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Discussion Starter #1
I've never had any trouble with my 2002 Insight before, but a few days ago it simply wouldn't start. A series of rapid clicks came from the motor when I turned the key.

Now, it's winter, and it's been about two weeks since I started it (thanks to public transportation where I live!). A call to AAA and a quick jump-start had me running again. I let the motor run for about half an hour and tested to make sure it'd start up again on its own.

Two days later, it won't start again. The lights on the dash flicker and die out and it just clicks.

What do you think? Do I need a new battery? Should I just get it towed, or maybe I should drive it around for awhile after getting a jump-start?
 

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My guess would be the battery. I would take the battery out and have it tested. My guess would be it's time for a replacement.
 

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Your original battery is now 5 years old, most likely it's time to replace it.
I replace my 12V batteries every 4 or 5 years to make sure they never leave me stranded.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You're likely right, thanks. Would I be able to get a replacement done at any auto shop or do Honda dealers have special 12v batteries for the Insight?
 

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Yup, sounds like the 12 volt battery. In really cold weather the Insight uses the 12 volt battery for starting and this is usually when you discover you need a replacement.

The original battery is nice, saving a little weight. Some here have used alternate batteries such as the Optima series. Bottom line...if it fits and has the terminals the right way around a regular 12 volt battery will do fine.
 

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Most honda dealers just install a replacement civic 12V battery into the Insights. Most places have civic 12V batteries in stock.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Utter car-noob question: is replacing this battery something I could easily do myself?

Otherwise I'm looking at gettting a jumpstart from AAA, driving 1/2 hr to a Honda dealer, and spending 1-2 hrs there for a battery replacement at a cost of $98 (estimated time and costs from the dealer over the phone).
 

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Disconnect the negative terminal first (and reconnect it last). That way when disconnecting / reconnecting the positive terminal if you "oops" :oops: and make contact with the wrench and any metal on the car you won't get a face full of sparks (a bit extreme, but its possible).

Also, batteries produce hydrogen gas. Colorless, odorless and HIGHLY flammable :!: The tiny spark that is produced when disconnecting or reconnecting the battery is sufficient to ignite the gas should enough be present in the correct concentration. The battery will explode should the gas ignite. Shrapnel is very unlikely but a sulphric acid mist is a guarentee. You won't be able to see and immediate first aid can save your sight.

All the above is uncommon, but an ever present danger. Conditions that create a high concentration of the gas AND allow it to stay concentrated are not the norm. But it does happen. A fan directed at the battery for a minute or so and while disconnecting / reconnecting should be sufficient to disperse the gas.

It is also common for 12v car batteries to vent some of this acid as a vapor. The top surface / area around the battery commonly have a sufficient concentration to irritate the skin after a few minutes. Touching your clothes with the acid on your hand always ensures a ruined garment.

Finally, inspect the cable terminals for any corrosion and clean as required. Remember the Insight has a lot of aluminum and the dissimilar metals between the body and many electrical connections more easily corrodes (not readily visible to the untrained eye). I'd remove the B- cable at the firewall and scrape the point of contact with the cable to bright shiney metal. Same for both cable ends. _Lightly_ scrape the new batteries lead terminals to insure good electrical connections there too.

Now is also the time to inspect the main engine ground cable under the air filter box. JackMPG any Yves have web pages (links in their profiles) that have a how-to pictorial of the ground cable issues.

And remember this disconnect will cause a forced reset of the IMA system (the IMA battery will go "dead"). You can either combine "recharging" the IMA pack with a planned trip (expect _poor_ acceleration until the IMA battery recovers). Or in park (neutral for a 5spd) rev the engine to 2500 for several minutes. You'll see the IMA SoC rechage to full. Several other members report this will also happen if the car is idled for a long enough time.

Whew :!: I'm through now. ;)

HTH! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, Insightful Trekker. That's very good info, and clearly tells me that I need a professional to do this job.
 

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Well your the best judge of your own abilities.

But if you follow all the precautions, then its very basic.

And as far as the ground connections many automotive technicians won't have a clue either. Its not really part of a battery replacement job. But its good preventative maintenance that should also be done at the same time.

But if you do opt for your dealer make sure you get one of the "new" Genuine Honda batteries that carry a 36mo. 100% / 100 mo. pro-rated replacement warranty. Else shop for a lower cost.

Wal-Mart <shudder> should be around 1/2 of what you quoted (12v battery replacement _only_).

HTH! :)
 

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What John says is right on the mark, but then John is more "professional" than the average mechanic. ;) If you follow his instructions you will get a better job than if you have it done for you.

If neither battery has been active for several hours, there should be nil chance of a cloud of hydrogen gas near it. I have changed dozens of batteries on cars, boats, tractors, motorcycles, etc. without incident. That said, my father had a battery explode in one of his cars many years ago. It blew part of one side of the plastic case away. He was not hurt, just very surprised and lucky I suppose. The store replaced the battery and told him that was a first for them. :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I trust what John says, and his instructions are great. If I get ambitious I'll give it a try. Learning the terminology and gathering the tools will be a task in itself.

Given that it's 20 degrees outside and my car's covered in ice and snow, it's not the best weather for Battery Replacement 101 classes, unfortunately!

The idea that a certified Honda tech wouldn't be trained in replacing my battery is a little disturbing, though.
 

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Gobo said:
The idea that a certified Honda tech wouldn't be trained in replacing my battery is a little disturbing, though.
IMO it's not a "training" issue. Nor do I understand the source of this statement.

"Extra" recommened work such as terminal and ground strap preventative maintenace is an industry wide "problem". No mechanic can afford to spend the time trying to educate the general public about all the nuances of preventative maintenance and do his job too. Its a black hole. That is to say a never ending task. Nor can every potentially beneficial additional step be anticipated. And sometimes it is overkill.

Bundle it as part of a 12v battery replacement and you more than likely drive 90+% of your business away (price difference).

Its a gap that Insight Central can only partially fill. ;)

HTH! :)
 

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I'm having exactly same battery problem as tobo with my 2000 Insight. I'll go out for a replacement now. Will try Walmart (shudder), then Pep Boys. Glad I found this thread. Thanks guys! I'll let you know outcome.
 

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My thanks to Gobo and the experts. My new 12v. battery from Walmart cost about $50. It is the same battery a Civic would use and maybe 5 lbs heavier than the original. Car started right up, I lost my programmed radio stations, should I expect any other changes? Thanks again.
 
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