By on May 28, 2013

Fernando writes:

I own a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid. At exactly 7 years and 7 months, and 68k miles, the battery quit. Being well within Honda’s 8 year, 80k miles warranty, the dealership replaced it fully free of charge. The vehicle is working like a charm again. Other than this mishap, it has been completely trouble-free, and does its job as a good commuter car perfectly.

So……where is the rub, you ask?

Well, when I queried the service manager about the warranty for the new battery pack, he told me until the vehicle reaches 8 years, which is only 5 months away. Is this BS? Or is it reasonable?

Me thinks it’s undiluted BS.

Sajeev answers:

Usually, usually, replacement OEM parts have a modest warranty that’s significantly shorter than the original coverage for a new vehicle.  It is usually 1 year.  This aftermarket vendor provides the usual 1 year warranty of replacement battery packs, too.

But if the service manager said there is no warranty after 8 year/80k miles, he probably knows better than all of us. I Googled to find the warranty duration of the OEM, Genuine Honda replacement battery packs and found…nothing. Not on the Hybrid forums, not on Honda forums.  Then again, I won’t be depressed if someone hyperlinks their way to beating me at my game.

So what’s the final analysis? The warranty period is moot, OEM replacement parts are rarely warranted for longer than a year. And that battery pack will last longer than a year: making the warranty pointless. Probably.

So who cares?

Bonus!  A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

Now forget about fancy-pants Hybrid parts we rarely encounter.  Many aftermarket (not OEM) auto parts are available with a lifetime warranty. This is good and bad.  The quality of lifetime replacement parts has improved in the past decade, if you shop wisely. My first and secondhand experiences with “Platinum” branded alternators from O’Reillys rings true.   You can still buy the “junk” alternator with the lifetime warranty, but for a mere $20-ish more…why would you?

If you like to work on your car and know that some replacement parts are better with the lifetime warranty because you will need a replacement 10+ years from now, avoid the OEM manufacturer part and go lifetime. I’ve cashed in several times (alternators, suspension wear items, ignition parts) thanks to my lifetime warranty paperwork, arriving at the store with 10-12 year old receipts.  The staff gladly accepts them, sometimes even complimenting me for being such a tightwad!

Well, at least it felt like a compliment…hmm!

 

 Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

 

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82 Comments on “Piston Slap: Me Thinks It’s Undiluted BS!...”


  • avatar
    wmba

    It’s a warranty part. Free. Why would any manufacturer stick its neck out and extend the warranty beyond the original period? Would be different if the customer paid for the part – in that case as a customer I would insist on some kind of warranty.

    In this case I think the original purchaser wrongly assumes that Honda is in indentured servitude to him. That’s the BS.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Some manufacturers do it the way your describe and only extend coverage for parts replaced under warranty to the end of the warranty period. Even if the part was replaced a day before expiry.

      But, what Sanjeev says is correct, some manufacturers will extend the part warranty past the regular warranty period if it was replaced within a year. Chrysler does this, they give til the end of the warranty period, or 1 year from replacement, whichever is more favorable to the customer.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        The 8 year battery warranty is a federal requirement for hybrid cars. Kind of like the mandated warranty on emissions parts.

        Anything after that is up to Honda.

        Toyota seems extends the warranties on some parts beyond the published date in cases where a reasonable customer had a reasonable expectation of something better. And it seems to work wonderfully as a way to keep customers coming back for service and new cars.

        So, if the battery in the Civic does fail, it wouldn’t hurt to take it by the Honda dealer for a “diagnostic”. If they offer to replace it, wonderful. If not, get a refurbished battery and get on with life. Plus, hybrids are still unusual, so the dealer techs are probably the ones in town who know the most about this particular car.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Juat backs up the case that hybrids do more damage to the environment than gas engines in their respective lifetimes. Besides that car is a tin box compared to today’s economy gas cars.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Care to explain further?

      I fully expect the old battery pack will be recycled, in which case any damage would be negligible.

      They stopped throwing failed battery packs in waterways around 2008 or so.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        You’re right, the rare metals in the battery are far too valuable to just throw away. I suspect what Norm is getting at is the energy expenditure from the mine to finished product for the replacement batteries.

        Frankly, the manufacture of any vehicle takes significant amounts of energy, and the higher content of rare metals in hybrids probably requires more in most cases, but is anyone really keeping count? People buy these cars because how they affect the end user.

