Hybrid cars have increased fuel efficiency, lower maintenance costs, better performance, more torque and even higher resale values than traditional gasoline-only cars. The problem is understanding the maintenance needs compared to conventional gas-only vehicles..
Hybrid vehicles are far more complicated than most gasoline vehicles. They have more delicate systems due to the fact that they utilize both gasoline and electricity, which in turn means that a technician who is specifically trained in hybrids is required to work on them. North Ridge Station has qualified staff to handle the job.
Let’s explore some situations involving hybrid automobiles that require a specialized touch to repair.
Maintaining, Repairing and Installing New Batteries
The most common problems with hybrids stem from the batteries. Early hybrids had nickel-metal-hydride (Ni-MH) batteries and lower demands on the hybrid drive systems. Because of this type of battery system we saw many batteries fail soon after hitting the 100,000 mile mark. Newer hybrids have changed to one of several types of Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) batteries. Starting out, these batteries outlast the Ni-MH but auto manufacturers have increased the electrical demands of this system as so the lifespan of a Li-ion battery is only marginally better.
When these batteries begin to fail, hybrids begin to lose reliability and fuel efficiency. They may perform poorly, or, in extreme cases of wear, abruptly stop running. This is why maintenance checks on the battery’s “State of Charge” is important as is service of the coolant and transmission fluids since they work hand in hand with your vehicle’s hybrid drive.
Our professionals can examine your hybrid’s battery state of charge, perform the necessary maintenance required to the coolant and transmission fluids
Fixing Engine Problems
Hybrid vehicles can utilize gasoline engines in one of two ways. First is the electric motor generator with a gasoline assist engine as seen on the Toyota Prius. The second is a gasoline engine with an electric assist motor generator as seen in certain makes like Honda and Ford. There are other models popping up in the market that are referred to as Extended-Range Electric Vehicles such as the Chevy Volt. This is a fully-electric vehicle that has a generator that kicks on to recharge the battery as needed. Each one of these vehicles can fail in different manors and as such a qualified technician is needed to repair these failures.
Regardless of the manner in which your vehicle utilizes electric power it will still have mechanical parts that will fail. Not all shops keep their technicians up to date in training and even fewer encourage training in the area of hybrid technologies. North Ridge Station requires its staff to attend training classes regularly in order to stay current with the ever changing automotive industry.
Maintaining and repairing your hybrid
Attention to detail is key when working on a hybrid. Not only does the technician need to know the ins and outs of the gasoline engine but they need to have a firm grasp on how the hybrid system works with the rest of the vehicle. Brake wear tends to be opposite on hybrids due to the fact that the electric motor and rear brakes are used during light braking while heavy braking uses the electric motor, the front, and the rear brakes. The types of tires are also different and some customers may experience up to a 15% loss in fuel economy just by choosing the wrong new tire.
Choosing the right repair facility for Your Hybrid Car
When it comes to caring for your hybrid vehicle, ensure that you use a mechanic experienced in maintaining and repairing this type of car. The unique differences in hybrid vehicles make a specialized mechanic mandatory to ensure your hybrid performs like it should.
Contact us to schedule a time for our experienced mechanics to maintain your car while diagnosing any problems that may exist. Our customers experience top tier customer service and workmanship due to the training and attention to detail we provide. Call us today at 919-876-2943 to schedule your next hybrid service!