Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It Ain't Easy Being Green

It Ain't Easy Being Green
(or why I hate my hybrid)
Kermit the Frog, making green look good since 1955

Five years ago,  I made a car purchase.   I was a few years out of grad school and working at my first real non-food service industry job.  My student loans were finally paid off and I had some disposable income.  I decided to be an eco-friendly consumer a sucker and bought a Civic hybrid.

It's so beautiful!  What's not to love, right?  PLENTY!

Since the day I bought this car, it feels like something has always been wrong with it.  First, when I had owned the car for less than six months, it got side swiped by a drunk driver (while parked in front of the house) and I had to get the driver's side door replaced.  I can't really blame this on the car company, but I'd like to blame them because I think here may be where many of the rest of the car's troubles started. 

A year later, the super high-tech, super expensive hybrid battery started running down because apparently hybrid batteries don't like the extreme heat of summer south of the Mason-Dixon line. 

The battery charge meter is all the way on the left.
Look how low the charge is, even in their own advertising photo!
When those two little bars go, its time to buy a new car.

Background knowledge:  the electric battery is the most expensive part of a hybrid and can cost a small fortune to replace if it dies.  If it dies because of a car accident, the insurance company will total your car (even if there's no other damage to your car).

In order to fix the battery charge problem, Honda recalled my car to add a software update.  The software update forced the car to rely more heavily on its gas engine and less on the electric motor to save the battery charge.  This meant MY HYBRID WASN'T A HYBRID ANYMORE!  I was now driving a gas guzzler that got about 28 miles per gallon. 

Now if you've been watching the evening news recently, you may have heard about the lady who sued Honda for hugely inflating the estimate miles per gallon on their hybrids.  Let me tell you, she won for a reason!  When I bought it, the sticker said that my car would get 45 mpg city and 60 mpg highway.  I never got anything better than 35 mpg city and 40 mpg highway and that was before the software update from hell (SUFH).  After the SUFH, I was only getting about 28 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.

It was at this point that I began hating my car.  Driving the hybrid (that wasn't a hybrid) began to irritate me.  The dislike was only compounded by the next problem, an epic fail from the keyless entry/car locks.  In the last two years, I have replaced the locks on three out of the four car doors (twice for the driver's door.  The first two lock replacements were still covered under warranty, but the last three occured after the warranty expired (Ka-ching, $$$).  I suspect that the doors aren't quite water tight since the locks are shorting out after a heavy rain, but nobody at Honda seems to care about why they keep failing.  They just like to keep charging me to replace them.  Six months ago, the rear driver's side door lock went for the second time and I absolutely refuse to replace it again.

This week, as a special Valentine's Day present for me, the air conditioner/defroster decided to stop working.  It was running when I drove to work.  I come out to go get lunch four hours later, turn the dial, and nothing.  Did I mention that I get carsick unless I have the air on, blowing fresh air in my face, at all times?  The drive home from work this evening was not fun.

Hybrid: "Lainey, I've got a Valentine's Day present for you!  I made it myself."
Lainey: "This can't be good."

Can't wait to see how much this is going to cost me!  I will definitely be filling out the paper work for the hybrid class action lawsuit that has been sitting on my dining room table for a few weeks now.


  1. Want to get some instant traffic to your blog? grab your URL for this post, find Honda's Facebook page and rant there just a little, then post your URL... you get satisfaction of telling Honda your problem, and you alert others to it, OH and you get people checking out your blog...

    thank me later :)


    1. I'm just kavetching about my car, not trying to get sued by Honda (even if every word of it is true).

  2. I have a Honda Civic, though it is an EX not a hybrid, and have had no problems with it. It sucks that your car doesn't seem to want to be what it should be.

    1. I had a perfectly lovely 2000 Honda Civic VP that I drove for seven years before getting the hybrid. It was my first new car and I named it "The Green Hornet" (no laughing, a friend of mine had a car named Betsy). I loved my old Civic and I'm kicking myself for getting rid of it. It would probably still be running without half as many problems as the hybrid. My mom still has her 1990 Honda Accord and near as she can tell, there is no killing that car. It's twenty two years old, for goodness sake. Hybrids, at least those made by Honda, are just not the same as the rest of the fleet.

    2. I wouldn't laugh at you naming your car the Green Hornet. Though, please tell me it was a different color than Green, 'cause that would be awesome (think Blue Raja in Mystery Men)!

      I, however, have never named a car... My first was a Plymouth Neon (the redheaded stepchild to the Dodge Model), and it was a copper color and totally got stolen and recovered. Maybe I should've named it Boomerang?