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Hybrid "IMA" battery module warning light on, then off - near the end of warranty!

Hi there,

I took our 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid to a mechanic I trust on Thursday, because it had been running a litter rougher than usual (I thought), and, more critically, the “IMA” warning light (Integrated Motor Assist) had come on.

I thought it might be bad news, and I was right.

The shop’s computer retrieved a P1447 code, which they told me indicates battery module deviation and means the battery module (the whole big hybrid battery) needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, my trusted mechanic couldn’t do this for me and we had to drive the car to the dealership.

The IMA light stayed on during that trip, but when we arrived we turned off the car. When the dealership mechanic got into the car and turned the key, the warning light was gone!

Our warranty is currently good up to 44,000 miles, and the odometer just crossed 43,700 today.

This is a $3,500 repair, (and we’re a little financially shaky right now. I don’t want to just wait and see when / if the light comes back on again – which is what the dealership recommended. They say they can’t do anything unless they see the code on their own computer, and if the warning light isn’t displaying they won’t be able to retrieve a code – but the other shop already did this.

Now what do I do? I’m tired of messing with this already.

Are you not the original owner? I believe the Civic Hybrid came with an 8 yr, 80k warranty on the battery for the original owners…

Sorry, yes, we are the original owners. I got my numbers wrong; the mileage is 83,700 - the warranty was extended 4,000 miles due to odometer trouble.

“Now what do I do? I’m tired of messing with this already.”

You are going to get a lot more tired…

You need to get this on the record and in writing with the dealership before the warranty expires. It needs to appear on a repair order or something that contains the date, the mileage on your car, your report of a rough performance and the error code. Then, if you drive it beyond the 84K miles, you’ll be able to go back and say that you reported the problem in the warranty period. Then it will be covered by warranty.

I dont know about the dealerships scanner but mine reads “Active”, “Pending” and “History” codes. If the computer set that code, they should still be able to find it.


Thanks, Youngtimer. That’s the kind of thing I was thinking, but I’m not sure how to go about it. I asked the person I talked to to “make a record”, but I don’t think he did that – in his place, I’m not sure I’d know what to do.

In other words, I drive the car to the dealership, then ask for…what, exactly? What do I say?

With the car under warranty you really should have gone to the dealer first.

Cross your fingers and hope the light comes on again before the warranty is up.
If it does come on drop your travel plans and drive straight to the nearest dealership, leave it running and get someone to observe the light.

I agree with Transman. The code should still be stored in the history of the memory. Your mechanic should be able to verify that with his scanner. If that is the case then you need to have the dealer service download the history for your record.

Thank you! I’ll try to do this.