        In most cases, they pay less at the pump, and thats why they bought it. It doesn’t matter how fuzzy the math actually is or what environmental nonsense used to justify, all that is a side bar.

        • 0 avatar
          wsn

          Even if the mining part causes some pollution, if the actual rare metal keeps being useful almost indefinitely, it’s OK.

          On the other hand, things like pick-ups and sports cars should be banned first, if something has to be banned for environmental purposes.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            We’re not at a point where we should care enough to even think of banning or restricting anything of the sort.

            Right now the only thing these arguments are good for is arguing for or against the supposed green cred of these cars, which is pointless.

            If one truly cared about energy expenditure or carbon footprints, they wouldn’t drive a car at all.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Norm,

      If i remember correctly, you have to assume that the non-hybrid lasts 300k miles and the Prius lasts 50k miles to make that argument work.

      The Prius in my driveway has over 150k miles on it and is just beginning to feel like a used car. It’s been reliable and economical transpiration for the past 9 years, and there’a every reason to believe that we’ll get at least another 100k miles out of it, should we choose to own it that long.

      There’s no reason that you personally need to drive or even like a Prius… But it is a well engineered vehicle that supports an American lifestyle with a little less waste and environmental impact than just about anything else out there. In other words, it is very good at what it’s supposed to do.

      That said, the Prius is a commuting and passenger car. Optimized for those tasks, and so it’s not well suited for hauling heavy objects, racing, or anything that involves leaving pavement. But it’s an excellent small commuter / errand car.

  • avatar
    BMWnut

    Consider it a stroke of luck that the battery quit before the warranty did. Replacing it on your own dime six months from now would probably have induced a world of hurt in your wallet.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      I wonder how the failure rate of that Honda high-voltage battery compares to the failure rate of a Ford automatic transmission?

      • 0 avatar
        Synchromesh

        Battery failure is relatively normal as it’s a wear item. Their general service life seems to be somewhere around 100K miles. This is true for most if not all hybrids, not just Hondas. Transmission failure, on the other hand, is a different problem altogether. It should last lifetime of the car. So it’s apples-to-oranges comparison.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          “Battery failure is relatively normal as it’s a wear item. Their general service life seems to be somewhere around 100K miles. ”

          Yet, the Prius has a 150k battery warranty. Are you under the impression that Toyota is, in almost all cases, replacing Prius batteries under warranty at 100k miles?

        • 0 avatar

          Ok… define lifetime of a car, and in what part of the country,

          50,000 miles? 100,000 miles? 150,000 miles? 200,000 miles?

          5 years, 10 years, 15 years?

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      One month after the warranty expired on my 2000 Honda Insight (early 2011) the IMA battery generated a Check Engine light and 1449, 1447 codes. My local Honda dealer told me I was S.O.L. and I ponied up $1700 for a aftermarket pack from Bumblebee Batteries. Here’s the rub: my IMA battery was replaced in 2006 by Honda – but it was not new – Honda uses ‘refurbished’ battery cells, better known as USED batteries in their replacement battery packs. This is tantamount to using used parts anywhere else in your car. Imagine you go to the dealer for a warranty clutch, wheel bearing or brake job and they install used parts. You’d be upset right? I see no difference here either as it’s a wear part with a limited lifespan.

      While I’m so far happy with the increased amperage of my new aftermarket IMA battery, I feel quite burned by Honda and will probably never buy another Honda – or hybrid – again. Sajeev, what would you have done?

      • 0 avatar

        I’d do the same as you…there might be a good reason for the refurb’d part, but it is far from reassuring on a car with an OEM warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Refurbishing a traction battery in Prius land involves testing and replacing any cells that are out of spec.

        Prius hackers often do this in their garage by starting with two junkyard packs. It takes a little time, and some knowledge of electrical safety is essential, but it’s a viable way to make a battery work.

        It’s more like getting a rebuilt transmission than getting a used wheel bearing.

        Whether this is acceptable is something that’s up to you, but I did want to explain what a refurbished hybrid battery is. These aren’t sealed boxes anymore than a transmission is a sealed box – and they cost about the same and last about as long.

