Special Considerations for Repairing Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

Hybrid and electric vehicles are growing in popularity as the price of gas continues to remain high. Not only do buyers want to save money by having to fill up their tanks less often, but they also want to do their part to protect precious natural resources and reduce the greenhouse emissions that are hurting the earth’s ozone layer.

Most hybrids offer fuel efficiency of 40 mpg or more, and electric vehicles are becoming advanced enough to offer 200 miles on a single charge. Yet one complaint that some hybrid or electric drivers have centers around the cost or difficulty of making auto repairs.

Smart shoppers know that the issue is not so black and white, and there are some pros and cons to consider for hybrid and electric vehicle auto repair. Cincinnati repair shop McCluskey Chevrolet tells you what you need to know about some special considerations for repairing and maintaining hybrid and electric vehicles:

Replacement Battery

battery

One of the most common talking points about the upkeep of hybrid and electric vehicles is the cost of the replacement battery. Depending on the make and model of the car, these batteries can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars. That’s a big chunk of change no matter how you look at it.

Fortunately, the batteries in hybrid and electric vehicles typically have a very long life span. Toyota has said that the battery packs for its eco-friendly vehicles put in 180,000 or more in testing.

According to HybridCars.com, the Toyota Prius has had less than 0.003 percent battery failures since it was introduced in 2001. Many Ford and Toyota hybrid taxicabs have reported logging 200,000 miles or more without having to replace the battery.

The chances are good that you will have to replace the car (or will just be ready to buy a new car) before you have to replace the battery.

If the battery does fail before you are ready for a new car, chances are good that the warranty will cover the battery’s replacement.

Electric System

hybrid

The electric system on a hybrid or electric vehicle is advanced and complicated, and it gives many buyers pause for concern. What if the system breaks down? Won’t it be very expensive to repair? After all, this is fairly new automotive technology.

The truth is that the electric system typically needs very little maintenance and even fewer repairs. Replacing the battery is the most common repair needed. However, if you do need to repair any of the electrical system components, you will need to visit an auto repair shop that has specially trained and qualified mechanics, such as McCluskey Chevrolet.

The costs may be a little higher than what you’re used to for repairing a typical gasoline engine, but it really depends on the make and model and the specific type of repairs that are needed — just like with traditional automotive repairs.

Just like with the battery, many of the repairs to the electric system will be covered by the vehicle’s warranty. Your mechanic can help you understand your warranty coverage and work with the manufacturer for payment on the repairs.

Brakes

Another bit of good news for hybrid and electric vehicle owners: The brakes typically last much longer than those on traditional automobiles, so they do not need to be replaced or repaired as frequently.

The reason is that these vehicles typically use regenerative braking, which converts the kinetic energy from the motion of the vehicle into mechanical energy to slow it down. Regenerative braking puts much less friction on the brake components, which gives them a much longer life span.

In some hybrid and electric vehicles, regenerative braking is also used to recharge the battery as you drive, which adds more life to the battery and reduces the risk of failure. Overall, the system is designed to protect your vehicle’s components and to save you money.

Warranty

Even if some repairs for hybrid and electric vehicles are expensive, the extended warranty that is typically offered on these vehicles should protect you against most costs. In general, the warranty on hybrid and electric vehicles is designed to last as long as the vehicle itself.

Of course, if you take good care of your vehicle, it could easily surpass the mileage on the warranty, but you will still get extended coverage from the warranty. Typical warranty coverage lasts about eight years or 100,000 miles. Some warranties last as long as 10 years or 150,000 miles.

Most of these warranties cover the major components, such as the electrical system and the engine. These warranties last several times longer than the warranties offered on traditional gasoline-powered automobiles, which is a testament to the quality with which hybrid and electric vehicles are made.

Manufacturers don’t want to have to pay out on these warranties, so they are committed to making sure these systems don’t fail and they don’t get any claims. The length of the warranty should be an assurance when you buy one of these eco-friendly vehicles.

Self Repair

repair

Should you decide to try to repair your hybrid or electric vehicle yourself, you can face issues ranging from the minor and annoying — such as your radio Becoming locked or all your presets being erased when you disconnect the battery — to the downright dangerous — such as becoming electrocuted.

We recommend that no individual owner ever work on a hybrid or electric vehicle themselves. The risk to personal safety and to the health of the vehicle is just too great. The risks to working on a hybrid or electric vehicle go beyond the dangers of dealing with the electric system.

Some of the components on these vehicles are much more advanced and complicated than those on a traditional, gas-powered vehicle, and it would be easy for an amateur or a hobbyist to make a mistake that could cost thousands of dollars in additional repairs.

Always take your hybrid or electric vehicle to an auto repair shop that has mechanics who are specially trained in working on these kinds of vehicles, such as McCluskey Chevrolet. Check out the qualifications of the shop and its mechanics before you make the appointment.

Ask about training, years of experience, and specialty certifications. Go online and look for reviews from other hybrid and electric vehicle owners who have experience with the shop. Look up profiles on sites like Yelp or the Better Business Bureau to determine if any complaints have been filed against the business.

Your hybrid or electric vehicle is a major investment, and its repair is not something you should take lightly. For the very best hybrid or electric auto repair, Cincinnati residents trust the experts at McCluskey Chevrolet.

Our dedicated team has extensive training in these types of vehicles, as well as other emerging automotive technology. Our mechanics work on all the top makes and models, such as the Chevy Volt and the Toyota Prius.

Search for McCluskey Chevrolet online to find out what our many satisfied customers are saying about us. Then make your appointment and discover the difference that our service makes for yourself. We are committed to providing the highest level of service in addition to the highest level of workmanship. Make your auto repair appointment and join our family today.