There are nearly two million registered hybrid vehicles within the U.S. today, and more than 50 percent of respondents to a recent online survey said they’re considering a hybrid purchase within the next five years. Searching out and finding the right car loan for one of these can also be a daunting task.
As popular as the vehicles are, some buyers worry that hybrids can be more expensive and more difficult to maintain than a non-hybrid vehicle. In fact, routine maintenance is actually that of a non-hybrid vehicle-and might even be cheaper in some cases. Following are a few general guidelines on maintaining a hybrid vehicle. Always consult your vehicle manual for information and maintenance schedules specific to your car.
Oil changes: For non-hybrid cars, a 3,000-mile interval between oil changes has long been the standard. (Even though experts are convinced that new oil blends permit a longer interval between changes.) For hybrid cars, a less frequent interval of 5,000-10,000 miles between oil changes is considered standard. Auto experts might point to oil and oil filters for hybrids that are different from manufacturer recommendations. These filters can cost a bit more, but it’s for you to decide which recommendations you choose to follow.
Brakes: Brake pads in a hybrid may get less wear (due to the vehicle’s regenerative braking capabilities). So you’ll likely to end up in a position to replace them less frequently. Inspect brakes every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.
Batteries: Replace the air filter on the hybrid high voltage battery system every 20,000 to 40,000 miles. If the high voltage battery isn’t maintaining 60 to 70 percent of their charge, it’s time for you to replace it-and that’s about $3,000. (The good news? The warranties on a hybrid’s high voltage propulsion motor battery are up to 8 years/100,000 miles and achieving 150,000 miles from an original battery isn’t unusual.)
Drive Train: The internal combustion engine, electric motor and transmission are interconnected in a hybrid and may have different maintenance requirements than vehicles you might have previously owned. Only qualified technicians should check or make an effort to service components of the high voltage hybrid drive system and battery.
Financing: Many of the manufacturers are offering special auto financing plans aimed at the hybrid buyer. However, many consumers are looking online for all of their auto loan needs. By researching and gaining your financing before stepping foot in the dealership, you are more in control of the car buying process. What most consumers are starting to realize is the finance department is one if not the largest profit center in most dealerships. Having that financing taken care of up front eliminates the dealer from being able to profit from that portion of the sale.
Look online with the goal of finding the best overall finance option for you.