        • 0 avatar
          Piston Slap Yo Mama

          Luke42 – you’re mostly wrong on this one. A more apt analogy is this: your transmission goes out under warranty so the dealer sources a number of used transmissions and uses bits from all of them to fix yours. In this analogy you’re back on the road, but without the expense of anything new being installed.
          For what it’s worth I have a battery reconditioner/balancer and three IMA packs I’m pulling from to build (hopefully) one acceptable one. It won’t be as good as new, not by a long shot, that’s why I bit the bullet and bought a truly new IMA battery from Bumblebee. Once upon a time Honda could have used me as a brand emissary … not so much now.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            You clearly don’t like refurbished parts… So, you should just buy new parts instead!

            Under other industries, warranty parts are pro-rated over the expected life of the part. Under those circumstances, the OP would have received about 5% of the cost of a new battery. At least Honda is doing better than that!

          • 0 avatar
            AFX

            “For what it’s worth I have a battery reconditioner/balancer”

            Is the term “reconditioner” on the actual unit that you bought, or are you just using that as a generic phrase for balancing a battery pack ?. There is no “reconditioning” of a bad NIMH battery cell, once it’s done it’s done. I can see if the individual cell voltages were slightly unbalanced from usage over the years and you wanted to charge each cell individually to balance the pack out more, but if a few cells have lower voltages or capacity and are just plain worn out or defective there’s no way you can recondition them.

          • 0 avatar
            Piston Slap Yo Mama

            AFX: that’s why I’m using THREE packs to make ONE good pack, I thought I wrote that clearly. Apologies if I did not.
            Luke42: I *firmly* believe that *warranty* repairs should always use NEW parts. Once the car is out of warranty then use whatever you want: re-man, knockoff, Gucci, stolen, I don’t care.
            As I also have a ’71 TR6 I’m not averse to using refurbished / remanufactured bits. I hold my new & under warranty autos to a higher standard however.

      • 0 avatar
        Victell

        It is not uncommon for parts replaced under warranty to be refurbished. Transmissions, engines, starters and alternators included. Every audio unit is a remanufactured exchange unit. And it is legal. The only time it is illegal to use refurbished parts is if the vehicle has yet to be sold to the first retail customer.

        As far as hybrid batteries, they’re all sent back to the manufacturer for refurbishing. Most likely they replace all the cells while re-using the case.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Exactly right, remanufactured parts under warranty is pretty much an industry standard. With assemblies like engines and transmissions, the remanufacturing centers use the same standards as the factory, so usually the consumer ends up with a product that is just as good or better if there have been updates.

          Of course there are other cases where parts aren’t tested properly and end up back on the shelves with defects. However similar to regular production, warranty rates are monitored and the process corrected.

          So that being said, I wouldn’t have an issue with a reman part in most instances. Those definitely not being Motorcraft alternators.

        • 0 avatar
          Piston Slap Yo Mama

          The cells for the 1st gen Insight in Honda’s replacement packs were pulls from other packs once their contract ended with the OEM supplier, acc. to InsightCentral. I completely agree that refurbished parts can be used, and are used for warranty repairs, but IMHO batteries are a “wear item” just like brake pads, clutch friction material and wheel bearings. Unlike a brake pad where a new lining can be bonded on producing an item functionally identical to its new counterpart, a refurbished battery hasn’t had anything “new” added to it, it’s still all older cells that have been in service elsewhere or sat on a shelf deteriorating for years. This is the distinction I’m making, specifically about batteries.

  • avatar
    lowsodium

    This is exactly why you do not buy a hybrid. One battery replacement easily wipes out any fuel savings.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Parallel hybrids have significantly simpler transmissions than a normal automatic transmission. The high cost battery is generally negated by the fact that there is very little to fail in the hybrid transmission… which is certainly not the case with today’s 6, 7, and 8+ speed automatics.

    • 0 avatar
      W.Minter

      Battery repair is no big deal. In most cases you just need some new cells.

      Prius II:
      - 4 out of 28 NiMH modules broken -> 35 USD each (ebay), 140 USD total + labor (the tricky part)
      - refurbished battery 1875 USD + S/H/tax/install (aftermarket)
      - 2299 USD (Toyota)

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        “Battery repair is no big deal. In most cases you just need some new cells.”

