Torrance Auto Repair

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Ask The Professor: Maintaining Your Hybrid Vehicle

Professor Manny RiosLooking for a five-star auto repair shop in Torrance CA? Need a knowledgable mechanic who can perform the full spectrum of hybrid services? Want to get the most value from your hybrid car?

Your search is over. The experts at Hillside Auto Repair have the training and technology to optimize the performance of your hybrid vehicle. Hillside is an award-winning shop, known throughout Palos Verdes, Torrance and the LA South Bay for its superior workmanship, qualified ASE-certified technicians, and an exceptional warranty on service and repairs.

Master Technician Manny Rios is one of Hillside’s valued team members and is also an automotive technology instructor at LACC. Nicknamed “The Professor”, Manny has a talent for diagnosing and fixing complicated problems that would stump other technicians. His trouble-shooting skills are dwarfed by his love of the work and willingness to help others learn the trade.

He recently completed The Hybrid Shop’s hybrid vehicle maintenance, service and diagnostics course. Manny was impressed when he learned that The Hybrid Shop’s proprietary technology is based upon decades of scientific research.

He’s excited that Hillside technicians have the tools and expertise to repair and maintain the specialized components, as well as the traditional systems, of hybrid vehicles. Recognizing that the number of hybrid cars on the road have exploded over the past ten years, Manny says, “We’re fully trained and ready to take care of all of them!”

Let’s take a peek at The Professor’s lecture notes for a few tips on how to maintain your hybrid vehicle.

Battery Pack Testing and Conditioning

Poor gas mileage and a lack of power may indicate that the battery pack in your hybrid car needs to be serviced.

Get the battery pack checked if you notice that your car is getting fewer miles to the gallon or that it struggles to accelerate or climb hills. Hillside offers a “State of Health Check”, which measures the battery pack’s ability to transfer power to the electric drive motor and determines if your car is a candidate for battery back conditioning.

Conditioning will restore up to 95% of your battery pack’s original charge. You’ll see an immediate improvement in fuel economy and vehicle performance. Lastly, compared to replacement, conditioning your car’s battery pack is more cost-effective and environmentally-responsible.

Auxiliary Battery and Connections

Because batteries are sensitive to voltage fluctuations, the auxiliary battery and connections should be inspected every six months.

Engine Oil

Typically, hybrid cars use very light (0W-20) engine oil. Be sure that the oil in your hybrid car is of the correct weight. If higher-weight oil is used, extra current is needed to turn over the engine, and the sensors may signal a warning.

Cooling Systems

Be aware that most hybrid cars require a special type of coolant. This is because the coolant not only controls the engine’s temperature, but also protects the power inverter assembly.



For certain models of hybrid vehicles, a cooling system fluid exchange is advisable for the power electronics.

Battery Cooling System

Proper operation of the battery cooling system is critically important. If the battery becomes over-heated, the sensors may disable your vehicle.

Be sure to have the electric fan motor inspected at regular intervals. Obstructions in the ductwork should be removed and the filter should be replaced every six months.

Some models of hybrid cars require periodic cooling kit updates to extend the life of the battery pack. The updates involve the installation of cooling fans and related wiring.

Transmission Fluid Exchange

Transmission fluid protects the electric motor and generator of your hybrid car. It’s very important to schedule a transmission fluid exchange every 30,000 miles.

Brake Service

Every two years, have the brakes in your hybrid car inspected and lubricated. Replace the brake pads, if necessary.


For More Information

Preventive maintenance recommendations are different for different makes and models of vehicles. Call Hillside Auto Repair at 310-504-1243 or make an appointment to keep your hybrid car running its best for years to come.


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