How can I test a Honda Civic hybrid battery?

I’m looking at used electric cars. I know I need to check the battery life before I buy. How do I test a Honda Civic hybrid battery?

Bonnie Stinson · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Great question! For quick results, you can force charge a hybrid battery to understand how well it works.
Eco-friendly cars are much better for the environment than gas guzzlers. But how do you find the right one?
A dying battery may cause a few recognizable symptoms:
  • More frequent trips to the gas station (worse MPG)
  • Battery does not hold a charge as well
  • Frequent recalibrations
  • IMA warning light comes on
If you’re buying a used electric car, you may not have this information. If you can test drive it, go to a less traveled road and accelerate hard. In a vehicle with a poor battery, the energy will die quickly.
You can also use a scanner or a gauge that can measure the output power. Most dealers have a device to perform measurements of this type. Just call ahead and explain the situation.
If you have eight hours to test out the vehicle, you can try what’s called a force charge to quickly find out how well the battery is working.
  • Disconnect the battery for 10 seconds
  • Reconnect the cable
  • Start the car
  • Allow the car to charge IMA (integrated motor assist) while idling
  • Idle until the charge stops
Repeat this process three times, and repeat this every hour for eight hours.
Honda Civic hybrid batteries rank poorly on the hybrid battery listings, unfortunately. Their battery cells tend to overheat more than other models, which diminishes their charging capacity. The expected lifespan for a Honda hybrid battery is six to 10 years, or 100,000 miles.
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