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TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

2003 Honda Civic hybrid

The IMA (integrated motor assist) battery is dying -- the car's got 130k miles on it, so that's understandable. Unfortunately that brings the check engine light on, and I can't pass a smog check without getting that thing turned off. Dealership wants $3k to put in a new battery ($2500 to get the battery, $500 labor). My question basically is: is that an economical decision? The car runs fine otherwise*, and hasn't given me any major problems since, uh, around 95k when I had to get the catalytic converter replaced. But this is definitely not a new car; the question is when I'm going to replace it, not if. So, granted that y'all can't do a detailed inspection of my car over the Internet, do you think I'm likely to get "$3k of value" out of a new hybrid battery before something else goes majorly wrong and effectively totals the car?

* Okay, it vibrates like hell sometimes when I have to accelerate from a stop while facing uphill, but it's been doing that for ages and I've mostly learned how to manipulate the accelerator so it doesn't happen. I think it has to do with the (automatic) shifting between 1st and 2nd gear. Tried having a mechanic look at it once and they claimed they couldn't replicate it, go figure.

For added annoyance, I just got new tires put on the thing less than a month ago. Plus of course the state of the IMA battery has nothing to do with its pollution output -- I'm getting 40MPG even with a creaky battery.

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TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

PaintVagrant posted:

There are private battery rebuilding companies that can probably do it cheaper than a dealer.

How would I go about finding one? Call up a (non-dealer) mechanic and ask for a recommendation?

IOwnCalculus posted:

At the very least, the major remanufacturing houses (Dorman, Cardone) are doing hybrid batteries these days too. Rockauto has one from each of them for about $1600 (plus $1k core charge). There's almost certainly someone local to you who can at least partly rebuild the pack (since it's not likely that the whole pack is trashed) for less.

Yeah, most likely just one or a few of the cells are trashed. I was frankly surprised that the dealer wanted to replace the whole thing, but in retrospect replacements are easier and of course more profitable for them so why would they offer anything else?

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Update on my hybrid battery: found a place that'll sell me a rebuilt battery (with an 18-month warranty), and come out to my house to install it, for $1200 less than the dealership wanted. Granted the dealership would've got me a new battery, but I'm more worried about passing the smog test than I am about getting optimum performance out of a 13-year-old car.

Thanks for the advice, everyone.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

2003 Honda civic hybrid

Same car mentioned earlier with the bad IMA battery. I'd said previously that it drove fine with one caveat, but I figured I should explicitly ask about that caveat to make certain I'm not slowly destroying the engine or something. The specific symptom is that when I'm stopped facing uphill (e.g. at a traffic light) and need to accelerate, I'll get a short distance and then the car will vibrate strongly, unless I let up on the gas for a second at the right time. My gut is saying that the automatic transmission is shifting gears at that point, and failing to do so cleanly if the engine is under heavy load. The vibration will stop on its own after a second or two, but it is pretty noticeable when it happens. I can't tell if it happens at any other time except when accelerating from a stop while facing (a moderately steep) uphill.

Any ideas? It's been doing this for years without any apparent other issues, and like I said earlier I've gotten pretty good at minimizing the vibrations by letting up on the gas at the right time.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

cr0y posted:

Ok this gets trickier, the car has different size tires front and back

Front: 225 45 R17
Back: 245 40 R17

Ugh this is a real pain in the rear end without a second car laying around

Google to the rescue? I have no idea if that's properly authoritative, but it corroborates your current sizes.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

In other words, if your fire alarms keep going off, maybe you should look into why your house is on fire, rather than replace the alarms.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

A cool drat horse posted:

also, pre-inspections before buying a used car are common right? Dealership for the Sonata is acting like it's a weird request and wants one of their salespeople to come with to the shop.