        Sure, just swap in some brand new fresh cells into a pack that has old cells in it with diminished capacity from years of charge cycles, like that won’t affect the overall performance of the battery pack at all. Any kid who’s ever run an RC car knows that “balanced packs” are better than ones who’s cells have varying capacity or voltages. If you’ve got new fresh cells mixed in with the older cells it’s just going to draw down the voltage on the older cells lower as you discharge the battery, unless the individual cells have some kind of low voltage cutoff protection. So while the battery is dischaging the voltage of the old cells will be lower than the new ones you swapped in, and the lower cells will be worked harder and might drop down in voltage below where they’re designed to work, and you wind up damaging the old cells by discharging them too far, and further reducing their capacity and lifetime.

    • 0 avatar
      SherbornSean

      Simple math, low sodium:
      Driving 100,000 miles on $4 gas at 25 MPG costs $16K. Same miles and cost of gas in a hybrid getting 35MPG costs $11.5K .

      That would be a savings of $4.5K vs. replacement cost of battery at $2.5K.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        Not to mention the extra gas charges are from the start. The battery replacement happens at the end, when USD is worth even less.

      • 0 avatar
        lowsodium

        Your assuming against a 25mpg car. Compare it to todays newer efficient engines that can get 35 easy.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          Ok, a Cruze is a bigger compact and a Prius is a smaller midsize. Fuelly says that owners of a 2012 Cruze can expect 32.9mpg. Owners of a 2012 Prius can expect 48.3mpg. 100,000 miles is 3,039 gallons for the Cruze and 2,070 gallons for the Prius. $4/gallon and the delta is $3,876.

          You’d have to calculate feature value to figure out if the up front pricing difference and depreciation are worth it to you. Then you have the wildcard of fluctuating fuel prices. (Resale could skyrocket if gas shoots up, or tank if prices tank.) Long story short, a battery replacement likely won’t wipe out all of your fuel savings. You have just as good odds of your transmission, engine, chassis wireharness, etc leaving you with a big bill toward the end of your car’s life.

  • avatar

    I wonder if it’s possible, that when the battery entirely dies in a hybrid, if you can remove it & use it as a normal gasoline car.

    Yes? No?

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Probably not. In all the systems I can think of, the high-voltage battery would also provide power to start the gas engine (which generally is done by one of the propulsion electric motors).

    • 0 avatar
      rolladan

      You would have to swap everything over from a gas civic to use it w/o hybrid battery which has been done before. Honda hybrid batteries suck

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      You certainly can’t do it in a Toyota, at least if you want to be able to back up.

      I will say that the experience of Honda Hybrid owners should NOT be painted across all hybrids. The Hondas have seemingly been pretty much crap compared to Toyota’s efforts since day one. While I am sure if you looked long and hard you could find examples of Prii that needed batteries before 100K miles, that would very much be the exception. I am no lover of the dull things, but they really are about as bulletproof as a car gets. The ultimate transportation appliance.

  • avatar
    JoelW

    I work at a Honda dealership and what the service manager told Fernando is correct. When a part is replaced fully under warranty it assumes whatever warranty remained on the part that it replaced. Like it or not, it is simply a matter of warranty protocol.

    Another example, let’s say under the standard 3/36 warranty that your alternator goes bad and needs to be replaced under warranty exactly one day before the warranty expires (in other words at 2 years and 364 days). How much warranty coverage does the new alternator have? Exactly one day.

    I would be curious for someone to chime in if this is how warranty works at other OEMs or if Honda is an exception…

    • 0 avatar

      I was under the impression your new car warranty = guaranteed time the car with all parts is covered.

      They need to replace whatever is necessary to fulfill this obligation.

      This is how it works with OEM hard drives in computers. Buy a Seagate with 3 year warranty & it dies 2 years in, you get a replacement that has 1 year left on it. It can die another 5 times & the remaining warranty is transferred between serial numbers.

      This is how I’d assume it would work if I was in op’s situation.

      Edit: I’m NOT talking about OEM computers themselves (hard drives are typically covered for the life of the computer — usually 1 year), but actually buying a hard drive & installing it yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        “I’m NOT talking about OEM computers themselves (hard drives are typically covered for the life of the computer — usually 1 year)”

        Your sentence is saying that a computer’s life is one year. Really?

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah a lot of cheapie computers have a warranty of 1 year (only) unless you buy something better. I’m pretty sure a 1 year warranty is standard these days. Computers are considered “throw-away”.

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            If I don’t get at least 5 years out of a computer, I’m upset.

            I expect them to last well beyond the warranty.

