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Discussion Starter #1
First of all, thank you all for providing me with some valuable information on the jerkiness thing that I was able to take to the dealer with me this morning.

This is my first post here, but I bought this car 2 days ago and trolled this forum for hours after realizing that my new car jerks like a rollercoaster under light acceleration.

Based on all your advice, I made a list of 4 things to try:

1. Clutch calibration procedure
2. Replace CVT fluid (with both internal [strainer assembly] and cooler filters) 6 qts
3. Get software updates
4. Replace starter battery

Right now the dealership is flushing the CVT fluid, but when I asked about software updates, they used the word "recall" and told me there was only one issued for the car (based on a VIN lookup). It was something to do with a battery, but I didn't get the exact name. I couldn't even tell if the adviser meant that was one that it still needed, or the only one that had been applied. A language barrier made communication hard.

Is it normal for "recall" and "software update" to be used interchangeably, and can I confidently say that this car definitely has had 4 software updates issued for it?

Also, is there any way at all to determine the software status of my car without having to go to a dealership?

Thanks for all your advice, previously and today!
 

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It's series of 4 updates, not a recall. They will need to plug it into the service area computer for them to be detected. A VIN number will give them nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Uriel - thank you!

Is there some official place where I can print documentation to show them what I'm talking about? Because this guy would not register the word "update".

Does Honda maintain a list of updates per model?
 

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Actually, it depends where you are as to whether it's classed as a recall. It is a recall in the USA but not other territories .

The actual software updates are the same. IIRC most people that went for the recall received 3 or 4 software updates depending on their car and when they had it done.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, understood. I just had a phone call with the service adviser, and I think we made some headway with communication on this. He (I think) agreed to make sure it got hooked up to the computer and give me a list of updates that have already been / are being installed today.

Thanks for your advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just to keep this up to date, I picked up the car and the service made no difference at all in terms of the jerky ride.

The CVT fluid was changed, and supposedly they something with the software. I can't make sense of the line item:

A CUSTOMER STATES PERFORM RECALL 14-064 I A BATTERY EFFECT
CAUSE:RECALL ON SOFTWARE UPDATE
1255A5 PRODUCT UPDATE CAMPAIGN: UPDATE ECM
S/B: 05-028 S/B: 14-064
8340 WC
The guy kept insisting that the VIN tells them everything they need to know. He assured me that they hooked it up to their computer, but I think he might have been lying because I kept asking about it.

But why wouldn't the VIN tell them everything? If Honda sends an update to a unit, doesn't their database record the VIN involved in the transaction?
 

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It's my understanding that once they hook it up, all updates not previously done will download. I guess it's possible the tech may be able to just do one. But it sure is chicken **** for them to do so, especially because you were asking for all of them.

Some dealers are really nervous about applying updates because of an issue with the Civic Hybrid. Dealers were told by Honda to do the updates, customers were not told they were being done. That update made the IMA battery last long at the expense of fuel mileage. Customers were pissed, Honda got sued, service advisers got an earful. No wonder they are shy about it. That said, maybe the tech actually working on your car either didn't know what he was doing or didn't think it was important.

My advise would be to try another dealer or call Honda Corp or both.
 

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Regarding VIN - in the UK searching under VIN will bring up details of recalls.

Some software updates are not recalls (in the UK none of the Insight's updates were actually recalls and the only recall we've had relates to the driver airbag).

In the USA one of the software updates was classed as a recall because of emissions laws.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Cool - I see that distinction now. I might go to another dealer at some point just to make sure, but based on what I see on the line item, the tech probably did something that the SA didn't understand.

Thank you!
 

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You should also consider that this probably the first CVT transmission you have driven, the first Hybrid, and the first vehicle that shuts down at stops. You have to learn to wait a a beat after taking your foot off the brake, waiting for the engine to start and the trans to engage. Perhaps you really do have the updates. Believe us when we say it was once worse!

I see that you live in Southern California as I do, and while it really doesn't apply right now, once the weather heats up again you can drive in traffic in S instead of D. This turns off auto stop. Keeping the engine running and the A/c on! I personally like saving fuel but I am only willing to suffer some for it.

Also, all Honda automatics have always had a hesitation when first placed into gear, either when first starting out or changing direction (like backing out of a parking spot and going into Drive. If you give it gas before it's engaged you will get a jerk. This will happen in my 5 speed conventional Honda.

And another thing I do to help save my transmission: when parking I put it into N, set the parking brake, take my foot off the brake and let the vehicle come to rest on the parking brake before putting it into park. It will come out of park like butter even on a steep hill. Sounds complicated, but it becomes second nature after a while.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the tips. It's indeed my first CVT and hybrid. Do Priuses drive like this, or do they go smoothly from EV mode into ICE mode after a start?

I'm getting more used to it, letting the clutch engage before I give it any gas. Still a little wobbly even after that, but doesn't feel like a deal killer anymore.

When you're driving in S, do you HAVE to shift manually, or will the CVT still change ratios for you, just disabling auto stop?
 

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In a C V T there are no gears, the paddle shifters just simulate gears. I think the paddle shifters work in either mode. I personally have never used them. I only use S when in bumper to bumper traffic, driving signal to signal (or stop sign to stop sign) in urban settings. As long as the byway is moving, D works fine and saves fuel.
An other thing I remember from when the first batch of updates were known about around here: some folks with early build 2010 could not have those updates. You can see the date your Insight was built by looking at the sticker in the door post. They were building them in 2009, but all were sold as 2010 models in the U.S.
I have no experience with a Pruis, Foresight has both I think, perhaps he will chime in.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just an update to this, I called American Honda today and had my VIN looked up.

The rep told me that the only update ever made available for my car was 14-604 (battery/memory), which I had done last week and didn't have an effect on the jerkiness.

I also came across this today:

Shudder From CVT Transmission : Honda Insight Common Drive Train Problems

Does anyone here have any experience with the clutch fix?
 

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In S, once you use the shifters it stays in quasi-manual mode. In D it just lasts through your immediate manouver, although that can be quite a long duration if you're going downhill with an element of engine braking.

If you don't use the shifters in S it's just like a higher rpm version of D with no auto-stop.
 

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In EUR, its not classed as a recall,but I was lucky garage paid for Honda to do the 3 updates,and jerkiness,and forced charging disappeared
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yesterday, I happened to get a tire pressure warning, so I pulled up to a gas station compressor. Yes, one of the tires had deflated to 20psi for some reason, but more interestingly, all the other 3 were massively overinflated - 50psi vs. a 44 max spec on the sidewall.

I hadn't checked the tires since I bought the car (although I did take it to a Honda dealer, which *claimed* on their checklist to have checked them).

I let all the tires down to 41-42psi and I must say that it's like driving a whole new car. A lot of the jerkiness is gone. I guess the extra softness in the tires helps absorb some of the starting lunge.

Anyway, simple tip if you're having this problem. Make sure your tires aren't overinflated.
 

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If he was checking them hot then who knows how inflated they were? It is very common around here to run the tires at pressures approaching the sidewall max. But seriously, always check the pressures cold! It is the only way to be accurate.

Depending on where in California jfeaz lives there may or may not be variation in tire pressures depending on the weather. (Here in SoCal it will be mid 70s today)
In frosty Manitoba it goes from very cold to quite warm in the summers. One must adjust tire pressures going into and then back out of winter. If at all possible, one should have a compressor at home unless you have a station less than a mile from home.
 
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