2008 HCH repair cost

Discussion in 'Honda Hybrids' started by Rocki, May 2, 2016.

  1. Rocki

    Rocki Member

    Hi, I just joined this forum to find out cost of repair on 2008 HCH. I bought used 2008 HCH in 2012 at 60K miles and drove 60K miles on it. Till 120K miles, it has not given me any major mechanical problem and kept average 45mpg even with harsh winter in NE. A few days ago, the engine light came on and the OBD was showing the code P1172 (Fuel/Air ratio sensor fault). The car was driving fine, but I dropped it off at a dealer, and they quoted me with $425 to replace the sensor (PN 36531-RMX-A01 retail price at $342). I know I can get this part cheaper on-line, but I didn't know if I wanted to try installing it myself, since I am not so mechanically inclined. Would it be difficult to perform DIY for someone who have never worked on a car?

    Additionally, the dealer recommended to replace spark plugs, inspect valve clearance and replace valve cover gasket for additional cost of $500 plus tax. The price seemed to be outrageously high for just those two things. What would be average cost of spark plug replacement on this vehicle. I have never replaced spark plugs on this car, so it must be still running on the original ones. Does it really need to have spark plug changed at all if it is not showing any problem? What other maintenance need to be performed on HCH with this mileage beside oil change?

    Thanks in advance for your advice.
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    I'll respond to the easy part first, the spark plugs, valve clearance and valve cover check. I did this on my son's 06 about a year back. And maybe 4~5 years further back as well:

    I've been doing valve clearance checks on Hondas for donkey's years, but have to say this was the toughest, for access. I followed the instruction in a pdf I found, regarding block heater install. You need to remove the trim and cowl at the bottom of the windshield. Here's a link, chronicling my first time on this car, includes a pdf on cowl removal:


    The valve cover gasket is likely fine, especially if you're doing it yourself, I would not bother changing it.

    Here also, the Service Manual instruction:

    06 Civic Hybrid valve clearance page 01.jpg
    06 Civic Hybrid valve clearance page 02.jpg

    And here some info on the valve cover, torque values, the little dab-o-sealant location:

    06 Civic Hybrid valve cover.jpg

    Regarding the spark plugs: there are 8 plugs, 2 per cylinder; ours had 4 Denso in one row, 4 NGK in the other. I believe it was 5/8" spark plug socket you need. You should also have a 6" and 3" ratchet extension on hand, and a decent low-range torque wrench.

    Spark plug torque is 13 ft/lb. I would apply a very sparing amount of anti-seize compound on the threads. Maybe apply a little, then wipe the threads with a cloth, just leaving a residue. Here's a snapshot for Service Manual:

    06 Civic Hybrid spark plug change.jpg
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
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  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Regarding the Air/Fuel Ratio Sensor, it looks to be screwing into the exhaust manifold, around back, between the engine and the firewall. So again, this is good to do while the cowl is removed. I'll attach a few pics.

    06 Civic Hybrid fuel air sensor01.jpg 06 Civic Hybrid fuel air sensor02 .jpg 06 Civic Hybrid fuel air sensor03 .jpg
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  4. Rocki

    Rocki Member

    Thanks Mendel. I think you have helped me in another site Prius Chat before. Looks like the technical detail for checking valve clearance and changing spark plug are way beyond what I would like to undertake on my own. I am just wondering $500 for that at dealer is overpriced? I am not sure if I save much if I take it to independent garage. As for the Fuel/Air sensor, it is being worked on at the dealer as we speak.
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  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    8 of the NGK plugs cost about $88 from Amazon USA. Assuming the dealership's going to mark up a bit, say $100. To replace the plugs, maybe $100. To set up the valves, maybe $200?

    $400 would be more reasonable. Especially considering they had to remove the cowl and window trim already, they're there. Maybe with that valve cover gasket. Just for giggles, ask them to skip the gasket and try $400. That's still very reasonable.



    It's funny, none of it is really intimidating. I'm a casual DIY'r, wouldn't take on something like a timing belt replacement, for example. Valve inspection on Hondas used to be very easy, the main difficulty with this Civic is access, it's a pain. But not that hard, especially for pros. Heck, I'd do your plugs and valve check for $200 plus plugs at cost. :)
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  6. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    First, dealers exist to rip you off. They charge high rates to maximize profits. They are not here to help, they are here to make money. Period.

    Second, good for you Mendel, the HCH2 has a timing chain... :)

    The O2 sensor is expensive. I would only install the Denso aftermarket number (same as OEM part), and they're about $230 for the part alone last time I checked. Dealer is over $300.

