Honda Insight 2000

According to my local Honda dealer, my 2000 Honda Insight needs a complete new IMA system…to the tune of $6,000.00. I’m not going to go for the repair and want to try to sell the car. Is it worth more than the $300.00 a junk yard will pay me for it? Mileage is approximately 120,000 and the car is in good overall condition otherwise. Two photos attached.

There is no way that we can tell from your limited information. Normally I would advise you to get a second opinion, but finding anyone who knows anything about this vehicle could prove to be difficult, and that includes your Honda dealer. He may not have anyone on his staff that knows how to troubleshoot this system, so a complete replacement is their only answer when the problem could be as simple as a loose connection somewhere.

You might try a specialized forum for this. Tell them your symptoms and someone there may have experience with that and know how it was fixed. Here is one that shows promise.

I think you need to get a second opinion from another Honda dealer service department.

You can simply have the IMA system deactivated, and get nearly as good a milage as with IMA. If all you need is new batteries, there are places such as hybridrevolt ( where you can get a replacement pack for as little as $1,500, with a 18 month warranty. If you live near Los Angeles, I’d give you more than $300, easy.


Your Insight is 13 years old with 120K miles…Has the main battery been replaced? If not, then it’s pretty much a salvage car…You should educate yourself as what IMA system failure means and if there are any work-arounds…Is the car still drivable? Google is your friend. The Insight has several specific forums that focus on that model…

If you simply want to dispose of the car, I think you could offer it as a parts car on one of those Insight forums or eBay and realize considerably more than $300. It’s aluminum body makes it worth 2 or 3 times that money…


If we were talking about a Prius, I think you’d be right. However, since this is an original Insight, this isn’t a salvage car yet.

With the first generation of Honda’s hybrids, they ran primarily on the gasoline engine, with the electric motor only providing additional power when needed. Today’s hybrids from all of the manufacturers operate differently. They run primarily on the electric motor, with the gasoline engine only coming on to charge the batteries, provide extra power, or run the air conditioning.

Theoretically, you should be able to disable the electric part of this hybrid and still keep driving. You’d just have less power.

A car that is said to save the environment lasts only 120K or requires major surgery to get it back on the road…
So the resources it may have saved in its life now have to be used to replace or repair it.

Yeah, that makes sense.

"Theoretically, you should be able to disable the electric part of this hybrid and still keep driving. You’d just have less power. "

Yes, a lot less power.
For purely local driving, it would probably be fine, but trying to merge into expressway traffic with just the little gasoline engine is…potentially dangerous, IMHO.

I don’t know about you, but I would not want to drive a car powered by a 3-cylinder, 1 liter, 67 hp engine on an expressway.

I agree. I certainly wouldn’t want to be behind you.

I disagree. I had an 86 Toyota Tercel 4WD wagon. It weighed more than the Insight, had the 4wd drivetrain to lug around and was not as aerodynamic, and it only had 62 hp. It did OK on the expressway except when stuck behind a big powerful vehicle that would go down the on ramp at 25-30 mph. They could accelerate in the last 100 yards to get up to speed, the Tercel had a problem then, but that was the only time.

BTW, the Geo Metro also had a 3 cylinder, 1 liter, 62 hp engine.

"BTW, the Geo Metro also had a 3 cylinder, 1 liter, 62 hp engine. "

I wouldn’t want one of those little buggies either.


Well, that I can agree on. Just saying that the Insight wasn’t the worse power to weight car on the road.

BTW, I don’t think you can deactivate the IMA, it also serves as the starter motor and the generator for the battery pack.

Thanks to all for helpful comments. I bought the car in 2006 and had to have the battery replaced in 2007 (under warranty, no charge to me). I’m very disappointed that it only lasted 5 years; don’t know if that’s typical. I’ll try posting to an Insight site.
P.S. I live in Texas, where Insights are rare (at least in San Antonio).

" However, since this is an original Insight, this isn’t a salvage car yet."

It’s a parts car if it costs more to repair it than the car is worth…If the main battery has never been replaced, then it’s overdue and fixing the IMA (for $4000) might not be a smart move should the battery fail in the near future…

$4000 will buy 1000 gallons of gasoline which will power a 30mpg car for 30,000 miles…Gasoline needs to be priced at $6-$8/gallon before any of these hybrids make economic sense.

The original Insight was made from some high cost materials so it would be a shame to just junk it. If you can’t find someone who can trace the problem to a specific component and repair it for a reasonable cost, then I would suggest looking for provisions to install a 12 volt starter motor, a conventional alternator and 12 volt battery and get rid of the IMA and the large battery,

As hybrids go, this was a pretty simple system. It is simply a motor generator attached between the flywheel and the transmission. It is no where near the sophistication of the Toyota Hybrid Synergy system. The engine is a three cylinder variant of a typical car engine, so it should be do-able. It should make the vehicle about 100 lbs lighter than it already currently is and that alone should keep the gas mileage up in the range the vehicle has as a hybrid.

Since this car uses a permanent magnet DC traction motor, it might just need new brushes. Replacing brushes seems to be getting to be a lost art. It usually isn’t hard to do and the brushes aren’t expensive.

Check with Hybrid ReVolt as mentioned earlier.

Many times when he bought batteries from the salvage yard they just included everything in the battery box in the rear of the car. This means that he has (or at least he had when I was there) a large number of the extra bits that work the hybrid system that don’t normally wear out.

While it could happen, I find it hard to believe that the motor is bad as I’ve never heard of one of them failing.

Yes, it’s worth a LOT more than $300. Probably more along the lines of $3000, depending on condition. There are a lot of battery replacement services. Post your concerns on InsightCentral d o t net, and you’ll get a LOT of ideas. DON’T scrap this car, it has a great value to the Insight community!!!
I have owned 440 GTX, Cuda’s, Road Runners, and have a 2005 Corvette. But my daily driver/commute car is an Insight and love it. I average 60mpg, and it’s very comfortable.

Someone on the forum will buy your car… so advertise it on the InsightCentral website.

The following may shed some light about the design of the Honda Insight and disabling the IMA.