But even so, a Civic Hybrid with leather will run $23,892 invoice vs. $20,962 for a Civic EX-L. That’s $2,930 difference in price, not “under $1000”. So you save $3,800 in gas (by your calculations), but pay $2,930 more for the vehicle and then $3,200 for the battery? That’s a net cost of $2,330. You only get that back if the resale value is higher… but according to kbb, it isn’t.

And none of that accounts for the time value of money. Even at just 2.5%, that’s another $640 in cost for the hybrid over 8 years.

So that’s the rub… if the battery lasts, great… you would have saved maybe $300, accounting for the higher price, the time value of the money at 2.5% and the gas savings. If not, you’re looking at considerably higher costs - about $3,000 higher over 8 years.

And if you have other debt, the time value of money may be even higher. Mortgage at 5%? That $2,930 extra cost goes up to $4,500 because you could have paid off $2,930 of your mortgage with it and saved a decent chunk of interest.

Hybrids are great, but financially, they really make little sense for most drivers. For a few, they can save them a fortune.

There’s a lot more to hybrid ownership then saving on gas. Using less oil and polluting far less than traditional vehicles is just as if not more so important to many owners.