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I test drove my first used Insight yesterday and would like your input. It was a 2000 Insight with 31k miles and when I first picked up the car the battery was only showing 3-4 bars. At the end of the drive it appeared to be charged a little over half.

Any input is appreciated. The car was at a local Honda dealership and thus, no one could answer my questions and knew very little regarding the Insight and how it should or should not work.

1). On the highway cruising on mostly flat highway I noticed it was difficult to maintain a constant 60mph while in 5th gear. I would have to shift to 4th where it would apply a little assist and indicate a need to upshift. It was a clear day about 97-99 degrees with little wind.

2). Almost the entire time wile driving a steady speed of 60mph on the highway the charge gauge constantly showed 4 bars. The battery was charged over half way but it seemed to contstantly charge while I was on the highway.

3). A few times I noticed the car apply the regen charging itself which felt like it was applying the brakes slightly.

4). Other times I would attempt to slightly apply the brakes to get some charging assist such as going down a hill or exiting an offramp but it would not appear on the charge gauge.

Again, any "Insight" is appreciated.
 

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Maybe maybe not. All Insight's I've seen that were on dealership lots have always had low charge showing and this is probably because they move it a very short distance and let it sit for a long time. The more important question is how far did you drive it? The charge should return to around full after driving for a little while, although I've had to drive up to 20 miles before to get a hot pack to return to normal.

To me it sounds like maybe a heat related recalibration that I've been experiencing lately. If pushing the brake (you did leave it in gear with the clutch out right?) and it didn't add to the regen then it's likely a hot pack which is protecting itself by not allowing fast recharg.

To answer specific questions:
1) Tire pressure perhaps? You'd be amazed how much drag a tire inflated to only 20 psi can drag it down, and also was it flat or was there an incline?

2) It should eventually return to normal at a few bars from full.

3) If you let off the brake it will act as an engine brake and take advantage of that energy to recapture.

4) See above.

I don't necessarily think this would indicate a problem, and in good news there's are several years and many many miles left on the IMA warranty of this low miles car. So if anything were to go wrong you'd probably be covered.
 

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atlaw4u said:
I test drove my first used Insight yesterday and would like your input. It was a 2000 Insight with 31k miles and when I first picked up the car the battery was only showing 3-4 bars. At the end of the drive it appeared to be charged a little over half.
The lowest I've ever seen my batteries state of charge was the day I showed up to look it over and test drive it. I think that's pretty normal, since the car is mostly sitting around the lot. In my case though, it charged fully during my extended test drive.

*I* thought that was pretty normal, though 2 months later my car was in the service dept getting a new IMA battery and controllers installed, so you never know for sure...
 

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That doesn't sound right to me. If I owned that car I'd do a compression test, fill up the tires to at least 35 PSI, check if the brakes are showing any resistance on a flat lot, check the 12 volt battery and probably replace it, disconnect the 12 volt battery and reconnect it to force a recalibration, then after fully charging the IMA battery do a timed zero to sixty to test the output power of the hybrid system and see how the car performed.

There is something wrong. It could be something trivial and innexpensive. Bottom line is that the dealer doesn't know, or care, or want to know. This might be to your advantage when determining a price, but proceed cautiously.

A few bars from full is normal. 100% charged is acceptable, but not normal or desirable from an efficiency point of view.
 

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I would wonder about not being able to keep up to 60 mph on a level road. I've never had that problem and I'm at over 6000 feet altitude so the ICE is pretty wimpy.

I find that it's not hard to keep up to 65 or even 75 (legal in places in Colorado) on level roads, but it doesn't take much of an incline to start to get assist. Of course you can always shift down a couple of gears. Keep in mind that 4th and 5th are pretty aggressive overdrive ratios.
 

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Unless you've got a flat tire, you should easily be able to keep up to 60 mph on a decent level paved surface. Sounds obvious, but are all your tires inflated properly?
 

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If you can drive it again:

1. Check that tires are the OEM tires

2. Pump up tires to min 44 psi

3. Make sure the AC is off for your test portion (but test the AC, of course).

4. Do your test drive on the level road out and back the same road in BOTH directions. If there is a bit of an uphill, it will be a downhill the other way.

If you have stock tires at 44 or over, and you have the AC off, and you see assist required to maintain 60 mph on a decent paved surface both OUT and BACK then clearly you have something fishy going on...
 

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1) Doesn't seem normal to me. The earlier posts in regard to tires and pressures should be checked out.

2) A Common problem for "For Sale" Honda Hybrids. I'd to a reset (easiest to simply disconnect the 12v battery for about a minute, reconnect, start and hold the engine RPM's to around 3K until the SoC reaches full). Then go for a road test. :)

3) Unclear if you were decelerating sufficiently for this to be normal.

4) Unclear if you were decelerating in a low enough gear for this to be normal.

HTH! :)
 

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battery test

Here is a quick way to check how good the hybrid battery is:

Do the reset Insightful Trekker suggested above.
Once the battery is full, put the car in auto-idle stop (make sure A/C is off, drive a short way, then break and step on clutch).

Leave the car in idle stop (put gear in neutral, so you can release the brake and clutch, pull parking brake). Turn on all electric loads: headlights, fan on full speed, rear-window-defogger.

Watch the battery gauge. It will drop very slowly, around one bar every 2 minutes. Should take > 20 minutes. At some point it will start dropping rapidly. Note how many bars were left when this started. This is called a "recalibration" event. Make sure you're paying close attention to that gauge, so you don't miss when it starts dropping off!

The lower the battery gauge goes before recalibration, the better shape the battery is in. Ideally it would go all the way to zero, but then , I've never tried this on a brand-new Insight. Mine (2000, 76k miles) recalibrates at about 12 bars, more than 1/2!

Turn off all electric loads to avoid draining the little 12V battery.

Note you still have 3 years and 50k miles of warranty on the battery. So it's not that critical!
 

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Were you running the airconditioner? I find it is more difficult to maintain speed without a lot of accelerator pedal change when I run the A/C.
robert
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the info. The car is located at Jim McNatt Honda in Denton which is quite a drive from my house. I beleive the car is currently on Ebay so I'm sure it will be gone by tomorrow. To answer a few qeustions thoug - I did not have a tire gauge with me but all the tires appeared to be inflated to normal, the drive distance was about 30-35 miles with the air condition on for a part and off for an equal part.

Again, thanks for all the info. I will be better prepared when and if I find another one to check out.
 
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