Winter temp gauge issues

Discussion in 'Honda Hybrids' started by bigev007, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. bigev007

    bigev007 Member

    I've noticed over the last 2 winters with my '09 HCH that it does not like to make heat. It takes 10-15 minutes of highway driving before the car starts to make noticeable heat at all, and longer to reach normal operating temp on the gauge. It also loses heat quickly. Auto stop won't work for me below about -5c, and just sitting for a minute at a light will drop the temp gauge from just below half to less than 1/4 of the way up the gauge. Last night I drove for 30 minutes in the city, and never got more than 5 notches lit up on the gauge. Coasting down a 1/2 mile hill dropped it back to nothing. It was only -9c.
    Normally I'd suspect thermostat, but the rad hoses don't seem to be pressurized when the car is below operating temp (and running) as would normally be the sign of an open stat. So I was wondering if this behaviour was normal or if I should replace the thermostat anyway.
  2. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi Bigev007

    Do you have a block heater and do you use it? If so, what's your plug-in time before you drive off?
    Do you block your front grille? If so, how and by how much?

    Now if you do neither of the above then the behavior you describe is not abnormal at all.

    The HCH-2 has a small engine and producing heat is not one of its major goals since heat production (from energy waste) is a function of how much fuel it actually uses. As a small engine it loses heat pretty fast as well. Blocking the front grille should be an easy and effective measure that may work quite well for you too.

    Lastly, check our winter survival guide as it contains detailed info on the HCH 2 along what you can expect in terms of behavior at various ambient and engine temperature ranges.


    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  3. bigev007

    bigev007 Member

    I don't block heat, or grille block. I guess I will be adding a grille block this weekend. I feel like it was fine my first winter and has gotten worse, but that might just be in my head. This winter's MPG has been much worse, from 6.0l/100km with snow tires last year to 6.5-7 this year. I have a lot of hills on my commute, but that's pretty bad.

    I've read the winter guide, but that was probably my first winter (3 winters ago) and I probably forgot some things, so I'll be re-reading.

  4. mmrmnhrm

    mmrmnhrm Well-Known Member

    \o/ msantos is back!

    And yes, get pipe foam for your front grille, it helps greatly.
  5. bigev007

    bigev007 Member

    I've got a couple of pool noodles that almost match the paint. I might try those. I already have about 4" of one on the parking brake handle. Makes things much easier on my knee.
  6. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    I would not feel bad about those fuel economy numbers because a standard gasoline civic will be almost twice as bad under the same conditions. With that said, you can certainly do better and the guide may offer a few ways to get there.

    One last thing: Some dealerships will drop heavier oil into the engine which is a very, VERY bad thing in the summer and even much worse in the winter. Nothing to worry about if you are sure you have 0W20 in the engine, but if you do not then you may want to take care of that too.


    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  7. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist


    Never really left, just got very busy for a few years... and also diversified my fleet and interests. Maybe I'll update my profile to reflect that a bit.

    As odd as this may sound to some, sometimes I miss my HCH-2's quite a bit. ;)
  8. bigev007

    bigev007 Member

    Thanks for the help. I do better in the summer, closer to 5.5. Was in Ontario last summer and got 4.8. Not bad for 194k kms, either.

    I do my own oil changes, and use Mobil1 0w20 "improved fuel economy." it's the easiest 0w20 to find locally, and on sale often enough.
  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Glad to see you back Manuel!
  10. bigev007

    bigev007 Member

    Well, blocked up for a week now. Of course the temps shot up and it's been spring all week. We'll see if there's an improvement when it gets cold again next week,

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