by Jon LeSage
- Hybrid electric vehicles have been on US roads since 1999 with release of Honda Insight, then Toyota Prius in 2000 followed by Honda Civic Hybrid in 2002.
- In 2000s, a lot more models followed from Toyota, Lexus, Ford, and other automakers and in recent years have been making up about 3% of new vehicle sales in US.
- Edmunds.com green car editor John O’Dell says more than two million conventional hybrids have been sold since early 2000s and estimated 415K used hybrids on market now.
- There’s a growing need for service centers that can maintain hybrids, which does require service technicians with specific training and skill sets.
- It’s also becoming an important used car niche for dealers to stock up and remarket – while their used car prices can drop with gasoline prices, they’re still a great product to offer.
- For servicing, important to have knowledgeable mechanic inspect vehicle – with knowledge being critical as these cars employ some complex technology.
- Auto Career Development Center has become good source and lists qualified hybrid repair shops.
- Their braking systems, sometimes regenerative braking, usually last longer than conventional braking.
- But important to have maintenance records to see if frequent brake jobs have been done, indicating hard driving by prior owner – this could indicate other mechanical parts are worn excessively, too.
- All hybrids are required by federal regulations to carry a minimum of a 100K-mile, eight-year battery warranty; some states, like California, require even longer warranty periods.
- Some tests have shown that the batteries used to power hybrids’ electric motors last much longer.
- Replacement battery for Toyota’s 2004–9 Prius models sells for less than $2,200, Edmunds found. Honda sells replacement batteries for the 2005 to 2011 Civic hybrids for $1,700 – and there’s always finding them at auto salvage yards for as little as $500