I wouldn't buy a used car without getting it inspected. Too much chance of getting a lemon otherwise.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

When I use the recirculation mode in my car, I continue to get cold air for a little while, but it eventually starts to warm up and also get kind of manky/humid. So running recirc without AC isn't some kind of perfect fix, but it can extend the amount of "cold time" you get for a given amount of AC usage, by a minute or two.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

EDIT: 2003 Honda Civic hybrid.

Went in today to get my car smog-checked, and since I recently had the hybrid battery replaced, asked the guy to double-check that all the sensors were happy before they actually did the work. And it turns out that basically all of the sensors are saying "N/A", like the car can't even see them. I'm not passing a smog check like that.

When I failed my smog check two months ago due to a check engine light, the sensors got a "pass" from the technician. I got the battery replaced (by GreenTec Auto out of Sacramento, CA) because that's what the check engine light was on for; then about a hundred miles later, the light came back on, so I got it replaced again under warranty (while noting to the company's tech support that I was trying to pass smog and the light was on). I'm wondering if maybe something that the GreenTec tech did could have disconnected the sensor lines somehow? I called them up and of course they said "no, that's nowhere near the battery, there's no way we could have caused that problem". And I'm not remotely an expert here, so I didn't have a comeback.

Basically here I'm thinking this company has already hosed up once by giving me a crap hybrid battery, I wouldn't put it past them to gently caress up something else. But do I have a valid hypothesis here? Note that they do go in under the hood when they replace the battery, though I can't recall what for besides that they checked my oil level for some reason.

TooMuchAbstraction fucked around with this message at 23:10 on Aug 31, 2016

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

0toShifty posted:

It's hard to say without knowing the specific codes. I'm an inspection/emissions technician - but in Pennsylvania. There are "monitors" that have to run after you shut off the check engine light or if the 12v battery is disconnected. There's one for misfires, one for the catalytic converter, one for the oxygen sensors, one for the evaporative emissions system, egr, and others depending on what emissions systems the car has. In PA - all but one of these monitors has to change from "N/A" to "READY" before the car can pass the emissions test. The process of setting all the monitors can take around 50-100 miles depending on the car, the terrain, the temperature and the requirements those monitors have.

I specifically asked the smog check guy if this could be a sign that I hadn't put enough miles on since the battery change, and he said that the sensors would have read "incomplete" or something like that instead of "N/A" if that were the case. Was he wrong?

quote:

I have an Autel AL319 OBDII scanner I got from Amazon for $40. It pulls codes, and it shows the monitors for smog readiness. I use this on my own family's cars, I use it to quickly pull codes at work, and I use it in customer cars to make sure all the monitors are set after we did a repair and told them to come back in 100 miles for the test. I know you don't have as many options in California - I don't think auto parts stores will pull codes for you like they do in other states.

I have a really cheap ODBII scanner, but unfortunately it doesn't do sensors, just DTCs. It's still come in handy quite often, to the point that I kind of thing any auto owner should own a scanner, just like you should own a tire pressure gauge.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

IOwnCalculus posted:

Never underestimate the ability of a smog tech to be completely loving wrong. One of the guys here sent a local Jeeper to the waiver station for incomplete monitors.

If the car had codes set, or sensors disconnected, it should be driving badly / throwing a CEL. It's more likely the monitors were incomplete and the smog tech was incompetent. If you've got an Android device, get a cheap Bluetooth OBDII scanner from Amazon and the Torque app.

Noted. I have however covered 159 miles now since the battery got replaced. That seems like it ought to be enough for the sensors to kick in. Is there some way I can tell that I've done enough driving to get it smogged, short of buying a better OBDII scanner than the one I have?

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

I'm not really sure what kind of driving I'm missing to get the sensors to be happy, in my case. Like I said, 160 miles, which includes freeway driving, short trips, plenty of intersections and idling at traffic lights, hills.... Seems like that really ought to be enough.

Anyway, ordered one of those $15 wifi OBD2 things; will see what it has to say when it arrives.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Motronic posted:

In all the OBDII scanners I've used N/A means just that: not applicable. As in, your car simply doesn't have it. I/M monitors that are not yet set are listed as INC/Incomplete.

