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Battery Maintenance for Hybrid Cars

Battery Maintenance for Hybrid Cars

The great thing about hybrids (besides saving on fuel costs) is that the maintenance is not that much different from a regular vehicle. Of course, you have probably heard about the “horror” stories about the price of having to buy a new battery for the hybrid and how exorbitant it is. Well, these stories are only half right. Yes, the batteries for a hybrid vehicle are very high, probably a few thousand dollars. In relation to a gas-guzzling regular car where the batteries cost anywhere from fifty dollars to a few hundred to replace, the hybrid does not seem worth it.

What the hybrid detractors don’t tell you is this: hybrid car batteries can last for as long as one hundred thousand miles or more. In addition, most of the warranties cover the batteries for about ten years or a certain number of miles. How many people actually keep a car for that long? A huge percentage of the population trades in their vehicle for a new model long before warranties of that magnitude run out. Chances are that most hybrid owners will never have to buy a battery at all.

For hybrid maintenance in general, you would do most everything else that a normal gas powered car needs. The oil would need to be changed at regular intervals depending on the number of miles driven as well as the driving and climate conditions you subject your car to during this time. Windshield wiper fluid as well as other fluids has to be inspected and filled as needed. In some hybrid models however, the one thing that might need to be checked and replaced regularly is the air filter connected with the battery system. Sometimes, it gets clogged and has to be replaced every forty to fifty thousand miles or so.

In regards to the brakes, in regular gas-powered cars, the pads on the brakes have to be replaced on a regular basis. After all, all that stopping and starting can wear them down. However, with hybrid vehicles, they have a regenerative braking system. What this means for you as the owner, is a lot less brake pad replacement. With this special regenerative braking system that hybrids have, the electric motor acts as a generator to snag the energy that would normally vanish during the application of the brakes. That captured energy is recycled into electricity and used to recharge the hybrid’s batteries. Not only is this one of the ways that the hybrid is more fuel efficient, it also means that the brakes go through a lot less wear and tear.

Tires on a hybrid should be maintained in much the same manner as other vehicles. Check the air pressure regularly and inspect for leaks. Rotate the tires to ensure an even wear on the treads. Part of the hybrid’s fuel efficiency is the fact that the tires on a hybrid are slightly different than regular cars in that they offer less drag and more traction on the roads. That adds up to additional fuel savings for the owner.

Early hybrid owners who purchased vehicles as much as five to seven years ago report that their maintenance costs in relation to regular cars are fairly cheap. No one has reported having to replace the hybrid batteries; regardless of the wear and tear on their vehicle and number of years they have owned the hybrid. In fact, most of the owners report that other than oil changes and replacing the tires, nothing else maintenance-wise has been needed.

The bottom line is that those fears about replacing your hybrid’s battery to the tune of thousands of dollars have been greatly exaggerated. Do those batteries really cost a lot? The answer is yes. However, most hybrid owners will never realize that expense because the vehicles are so efficient and have excellent warranties, which protect them for many years and thousands of miles. Most owners will trade their hybrids or sell them before new batteries are ever needed. Of course, if you plan to keep your hybrid car for years or until it falls apart around you, then yes, at some point battery maintenance will become a problem. However, you can expect a long wait – anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000 miles or eight to ten years before the battery becomes an issue.


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