NEED TO KNOW INFO ABOUT HYBRIDS
In a recent CareCarNut YouTube video, a Toyota Master Diagnostic Technician with over 10 years of experience working on Toyotas and Lexus models says that the problem with shopping for either model of Hybrid today is that either a shopper buys one and winds up disappointed because it does not do what he or she was led to believe it would (or could) do; or, a shopper who was actually a perfect fit for a Hybrid, passed on buying one because of misinformation.
Related article: Toyota Mechanic Reveals the Truth About New and Used Lexus Models
Are Hybrids Reliable?
Today, we will learn the ins and outs of Hybrid ownership that answers the following question: Are Toyota and Lexus Hybrid models as reliable as non-hybrid gasoline-only models? In answering this question, the YouTube channel host will address common concerns car shoppers have related to reliability.
Concern #1. The hybrid battery historically (or anecdotally) does not last long in hybrids
This is not necessarily true as a reasonable concern against buying a hybrid. According to the host, over the past 10-years he has seen improvements not just in the batteries used, but also owner education on how to drive a hybrid vehicle correctly to get the most life out of a battery. He admits that a hybrid battery will not last the lifetime of a car. However, when you consider that the components a hybrid does not have such as an alternator, a starter, or drive belts in most cases; and, because of the regenerative braking system lasting much longer necessitating fewer brake pad changes over the years, buying a battery as opposed to having those components serviced is a break-even deal over the life of a hybrid type car.
Concern #2: Maintenance costs of Hybrids
Maintenance on hybrids is focused primarily on two systems: the inverter/converter system and the hybrid fan filter.
The inverter/converter system which is responsible for controlling the electronics that powers the hybrid needs to be kept cool. Cooling is provided by a separate coolant system using coolant very much like the coolant in ICE vehicle. This coolant needs to be replaced periodically to ensure it provides efficient and effective cooling of the inverter/converter system. Incidentally, this can be a DIY job for the car owner.
The hybrid fan filter system is responsible for keeping the battery cool. Due to that the battery is air cooled, it is important to keep the air filter in the system clean and free of blockage from dirt and debris so as to allow air to reach the battery and keep it cool. According to the host, a clogged filter is the number one cause of shortened battery life. Access to the filter replacement is a simple DIY service owners can do.
Concern #3: Is the gas mileage on a Hybrid really better than on an ICE vehicle?
In short, yes! In fact, driven correctly, the host admits that his Corolla Hybrid and other models actually exceeds the mileage advertised for these hybrids. HOWEVER, if you are the kind of “spirited driver” who tends to push a car to its limits on a regular basis, you will find that this kind of driving actually makes the gas mileage of a hybrid on par with or worse than an ICE vehicle.
But Wait---There’s More About Hybrids to Consider
While reliability, cost, and fuel efficiency are the primary concerns behind whether or not to buy a Hybrid, there are other factors that are good reasons why a Hybrid might not be the right car for you.
As such, now that your main questions are likely answered, you can pick up the remainder of the info starting at the 9:50 video time point that will address:
• The difference between low mileage driving and repeated storage driving.
• Regenerative braking and engine noise.
• Start-Stop hybrid engine operation and engine life.
• How the “Prime” models differ from other hybrid models.
• How a plug-in model can wind up eating into your Hybrid savings.
• Why a Hybrid might be a better choice for you than an EV (actually a pretty good argument the host makes).
• What about non-Toyota or Lexus Hybrids? Who has the best?
Should you Buy a Toyota Hybrid or a Lexus Hybrid in 2022?
For related articles related to the Toyota Prius, here are two for your enjoyment and education:
COMING UP NEXT: Consumer Reports Lists the Most Fuel-Efficient Compact SUVs
Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.
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