- September 22, 2021
- Posted by: Wentworth
- Categories: Hybrids, Vehicle Maintenance
We love our hybrids. They are an amazing feat of engineering genius that benefits our environment in so many ways. But, like the more traditional combustion-engine-only vehicles, hybrid vehicles still need routine maintenance. What type of maintenance is required? Well, that depends on which type of hybrid you own. Most hybrid auto maintenance will include regular inspections of the tires, the regenerative braking system, fluids, and the hybrid battery. Different types of hybrids may have slightly different needs, so be sure to read your owner’s manual for details on your specific hybrid vehicle.
Types of Hybrids
Mild Hybrids (BAHVs)
Mild Hybrids vehicles are equipped with both a gas powered engine (internal combustion engine: ICE), and an electric motor in a parallel hybrid configuration. This allows the ICE to turn off when the vehicle is coasting, braking, or stopping. The ICE can restart very quickly if needed. Although they may use regenerative braking, mild hybrids cannot operate solely using the electric-only mode of transportation.
Full Hybrids (FHEVs)
Full Hybrid vehicles are equipped with both a gas powered engine (ICE) and a larger electric motor. They utilize regenerative braking to help recharge the electric motor battery cells. They can operate either using just the gas powered engine (ICE) or the electric motor battery, as well as using both.
Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs)
Plug-in Hybrids vehicles are equipped with both an gas powered engine (ICE) and an electric motor (series or parallel configuration). They are capable of running on the electric motor battery power alone. Consequently, the ICE is generally only used for traveling extended distances. plug-in hybrids can recharge directly from the power grid at a designated charging station.
Routine Hybrid Auto Maintenance
Routine maintenance has many benefits. First and foremost, it can find and resolve minor issues before they become major repairs. Second, performing routine maintenance can prolong the life of your hybrid, and its many components. Finally, ignoring routine maintenance may void warranty coverage for damages sustained through lack of maintenance.
The tires on your hybrid are a vital component to maintain, just as they are on any other vehicle. Poor tire maintenance can reduce fuel efficiency, compromise ride comfort, and impact vehicle safety.
Frequently check the air pressure in your tires with a quality digital gauge (instead of the pencil style gauge) for more accurate readings. All four tires should be set to the recommended tire pressure noted on the sticker on your door-jam, but not to the pressure stamped on the tire. The pressure on your tire is the maximum pressure the tire can safely handle. Remember, air expands as it heats up.
The tire tread depth is an important safety factor on your tires. Once the tire tread wears down to 4/32”, you should purchase new tires. If your tread measures 2/32” or less, then you must replace your tires as soon as possible to avoid a potential blow-out.
Rotation & Alignment
Tire rotation needs to be performed routinely to keep the tread wear even across all four tires. If you notice uneven tread wear, bring your hybrid in for service to see if you have alignment issues.
Regenerative Braking System
Hybrids typically have a regenerative braking system, in addition to a traditional friction brake system with brake pads and rotors. Routine maintenance should be done on both braking systems. Interestingly, the service intervals for regenerative brake service tends to be longer than traditional friction brake service.
Most hybrid vehicles come with maintenance-free type batteries, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they require no maintenance. Your particular hybrid battery may have very specific maintenance needs. Read your owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Gas Powered Engine (ICE) Battery
The internal combustion engine in your hybrid still uses a standard 12-volt battery to operate a lot of the electronic features. The life span of this battery can vary by vehicle type. You will need to care for this battery the same way as in a non-hybrid vehicle. Keep the terminals free of corrosion and ensure the battery is securely fastened, to prevent shifting in the engine compartment.
Electric Powered High-Voltage Battery Pack
The high-voltage battery in your hybrid is probably the most expensive part to replace in the whole vehicle. Correctly caring for it can extend its service life and keep your vehicle running without unnecessary and expensive replacements. The high-voltage battery pack can deliver a deadly shock if proper safety procedures are not followed. Therefore, it’s far better to have a qualified service technician to take care of anything electrical.
Since hybrid vehicles have an gas powered engine (ICE) and an electric motor, there are numerous fluids to check. Performing regular inspections of the fluid levels is a major factor in prolonging the life and efficiency of your hybrid. Read your manual for instructions and locations of each of the following fluids:
- Engine Oil
- Brake Fluid
- Transmission Fluid
- Reduction Gear Oil
Schedule Your Hybrid Auto Maintenance
At Wentworth Automotive in San Diego, CA, we are experts at hybrid auto repairs. When you need an oil change for your hybrid car, a new hybrid battery, or something more complicated, our service team has got you covered.
Make A Reservation
Give us a call at (858) 541-1044 or visit us online to make your hybrid auto maintenance service reservation today!
Location & Hours
7755 Othello Ave
San Diego, CA 92111
Monday – Friday: 7:30am – 5:30pm
Saturday – Sunday: Closed