How to Maintain Your Hybrid
It always helps to get the basic understanding of hybrids before deciding to own one. Most people know they are fuel-efficient and of course, that is true.
However, since they are not exactly the same as the mainstream vehicles we’re used to, there may be questions about whether it costs more to maintain a hybrid vehicle. Though the difference is not huge, there may be question s about what it costs to maintain the battery or how much it would cost to replace it if necessary. We cover these questions in other articles so feel free to look through the site and put your mind at ease.
The gulf between conventional vehicles and hybrid vehicles is not so huge. In fact, when it comes to their routine maintenance, the difference is minimal. The difference only really applies to the electric drive motor and the systems that control the storage batteries. In this article, we will cover the basics.
One of the fundamental differences when comparing full hybrid vehicles to conventional vehicles are their ability to shut off the internal combustion engines and operate solely on the electric motor. Because of the option, the hybrid’s engine doesn’t work as hard. This results in reduced wear and the engine lasts longer. Many hybrids employ regenerative braking systems that charge the batteries and reduce wear on brake components.
Where Exactly Do Hybrids Differ?
Hybrids differ in their drive train. The different parts of the drive train are designed to work together. If there is a malfunction in one component then all the components are affected. The internal combustion engine, electric drive motor and transmission are designed to work as one entity If one of these malfunction the function of the others could be affected. This is not a do it yourself job unless you happen to be a professional yourself. If your have any serious problems with any of the parts in the drive train, make sure you take it to a repair center certified to handle hybrid engines and their related systems.
Aside from serious drive train repairs, you can perform the other parts of your car maintenance such as checking your hybrid’s transmission fluid, changing out spark plugs and filters. To go any deeper than this is not recommended unless you are a professional with a thorough knowledge of hybrids.
The Electronics Under The Hood
There are generally separate cooling systems for the electronic modules that control the drive motor for propulsion and regenerative braking. These compartments generate great deals of heat. Having separate cooling systems help to keeps its complex heating systems from overheating.
It’s important to check the individual hoses, pipes and clamps when you do regular maintenance on the engine cooling system. You also want to check any additional filters used on the motor and battery cooling or heating system.
Be Safe – Beware The Orange
Most hybrids have dual voltage systems. Though the greater part of the electrical system uses standard 12-volt, the drive motor and other related components operate in excess of 100 volts. The safety threshold is quite low and narrow. An electrical shock with only 50 volts can prove to be quite fatal. The cables are wrapped in a bright orange casing to warn technicians or operators of the high voltage circuits. For safety reasons the system should ALWAYS be de-powered by qualified professionals if repairs must be made to any of these components.