            Yes, I learned my lesson on the cheapie. I’m looking at you, emachines.

          • 0 avatar

            @Firestorm:

            I agree with you 100%! My “gaming” pc has a 3 year old processor in it, and my main Linux desktop I think has a Phenom II from 2008. Only thing I’ve replaced in both of them?

            Hard drives….

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I posted above as well, but Chrysler does it a bit different. They give until the end of the vehicle warranty period, or 1 year from replacement, whichever is more favorable to the customer.

      So in the case of your alternator, even after the expiry of the basic warranty, the customer would still have 364 days of coverage on that part.

      • 0 avatar
        MrNiceGuy998

        One fault with Chrysler’s pairing a parts & labour warranty to go alongside the original warranty is that they default the claim to the manufacturer’s warranty…

        I had a rear pinion seal done under Chrysler’s 7 year/115,000 km warranty. The first time around I paid the $100 deductible, but after 9 months it started leaking again. When I brought it back to the dealer, I had to argue with the service manager for a while before they agreed to waive the original warranty’s deductible, though they acted like they were doing me a big favour.

        My opinion that if the part failed within the first year, the original fix was not done correctly (be it a problem with parts or install), and did not a warrant a completely separate warranty claim…

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          You’re right that the coverage goes to an existing vehicle warranty by default before the Mopar warranty, however they should have waived the deductible as a courtesy in that case as that’s what the guidelines are.

          It’s kind of a grey area because it was a service contract with a deductible, and involves a bit of leg work for them to figure it out. They should have sorted it out before telling you to pay for the deductible and waiting for you to object.

          • 0 avatar
            MrNiceGuy998

            I figured there was some sort of guideline to deal with this sort of thing, but the service manager wasn’t too keen on helping out at first.

            He told me that if I had my vehicle serviced there all the time, they could waive it no problem, but because I only brought it in for warranty work, he didn’t think they could.

            I doubt the dealership would eat the cost of parts and labour in situations like this that involved their regular customers… seemed to me that he didn’t want the hassle of calling corporate for authorization…

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      My Chevy dealer – and I assume ALL Chevy dealers – if not ALL OEMs guarantee any part replaced for one year, after the warranty period runs out.

      Fortunately, I haven’t had to test this out…yet, but my daughter has, and that’s been her experience, and she’s been very happy with the service she’s received.

      She had a fuel pump/gauge issue in her 2007 Trail Blazer that was documented at her former dealer (since culled from the Chevy flock), but an intermittent problem, and when the issue became a real problem, she had to bite the bullet and get it fixed – a YEAR AFTER her warranty ran out. I talked to my dealer’s service manager about the problem, and he looked it up, and yes…as the problem was documented BEFORE the warranty ran out, she should bring it in and GM would take care of it.

      GM sure did, and saved her over $400. She was VERY happy.

    • 0 avatar
      parabellum2000

      This was my experience with Acura. I had a 2000 TL that was part of the lawsuit over self destructing transmissions. Mine was replaced at 50,000 miles, and then again at 109,000 miles. The lawsuit settlement extended the transmission warranty until 110,000 miles.

      The service technician made sure to explain to me that I had less than 1000 miles of warranty on new transmission and transmission control module. At that time I drove 3000 miles a month. Considering that my car was on its third transmission, I wasn’t very happy. They said it was Acura policy. He did say if anything happened within 30 days, the dealership would cover it.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Per this link, the battery warranty was extended to 9 years and 96k miles on the Civic in question. Newer ones are 11 years and 137k miles.

    http ://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2013/03/consumer-reports-blasts-honda-civic-hybrid-reliability.html

    It also mentions that a “bought” battery has a 3 year, 36k warranty.

    A little googling has found that there are aftermarket batteries available for the Prius models for $1800 new. I’ve read that a used battery from a scrap yard is considerably cheaper ($400 to $600 range).

