Hybrid Car Q&A with Hillside Auto Repair in Torrance
Q: Isn't it true that no one knows how long the batteries will last, and that having to replace them could cost several thousand dollars?
A: The jury is still out on the longevity of the hybrid battery bank. To date, however, they've proven themselves to be fairly hardy. Toyota is pretty confident; they say that their batteries are expected to last the lifetime of the vehicle, and that lab tests show that they can go the equivalent of 180,000 miles with no deterioration. We have no idea if Ford's results will be similar. Honda says its battery packs are designed to last 10 years under normal driving conditions. Honda, Ford and Toyota all warrantee their battery packs for eight years or at least 80,000 miles.
One thing we do know is that keeping the Hybrid battery cooled during use does extend the life of the battery. All these cars have axilliary fan systems for cooling the batteries. These fans pull fresh air in and circulate it around the battery to help keep its temperature down. We have found that these fans do need periodic cleaning. They pick up dust, leaves and once the propellers become coated with oil residue and this dust begins to accumulate on them and the air duct becomes restricted with debris, the fan becomes way less efficient. Cleaning these cooling systems can add extended life to the hybrid battery.
Still, the batteries are the unknown variable in the long-term costs of maintaining a hybrid vehicle. All we can say for sure is that if you drive a hybrid far enough, you'll eventually need to replace the battery pack. As an example, the Prius battery pack will set you back a little over $3,500.00- $3,900.00 when the time comes. But if you've driven a car for 150,000 or 200,000 miles, that's not so terrible, is it? It's actually more of a concern for people buying high mileage, used hybrids.
To extend your hybrid battery significantly, Hillside Auto Repair recommends that once your hybrid car has over 80,000 miles or 8 years old, you have your battery’s condition checked regularly by a hybrid-specialist auto shop, about every 12 months. We can run a “State of Health” test on the battery and print out a graph that shows the ability of the cells to recover under stress. This test will give you a good understanding about the “State of Health” of your Hybrid battery. We can detect any low cells and condition them up to 97% of the original battery strength and significantly extend the life of your car’s battery for a fraction of the cost of a replacement battery. Be sure NOT to wait until your check engine light comes on. Typically, your battery is beyond conditioning at that point and will need to be replaced. This is a costly alternative.
Hillside Auto Repair in Torrance is hybrid-specialist certified. Please contact us to service your hybrid electric vehicle.