In recent years, concern about the rising cost of fuel is on many drivers minds. This is a key reason why hybrid vehicles have become so popular in Asheville. Tree huggers also appreciate these low-emissions vehicles. While modern hybrids are more reliable than ever, routine maintenance is crucial. Here are a few important hybrid service tips.
Hybrid Service Tips:
Change the Oil at the Recommended Interval
Because hybrid vehicles are engineered with electric motors, less stress is placed upon their combustion engines. This means less wear and tear in the long run. Nevertheless, hybrid service professionals still emphasize the importance of getting regular oil changes. To find out your hybrid’s recommended oil change interval, take a look inside the owner’s manual. The dealership can also provide this vital information.
If you neglect to change the oil when needed, the long-term durability of your vehicle will be compromised. As motor oil begins to degrade, it can no longer properly protect and lubricate the engine’s internal parts.
Also, be sure to always use the correct type of motor oil. Most hybrid powertrains are built to use a lower viscosity grade. Thicker oils can cause poor cold weather starting and reduced fuel economy.
Regularly Inspect the Braking System
Many of today’s newer hybrid cars and SUVs feature a regenerative braking system. When you come to a stop, the kinetic energy is used to replenish the car’s battery back. A side benefit is that less friction is created, which translates to longer life on brake pads. Many hybrid owners can travel more than 70,000 miles before needing new brake pads.
While your pads may last a lot longer, don’t overlook the importance of getting a regular inspection on the regenerative braking system. When bringing in your vehicle for hybrid service, the technicians will check for potential problems. Over time, the rubber seals and boots are especially prone to cracking. It’s important to get the issue fixed as soon as possible. The last thing you want is for your brakes to fail during an emergency.
Although there are some key advantages to a hybrid’s regenerative braking system, an enormous amount of heat is often produced. To prevent your brake fluid from boiling, the system must be able to effectively cool things down. As you probably know, driving with overheating brakes is a major safety hazard. The extreme temperatures can also cause your brake rotors to warp.
Properly Maintain the Hybrid Battery
Hybrid vehicles feature a large battery pack, which can last for more than 150,000 miles. While the advertisements for many hybrid batteries say they are “maintenance free”, don’t fall for this misconception. Hybrid service technicians advise owners to obtain a battery checkup every 12 months.
After surpassing 100,000 miles, it’s also a good idea to have a stress test performed on the battery. With the use of a special scan tool, mechanics can determine if the battery is maintaining optimum energy levels.
Although the battery itself may not require much servicing, there are some steps you can take to ensure a better performance. Hybrid batteries tend to perform worse in cold weather. When temperatures begin to drop below freezing during the winter, develop a habit of allowing your vehicle to warm up. Extremely hot weather also isn’t ideal. On summer days, park your hybrid in the shade whenever possible.
Cooling System Check
At least once a year, be sure to have your hybrid’s cooling system checked. Like a conventional gasoline vehicle, hybrids have radiator. If you fail to have the coolant regularly flushed out, it can leave behind sludge-like deposits. Over time, this can lead to your radiator prematurely rusting away.
Of course, the radiator hose also needs to be inspected for wear by a hybrid service center. If the radiator hose bursts or collapses while you’re on the road, engine overheating will likely occur. Replacing an old hose ahead of time will help you to avoid being on the side of a busy roadway.
When it comes to tire care, a hybrid is no different from any other vehicle. Make it a point to maintain the proper air pressure. Not only does under inflation lead to a much shorter life expectancy for tires, but they also jeopardize your safety. Low pressure makes tires more prone to blowing out.
It’s never a good idea to drive on slick tires. Don’t allow the tread depth to drop below 2/32 of an inch. You can use the tried-and-true “penny test” to determine whether the tread depth is too low. Simply place Lincoln’s head upside down between two ribs on your tire. If the tire tread does not reach Lincoln’s head, begin shopping for a new set.
Another important aspect of tire care is getting a yearly wheel alignment. Running over potholes and driving too fast over speed bumps can easily knock your vehicle out of alignment. You will eventually start to notice uneven tire wear and sloppy handling.
Air Filter Replacement
When bringing in their vehicle for hybrid service, some drivers complain about a loss of performance. They may notice sluggish acceleration when leaving traffic lights and merging onto the freeway. This problem is often solved by installing a new air filter.
Most air filters are made to last for around 30,000 miles. Once the filter becomes saturated with dirt and dust, airflow to the engine will be restricted. This results in a marked drop in overall power.