A hybrid is a car that pairs at least one electric motor with a gasoline engine to power the car, allowing it to offer better gas mileage than a standard vehicle. Hybrid batteries last around 80,000 to 100,000 miles on average, but hybrid battery life can be extended by taking excellent care of the car and sticking to a routine maintenance schedule. It’s important to stay aware of any malfunctions in the hybrid system, as poor fuel economy and weak performance are two key signs that a hybrid battery is starting to fail.
Hybrids are becoming increasingly popular vehicles as buyers look more and more toward clean, energy-efficient options. While they aren’t as high-profile as the newer electric vehicles coming to market, hybrids are a good mix between gas and electric vehicles. However, consumers might wonder about the durability of these types of cars, especially since they come with a higher price tag than standard gas-powered cars.
Hybrid batteries are durable and reliable car batteries that can last between 80,000 miles and 100,000 miles. By taking care of their hybrid batteries, including keeping the battery cool and routinely servicing it, car owners can extend the battery life to as high as 150,000 miles.
What is a hybrid?
A hybrid car is powered by a combination of at least one electric motor with a gasoline engine, using a system that recaptures the energy via regenerative braking. Depending on the type of hybrid, sometimes the electric motor does all the work, sometimes it’s the gas engine, and sometimes they both work together. In any case, the end result is that less gasoline is burned, giving the car better fuel economy.
The car’s electricity comes from a high-voltage battery pack that’s replenished by capturing energy from deceleration, which is typically lost to the heat generated by the brakes in conventional cars. Hybrids use a gas engine to charge and maintain the battery’s life.
What types of hybrids are there?
Auto manufacturers offer various forms and models of hybrids that gain the majority of their power from different batteries and engine capacities. Here are some examples of types of hybrid cars:
A parallel hybrid is the most common type of hybrid design. The electric motor and gasoline engine are connected by a common transmission that blends the two power sources. The transmission can be an automatic, manual, or continuously variable transmission (CVT).
In the series hybrid design, the electric motor provides all the thrust, and there is never a physical, mechanical connection between the engine and the wheels. A gasoline engine is installed to recharge the battery, but otherwise, the car is entirely electric.
A plug-in hybrid has a much larger battery pack that must be fully recharged using an external electricity source, similar to an electric vehicle. This greater amount of energy storage allows for extended all-electric driving of up to 55 miles, depending on the model, and can significantly reduce fuel consumption.
How long do hybrid batteries last?
Most hybrid car manufacturers will claim that a hybrid battery lasts anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 miles. However, with a routine maintenance schedule and attentive auto car, some hybrid owners have reported batteries lasting up to 150,000 miles or even up to 200,000 miles.
Additionally, manufacturers of hybrid vehicles on the United States market are legally required to warrant high-voltage hybrid battery packs for at least eight years or 100,000 miles of use. This means that if you have issues with your hybrid battery before you hit that time or mileage limit, you can likely get it repaired for a significantly reduced price.
What affects the lifespan of a hybrid battery?
As with all types of vehicles, hybrid batteries will last longer the better you care for them. Still, there are general aspects of driving that will affect the lifespan of your hybrid battery.
Some hybrid batteries need replacing in as little as five years from the time you purchase the car or battery new. However, that time frame largely depends on how you use your car.
For example, cars that are used for long trips on a daily basis will typically need a battery replacement sooner, such as in five years. However, if you use your car less frequently and do not regularly take it on long road trips, your battery could last as long as eleven years.
The number of miles you put on your hybrid battery can affect the battery life just as much as its age. The more miles you drive, the faster your hybrid battery will wear down.
For example, a 2007 Toyota Prius with 120,000 miles on it will theoretically have a better battery than a 2012 Toyota Prius with 120,000 miles. This is because the 2012 car’s battery has run more cycles over a shorter period. In other words, the driver of the 2012 model ran their Prius harder, and thus its battery has taken more of a beating than the 2007 Prius.
Hybrid batteries can typically fail because an individual battery cell is not balanced with other cells. If your car’s hybrid battery has unbalanced cells, it’s likely to fail sooner than a battery with balanced cells.
How can I extend my hybrid battery life?
