Hybrid cars are the wave of the future – they use less fuel, increase fuel efficiency, reduce harmful toxins being released into the environment, and provide performance benefits like smooth acceleration. So, the real question is, are there any downsides? Some owners say that hybrid cars are more expensive to repair – so let’s find out the answer.
Before we can figure out how much hybrid cars are to repair and the common fixes that are necessary, you need to know the benefits of a hybrid vs. a regular car and the characteristics that make it a hybrid.
What is a hybrid car?
A hybrid uses one or more electric motors combined with a gasoline engine to power the vehicle in simple terms. In regular cars, just a gasoline or fuel engine is required to move the car. The hybrid system uses energy that is recirculated throughout the system via the braking mechanism. Sometimes, the electric motor is completely in charge, and sometimes the gasoline engine is ultimately in charge – and sometimes they work together!
Electricity + Fuel Power
The result of using a hybrid car with the various motors results in less fuel being burned to power the car and less fuel being wasted, resulting in higher fuel efficiency and enhanced miles per gallon for the same amount of fuel used. Adding electric power can boost your engine performance, leading to many hybrid benefits. However, these more extensive mechanisms can also lead to hybrid cars more expensive to repair.
High-Voltage Battery Pack
With all hybrid cars on the market today, the electricity needed to power the vehicle along with the gasoline comes from the high-voltage battery pack in the vehicle. This battery pack is separate from the usual voltage battery pack you find in all traditional cars. In this case, the high-voltage battery pack is re-powered by using energy that is traditionally lost by the heat while braking. In the case of hybrid cars, this otherwise-wasted heat is reused and recycled through the system.
Hybrid cars also use a gas engine in tandem with the electric motor to maintain the car battery’s power at the optimal level. Various car companies that produce hybrid cars do so in order to accomplish certain goals for them and their company, like producing an inexpensive hybrid car or producing the best car for fuel savings. Whatever the case, you will find that hybrid cars are more expensive to repair.
Kinds of hybrid vehicles
When figuring out why hybrid cars are more expensive to repair, you need to look at the various types of hybrid cars available today.
This type of hybrid car is arguably the most common and widespread design that is sold by various manufacturers. The electric motor and the fuel engine car connected via a transmission that works to connect both sources of power into one, streamlined source. This transmission connection in the parallel hybrid can be an either automatic, manual, or continuously variable transmission.
One popular type of hybrid that you might find on the market is the power-split CVT, which big-name companies use in popular car models that have been converted to hybrids. The type of transmission utilized and the fuel engine’s size are huge factors that determine how your parallel hybrid will operate and perform on the road. Popular car brands that use parallel hybrid designs are Lexus, Kia, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Infiniti, and many others!
Although this type of hybrid car is the most popular, it still verifies the notion that hybrid cars are more expensive to repair due to the moving parts and the added technology when compared to traditional, fuel-only cars.
This type of hybrid car has the electric motor providing all of the necessary thrust, meaning there is no transmission connection between the engine that uses fuel and the wheels. The fuel engine does little to power the car, and the electric motor is in charge of moving the vehicle. The gasoline engine has the sole purpose of charging the battery to power the motor, but not aid in any performance benefits.
This type of hybrid results in a driving experience that is more similar to that of a fully electric car, consisting of smooth acceleration, less vibration, and a comfortable ride. However, the downside of the series hybrid design is that the engagement may not be as quick and responsive as other models, since the engine might constantly be revving while the car is just trying to cruise at the same speed.
When looking at a series hybrid compared to other options, it still leads to hybrid cars having more expensive repairs, since the engagement could cause issues with the acceleration and performance.
A plug-in hybrid car uses a much larger voltage battery pack that needs to be fully charged each time you go to use your vehicle. If you did not recharge your vehicle using an external source, like a public charging station at a gas station or an outlet from your home, your car would not be able to run.
This greater amount of energy storage allows for long-term driving, such as road trips; this type of hybrid car can easily do that if you find recharge points along the way. In addition, you will also get really good gas mileage for this plug-in hybrid! If you have a short commute, you will be solely running on electricity most of the time, leading to a great solution for the failing environment.
Although this car is a great solution for the environment and those who do not want to use fuel in their cars, this all-electric option can still lead to hybrid cars being more expensive to repair.
Cons of Purchasing a Hybrid
To figure out why hybrid cars are more expensive to repair, you need to know the negatives and disadvantages of purchasing this type of car, despite the widely-lauded benefits and environmental factors.
Long commutes = more money spent
Since you are going to be traveling a longer distance, whether to work or on longer family day-trips, your car will need more help from the gas-powered engine instead of the solely-electric option. Although your car will use more gas than the average vehicle, since it has two power sources, you will still have to pay for this extra fuel cost, slightly making electric cars obsolete in these driving scenarios. Spending more money on fuel lends to the fact that hybrid cars are more expensive to repair.
