Hybrid cars were once novelties for the rich. Although the design and concept stimulated conversation there really wasn’t much interest from the general public. That has all changed and the number of hybrid automobiles is increasing. A primary motivator is the federal fuel economy goals established by the federal government. Another demand stimulator is the low emissions that the hybrid will produce. Despite the new appeal the hybrid is still a fairly expensive car and usually cost more than the standard gasoline burner. The question will arise about maintenance and repair of the car. Can an ordinary auto repair service center provide the necessary work?
Which auto repair shop to choose?
One challenge is the lack of mechanic’s certification. The Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) are working on repair and servicing training, but repair service for hybrids is still a work in process. Diagnostic equipment for the hybrid car is scarce and Automotive Research & Design (AR&D) is apparently the only organization offering the necessary training. What it means for the owner of a hybrid is that an auto repair shop ought to be able to produce a certificate from AR&D before choosing that shop.
Any auto repair shop is OK for standard maintenance work
Fortunately, there are a number of services that can be done by any auto repair shop on a hybrid car. The oil and the filters in a hybrid can be a do-it-yourself job or the local auto service center can do it. The process is the same in a hybrid as it is in the standard gasoline driven car. Brakes are a very important part of any car; there is no question about that. Brake disc pads or the rear brake shoes of a hybrid car follows the same procedure of replacement as ordinary automobiles. Tires are tires no matter what model of car they are mounted on. The same rules of the road should be followed with tires on hybrids. The pressure in the tire has to be correct and periodic tire rotation is the same as with any model of car. Hybrids have a Power Control Unit which needs coolant replenished whenever the levels become low. Other fluids such as transmission power steering fluid are just like regular cars. All of these are pretty well standard maintenance work that an automotive service center can do with an appointment.
Reason to go to a dealership
This being said, there does remain some areas where the automotive center at the end of the street cannot be of much help. The same is true for anybody who is a do-it-yourself fanatic. The battery of a hybrid is a complicated piece of equipment. These batteries have 36 to 330 volts; trying to replace them can be a safety hazard. The repairs on electric motors can put you in harm’s way because of the electricity. The motor controller in a hybrid is not a simple design. It is as complex as a transmission system a regular car, and a rookie mistake can result in expensive repairs. The hybrid car is very modern when it comes to its dependence on computer systems. Any voltage change can affect the computer control. It is reason enough to go to a dealership in order to have any repairs affecting the computer systems.
The sensitivity of the hybrid battery is an inducement to get a warranty on it. This will probably require that you have only a certified technician work on the battery, but this piece of paper may keep the costs of replacing or repairing the hybrid battery to an acceptable level. Those auto repair shops certified to work on hybrid cars need to provide specific services and you should inquire about that. It should include comprehensive diagnostics, high-voltage battery conditioning, battery cable repair and replacement, and hybrid battery conditioning and testing. You should know the type of hybrid battery in your car and ask any repair center if they can service that particular model.
Cleaner environment with hybrid cars
It is true that the servicing of a hybrid car is currently not as convenient as that of a standard automobile. However, you should keep in mind the benefits these cars will provide in the long run. These are noted for superior fuel efficiency and the cost of fuel for your car will go down dramatically. Moreover, this is an environmentally friendly way of getting around. Carbon emissions are drastically reduced when hybrid cars are on the road. Your ownership of one of these automobiles reflects a commitment to a cleaner environment with a smaller carbon footprint left behind.