Just like a gas combustion engine, a hybrid electric battery can get old and start to break down. A hybrid car driver can identify if their car’s battery needs to be repaired or replaced if they watch out for the signs or a faulty hybrid battery. And, unfortunately, replacing the battery is expensive! So, keep reading to learn the signs of a dying hybrid battery and learn about hybrid battery health.
Bad Hybrid battery symptoms
Not many people know about the different symptoms a hybrid battery displays when it is getting old or if it needs to be repaired or replaced. So here are a few obvious and important signs to watch out for so you can take your vehicle to your mechanic. You should especially watch for these symptoms if your hybrid vehicle has been in an accident recently.
Fuel efficiency is dropping
One of the biggest reasons for the rising popularity of hybrid cars is their amazing fuel efficiency. Some owners say that they don’t have to fill their hybrid car’s tank for a whole month! So, if you start noticing that you are visiting the gas station more often or your car keeps switching from electric to the gas combustion engine, that is a sign there is an issue with your hybrid battery.
Computer display of battery charge constantly changes.
When a hybrid battery becomes old or starts to break down, a sign to watch for is the computer reading that shows the amount of charge left in the battery changing too often. This happens because the battery sensor can no longer detect the amount of charge left in the battery accurately.
The sensor reading will show that it has a low charge and then a minute later will show a very high charge to almost full. You won’t be able to trust the sensor and that will make it hard to travel anywhere far or even get on the freeway.
The battery will not charge as fast as it should
Most electric or hybrid car owners charge their vehicle’s battery backup while they sleep so it can be ready to drive the next day. Depending on the age and model of the hybrid car, it can take about 6 to 12 hours to recharge the battery.
If you expect your car’s battery to be fully charged within a certain time, but it is only at 80% or less, this means the battery can’t hold the charge like it used to.
Also, if the battery loses its charge faster than it normally should, then it means the battery is leaking charge. The battery will need more charging time than usual, which will raise the price of your electric bill or force you to spend more money at the charging station.
Constant check engine light
No matter how often you see the check engine light, you should always get your vehicle serviced when it lights up. The check engine light can indicate if the battery is faulty or short-circuiting.
You can also use a diagnostic tool and check your computer’s diagnostic system to learn about your engine’s issue when the check engine light comes on. The faster you get your car inspected when the check engine light comes on, the longer you will have it.
Car switches back to gas too often
When an owner of a hybrid car drives their vehicle, the driver usually uses the electric engine for driving around the city or their neighborhood. They will use the gas combustion engine when they have to drive on backspace freeways or highways or if they have not charged the electric engine.
Using the combustion engine allows them to save whatever charge they have left on the battery until they can charge it again. But if your electric vehicle forces you to use the gas combustion engine, that means there’s an issue with the electric battery.
How to check hybrid battery health
Depending on the type of computer system your hybrid vehicle has, you will be able to check the health of your Hybrid battery at home. If you need tools to check your battery’s health, you will have to go to a hybrid mechanic so they can use their diagnostic tools. Do not try to use the same diagnostic procedure and tools for a gas combustion car on your hybrid car. You could damage the battery and it will not give you an accurate reading of the hybrid battery’s health.
If you have a Prius, your only option is to visit a Prius Auto Care Center. The technicians at the Prius Care Center have a service called a tech stream. This test will diagnose the level of power and a-levels energy inside the Hybrid battery.
If you have a different model of hybrid car and you know how to use the onboard diagnostic system, then you can check out the health of your hybrid battery for yourself without the help of a technician. If you want to do it yourself, you can also purchase Hybrid battery testing tools which you can hook up to the battery of your hybrid car.
How often does a hybrid battery need to be replaced?
There are two different ways to measure when a hybrid battery needs to be replaced, and that is by the miles driven or by the age of the vehicle. If you take great care of your hybrid car and the original battery is in good shape, you won’t need to purchase a new Hybrid battery for 10 to 15 years.
When it comes to miles, most hybrid vehicle owners start expecting to replace their car’s hybrid battery after driving more than 100,000 miles. By the time their hybrid car reaches 150,000 miles, the battery probably needs to be replaced even if there’s nothing wrong with it.