Although most hybrid batteries last an average of eight years, some hybrid owners are able to make them last ten years or more by taking good care of them. Here are some tips to extend the battery life in your hybrid vehicle:
Maintain a routine service schedule
Maintaining a routine service schedule can help extend the life of your hybrid battery. Many hybrid models come with battery monitoring systems that set trouble codes and illuminate warning lights on the vehicle’s dashboard if they detect any possible issues, defects, malfunctions, or failures in the high-voltage battery pack and its related systems. If any of these signs appear, it’s important to get your car serviced as soon as possible. Proper maintenance is key to keeping your battery and hybrid vehicle running smoothly.
Keep the battery cool
You likely have an auxiliary battery system in your hybrid that keeps your battery cool. Cleaning this auxiliary fan regularly will get rid of the oil residue that typically coats the fan blades and makes dust stick to it. This accumulated dust can block the airflow to your battery and raise its temperature, which can shorten the battery’s lifespan. Therefore, keep your auxiliary fan clean to lengthen your battery life.
Screen the battery
To ensure your hybrid battery is in good condition, you can have the service shop check the health of the battery during a regular maintenance visit.
If you have weak battery cells, an auto service shop that repairs hybrid vehicles can recondition a battery to bring the cells back to nearly 97% of their original strength. This basic reconditioning can save you thousands of dollars on a new battery.
How can I tell when my hybrid battery is dying?
When your hybrid battery is nearing the end of its life, you will know by a couple of telltale signs: poor fuel economy and weak performance.
Poor fuel economy
One of the most telling aspects of a failing battery is poor fuel economy. If your car is running out of gas faster than it used to, it may be because the hybrid battery is not working as efficiently as it once did.
Because the hybrid battery is frequently the main power source of the car, a dying battery can hurt your car’s performance. For example, a weakened hybrid battery could make your car feel slow to drive or create the sensation of a clunky transmission.
What’s the difference between a hybrid and an electric vehicle?
Although there are some hybrid cars that can run on electricity, they are not the same as electric vehicles. Hybrids still partly run on an internal combustion engine, while electric vehicles do not. Instead, electric cars rely completely on electricity and therefore must be hooked up to charging systems to replenish their power.
Additionally, there are also plug-in hybrids, which have to be hooked up to a charging station just like an electric vehicle. However, these hybrids also have a gasoline engine that takes over after 15 to 55 miles, depending on the model of the vehicle.
How much does it cost to replace a battery in a hybrid?
To replace a hybrid battery costs in the range of $2,000 to $8,000. The replacement cost can vary depending on the make and model of your car. For example, a new battery for a Toyota Prius costs around $2,000 to $4,000, and Toyota boasts that their hybrid batteries last for the entire lifetime of the vehicle.
How often does a hybrid battery need to be replaced?
Hybrid batteries typically need to be replaced between 80,000 and 150,000 miles or when the car is around ten to fifteen years old. Again, this can vary depending on the make and model of your car, as well as how often you drive, the type of climate you live in, and the condition of the car.
What is the downside of a hybrid car?
One of the most common complaints about hybrid cars is that they have poor handling. Because hybrids have more machinery than conventional gasoline-powered cars, they also have extra weight, which results in reduced power and support in the vehicle.
Can you drive a hybrid car if the battery dies?
No, you cannot drive a hybrid vehicle if the battery dies. Just like with conventional cars, a hybrid vehicle can’t run without a battery.
What happens when a hybrid car runs out of gas?
Much like regular cars, hybrid engines can’t run without gas. Although there are hybrid vehicles that can run on electricity as well as gas, they can’t run solely on electricity the same way an electric vehicle can. Running a hybrid engine on electricity alone would cause severe damage to the hybrid system.
- A hybrid is a type of car that combines at least one electric motor with a gasoline engine for power, with a system that recaptures energy via regenerative braking.
- The three main types of hybrid vehicles are parallel hybrid, series hybrid, and plug-in hybrid.
- Most hybrid batteries last anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 miles, but with routine maintenance and care, a hybrid battery can last even longer.
- The lifespan of a hybrid battery is affected by the battery’s age, mileage, and balance.
- You can extend the life of your hybrid battery by keeping a regular maintenance schedule, keeping the battery cool, and having your service shop routinely screen the battery to detect any issues.
- Poor fuel economy and weak performance are two telltale signs that your hybrid battery is failing.
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View Article Sources
- How Long Do Hybrid Batteries Last? – J.D. Power
- What is a Hybrid Car, and How Do They Work? – Car and Driver
- Hybrids 101: Guide to Hybrid Cars – Consumer Reports