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Hello, I'm hoping that someone on here can offer some insight. I've been having problems with my 12 Civic EX since it was about a year old. It drives fine, but occasionally will decide not to start. This has happened about 1x/year for the past 3 years. The pattern was always the same, until now. It would be fine, then not start, I'd get it jumped and go to Auto Zone type place and have them check everything out. Everything would check out fine and the car would start and run fine after the one jump. But over the next few months, the car would on occasion start slowly and eventually I'd need jumped again and would repeat the process, until eventually I would fight with them enough to replace my battery. Then it would be fine for a period of months until the cycle started over. I've had this car since 4/12 and have put about 4 batteries in it. I've taken it to a couple of dealerships several times and had it checked out, but they totally blew me off, telling me that the alternator was fine and that I needed to buy new batteries. No amount of arguing got anything more done (I'm just a "dumb girl" that doesn't know batteries shouldn't need to be replaced every year, apparently). A couple of years back I got stranded out of town when it wouldn't start and I had to take it to the dealership there. They did the alternator software update, which solved the problem for a while, but in January 16 it started again. I fought with the dealer and eventually got a new battery (again), at which point it's been fine until now. Last Sunday the car wouldn't start and I had to have it jumped every time i turned it off. Car runs fine once it's on - no warning lights, no flickering/dimming lights, nothing. Drives perfectly, just doesn't want to start. Had it diagnosed and they said it was a bad alternator. I'm skeptical, but had the alternator and battery replaced anyway. Car was fine at the shop - alternator tested at 14.2 there. Drove it home and turned it off.....went to run an errand a bit later, turned it on and ran fine but when i went to come home it hesitated to start again. Took it straight to Auto Zone and had everything checked again - battery was at 100% but alternator failed the check. It registered at 13. This took place over about a total of 5 hours and approx 20-30 miles of driving. Mechanic thinks its electrical and seems to think I should get out of this car now. Totally sucks for me since it's only 4 yrs old and is paid off and i SHOULD have another 8 yrs on this car, easy. However, I've now been to 3-4 Honda dealerships, 3 mechanics, numerous Auto Zone type places, and spoken to anyone and everyone that knows anything about cars and no one seems to have any idea what could be going on.

Anyone have any thoughts? I've had the starter checked too and it is fine. I bought the car new and have kept up all maintenance on it - it's got about 85k on it now. I have had a number of small one off weird things happen on occasion, like the windshield wipers would behave erratically for a period of minutes then be fine again, cruise control kind of has a mind of it's own regarding speed and also sometimes it will just not work, my power outlet doesn't work (but that's just dead - nothing erratic on that one). Since I've had so many problems with the car, I am neurotic about not leaving ANYTHING on or plugged in while it's turned off, so I know that is not the issue. Also, I have no aftermarket additions, radio/alarm etc.

Any idea if the alternator software upgrade should have to be performed again? What about any type of computer issues that might affect charging? Thanks in advance for any help!
 

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I would call Honda corporate and complain. They may be able to help you further.
 
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I second with Coastie. Honda's dealer network is pure garbage and the only way to solve warranty claims is through American Honda. At least, that's been my previous experience with them...

My intuition tells me that it is likely some sort of alternator problem, just barely charging enough to keep the battery alive until finally it isn't enough to start the car. I don't know what the software update is supposed to do, so I couldn't say if that's going to help or not. Probably not.
 

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I'd get rid of it.
 

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I'd get rid of it.
AGREED, the amount of effort and potential cost it has and will take to fix whatever's wrong with the car seems like it would outweigh the cost of replacing it. I also would say to replace it...of course I would also say that in some ways your car is special in that it is the 1 in a million hondas that isn't reliable.
 
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Standard shift or automatic?
Does the starter motor turn the engine over and it does not start/run?
Or, does nothing happen when you turn the key.
Has anyone ever checked for DTCs stored in the ECM/PCM?

Car ever been crashed/repaired?
Vandalized/repaired?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the response.

It's an automatic.

