Hybrid vehicles have many different systems that greatly differ from standard combustion engine vehicles. Your hybrid vehicle is a special breed, and not all auto repair centers are experienced, trained, or skilled properly for servicing it.
What exactly is a hybrid vehicle? To put it simply, a hybrid is any vehicle that uses more than one power source. In most cases, they use a gas engine as well as an electric motor. The car is capable of regenerating energy from the kinetic energy produced by your vehicle moving and braking, and automatically switching between power sources based on things such as the amount of throttle you use, settings you can select for yourself, and the power left in the batteries. Because they have a secondary power source helping move the vehicle, hybrids are able to use much less gasoline than conventional vehicles.
From a practical perspective, there is a lot to love about the ever more popular hybrid vehicles - great gas mileage, the newest cutting-edge technology, and the sense of doing good for the environment. But then there’s the questions of maintenance. With so much new technology, maintenance on hybrid vehicles is significantly more complicated than on traditional gas-powered vehicles. You may see a lot of hybrid vehicles driving around Costa Mesa, such as Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, and other models which are reliable and economical.
Since hybrid vehicles are equipped with both a gas and electric motor, you may think that you’ll need twice the maintenance to keep your hybrid running well. However, due to the nature of hybrid technology, you may not need that much more regular maintenance at all.
Routine maintenance such as tire rotations and oil changes should be done on the scheduled maintenance plan just as in a regular vehicle, but there are still some major differences in most hybrid vehicles:
The braking system - hybrids use a regenerative braking system, which helps collect the energy lost as you slow your vehicle. These types of systems not only store and provide energy for later use, but can reduce heat and friction on your brake pads, allowing them to last much longer. Put simply, hybrids will actually need less regular maintenance on their braking systems.
The battery system - the batteries used to power hybrid vehicles’ electric motors are very large and expensive, but they are designed to last as long as possible and are often covered by warranty for several years. However, when the battery does inevitably fail, expect to spend at least a few thousand dollars on a replacement. Some small consolation is that in many hybrid vehicles, you can continue to drive on the gas engine alone even after the hybrid battery has died, with the only drawbacks being diminished fuel economy and power.
Although basic maintenance on hybrids should be no trouble to figure out, more complicated procedures may be tricky and should be left to professionals. Hybrid oil weights may be different than traditional vehicles’, with many using new synthetic weights like 0W-20, and most hybrids contain components with much higher voltage than in traditional cars (often with bright orange casing or labeling). This is why we recommend that you leave all major diagnosis, repairs, and troubleshooting to us here at ExperTec Automotive Costa Mesa. Our certified team of trained mechanics can take care of any of your hybrid vehicle needs, guaranteed!