Repairs = complicated + costly
Most traditional fixes in a regular car are straightforward – some can be expensive, like repairing a transmission or replacing an engine, but they are usually easy to follow, and all mechanics will know what they are doing. Since hybrid cars are a bit rarer on the road than traditional fuel-only options, the repairs can be more complicated and expensive.
The transmission, combustion engine, and electric motor are supposed to all work in tandem to create one driving force. If anyone of these parts becomes damaged or wears down over time, the other mechanisms will have to compensate for the damaged piece, leading to problems with that part also.
Diagnostics need to be always performed by a trusted mechanic, instead of you trying to do a DIY option to save some money. In this case, hybrid cars are more expensive to repair than traditional vehicles.
Battery Packs are Expensive
Speaking of higher prices in hybrid cars, the battery packs necessary to run the electric motor are expensive to replace when needed. Although most maintenance services could be almost identical for hybrid cars and traditional options, the battery pack is an additional part that you will not find in fuel-only cars. When it comes to controlling the drive motor, the battery pack is a crucial part.
Replacing this vital component of your hybrid will run between $3,000 and $8,000, one of the most expensive car replacements possible for both traditional and hybrid options. This shows how hybrid cars are more expensive to repair than fuel-only cars.
Pros of Purchasing a Hybrid
Now that we have gone over the negatives of purchasing a hybrid car, like the fact that hybrid cars are more expensive to repair, there are also significant advantages to buying this car.
You can perform minor DIY services on your own
Although electric car repairs are more complicated and costly, very minor issues can usually be solved by a knowledgeable owner that has read about their car and researched the service manual. Since the hybrid layout is somewhat similar to the internal combustion engine, you can easily check the fluids or replace necessary small parts, like air filters and spark plugs, to save some money in the long run. This will prevent hybrid cars from being more expensive to repair in all circumstances.
Save money on gas
Many hybrid vehicles give you the option of conserving fuel, using unburnt fuel, and recycling fuel so that you can feel good about not wasting any elements and keeping your car as efficient as possible. Hybrid cars make this possible by turning off the engine while your car is stopped, reducing the wear and tear on the engine, reducing the harm on the outside air, and increasing fuel efficiency. Although hybrid cars are more expensive to repair, this benefit provides positives for your car’s lifespan and the environment.
Brakes are long-lasting
Everyone knows that replacing your brakes is no easy feat – but it is one that needs to be performed as soon as possible to keep you and your passengers safe. However, you don’t have to worry about this repair as much in hybrid cars. Many hybrid vehicles have regenerative braking systems that reduce the stress placed on braking systems, recharge old batteries, and prevent the braking system from becoming quickly damaged over time.
Popular Hybrid Cars
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
This sedan offers a high-end, comfortable, and luxurious interior that screams businessperson. This hybrid features a 2.0-liter engine with an electric motor that can produce a strespectable 188 horsepower, consisting of a front-wheel drive and standard battery-style hybrid for a car that can be used on long and short drives.
Ford Fusion Energi
This midsize hybrid is similar to that of the best-selling Ford Fusion from the same nameplate, and features four doors, making it a great choice as an environmentally-conscious family car. A 2.0-liter engine that produces 188 horsepower makes this plug-in hybrid a performance-oriented and comfortable car for day trips to the beach.
The Volt was first launched in 2010 – and has been a staple ever since. The plug-in style hybrid features a 1.5-liter engine with either a two-motor generator or lithium ion battery pack, giving the owner performance choices. Unfortunately, the 2019 model year is the last to be produced, so the future repair prices could be more expensive than cars that are currently being produced.
Toyota is usually at the top when it comes to hybrid cars – and the Prius is no different. In the fourth generation, this popular car is a top-seller due to the sports car exterior and the easy-to-use tech features.
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Similar to the Energi, this Ford car takes the top spot due to the quiet and smooth handling, agility on various terrain, and nine-speaker audio system. Even though Ford cars are known to have transmission issues that can cause hybrid cars to be more expensive to repair, this hybrid car claims the #1 spot on many car rating lists.
As you can see, although hybrid cars are more expensive to repair, they have significant benefits and advantages to using a traditional fuel-only car. Hybrid cars provide a benefit to the environment, ensure your engine will last longer, keep your brakes running efficiently for a longer period of time, and give you the option to perform minor maintenance fixes and repairs yourself, saving money in the short term.
Although there are some disadvantages, like paying for expensive battery packs, spending money on extensive replacements, and potentially spending more money during long drives, if you do not mind spending more money on the hybrid car repairs and replacements, you will feel good about helping the environment, saving some money on fuel during short trips, and providing a smooth and safe ride for everyone in the car.