    I’ll take my chances with my Prius. Data so far has shown that the Prius is the most overbuilt Toyota this side of a Land Cruiser when it comes to reliability. I’ll put my batteries and transmission (basically a single planetary gear system) versus the long term reliability of a 6, 7, or 8 speed automatic (or belt and pulley CVT) any day of the week.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      For what it’s worth, I’ve found that CVTs, while more simplistic in design, tend to fail more often than hydraulic planetary automatics. Also unlike conventional automatics, CVTs are generally unserviceable outside a reman center, so it’s a full replacement if you need anything more than a valve body. This drives up cost significantly as compared to a conventional transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        A traditional belt and pulley CVT, yes, I absolutely agree. A parallel hybrid like Toyota or Ford use does not use a traditional belt and pulley CVT. It is an eCVT. The engine and two electric motors are connected via a planetary gearset. One of the electric motors varies in speed to give you the “continuously variable” nature of the torque split device. Here is the first and 2nd gen Toyota torque split devices.

        http: //images.thecarconnection.com/lrg/2010-toyota-prius-transaxle-at-right-with-larger-heavier-transaxle-from-2009-prius-at-left_100179713_l.jpg

        I’ve been elbows deep into more automatic transmission than I care to remember, but they are considerably more complex than that. A normal AT relies on oil pressure to pistons and friction on clutches and plates in order to engage different gears. Much more failure prone than varying the speed of an electric motor in this engineer’s opinion. I wouldn’t say today’s ATs are as serviceable as they used to be.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “I’ve been elbows deep into more automatic transmission than I care to remember”.

          Same here. I agree that hydraulic automatics have more smaller failures like pressure leaks, but they are generally quite serviceable so that 10c o-ring can be replaced at reasonable cost. For the most part, they’re a lot better than they used to be reliability wise.

          Yes the eCVTs are different, I see now you specified eCVT over belt and pulley. I have some experience with the Ford units, and the reverse in them just plain sucks by design, but otherwise not may problems with the transmission components specifically.

          I wouldn’t however take for granted that an eCVT will automatically equal cost savings however. They’re fairly robust, but most hydraulic automatics will have a service life longer than the average hybrid battery, so it could end up being a wash. The dealer-only service on the Hybrid will drain the wallet first.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        but the eCVT in hybrids is very different from CVTs in conventionally powered cars.

    • 0 avatar
      ant

      but doesn’t the Prius use a different kind of battery that lasts longer than the honda?

      This confirms my suspicion that at least compared to Toyo, Honda hybrids are fail compared to toyo synergy drive.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        It’s also not so much the type of battery, it is the battery management that makes a HUGE difference. Toyota is obviously being incredibly conservative as to how much power they draw from the battery, and how hard they charge it. This is why I will be VERY interested to see how the long-term reliability of the Ford C-Max compares. Ford is obviously using the battery much, much harder to get the performance figures.

        I got my Mom into a Prius-V, I have every expectation that the battery in that car will outlast it, and her.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    My Lacie media player broke and they replaced it with a refurbished one and it comes with a 2 year warranty just as the original did. My Silverado AC broke at about just out of warranty I had to pay to replace it but they gave me a lifetime warranty on it. Which I have used once again when it broke. So not un-prescidented to give decent warranties on replacement parts.

    The cost of battery replacement on these hybrids is huge and will drag down the resale value. I would sure like a decent warranty on them especially if I bought a certified vehicle.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    Kinda on topic, Car & Driver had an interesting article regarding the negative hype against hybrids and how those fears have never really materialized….

    http://blog.caranddriver.com/assault-on-battery-three-early-hybrid-energy-storage-fears-that-never-materialized/

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Interesting arguments all around. I’ve never had to think that way because every item I’ve ever had fail on a car has been after the warranty period so I only had to worry about the warranty on the replacement part.

  • avatar
    B Buckner

    As I understand it, the 6-8 speed automatics are actually computer controlled automated manual transmissions, that do not share the hydraulic mechanisms of the older automatics. Whether this makes them more or less reliable I have no clue.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The dual dry clutch automatics (like the DPS6 in the Focus) are like computer controlled manual transmissions, however most of the 6-8 speed transmissions on the market (like the 6R80 in the F-150 or Chrysler/ZF 8HP45) are still hydraulically controlled planetary designs.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    I wouldn’t worry about your replacement battery going bad again while you own the vehicle. If you do manage to keep it that long, then you’ll find that there are reputable companies that refurbish and recycle old hybrid car batteries. They can usually be had for less than the cost of a transmission or any other major drivetrain component.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    We have a fleet of Prius’ and mostly the batteries have been trouble free

    After a few high dollar replacements as Honda declined to warranty them , we’re just selling them off bit by bit , I’m sure the new owners will be shocked when they get $tuck replacing the batteries .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    bartelbe

    The cost of replacement battery packs is why I would never buy a hybrid. I have read comments about auto transmissions, but like most Brits I drive a manual, so that is a non issue. Besides I have never had a gearbox fail on me.

