“We discovered that under certain circumstances the earlier version of the software would allow the battery to frequently reach a low state of charge condition, which, over time, can erode battery performance and life,” explained Honda spokesman Chris Martin, to Green Car Reports.
The free fix will need to be performed on about 90,000 U.S. vehicles, all Honda Civic Hybrid models from the 2006 through 2008 model years. Through a technical service bulletin (since the issue doesn't affect safety), Honda has begun notifying owners. Dealerships will upgrade the software with a revised version that, the automaker told Bloomberg, won't affect fuel economy.
The automaker provides a warranty of eight years or 100,000 miles, but through the original software the batteries might have failed earlier. Battery replacement in hybrids, including the Civic Hybrid, still costs roughly $2,500.
Martin confirmed that with the software update, the improved battery management will now be similar to that of the 2009 and 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid (as well as the Insight and CR-Z, which also employ Honda's IMA mild-hybrid system), benefiting from “refinements not available when this generation of Civic launched in 2006.”