HONDA CIVIC testers needed

  1. brian72

    brian72 Member

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    I bought a 2018 Honda Civic Touring in March of '18. I have a few odd things happening that I'm either being told are 'normal', or I'm just not sure I should invest in upgrades. So I'm hoping that others with the SAME year, model and trim as my car can see if these things happen for them, too? I'd be happy to test out stuff for others as well. If you have a different trim or something, I wouldn't mind reading your comments. While my new car's been serviced a few times already, the Honda (CRV, Accord) loaners I've gotten don't seem to have these issues, or at least not as often/noticeable.

    #1 - ACC clicking. If you press the window lock button on the side of the driver's door, you can hear it engage/disengage with a click sound. I take that as normal, but that click sound itself - if you tone it down a little and put that sound coming from the left of the gas pedal near the driver's corner, can you hear it there mostly when the engaged ACC decelerates? This test works best in semi-busy traffic; I hear it mostly downtown traffic where I speed up and slow down every several seconds.

    #2 - Battery life. I left the car in accessory mode, charged up an iPhone using the 12v outlet (old fashioned cigarette lighter) in the car. After 45 minutes, the car needed a jump, the battery was dead. My dealership said not to use this mode more than 5 minutes, a dead battery is to be expected. 2 of 5 bigger dealerships I called said the same thing. Honda said it doesn't sound right and have the battery replaced. 3 out of 5 smaller dealerships I called never heard of such a thing. Another online forum thread has mixed reviews and some suggestions to replace the battery with a higher capacity battery. When I get a portable battery jumper, I'll test this some more. But can anyone else test their battery drain to see if it's 'normal'? Has anyone replaced their battery with a higher capacity to find a difference? (Note: accessory mode is pressing the start button once without using the brake pedal. Pressing it twice puts it into a mode that turns on more computers, fans & etc, so this is only one push.)

    #3 - ACC sensors. I can't find a pattern to when ACC decelerates gracefully versus less gracefully. Sometimes it sees a car switching lanes from my left, to mine, to my right and handles it wonderfully. Other times it sees a car switching out of my lane, and despite it driving the same speed or faster, my car will have a little harsher brake for whatever reason. And seemingly wait longer than needed before it starts to accelerate. I've caught it a couple times seeing and slowing for a car a lane to my left while I'm going around a gentle curve to the right. Several times it doesn't feel like it'll slow down for the car ahead of me so I'll have to step on the brakes myself. These issues are not that often ever since they replaced the VSA module, but they do happen and can be bothersome.
     
  2. peterletran

    peterletran Senior Member

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    I'm not so sure about the ACC issues you've got, but I've been having battery issues for a while now.
    I'm considering an AGM for our cars, but I'm torn between getting an
    overly priced Optima vs an Over The Counter house brand at a local brick and mortar.
    Just a few hours ago, I parked the car for less than 2 hours and it was almost completely dead.
    I went out to Harbor Freight and got one of their lithium jump starter packs for $80 just in case it happens again.
    Luckily, I had a set of extreme heavy gauge jumper cables and had a couple people help me get it started.
    Its ridiculous that Honda wants to continue with this "group 51r" trend in Civics.
    Especially, with all the technology coursing through the veins of this car.
    Even while off, the infotainment is still drawing electricity.
    Not to mention the key-fob system always monitoring for our specific encryption.
    When parked curbside in downtown or "center city", dozens of people pass by with wireless devices in just 5 minutes.
    Later on, while I was parked in the suburbs with no foot traffic, the car started fine.
    Even parked in the backyard of my house overnight, the battery is left with only 11.5 volts in the morning.
    I'm considering removing all the battery tray components and getting the strongest "group 35" battery I can find.
    Apparently Canadian models run full size group 35 batteries.
    The Canadian Civic batteries are a larger size, at least on the turbo models. Group 35 vs 51r in the US.
     
