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With about 2 million hybrid cars on the roads today and almost every manufacturer offering a hybrid in their product line, you may have questions about hybrids. Here’s the skinny on these newer, more efficient vehicles.

What They Are:
Hybrids are still cars with gasoline engines. They need oil changes, air filters and breaks. The typical hybrid on the road is called an “HEV” (hybrid electric vehicle) and doesn’t need to be plugged in. Energy is generated when you apply the breaks or when the gasoline engine runs.

Hybrid Myths:

  • The batteries wear out – HEV batteries can last from 6 to 10 years and owners now have aftermarket and rebuilt options to replace them.
  • Hybrids are slow  – The cars can go 100mph or faster, but drivers of hybrids are generally fuel conscious people who choose to drive at slower speeds to max out their miles per gallon.
  • The car won’t pay for itself – No car pays for itself! But hybrids will offer more fuel savings over their lifetimes than conventional cars.

What to Know:

  • Hybrids should ideally be serviced by certified hybrid technicians. If one of the rarer but more costly problems arise in a hybrid, a certified technician will be able to diagnose the issue and repair it with remanufactured parts or by repairing specific parts. Dealerships will sometimes recommend complete components over individual parts.
  • Oil changes are vital! Every 5,000 miles is the recommendation and stretching it beyond that could lead to costly repairs.
  • Be on top of transmission service, keeping clean fluid in there.
  • Brake service won’t be as frequent because hybrids use the engine to slow down. Some cars can get 100,000 miles out of a set of brakes.
  • Most hybrids don’t have a timing belt so cross that one off your list of expensive repairs!
  • Look for a technician who’s got specific training in hybrid technology.

Resources:
Automotive Service Association
Automotive Career Development Center