What Is The Difference Between Hybrid Servicing And Normal Vehicle Servicing?

To understand the difference between servicing an Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle (ICEV) and Hybrid servicing, you first have to know what a hybrid car is. PHEVs are short for Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles and they have several components that conventional cars don’t. This includes a large traction battery, an electric motor and a motor controller. 

The powertrain, transmission, emission control and exhaust systems are also different while the climate control in some PHEVs isn’t the same either. That means most aspects of servicing conventional gas-powered vehicles do not apply to hybrid servicing. In this article, we explore some of the key differences and how to find “hybrid servicing near me” with Elite Garages.  

What Is A Hybrid Vehicle?

A PHEV combines the advantages of an electric vehicle with those of a car that still uses a combustion engine. Unlike full-blown electric vehicles that still face concerns over range, PHEVs don’t as the internal combustion engine takes over once the battery is exhausted. 

The preferred applications of PHEVs are currently delivery vans which can be recharged periodically during their daily driving route. However, there are also many private hybrid cars, especially those used for daily commuting. Similar to a pure electric vehicle (EV), a PHEV can also use power from the grid, hence the name plug-in hybrid. 

Types Of Electric Vehicles

Since we’ve already discussed PHEVs, other types of electric vehicles include BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) and HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles). Battery Electric Vehicles, commonly referred to simply as EVs, are fully electric vehicles with rechargeable batteries and no petrol or diesel engines. All the energy required to run the vehicle comes from the battery pack which is recharged from the grid. These are zero-emissions vehicles as they do not generate any harmful emissions caused by traditional vehicles. 

Hybrid Electric Vehicles have both a gas-powered engine and an electric motor. The difference here is that all the energy for the battery is produced from regenerative braking. In a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle, this braking energy is usually lost in the form of heat in the brake pads and rotors. Regular hybrid vehicles cannot plug into the grid to recharge. 

Hybrid Servicing Vs Normal Vehicle Servicing

Hybrid servicing is generally similar to normal car services but with a few extra elements to consider. An experienced, professional mechanic will be able to look at the petrol engine and service the electric motor. While your battery is less likely to go flat in a hybrid vehicle, it is just as important to check it regularly, and perhaps more than on conventional vehicles. 

Since the electric motor depends on energy from the battery, it is essential to make sure that all these parts are functioning at their best. As part of hybrid servicing, a mechanic will also check the oil levels although the oil does last much longer. That means while you still have to do an oil change, it won’t be as often as a more traditional car.

Apart from servicing the motor, a hybrid vehicle service is similar to any other car service. This typically includes wheel alignment, tyre replacement, car brakes and air conditioning. While a hybrid car is more efficient than an ICE vehicle, it still goes through natural wear and tear and requires regular servicing.

Hybrid Servicing Checks 

When it comes to hybrid vehicles, there are several additional checks that service centres have to undertake over and above the standard mechanical inspection of normal vehicles. Hybrid vehicle components are always given the same level of attention as normal mechanical parts. Hybrid servicing involves the following checks:

  • A hybrid battery health check ensures the battery is operating properly, which not only helps hybrid performance but also improves efficiency
  • Inverter coolant check ensures there are no coolant leaks but it is different than engine coolant. Inverter coolant helps the inverter turn the DC power from the batteries into AC power to make the electric motor work 
  • Brake binding check looks at the regenerative braking system. Brake binding is when the brake pad sticks to the brake itself, which can cause the vehicle to slow down even without using the brake pedal
  • Charging port check involves looking for any damage to the port 

How To Keep My Hybrid Battery Healthy

The best way to prevent excessive battery drainage is to charge the battery at least once every two weeks. Make sure you power the hybrid system for 20 minutes with all non-essential electrical accessories switched off, such as the air conditioning and audio equipment. 

While you don’t have to drive the vehicle, make sure you start the hybrid system in a well-ventilated area to prevent the build-up of harmful fumes. If it is in an enclosed area, connect the exhaust to an exhaust hose. As an alternative, you may disconnect the negative terminal of the auxiliary battery.

How Often Is Hybrid Servicing Recommended?

For the most part, hybrid servicing intervals are similar to that of normal petrol or diesel-powered vehicles. The common rule is to service your hybrid vehicle every 12 months or every 10,000-12,000 miles – whichever comes first. However, regardless of the car you drive, it’s vital to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

As a result of the extra diagnostics required and more parts to check, the cost of maintaining a hybrid vehicle is often higher than a pure electric vehicle. For more information about hybrid servicing, combustion engine vehicle servicing, or any of our other car maintenance services, please contact your nearest Elite branch today.