    I could get a diesel for a fraction of the cost of a hybird, even less on the secondhand market. It will get very close to the hybrid’s mileage, and nothing on it, even an ECU failure would cost me anything like a new battery pack. Hybrids are an expensive waste of time.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      In the US, we currently have a one or two diesel powered passenger cars to choose from instead of a hybrid. That’s slowly changing with the introduction of the Chevy Cruze diesel, a new Mazda6 diesel and a few other offerings from the VW group, but even those are using very sophisticated (read expensive) technologies to meet stringent emissions laws in the US.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    Hooray, another reason not to buy an aged hybrid with buku (in this case 68K) miles.

    Exception: My dad’s 110K mile Prius, though it is in a heated garage and never has to face -20F mornings and is rarely driven in the winter. Wonder how this treatment affects battery longevity.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Babying the car like that probably extends the life of the battery… I can’t see how it wouldn’t.

      But our Prius has 150k trouble free miles and has lived 4.5 of its 9 years in the mid-latitudes of the Midwest, where it sits outside and is run every day no matter how cold/hot it is. (Usually 0F-100F)

      Mine is doing just fine, and I expect the car will easily make it to 250k miles… Your dad’s Prius may last even longer.

  • avatar
    AFX

    This article brings up a good point, especially as far as buying a used hybrid car goes. With a regular used car you can test drive it and let your mechanic check it over for things like a compression test, or a hydrocarbon test of the coolant system, or an oil test, to judge the condition of the engine. Any competant mechanic could generally give you a pretty good idea if the car was in good shape or not.

    Now with hybrid or electric cars it’s all a crapshoot when you buy a used one. Is your mechanic going to put the battery pack through a charge-discharge-charge cycle to judge the overall capacity of the pack before you buy the car ?. Will he be able to test each battery cell individually to see if there are any bad cells that aren’t holdig their voltage or have reduced capacity ?. Will your mechanic say to you “Your battery came from the factory with “X” capacity, and now it’s reading as “Y”, and therefore I’d estimate it’s at about half it’s original capacity and due for a replacement pretty soon” ?. Probably not.

    The only way to tell if a battery pack is any good is to charge the battery up, discharge it under a working load down to the recommended low voltage cutoff point, then charge it back up, to see the capacity of charge it took. To do it right it should be cycled like that measuring each cell individually to see if there’s any bad ones. That way you can not only judge the true remaining capacity of the battery, but you can also read the voltage sag of the battery during dischage to see how well it’s holding up under a working load.

    You go to buy a used hybrid car and there’s no way for the average person to tell the condition of the pack itself, and if the battery pack was the reason why the last owner decided to trade it in or sell it. So you’d better set aside some money for a replacement battery when you budget buying a used hybrid, because you’re not going to be able to tell what you’re getting into.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Buying a used car is a crapshoot even if you are an accomplished mechanic. I would think hybrid vehicles would initiate even more buyers anxiety. It would for me anyway.

    OTOH our main car is normally bought new and kept until the 100k area. Daughter has a prius that has over 100k. No new batteries. Long tire life. Looks like new. Buy a toyota if you are going hybrid is the message I get loud and clear. Our second vehicle (mine) normally is working on 300k and I dump it when something catastrophic happens.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    If that’s the case, then buying a used hybrid is taking a big chance, unless you get an extended warranty which covers the battery, I don’t see the logic here!

  • avatar
    ydnas7

    There are many Toyota Prius taxi’s worldwide (and in my city)
    why aren’t there Honda hybrid taxi’s ???

    In my city, anecdotally about a 1/4 of the taxis are Prius. The original battery lasts about 300k. Then they get a used battery which last another 100k, Then another used battery for the final 100k. At 500k km the car is finished. Which is better than most vehicles, but not as good as the ole Ford Falcon which would go for around 900k km.

    Look around, common Taxi’s are chosen partly for low maintenance requirement.