If ALL of your monitors are N/A either the scanner is wrong/incompatible protocol or this is one of those very few cases where it's actually an ECU problem.

It was practically all of the sensors, including stuff that should absolutely be present like O2 and catalytic converter sensors. There was one or two that were reading other than N/A, as I recall, but I didn't get a photo of the guy's scanner.

Guess we'll see tomorrow when the scanner I ordered arrives.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Back to ODBII chat and sensor wonkiness, I got a new scanner this morning, and here's what it said (03 Honda Civic):





Again, the smog tech said that these should say something other than "NA" if they're behaving properly. Comments?

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

kastein posted:

That feels like a comms issue between the diagnostic tool and the ECU more than anything else.

Double check that the connector isn't full of crap, the pins are tight, there are no blown fuses in any of your fusepanels, etc.

The port is clear, the scanner is brand new. I've never gotten what I'd call a really tight connection with the port, though (with this scanner or an older scanner I used to use). I think it just doesn't have enough depth to fully-engage the pins. But the scanner can definitely communicate with the car -- it can e.g. get the engine RPM, oil temperature, etc.

Checked all the fuses that sounded remotely related and they're all in good shape.

The scanner claims to "see" three different ECUs but as far as I can tell there's no difference between them.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

kastein posted:

That feels like a comms issue between the diagnostic tool and the ECU more than anything else.

Double check that the connector isn't full of crap, the pins are tight, there are no blown fuses in any of your fusepanels, etc.

So you'd still say that this indicates that the sensors can't be read, not that they don't have any errors to report, correct? Which means that before I can get smog checked, I have to figure out what's wrong with the system and get that fixed.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

kastein posted:

Given that it can read oil pressure and RPMs and stuff I'm probably wrong. Either way, something is funky because those shouldn't all be "N/A". Are there any dealers for the brand that have a smog station in them nearby? I bet they could either fix it or their equipment would work. If it's within emissions warranty period (80k miles or 8/10 years, can't remember which), it should definitely be a free fix, given that you can't pass emissions without it being fixed.

130k miles and it's an '03. Really not relishing taking it in to the dealer, but it's looking like that's my only option. poo poo. This whole registration-renewal thing has been a pain in the rear end, since I had to get the hybrid battery replaced twice, each time requires driving before I can go in to smog check, and since I'm not currently working I just don't have that much reason to drive anywhere. So now the renewal is due Sept 8th and the loving sensors are acting up. And they were working fine before the battery got replaced the second time; at the very least, the CEL was coming on!

Argh. This kind of poo poo is why I want an electric vehicle.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Took the car to another service station, and their scanner was able to see my readiness monitors just fine. Said that the EGR, Catalyst, and EVAP monitors weren't ready yet, but the others were. When I came home, I tried my OBDII scanner again, and now it can see those monitors as well.

So now I just have to figure out what kind of driving those specific monitors want, do said driving, and then get smogged. Hooray for not having to take the car in to the dealership!

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Skinnymansbeerbelly posted:

I was shocked to see the readiness driving pattern printed in the instruction manual for my new car. It's worth looking to see if it's there.

Good call; thanks! The big thing that I ran into, I think, is that the EVAP test only works if the gas tank is only 30-70% full, and I happened to refill my tank right before getting the battery replaced. There's also some stuff in the manual about running at 2k RPM while in park for awhile, and driving at highway speeds and then coasting to a stop. Guess I'll be going for a short road trip tomorrow.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

'03 Honda Civic. The strip of trim (I assume) along the door has started coming off:



Consequently, whenever I open the rear door (the door on the right side of the photo), the separating bit of trim digs in behind the trim on the front door (on the left side). This keeps the rear door from opening all the way, and of course is probably no good for the trim on the front door either.

Can I just clean the surfaces, put some kind of glue on there, and clamp it? If so, what kind of glue should I use? If not, how do I fix this?