  3. OP
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    brian72

    brian72 Member

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    That sucks about your battery issues too. I guess at least it tells me it's a Honda thing, not the dealership trying to avoid putting time/money/effort into figuring things out. (The dealership has told me "oh it's normal for Civics..." when it came to other random issues, which they finally looked at to find they needed to replace the VSA module. Honda has told me they shouldn't have battery issues. I don't know who to believe anymore lol.)

    Anyway, would you be able to test the ACC clicking sound thing for me? Hopefully it's an easy test on a quiet day. The dealership told me they tested out a "similar" car and heard the clicking, whereas I've test drove another exact year/trim and did not hear it. I also didn't hear it on the couple of loaners I've had from them. (Loaners = Honda Accord, Honda CRV)

    Have you noticed any oddities when it comes to sensing cars ahead of you, or does it 'feel' like it works like it should? (Before I had the VSA module replaced, I had the "BRAKE" flash on my dashboard for no apparent reason many times; I'd have the car ACC not decelerate, which it still occasionally does but less often; the ACC would nearly slam on the brakes for no reason; etc)
     
  4. SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    Curiosity got the better of me, and despite it being bitterly cold, I decided to slap a Camp-on Mmmeter on the battery lead, and see just how much current is drawn under non-engine running conditions.

    Car had not been run for over 30 minutes.
    Current with doors closed, all off = less that 1/10 amp (meter not that accurate !!)

    Turn on Radio, doors closed 3.8 A
    Turn on Radio & Gauges - goes up to 9.5 A !!
    Turn on Fan as well 2nd slowest speed 14A
    Turn on Both seat heaters as well 20A ( battery isn't going to last long like this !!)

    Turned everything off, and then just Radio on, doors closed 7.3 A
    (Note: not the original 3.8A .. something is now still running and has not yet shut down)
    Turned all off .. door closed = 2.6 A
    Another 30 seconds later 1.2 A
    Another 30 seconds later 0.1 A same as 1st test after car was off for 30 minutes.

    Initial conclusions:
    Just having the Radio on, and not the gauges is not too bad .. @ 3.8A you should be able to listen to the radio for 1 hour + if you are not running at Full Volume (500 +watts) - and still be able to start the car.
    Turn on Gauges, and that time is cut to 1/3 !!! ( 20 minutes ??)

    Have the AC Fan and or Seat Heaters on, and you are probably down to about 10 minutes, before you may have trouble starting the car, especially when COLD.

    IF you have Headlights on, AC Fan running, seat heaters on, and you just stop the engine, then you probably only have MINUTES before you cannot re-start the car !!!
    NO BIG SURPRISE

    This was just a rough test, but it's finding seem to match what many are reporting in this forum.

    The OEM USA Battery may have sufficient CCA when fully charged to start the engine (if it starts when it should, and does not have the dreaded Crank issues !!), but the CAPACITY of the battery is low (compared with the Canadian battery), so it cannot last long when on a moderately high discharge load.

    So far, I have never had the battery go flat on me, but I do not sit in the car, listening to the radio, with the engine not running.

    When (not if) the Original Honda OEM battery gives out and will no longer hold a charge when cold, I will NOT be getting another small capacity USA Honda Civic battery (from my dealer) .. instead I will pay far less, and get a significantly higher capacity battery from a suitable retail/wholesale seller.

    Just for comparison, my other OLD car (87 Maxima) could run it's radio for HOURS and the battery was fine. (yes, its a much bigger, heavier battery than the Honda Civic) --- BUT -- after I swapped out the Oem AM/FM radio for an Android GPS Head unit, on numerous occasions when playing with the Head Unit at home, after an hour of so, the battery was flat, the Head Unit cuts off, and the car was unstartable with the battery in its discharged state.

    Modern Android head Units certainly take a lot more power than the old AM/FM radios, so its really not 100% a Honda Civic Battery fault -- but the small Capacity Honda USA OEM battery certainly does not help !!
     
