If you’re thinking of buying a car today, there’s more to it than deciding on a brand, make, or model. The automotive industry is changing fast enough now, you have to consider whether you want to stick with gas operated, or move to hybrid or electric technology.
Selecting the make and model is only the first step in deciding what will work best for your lifestyle. Before you choose based on looks and gas mileage, consider your maintenance routine too. What does hybrid car maintenance look like? Is it much different than what you’re used to with your gas-powered vehicle?
Hybrid car use in America
Hybrid and battery-operated cars are growing in interest. In 2020, there were 6.8 million battery electric vehicles in use globally, with more than half of them being added to the road during the course of the year.
Tesla might have given the industry its biggest push, but it by far isn’t the only choice. Pick your favorite car manufacturer – chances are they have an electric model.
A hybrid rests somewhere between a gas-powered and electric car. A hybrid combines at least one electric engine with one gas-powered engine to move the car. Sometimes the electric motor will do all the work. Sometimes it moves to the gas-powered engine. Sometimes the two work together to keep the car moving. This action results in a more efficient car with less gas burned and better fuel economy. In some cases, adding electric power can even increase performance.
So what’s the right choice for you as we move forward with technology? If you’re concerned about the future of gas-powered vehicles, and aren’t ready for a fully electric model, a hybrid vehicle may be the best choice for you.
What about hybrid car maintenance? How will your regular routines change?
Hybrid car maintenance
Because hybrid vehicles have both a gas-powered and electric engine, they need the basic maintenance offered to a gas-powered car, with a few additional needs for the electric. Hybrids will still need things like regular oil changes, belt replacement, and tire alignment. Because it runs on a battery, you’ll still have to replace the battery. For the electric battery, most today come with warranties for extended periods of time and a long life – 8 year, 80,000 miles, for example. That ensures the electric battery continues to operate without replacement for a long time.
To start thinking about what a hybrid car will need for a regular maintenance routine, consider adding these tasks to your schedule.
Check car fluids
Because hybrids run on both gas and electricity, they will need a regular course of action when keeping the engine compartment clean and running well. Just like standard combustion engines, you’ll have to replace your motor oil regularly. Beyond that, you’ll have to replace coolant, transmission fluid, and brake fluid based on the needs of your car. Check with the owner’s manual that came with your vehicle for more information. Or work with a mechanic experienced in working with EV technology to ensure every aspect of your vehicle continues to operate well.
Cooling system check
Hybrids have a more complex cooling system because it relies on two different types of power to keep the vehicle running. To keep everything under the hood cool, it requires a complex system relying on a split radiator to keep the internal combustion engine cool. At the same time, another series of circuits serves the various electrical components. Each hybrid system can be slightly different, so it’s important to follow the guidelines based on the manufacturer and make of your vehicle for further advice.
Because hybrid vehicles rely on both gas and battery for power, the batteries won’t travel as far as a fully electric vehicle. Depending on the make and model, you can have a limited range of 70 to 250 miles for each charge. The battery itself will last anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000 miles.
You might be used to allowing your mobile technology to fully drain before plugging it in. Hybrid batteries work similarly. It’s best to drain the battery down and then recharge it to full capacity. This keeps it functioning at its best. Freezing weather can impact how well a hybrid battery operates. Consider keeping it in a garage, or buying a heater.
Whether you drive a gas-powered, hybrid, or electric vehicle, the reliance on tires to get you from point A to point B will always be the same. Your tires connect to the road and provide safe passage as you drive. If your tires aren’t in top shape, problems can start to build throughout the vehicle.
Do a spot check periodically to ensure your cars are in good condition. You can do the penny check to ensure the tread depth is in proper proportion. Most cars today come with an electronic tire pressure sensor. Ensure each tire is properly filled for maximum wear. Keep your tires in proper alignment, and have them balanced and rotated regularly. Every other oil change is a routine that will help you stay on track.
Hybrid vehicles use regenerative braking technology to recharge the battery. When the driver removes their foot from the accelerator to coast or applies the brakes, the electric motor spins in reverse and acts as a generator to recharge the battery. This energy also adds resistance to the wheels without the use of the conventional brakes, which means the brake pads and other parts of the braking system won’t wear down as fast as it does with a traditional gas-powered system.
Still, your braking system is one of the most important parts of your vehicle. Routine checks will ensure everything is working correctly. If you’re heading out of town, or head into the mountains regularly, it’s a good idea to put a maintenance visit on your calendar periodically to ensure the safety of your braking system.
Do you have a hybrid vehicle?
Technology is allowing advances in our transportation system like never before. Hybrid car maintenance may be slightly different from traditional, but it’s still necessary to ensure your vehicle stays safe throughout the years.
How can we help you ensure your car is working well?