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Godholio posted:

There's special trim adhesive for stuff like that. Any parts store should have it.

Edit: If clamping it down doesn't work and you end up having to remove it to do again, use a hair dryer or (better) heat gun to soften the adhesive. Don't just rip that fucker off.

Cool, thanks for the info. Looks like Amazon sells it. Recommendations for how to clean the surfaces beforehand? Otherwise I'll just go at it with Simple Green and maybe some acetone.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

infrared35 posted:

The Torque app doesn't appear to be available in the Apple store. Is it Android only?

I used Auto Doctor on my iPad to communicate with the wifi OBDII scanner I bought. The free version works well enough for basic operations. Can't remember if it shows fuel pressure but it can't hurt to try.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Just stopping in to say thanks, various experts in this thread, not for anything specific you did, but for helping encourage me to see cars as something that I can plausibly fix (certain) things about myself rather than paying people to do everything.

In particular, I replaced my engine air filter today. Took $20 and two minutes; didn't even require any tools! How long have I been paying the Jiffy Lube guys to do that for me?

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

I actually think the Jiffy Lube guys probably weren't ripping me off (beyond charging me $50 or whatever it was to do a filter replacement, that is). I say this because they'd always pop out the filter and show it to me when I got the oil changed, and I could definitely see the differences from one oil change to the next.

Still, $20 and two minutes of my time is a lot better than paying them for the convenience.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Safety Dance posted:

What is on bright silver hardware, in that case? It can't just be really polished steel, can it?

If it says "bright finish" on it and doesn't list any metals other than steel, then it is (probably) just polished steel. If you're worried, buy one and mark it up with a screwdriver or hacksaw or something -- it should be bright all the way through.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Geoj posted:

Buying batteries from Costco - do they take the old one for recycling?

My battery has gone from "fine, car starts in 1-2 cranks" to "weak crank into clicking" to "battery is uncomfortably warm to the touch and only holding 10.5 volts after charging overnight" in a matter of two days. Pulled it out of the car and left it sitting outside the garage just in case it decides to fail spectacularly.

I'd be kind of surprised if they didn't, but have you considered just calling them and asking?

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Find someone with a sewing machine to mutilate a pillowcase for you? It'd be a very easy modification to make.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

tactlessbastard posted:

Where's the scam, if I wait until I actually have the money before letting anyone take the vehicle? And don't send anyone money, period?

You're not going to actually get the money, because it doesn't exist. All you're doing is going through a song and dance with a stupid criminal. This scam is so common that I can't imagine any legitimate buyer would ever try to conduct operations this way because it looks so shady.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

'03 Civic hybrid.

The beeping warning that's supposed to play when you open the driver's-side door while the headlights are still on...doesn't play. Hasn't ever in the ~9 years I've owned the car, and I just got used to carrying a jumpstart battery for the times when I forgot and drained the battery. But it occurs to me this might possibly be something I could fix myself, rather than paying the dealership to look. I just have no idea where I'd start. Any opinions/advice?

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

spog posted:

Does the interior light come on when you open that door?

No, but they don't have an automatic mode as far as I can tell -- just on or off. But geeze, I've owned this car for long enough that I've forgotten what normal cars do.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Yu-Gi-Ho! posted:

The switch on the light in the middle of the roof has 3 positions. Off, auto, and on. I forget which way is auto, but I seem to remember the middle being completely off.

I completely forgot about that light. Forgetting features about my own car! ...because I never use them, but still. The only cabin lights I remembered were the ones at the front which are strictly toggle on/off.

quote:

Try putting it in a position where it's not on, and open every door. If it doesn't do anything, put the switch in the other position that seems to be off.

I'm betting the key-in reminder (beeping if you open the drivers door with the keys in the ignition) isn't working either.

tl;dr I'd suspect the switch that tells the car the door is open. The switch is REALLY easy to replace, it's on the doorjamb by the latch.