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  5. OP
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    brian72

    brian72 Member

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    @SCOPESYS - thanks for letting the curiosity get to you! So it does stand to reason that my daughter killed the battery by charging her phone with the car in low power (not off, not fully on) mode. Sigh. I agree and when it's time to change the battery, I'll research capacities, name brands, all that and get something that will actually hold longer.

    I think it's kinda crazy though. I know there aren't many drive-ins left, but there are a couple by me. It's been a tradition to take my kids there in the summer while they're still around. So now I get to leave my car running, using up gas and all that while I just want the radio to run.
     
  6. SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    Missing out on the Drive-ins would be a shame, and it is nice to have decent audio when watching the movies.
    Maybe try the Radio by itself while at home, and see how long it actually does last.
    Turning the screen brightness all the way down should, in theory make a significant difference, as well as better blackout in the car.

    If the battery does not last long enough t0 watch a Movie AND THEN start the car, maybe getting one of those Lithium battery "Car Starters" might be an option.

    One problem might be that it is not good to flatten the battery, and will shorten it's life.
    Maybe not a problem, as it would mean you get a new, decent battery earlier, and you can't put a price on watching Drive-In Movies with your kids during the summer..
    They grow up so quickly, and soon a Saturday Night with Dad at the Movies will not be quite so "IN" with them !!

    Another idea... if the battery cannot hold out, then get the new, better Battery next summer, and just to be 100% safe, take the old Battery with you, fully charged, and some jump leads. That way, you can guarantee you will make it home after the movie.
     
  7. OP
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    brian72

    brian72 Member

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    @SCOPESYS - good ideas, thanks! I've been looking into those rechargeable battery jumpers so I don't need another vehicle to get started, just in case no matter the situation. Plus I've heard they're a little easier on the battery than jumping from another car. And yes, they do grow up too fast when things like that are not "in" anymore, seems you know full well huh? :)

    Any chance you can test that ACC clicking sound? My dealer says it's normal, they heard it on a "similar" car, so they're not tempted to go any further (while it's under warranty). That contrasts my experiences of not hearing it on all Hondas (loaners + test drives) I've driven, both similar and the same year/model/trim. Plus, that's what they said about some other faults until they did dug deeper and ended up replacing that VSA module.
     
  8. SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    #8 SCOPESYS, Nov 19, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
    Must confess, I have never activated the ACC ( Cruise Control) in the SI.

    That will have to change next time I get out onto some open roads, and then I will hear if I have the same issues you describe.

    I also have not looked into how the ACC works on the Honda, so I do not have a clue.
    If it were my old 1987 Nissan Maxima, I would be more informed - back in those days it was all done by Vacuum, but I am going to assume it is done differently (electrically) in a more modern car.

    Whats sounds like CLICKING these days... back in the 1980's it was all about HISSING !!!
     
  9. OP
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    brian72

    brian72 Member

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    Ha now accessories is going to get stuck in my head! Anyway, ACC is Automatic Cruise Control. A nice feature when it works as advertised, which basically allows the car to decelerate itself when getting behind a slow-poke and accelerate itself back to the cruise control setting when it's safe. I like that feature for when I get behind that driver that gradually changes their speed on the highway.

    Anyway, on my car, when the car auto- decelerates, there's a faint clicking sound coming from the corner of the car near the foot pedals. Pressing the window lock button on the driver's door produces a louder version of that click. I haven't heard it on other Honda cars, and for me and my amount of driving, it gets to be like chalk on a chalkboard.
     
  10. peterletran

    peterletran Senior Member

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    Thank you for putting "Cruise Control" next to ACC.
    I kept on thinking Accessory mode this whole entire time ...
    Sorry, OP. I've got an ex-t and it does not have assisted cruise.
     
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  11. OP
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    brian72

    brian72 Member

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    Bummer. Thanks though, and feel free to invite your civic friends into this test ;)
     
  12. SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    LOL so did I and replied about ACC Accessory, till I did some Google research and saw what the OP was really talking about.

