*MCT photo
*MCT photo

As more and more hybrids hit the road in Bermuda, questions arise about the maintenance of the vehicles. 

If hybrids save you money on fuel, will they cost you more in maintenance? 

The answer is no. Most hybrid vehicles do not require any additional regular maintenance. 

In fact, in some cases, hybrid vehicles require less maintenance than a traditional gas-powered vehicle.

Since hybrids have the components of a regular gas engine along with their electric aspects, they require the same routine maintenance as any other gas vehicle. 

However, the oil does not need to be changed in a hybrid as often as its pure gas counterpart because the electric part of the car takes some of the load off the engine. 

Therefore, the car can go between 5,000 and 10,000 miles between oil changes. 

Like the oil, brake pads on a hybrid car need to be changed less frequently as the regenerative braking systems eliminate much of the wear on the mechanical brakes.

Keep battery charged

One hybrid-specific problem that could prove costly is if something were to happen to the battery and it had to be replaced. 

To avoid this, keep the battery charged between 40 and 60 per cent of its maximum capability at all times.

Diagnosing problems with a hybrid vehicle is no different than with a traditional internal combustion vehicle. 

As you drive, pay attention to how the vehicle normally sounds and handles. When something seems off, this may an indication of a problem. 

The best way to diagnose any potential issues with your hybrid vehicle is to listen to it. When starting it up, is there coughing or sputtering or weird noises? These could be signs of issues with the ignition or combustion or some other engine problem that needs to be addressed.

Of course, your hybrid needs routine check-ups according to the schedule in the owner’s manual. 

I would recommend staying with one service centre as this will allow the technician to maintain a schedule of what repairs have been done as well as note any changes or situations that arise. 

Keeping a log of repairs is the best way to diagnose problems and maintain your vehicle so that you can avoid a costly repair down the road.

I would also recommend taking your hybrid vehicle for repair and maintenance to the dealership where you purchased it so that you’ll be assured that the technician has adequate knowledge working on hybrid cars. A mechanic who does not know how the hybrid works could mix up the unique wiring system, which can be very dangerous. 

Parts

In addition, you must get proper parts for your hybrid car. Hybrids have different braking systems, cooling/air conditioning systems and batteries than traditional vehicles and one wrong part could ruin your hybrid completely. 

Your dealership service centre will know and have access to the correct parts. 

As with any vehicle, proper maintenance can help extend the life of a hybrid and the good news is that hybrid vehicle owners can rest easy knowing they are saving at the pump and helping to the preserve the environment without paying more at the service centre. n 

 For more information on automobile maintenance, contact Krishna King at Bermuda Motors: 292-0893 or KKing@bermudamotors.bm. Website: www.bermudamotors.bm