    The dealer charges nearly $25/spark plug, so you're looking at $200 in parts alone.

    They're quoting you dealer standard rates for everything without considering that replacing an O2 sensor takes about 5 minutes when the cowl cover is already off.

    You need new plugs just on principle. Mileage demands it.

    With the above, judge for yourself. They're probably adding up all the work times in billing when some apply to others, so you should ask them if there is any time savings due to multiple work in the same area and ask for a discount.
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  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Yeah I was thinking about some of previous Accords, with their timing belts. That was a significant maintenance, Honda advocated to do around 100,000 km.

    Yes, the spark plugs may be $11 apiece on Amazon US, but they will be a lot higher from the dealership, you jogged my memory. Higher due to Canadian prices, but when I asked at dealership they wanted $23 something per plug, ended up getting from a small local auto supply place for $17.62. With eight plugs and tax (12%), still came to $159.67 out the door, lol.
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  8. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    I had a few Hondas with timing belts. The specified interval on my 89 Civic was 60K miles, but I believe later Accords had a 105K mile belt.
    Still............. a chain is sort of a no-brainer.
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  9. Rocki

    Rocki Member

    Thanks for your input. I already had my car at dealer when I posted this thread. I could have haggled a little bit to get the plug and valve work done along with fuel/air sensor replacement, but decided to decline the plug and valve work. The total for fuel/air sensor replacement alone came to be $485. From what I read, it was a rip off. But even if I decided to take it back without letting them replace the sensor, they would have charged me over $100 for diagnostic alone. Suppose, I get the sensor part online at discount for $240 and installed it DIY, though with no garage and no tools, I highly doubt I could have done it myself, the total saving would be only $145. It was not worth the effort. Well, I will see if I can find local garage who can do the spark plug and valve adjustment cheaper. Even though it turned out expensive repair this time, overall the car has been reliable and very economical for 4 years 60K. I was lucky that I did not encounter any of IMA battery problem that plagued many HCH owners.
    Last edited: May 4, 2016
  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    My son and I did the valve clearance and spark plug replacement without too much trouble. Print out the pics above, it'll help whoever does the deed: the intake and exhaust clearance spec, what to look for on the timing sprocket when rotating the engine. Check the linked thread too. Turning the engine is accomplished through the right wheel well: you put a socket on the end of the crankshaft there.

    We got a goodwill IMA battery from Honda, even though the car was modestly beyond warranty, which was good. OTOH, the OEM battery degraded significantly within the first two years of ownership, performance and mpg was down LONG before the warning lights finally came on. The replacement's starting to act up now, latest software and all. Just running it into the ground. :(
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  11. Rocki

    Rocki Member

    Thanks Mendel. You are making me wanting to try changing spark plug on my HCH DIY, but without garage and tools, that's not gonna happen. LOL But, I do appreciate your detailed descriptions. May I ask how many miles you have on your HCH? As I wrote, mine is at 120K now on original battery as far as I know, and hoping it to last 150K without doing anything major, like changing IMA battery. My previous Civic was not hybrid, but it run great for 17 years without major repairs except several rust related issues.
  12. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Yes. Rust killed all the Civics in our family long before and engine or trans problems. I never even replaced a CLUTCH in any of our Hondas.
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  13. Rocki

    Rocki Member

    Yes, that was the case with my previous 17 years old Civic. It run fine, but the body was rusted through, and when the tail pipe fell off due to rusting underside, I decided to ditch it.
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Ours is a little past 200,000 kms, about 125,000 miles, so similar to yours. When I was battery shopping someone speculated (looking at the VIN) that it was around the 200th '06 car, not sure if that was overall or just Canadian.

    If you're not getting recalibration behaviour that's good. That being odd drops in state of charge, followed by lock-out of Auto-Stop, idle rpm staying higher, and sluggish acceleration. All of these being due to the car no longer trusting it's perception of state of charge, doing a recalibration with forced charging.
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  15. Rocki

    Rocki Member

    So far, our 2008 HCH is doing fine. I just went to the dealer to pick it up yesterday, and drove home 50 miles. All looks fine for now. With weather in NE getting warmer, I was getting over 50mpg that's without using any of those “pulse and glide” and other hypermileage techniques. Gas price is starting to creep up, so if it keeps up for another 2-3yrs without major breakdown, saving in the cost of gas may pay for the Air/fuel sensor cost I had to eat this time. :)

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