As much as the gossip merchants would love to put the fear of God into anyone switching driving technologies when it comes to servicing hybrid cars, the shock shouldn’t be that great.
Yes, a hybrid car has a few additional components that require the same monitoring as your regular car components, but not enough to break the bank—or even sweat.
If you service your car at a dealership, the extras are often thrown in for free. However, if your full service happens at an independent garage or high-street service center, then you’re looking at an extra £20-ish for the trouble.
As always, for the best practices for your make and model, you should always follow the guidance in your owner’s handbook, specifically developed for your car.
Hybrid service intervals
With all the usual working parts of a traditional petrol vehicle, the service intervals are exactly as you’d expect—they’re just the same.
You should book in for your full service each year or at 10–12k miles, whichever comes soonest. Interim services are still held at the six-month mark for drivers exceeding 12k miles a year or up to 2k miles/month.
Additional hybrid service checks
There aren’t too many specialized checks included in hybrid vehicle service, but there are a few. These cover the additional components and technologies added to their conventional operation; some of these checks are visual, and some require plugging into specialist tools.
- Diagnostic hybrid battery health checks and testing
- Charging port and high voltage cables check
- Inverter coolant check
- Brake binding check
A hybrid vehicle runs an additional cooling system to prevent the electric motors from overheating. The system includes a heat exchanger, electric pump, and a coolant reservoir. Hybrid coolant runs out at a similar price to standard engine coolant (maybe a little more expensive), but with replacements required at 50k mile intervals, you shouldn’t be dipping too deep in your pocket too often.
A hybrid car full service includes all the routine inspections and upkeeps a standard car service would; that includes your brakes, tires, filters, belts, lights, oil, fluids, and wear on the many components of your car.
Hybrid battery checks and replacements
If anything is likely to fail in the electric drive part of your hybrid car it’s most likely to be the battery. However, don’t panic just yet, as there’s some pretty good news where the specialist hybrid batteries are concerned. Most hybrids come with a battery warranty that lasts around eight to ten years or for 100k to 150k miles, and by that time, your engine could well be showing some similar end-of-life symptoms over that mileage.
For hybrid cars that have exceeded their warranties, a new battery can be a pricey expense, but then, so would a new engine that had driven the same distance.
Hybrid batteries, however, are exceptionally tough and long-lasting. With the correct care—maintaining the battery cooling system as recommended—each hybrid battery can last up to 200k miles. Dead or damaged cells are the most likely cause of failure. Repair costs can be high, so it’s often better to replace the battery as a whole unit.
The good news about your hybrid vehicle service
Less wear on many conventional components
By the very nature of hybrid driving, many of the standard components in your hybrid vehicle won’t work as hard with the workload split between engine and electric operation.