  • avatar
    bigev007

    The battery in my ’09 HCH failed at 2yrs 8ish months (120k kms). Warranty was good to 130k kms. The replacement battery had warranty only to 130k kms, which I hit 3 weeks later. The amount had it not been under warranty was $6500 for the battery, $500 for labour, and $1050 for tax. Ouch.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Fernando – Just consider yourself lucky, the battery died under warranty. A few months later, and you would have paid 100% ‘out of pocket’.

    Even without a warranty, you should be good for another 7, at least.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    There is a new paper out that compared hybrids with equivalent non-hybrids across the entire life of the vehicle. The data covers all hybrids sold in the USA in late 2010 and estimates that all models are money losers for their manufacturers and that they are generally less profitable for dealers. This might explain the reluctance to supply new long-warranted batteries on hybrids that are still within their warranty. The paper also suggests that only hybrids that are driven a lot of miles by their owners are likely to pay off economically and environmentally, in part due to the higher emissions during hybrid manufacture and scrapping. Thus the hybrid owning environmentalist who takes mass-transit or a bike whenever possible instead of driving, is likely doing more environmental damage than if he/she owned a conventional car. The paper is available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jpim.12022/abstract;jsessionid=32BCD2E1447014A9506BE126E93B8F4E.d04t03?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

  • avatar
    needsdecaf

    Tommy: Here’s the way I see it, Ted. Guy puts a fancy guarantee on a box ’cause he wants you to feel all warm and toasty inside.

    Ted Nelson, Customer: Yeah, makes a man feel good.

    Tommy: ‘Course it does. Why shouldn’t it? Ya figure you put that little box under your pillow at night, the Guarantee Fairy might come by and leave a quarter, am I right, Ted?

    Ted Nelson, Customer:What’s your point?

    Tommy: The point is, how do you know the fairy isn’t a crazy glue sniffer? “Building model airplanes” says the little fairy; well, we’re not buying it. He sneaks into your house once, that’s all it takes. The next thing you know, there’s money missing off the dresser, and your daughter’s knocked up. I seen it a hundred times.

    Ted Nelson, Customer: But why do they put a guarantee on the box?

    Tommy: Because they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of crap. That’s all it is, isn’t it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for now, for your customer’s sake, for your daughter’s sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality product from me.

  • avatar
    Power6

    This gen of Civic Hybrid is known for battery issues, Honda pushed the limits too far with the discharge to get the EPA numbers up there, then had to backpedal and release a software update that reduces MPG to extend battery life…pissing of a whole bunch of customers, there was a high profile lawsuit about the MPG claims. Kind of a dirty trick by Honda to save warranty costs by letting their customers take the fuel economy hit.

    The Prius, Insight, first gen Honda Civic Hybrid all seem to have much longer lived batteries.

    • 0 avatar
      AFX

      “Honda pushed the limits too far with the discharge to get the EPA numbers up there” ……”The Prius, Insight, first gen Honda Civic Hybrid all seem to have much longer lived batteries.”

      The NIMH battery packs in these cars are no different from any other battery, or even the lead-acid battery in a normal car, in that they last a lot longer if you don’t discharge them too deeply. My guess is that these “bad” batteries weren’t actually bad, rather that the car manufacturers didn’t have enough long term testing of the batteries to know what the best safe discharge voltage would be for long battery life. They guessed wrong, picked a discharge voltage that was too low, and while for the short term they might have gotten a little more range from letting the batteries discharge that far, in the long run it hurt the life span of the batteries. Most hybrid car makers now have learned the lesson, and don’t let the voltages get that low or batteries discharge that much anymore.

      Of course too battery technology improves over the years, and the newer batteries have more capacity and can handle deeper discharge rates, but still there’s a limit to how far you can discharge a battery during it usage before it affects the lifespan of the battery.

  • avatar
    Commando

    This kills me. He gets another new battery pack that may last another 8 years after almost 8 years on the first one, and he calls “B.S.”? Do the math. 8+8=16!!!! It ain’t on paper but, jeeze, quit while the odds are in your favor.
    Never mind the lunacy of the economics of buying a hybrid in the first place.
    Pal, you hit the Hybrid Lottery. Take your winnings and kwitcherbitchin.

  • avatar
    raph

    Good ol’ pro-rated warranties. Why don’t people get this? It prevents somebody from receiving product into perpetuity.

    When I used to be a tire guy, people asked this all the time after receiving a replacement tire. In some instances like Fernando they felt they were somehow getting ripped off when I pointed out that it was a pro-rated warranty.


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