    Now I see it's "ASSISTED Cruise control" which would seem to be more than just the speed Cruise control on the Si.
    No Robotic lane control or auto-braking in the SI ... you have to stay awake and DRIVE the car yourself.

    The thought of an Auto_Drive car (on current roads) really give me concern - but that's another topic, that no doubt will be Top Billing in this forum in a few years !!
     
  13. SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    I am beginning to think this battery "Going Flat" issue is not so much a Honda Thing, but more a modern car's electronics issue, particularly the Entertainment system.
    I cannot believe, under the same circumstances, it does not happen in any modern car.

    If you have the Ignition on, even in Accessory Mode, and have your Radio on, you will sooner, not later, flatten the battery to a point where there is not sufficient charge in it to start the car.

    I just flattened my battery !!! .. and it wasn't the Honda. It was a great big 24F battery, and all I had on was the Radio !!. (700CCA - 130 AH Reserve).
    Never had this problem with the old AM/FM radio, but since fitting an Android Entertainment Unit, it happens quite often if I spend too much time "Playing" with it in the car.
    That's a problem with a non OEM Radio unit,., you can mess with it far too much,, add all sorts of stuff, and it keeps on ticking .. so does the clock, and the battery discharge.

    So, whats are the Option ?

    (a) Don't play with the Radio when the car is not running ( well, that's NOT going to happen). :thumbsdown:
    (b) A bigger battery -- well that just puts off the inevitable - one day you are going to flatten even a BIG battery
    (c) Get a Low Voltage alarm, so one can tell when the battery is getting low .. may not a reliable solution, -- battery is still going to get low
    (d) A Lithium Battery Car Starter.

    I am thinking that (d) is the most reliable solution, even if a bit pricey.
    It's a question of what is is worth to you to be ALWAYS able to start your car, no matter what, and not have to rely on anyone else to help you. (AAA / Honda Assist / Passing Motorist with jump leads).

    So Santa, top of my Christmas List this year will be a Lithium Car Starter.
    (Hope I have been GOOD enough this year !!)

    But now, how SANTA tell the Good ones from the Junk Ones, before he puts it in my Christmas SACK ! @[email protected]
     
  14. peterletran

    peterletran Senior Member

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    I agree with everything you've said, but in my case, I don't have anything running with the engine off.
    Still, the battery intermittently just ends up dead. Even with a secondary battery.
    Don't worry. The 2nd battery has an isolator to prevent the two from battling each other while the engine is off.
    I DID go out and buy a lithium jump pack for $80 from Harborfreight a few days ago. It saved my @$$, today.
    I, also, got a 4 amp auto-charger/maintainer for $30 and have had it plugged in for the passed 4 hours.
    I already know Honda is going to blame me for having a ton of aftermarket electronics in my car.
    I doubt they'll warranty my battery. I'm at 30k miles and 2 years of ownership.
    I'm, also, fairly certain they replaced the battery when they warrantied the engine back in June.
    If Canadians get a group 35, why can't the northern U.S. get a group 35, also? I'm sad ...

    Also, my previous car was a 2008 Scion xB, and before that a 2004 xB.
    I installed a https://www.alpine-usa.com/mobile/product/ics-x7hd, and
    had the same electronics setup in my current car. (minus the air suspension)
    I've never had a dead battery in the 6 years I've owned the Scion.
    As a matter of fact, I'm usually the designated jump starter for friends and family.
     
  15. OP
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    brian72

    brian72 Member

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    I appreciate all your diligence and testing! I already figured I'd get a lithium batter car starter thing, and for my kids when the prices come down (black friday?), but just for those rare situations. It sucks that modern cars do draw so much power! I'll have to test out my accessory mode, for some reason I thought so many things are turned off except the radio, but not even climate controls work, and even then the car's battery is dead within the hour.

    If you find something good for either an actual higher capacity battery replacement for a car, or that lithium battery starter, please do share! :)
     
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