Yep, the light turns on when the switch is in the middle position and any door except the driver's door is open. And yeah, no beeping for the key in the ignition either. Good to know about the switch, and thanks for the advice!

I'm guessing the part I'm looking for is a "door jamb switch"? Are these generic parts where I just need to roughly match what's already there, or is it important that I get a specific replacement?

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe


Noted. I'll want to find the corresponding switch in my car before I order anything, I think.

In fact, it occurs to me that I could probably just remove the switch from one of the other doors and install it in the driver's-side door, right? No need to order anything.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Back to door jamb switches in Civics! The jerk who installed my switches must've used glue or something on the screw threads, because these fuckers aren't budging. I get camout from the (Phillips-head, naturally) screw even if I'm putting as much weight as I possibly can on it while I turn.

Any ideas how I can get the drat screw out so I can replace the door jamb switch?

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Enourmo posted:

Sound like a textbook case for an impact driver.



Wail on it with a BFH and it converts it into loosening, with hardened tool driver bits.

Noted, thanks for the recommendation.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Finally got around to switching the doorjamb switches in my Civic, and it fixed the headlight alarm not turning on! Thanks for the advice, insanity goons!

The lovely impact driver I bought was so lovely it was DOA, but fortunately on further inspection the screws I needed to remove had hex-shaped heads, so I just took a socket wrench to 'em.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

I took my '03 Civic Hybrid to Jiffy Lube today, and they claimed that its brake fluid was low and I should top it off. This wasn't a service they offer, so there's no profit motive there, but thoughts? I haven't noticed any issues with braking, but I could well believe this to be one of those "it works fine until it doesn't" things, and I'd rather not lose my brakes, all else being equal.

I'm guessing there's a reservoir somewhere that I can just pour more fluid into, so all I'd need to do is buy the right type of fluid and find the reservoir. Is that about accurate? I'd prefer to do the simpler maintenance tasks myself, rather than hire someone.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Christobevii3 posted:

What does the reservoir look like? Brake fluid doesnt disappear but jiffy lube may be just trying to sell you poo poo.

I don't know; haven't looked yet. My driveway's sloped enough that I generally don't bother trying to check levels when at home.

Considering that the last time anything was done with my brake system was ~5 years ago when the brake pads finally got replaced, it wouldn't surprise me if there was an incredibly slow leak or something. I just don't know anything about this particular system, so I'm asking for general advice. Like I noted, Jiffy Lube themselves said "we don't do brake fluid, you should get that topped off."

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Yu-Gi-Ho! posted:

As your front brakes (which are disc) wear, your brake fluid will seem to get lower.

Check the brake pads - if they're almost worn out, and your fluid is down to the "add" mark (if there is one), you've found your fluid. It'll reappear once the pads get swapped. If you top it off now and get a brake job soon, the master cylinder will overflow when the caliper pistons get compressed.

Noted, and thanks for the explanation. It's been probably about 5 years since I got the brake pads replaced, but I'm a pretty gentle driver and try to use the regenerative braking (remember, hybrid vehicle) as much as possible, so I wouldn't expect the brake pads to be in danger of wearing out. Unless I guess it was installed poorly or something. Guess I get to take a wheel off next time I'm parked on the flat.

I definitely haven't had any chatter/flutter from the brakes or anything like that.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

My parents often leave their (unknown-year) Ford Escape in my driveway when they travel, as I'm closer to the airport than they are. They rarely use the vehicle these days, aside from driving to the airport or moving bulky/messy stuff. I noticed that their next scheduled oil change is in 4000 miles or 2 years ago. I've never paid that much attention to the oil change dates, but 2 years seems a long time to go without, even if they are using fully-synthetic oil (as I assume they are). How big of a problem is this? Should I just go ahead and get their oil changed for them?

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TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Yu-Gi-Ho! posted:

Go ahead and change it. If they're driving seldom enough that they're not hitting the mileage for the next oil change, it should be done once a year.

Sounds good, thanks.

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