Hybrid Vehicle Maintenance: Everything You Should Know

Servicing any car regularly, including a hybrid vehicle, plays a vital role in extending its lifespan while improving driveability and fuel economy or range. Although the service requirements and processes may differ, the same principles apply whether it’s a petrol, diesel, electric or hybrid vehicle. In this quick-fire guide, we answer some of the most common questions about hybrid vehicle maintenance and how long a hybrid car battery lasts.

What Is A Hybrid Vehicle?

A hybrid vehicle uses two or more power sources to move. The most common type of hybrid vehicle is the gas-electric hybrid, which combines a conventional internal combustion petrol or diesel engine with one or more electric motors. This combination results in lowered fuel costs and emissions which is good for the environment.

How Do Hybrid Vehicles Work?

Hybrid vehicles have a petrol or diesel engine which is connected to an electric motor. The electric motor is powered by a battery which is charged by the regenerative braking system and through the petrol or diesel engine. When the vehicle is turned on, the battery will power the electric motor which helps to start the engine. The electric motor can also provide additional power when accelerating or going uphill. However, the petrol or diesel engine will take over when the vehicle is travelling at higher speeds.

What Is Stop-Start Technology In Hybrids?

Stop-start technology is a fuel-saving feature which automatically turns off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. The engine will then restart when the driver wants to pull off again. This helps to save fuel as the engine only runs when it’s needed and not whilst stationary at traffic lights or in heavy traffic.

How Do Hybrid Cars Charge The Battery?

The battery in a hybrid can be charged in different ways. The first is through the regenerative braking system which uses energy from the brakes to charge the battery while driving. Secondly is through the petrol or diesel engine which will charge the battery and thirdly, you can also charge the battery directly from an external power source, like a wall outlet.

How Long Does A Hybrid Vehicle Battery Last?

While the average lifespan of a hybrid car battery is around 10 years or 150,000 miles, it will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle. If you regularly use the regenerative braking system and charge the battery regularly, it will last longer. However, if you frequently use the petrol or diesel engine and don’t charge the battery as often, it will need to be replaced sooner.

What Are The Service Requirements For A Hybrid?

The service requirements for a hybrid vehicle are generally the same as any other car. You will need to have the oil and filter changed every few thousand miles, and you should also have the brakes checked regularly. This is referred to as a brake binding check that looks at the regenerative braking system

Other than that, there are no special requirements for servicing a hybrid car but there are some additional checks that need to be carried out on the battery and electrical system. Remember to check the owner’s manual for specific service requirements and intervals as these will vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

Recommended: What’s The Difference Between A Hybrid And A Normal Car Service?

How Often Should I Service My Hybrid Vehicle?

Most hybrid vehicles will need to be serviced every 12 months or 10,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, it’s important to check the owner’s manual for specific service intervals as these will vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Hybrid Vehicle Battery Issues?

The warning signs of hybrid vehicle battery issues include the engine not starting, the vehicle losing power or stalling, and the battery warning light coming on. If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s important to take the vehicle to a qualified mechanic for diagnosis and repair.

How Do I Maintain My Hybrid Vehicle Battery?

There are a few things you can do to maintain your hybrid vehicle battery, such as regularly using the regenerative braking system and charging the battery regularly. It’s also important to avoid short journeys where the engine doesn’t have time to charge the battery properly. If you’re not sure how to maintain your battery, it’s best to consult a qualified mechanic.

How Do I Maintain My Hybrid Vehicle?

Maintaining a hybrid vehicle is similar to maintaining traditional petrol or diesel car. However, there are a few extra things you need to do to keep your hybrid in tip-top condition.

Here are some tips for hybrid vehicle maintenance:

  • Check the battery regularly and top up with distilled water if necessary
  • Have the brakes checked regularly as they play a vital role in regenerative braking
  • Keep an eye on the tyre pressures and tread depth as incorrect tyre pressure can affect fuel economy
  • If you’re unsure about anything, consult the owner’s manual or take it to a hybrid specialist for advice

Do Hybrid Cars Need Special Tyres?

No, hybrid cars can use the same tyres as any other type of vehicle. However, it’s important to make sure that your tyres are in good condition and have sufficient tread as this will help with fuel economy and grip. Not only that, if your tyres have less than the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, you not only face severe penalties but it is also unsafe.

Can You Drive A Hybrid Without The Battery?

No, you cannot drive a hybrid vehicle without a battery since it powers the electric motor and helps to regenerate power when braking. Without the battery, the hybrid car will not work.

How Do I Dispose of A Hybrid Vehicle Battery?

When disposing of a hybrid vehicle battery, it’s important to take it to a certified recycling centre as they have the expertise and facilities to safely recycle the battery. You should never attempt to dispose of a hybrid battery yourself as it is extremely dangerous.

What Are The Benefits Of Driving A Hybrid Car?

Hybrid vehicles have many benefits over traditional petrol or diesel cars including the following:

  • Reduced emissions and fuel costs
  • Improved driveability
  • Stop-start technology for fuel savings
  • No need to recharge by plugging it in since the battery is charged by the engine and through regenerative braking

What Are The Disadvantages Of A Hybrid?

The main disadvantage of driving a hybrid vehicle is the initial cost. Hybrid vehicles are more expensive to buy than traditional petrol or diesel cars. However, the long-term fuel savings and reduced emissions make up for the initial cost.

Another disadvantage of hybrid vehicles is that they’re not suitable for long journeys as the battery will need to be recharged after a certain distance. They also aren’t well-suited to tow another car so if you want to help someone who has broken down, it’s best to call the AA or another roadside service.

Who Invented Hybrid Cars?

The first hybrid car was invented in 1901 by a young engineer Ferdinand Porsche and a coach builder from Vienna, Jacob Lohner. However, the modern hybrid car as we know it today was invented by Toyota in 1997 with the release of the Prius. Since then, many other manufacturers have released their own hybrid cars onto the market.

first hybrid vehicle
Image Credit: Wikipedia

Hybrid Vehicle Servicing At Elite Garages

The ownership of hybrid vehicles and EVs is growing considerably fast and that means the industry, as a whole, needs to be better prepared. To keep up with the demand, Elite Garages have invested in the latest tools, equipment and training. At Elite Garages, we can provide the necessary services whether you have a petrol, diesel, electric or hybrid vehicle. A large number of vehicle technicians across all of our branches have also received their IMI Level 3 electric/hybrid certification.

We hope this quick guide has answered some of your questions about hybrid vehicle maintenance. If you have any other questions or would like more information, please contact your nearest branch today!