In fact, around the 100,000-mile mark is when many cars start to break down and require expensive repairs. This is why most people don’t like to buy any type of vehicle that has been driven up to this mileage point. But people who don’t have a lot of money to spend will buy cars that have more than a hundred thousand miles on them because they are cheaper.
So, it is a good thing that your hybrid car saves you so much money in gasoline since you can use your battery engine to drive you around. You can use that money to say that for a new hybrid battery!
You need to know when your vehicle’s battery warranty runs out so you can get your battery replaced for free if you are still under warranty. Otherwise, if you have a battery that needs to be replaced and the vehicle is 11 years old, you may be disqualified from your warranty. Most warranties only cover hybrid batteries for 8 to 10 years. At the time of purchase, you can ask the dealership about purchasing an extended warranty for your hybrid battery.
How much does it cost to replace a hybrid battery?
Just like replacing a modern non-hybrid vehicle battery, purchasing a new hybrid battery for your vehicle is expensive! Overall, the cost to replace a hybrid battery varies greatly, and one battery can be much more expensive than another!
If we were to place most hybrid batteries in a price range, their price would be anywhere from $1000 to $6,000. And some of the highest quality hybrid batteries can rise to $15,000! For that price, you could get a used hybrid car instead!
Since the price of hybrid car batteries is much higher than the price of regular batteries, it is critically important that you put away money every couple of months or so to prepare for when you have to purchase a new battery.
Insurance may cover the partial or total cost of a hybrid battery
Under certain circumstances that are not accident-related, you can persuade your insurance company to purchase a hybrid battery for you or help you with some of the cost.
Since hybrid car insurance is much more expensive than regular car insurance, the insurance company will expect to pay for some of the problems that you have with your hybrid car. If you haven’t done this, go over your terms of insurance and see what services or replacements the insurance company will cover.
Hybrid Battery warranties
When you do purchase your new hybrid battery, make sure you buy one that has a warranty of five years or more. But if you live in the state of California, you’ll be happy to know that electric vehicle hybrid batteries automatically have a warranty of 10 years or a hundred thousand miles.
So, if your new Hybrid battery breaks down for any reason, it will be covered by the warranty and you and another one.
Is it worth replacing a hybrid battery?
This is a critical question that all car owners ask themselves when they have an old car that needs a very expensive repair. Would it be better to pay for a $3,000 to $5,000 repair or just save that money and put it towards a brand-new car?
Honestly, it depends on how well you have taken care of your current car. Have your mechanic look over the rest of your hybrid car and see if there is wear and tear or if it has been maintained properly throughout the years.
If he says it is in good condition, then your car is still a good investment, and you should replace the hybrid battery.
However, every mechanic sees that there are several other issues developing and all of those repairs will also be expensive, it may just be easier to sell the old car for scraps and put all that money towards a new car.
What about used hybrid batteries?
If you don’t have the money to purchase a brand-new Hybrid battery, you always have the option of testing out a used battery that isn’t perfectly in good condition. Now, I don’t know many people that have actually tried out this option but there are plenty of tutorials online on how to test out a good hybrid battery to see if it is worth buying.
But this option is not as cheap as you may think. Let’s say a brand-new hybrid battery for your car is around $5,000, then you could get a used hybrid battery of the same model for about $2,500.
Can’t use gasoline only
If you think you don’t have to replace the hybrid battery and just use your gas combustion engine to drive your car, you need to think again. You will not be able to use the electrical components of your car and that includes the radio, the sensors, and even the steering and brake controls if the battery does not work.
BUT WAIT! You may be able to salvage that battery
Unlike regular non-hybrid batteries, it’s possible that you might be able to replace certain parts of a hybrid battery instead of replacing the entire thing. I know it sounds crazy but just hears me out.
Inside a hybrid battery, particularly a Prius hybrid battery, are fuel cells. Each fuel cell holds a charge and there are about 22 to 34 cells inside a battery. When the Hybrid battery of a Prius starts to go bad, it is usually five or six cells that actually cause the problems, and the rest are just fine.
So, if your Prius Certified mechanic finds the faulty fuel cells causing your hybrid battery to underperform, you can just replace those cells with new ones. Your battery will work as well as new, and you won’t have to spend $3,000 or more!
The average cost to replace a couple of fuel cells in your Hybrid battery is about $1,000 to $14,000 and that is only the cost of the new fuel cells. You will also have to pay a mechanic to replace and install them.