The pattern is this: on a new battery, no problems at all for a period. Then a period of hesitation upon starting, which will generally last weeks - months. The car will start, just not as readily as it normally does. Eventually it won't start at all. I'll get dash lights, but nothing when I turn the key. Get jumped, starts fine and usually runs ok for awhile, get tested and all is normal, as time goes on it will need jumped more frequently until finally when I get it checked, the battery needs to be replaced. From the first hint of a problem until this point can last between 1 - 4 months. Then I get a new battery and cycle starts again.

I'm not 100% sure what "DTCs in the PCM" means, but from Googling it, I'm guessing that means if there are any error codes when they run diagnostics? If so, no. There are no errors, no idiot lights, nothing. That's Honda's answer. No code means no problem and they're not responsible.

No crashes, no repairs. Car is in excellent condition, other than she's a bit picky about her work days ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the responses, everyone. Unfortunately, I did replace the alternator and am still having intermittent problems. The last mechanic seems to think it's some sort of computer problem between the battery and alternator. And the general consensus seems to be RUN from this car, don't walk! So my love affair with Honda may be coming to an end - not because I happened to get a crappy car, but because this company will not stand behind their products. And in my opinion, when you produce a product that is generally so reliable, you can afford to take responsibility for the bad ones.

I appreciate everyone's help. Hard pill to swallow to have to think about dumping a 4 yr old car, but......I guess that's the direction I'm currently looking at. Thanks again!!
 

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Thanks for the response.

It's an automatic.

The pattern is this: on a new battery, no problems at all for a period. Then a period of hesitation upon starting, which will generally last weeks - months. The car will start, just not as readily as it normally does. Eventually it won't start at all. I'll get dash lights, but nothing when I turn the key. Get jumped, starts fine and usually runs ok for awhile, get tested and all is normal, as time goes on it will need jumped more frequently until finally when I get it checked, the battery needs to be replaced. From the first hint of a problem until this point can last between 1 - 4 months. Then I get a new battery and cycle starts again.

I'm not 100% sure what "DTCs in the PCM" means, but from Googling it, I'm guessing that means if there are any error codes when they run diagnostics? If so, no. There are no errors, no idiot lights, nothing. That's Honda's answer. No code means no problem and they're not responsible.

No crashes, no repairs. Car is in excellent condition, other than she's a bit picky about her work days
Thanks for the responses, everyone. Unfortunately, I did replace the alternator and am still having intermittent problems. The last mechanic seems to think it's some sort of computer problem between the battery and alternator. And the general consensus seems to be RUN from this car, don't walk! So my love affair with Honda may be coming to an end - not because I happened to get a crappy car, but because this company will not stand behind their products. And in my opinion, when you produce a product that is generally so reliable, you can afford to take responsibility for the bad ones.

I appreciate everyone's help. Hard pill to swallow to have to think about dumping a 4 yr old car, but......I guess that's the direction I'm currently looking at. Thanks again!!
In light of your answers; my next though would be your daily drive cycle.
Do you know if the dealer performed Service Bulletin 12-041; dated November 8, 2014
Your car may not qualify for the update; but it can't hurt to ask.

New Software Update (Vehicle Will Not Start)
(Supersedes , dated July 23, 2014, to revise the information marked by the black bars)

SYMPTOM
The customer states the vehicle did not start due to a
low battery.
NOTE:
• A dead battery could be normal depending on the
battery condition, battery age, and how long the
vehicle has sat. This software update will have no
effect on these conditions.
• A jump-start should only be used to get the vehicle to
a service station or dealer. It should not be used to
fully charge the battery.
• There are many other possible causes for a vehicle
needing multiple jump starts, such as a faulty
alternator, a faulty or sulfated battery, a parasitic
draw, or loose battery cables.

POSSIBLE CAUSE
The vehicle’s battery sensor monitors battery condition
and the PCM determines charging mode. Based on the
sulfation of the battery and customer driving habits, the
PCM may not select the correct charge mode.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you!!! I did have SOMETHING performed at a dealership a few hours away when I got stranded out of town a couple of years back. It was some sort of software update, but I'll have to look back and see if it was this or something else. If I did have this done already, is it possible that it could need to be done again?
 

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If the update was done; it does not need to be redone.
Your Honda dealer can determine if the update has been done by checking the internal record in the PCM.
Unfortunately that will require a visit to a dealer...
 
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