Maintaining Hybrid Vehicles
Most people understand the benefits of owning one: better gas mileage for starters, and that it’s more environmentally friendly. But what about maintaining one? How does that differ from the standard gasoline-powered vehicle?
Let’s start with the basics. A hybrid vehicle is one that uses two or more power sources that can directly or indirectly provide propulsion power. That means for all practical purposes, your hybrid vehicle runs on both a fuel combustion engine and a battery cell. Today, most are a combination of gasoline-electric hybrids.
Did you know that most of us have ridden or driven a hybrid long before now? Mopeds combine are powered by both a gas engine and by the rider pedaling. Most locomotives that pull trains are diesel-electric hybrids. Even submarines are a combination of either nuclear-electric or diesel-electric power.
Now for your hybrid car maintenance. Many makes and models of hybrid cars require oil changes every 5,000 to 10,000 miles for the engine. The air filter needs to be replaced every 40,000 miles. Of course it’s always best to refer to your owner’s manual because there are variables in maintenance, like climate, driving conditions and how much city versus highway driving you do.
One notion I hear time and again has to do with the battery itself. Much of the battery replacement can be avoided if you keep the charge between 40 and 60 percent of its charge. By doing this, the battery isn’t fully charged at 100 percent or completely drained, and that extends its life. Again, your owner’s manual will give you the specifics necessary for the make and model of your vehicle.
The costs are basically the same as your gasoline-powered vehicle, as you still need to follow your owner’s manual recommendations for fluid and filter changes like you would for a standard gasoline-powered vehicle. A hybrid engine, however, typically endures less wear and tear due to the fact that the engine shuts off when it’s idling. Another advantage for hybrid vehicles is less wear on the brakes. Since the electric motor slows your vehicle, it takes a lot of the strain off the brakes. When you apply the brakes of your car, impulses then set your car’s anti-lock brake mode into motion. The problems we have all been reading about with regards to the braking system of some hybrid cars boils down to this: there is a lag between the timing of the ECM (your car’s computer) and the anti-lock brake.
Just as there are pluses and minuses to all makes and models, the decision of whether or not to own a hybrid vehicle really boils down to your lifestyle and driving habits. No matter whether you drive a traditional gas-powered vehicle of a hybrid, the proper care and maintenance means your car will perform at its best for years to come.
Johnny Nocera has been on the radio airwaves in Southwest Florida with “Dr. Johnny’s Car Clinic” on FOX News radio 92.5 FM, 1240/1270 AM every Saturday morning from 9-10 for over 25 years. He also owns, along with his sons Jr. and Jimmy, Supreme Auto and Collision located in downtown Naples, and has been in business for more than 37 years.Give him a shot and listen or maybe just let your car listen.