It seems like vehicle manufacturers come out with new hybrid vehicles every week which is tempting to drivers who spend lots of time and money at the pump with their gas guzzlers. There is much to consider though, in deciding whether or not to purchase a hybrid. How does the cost of ownership of a hybrid save you over time? While you may save money on fuel, you’ll need to consider the costs of maintenance and repairs. Are hybrid cars more expensive to repair than the standard combustible engine vehicle?
While a standard combustion engine has just one method of creating power, hybrid engines have two power sources including an internal combustion engine and electric motor. These two power sources can work together or independently to create the most optimal driving conditions. The vehicle will determine the most efficient method of power and utilize that function or function at a precise time. The electric motor is typically sourced at low speeds and when the vehicle first begins to drive. Once the vehicle reaches higher speeds, the combustible engine kicks into gear, but as this engine requires fuel to move, it will begin consuming more fuel.
What You Need To Know About Hybrid Vehicles
While you can expect about the same amount of maintenance and repairs as a regular engine, hybrid engines may cost more to maintain due to their advanced technology. This is just one of the many things to think about when deciding whether a hybrid vehicle is right for you. Here’s what else you should consider before you purchase a hybrid:
Three disadvantages of purchasing a hybrid:
- Long commutes could end up costing you more. Since you’re traveling a longer distance, your vehicle will require help from the gas-powered engine, and while it still uses less than the average vehicle, you’ll have to compensate for the additional cost in fuel.
- Repairs can be complicated and costly. The transmission, combustion engine, and the electric drive motor are intended to work together as one powerful entity. If any of these major components experience failure, the other mechanisms may have difficulties functioning as well. Diagnostics are critical and should be performed by a professional, certified technician.
- Battery pack replacements are expensive. Though most maintenance services are the same for both combustible and electric engines, there is a difference when it comes to controlling the electric drive motor and onboard battery storage. Replacing the battery packs at about 80,000 miles costs between $3,000 to $8,000.
Three advantages of purchasing a hybrid:
- You can perform minor maintenance services yourself. Since the hybrid operation is similar to the combustion engine, do-it-yourselfers are capable of checking fluids and replacing air or fuel filters and spark plugs.
- Save money on gas and protect your engine. Several hybrid vehicles have the ability to conserve fuel by shutting off the engine while stopped, such as at a traffic light. Because the engine isn’t engaged and running, this helps to reduce wear and tear on the engine.
- Brakes may last longer. Many hybrid vehicles are outfitted with regenerative braking systems that reduce wear on brake systems while simultaneously recharging onboard batteries.
Electronic elements on the vehicle made to regulate the electric motor for braking and motion produce a great amount of heat, necessitating a separate cooling system. Discharge and charge ratios, as well as the charge reserve condition, is regulated by the battery control unit. For flawless operation in all conditions and situations, these systems employ both cooling and heating systems. A qualified technician has the experience and know-how to identify when clamps, hoses, filters, and pipes are showing signs of wear and when to replace them to avoid severe damage or breakdowns.
High Voltage Warning
Hybrid engines are high voltage systems and operate at about 100-volts or more, whereas your average vehicle operates at about 12-volts. An electrical shock can be deadly with just 50-volts. Take extreme caution when near the high-voltage circuits and cables. These areas are clearly marked and wrapped with a bright orange exterior covering for your safety. NEVER touch these areas or attempt to service them on your own. Certified Technicians are trained in safely disconnecting and handling these areas for repair or maintenance.
When maintenance is needed on your vehicle, whether it’s equipped with a combustible, an entirely electric, or hybrid motor, Sun Devil Auto is here to help you navigate the maintenance and service needs of your vehicle. Our Service Advisors will help create a maintenance plan for your vehicle to keep your vehicle functioning properly. When services are required, you can trust that an ASE Certified Technician is qualified to care for your vehicle’s needs properly. Find a Sun Devil Auto location near you and give us a call or schedule your appointment with our convenient scheduling system.