Hybrid Vehicle Maintenance: What to Expect
As gas prices continue to rise, you may be thinking about making your next car a hybrid. While it’s difficult to argue with the fuel savings, hybrid vehicles have their own set of maintenance requirements that differ from gas-powered vehicles. If you’re considering a new, more energy efficient set of wheels, here’s what you need to know.
1. Fewer Oil Changes
Good news – with a hybrid, you’re likely to see fewer oil changes! Thanks to the electric motor taking over certain duties, a hybrid’s gas engine doesn’t have to work as long or as hard, which translates into less wear and tear from daily driving. Depending on your driving habits, most hybrids can go anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 miles between oil changes.
2. Better Wear on Brake Pads
Hybrid cars experience less heat and friction when braking thanks to a regenerative braking feature that stores the energy for later. While hybrid brake pads last much longer than they do on a gas powered vehicles, it’s still important to know the signs of worn out brakes, as your pads directly impact both the safety and function of your vehicle.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Spark Plugs
Thanks to the electric engine constantly starting and stopping, your spark plugs and throttle bodies will require a little more attention than a gas powered vehicle. We recommend increasing the frequency with which both are inspected.
4. Baby Your Battery
Because hybrids rely on electricity, maintaining your battery’s function is critical. To avoid unnecessary strain in colder months, make sure your vehicle has adequate time to warm up before driving. Temperature can also affect your battery’s longevity, so it’s important to keep an eye on its charge. Avoid letting your battery drain out, and ensure it gets a decent recharge. As an added measure, keeping your tires properly inflated will go a long way in improving your vehicle’s efficiency and avoiding strain.
In addition, the starter battery and starter should also be tested more frequently, which can be done at your local auto shop.
5. Think Twice Before Popping the Hood
While there are certain repairs we always recommend using a professional mechanic for, on a hybrid vehicle even a simple DIY fix can become a complicated, if not dangerous endeavor. While you may be familiar with everything under the hood of a gas-powered vehicle, hybrids complicate the repair process with the addition of high voltage wiring running through the interior. To avoid accidentally damaging your car (or worse, causing significant injury to yourself), we recommend taking your vehicle to a hybrid repair shop.
The good news is that Searles has professional mechanics specializing in hybrid vehicle repair. We’ve recently even added a Toyota Prius to our complimentary vehicle fleet! If you need help with your vehicle, contact us today to book an appointment.