Maximizing and Maintaining Hybrid Car Performance:
What You Need to Know
Before you take the plunge and purchase your first hybrid, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the maintenance involved in ownership, similar to that of any other vechile.
When you're ready to buy, check out Car Coach Lauren Fix's, tips for finding a reliable used hybrid here.
Oil and oil filter changes need to occur every 3,000-5,000 miles (keep to that schedule, never above 4,000 or 5,000 miles on any vehicle, no matter what the ads say). Synthetic oil is recommended and will extend the life to 7500 -10000 miles between oil changes.
Rotate your tires every other oil change (every 6,000 miles) to prevent uneven wear.
Throw away that cheap $2 gauge and buy a digital tire gauge for $10-$15! Check the tire pressure using the pressure off the sticker on the driver's door frame, not the tire itself. Check your tire pressure ONCE a month.
If possible, have your 15,000 mile servicing at your hybrid's automaker dealership. The dealership will have the latest technical service bulletins, recalls, or other specialized info and tools that an unaffiliated service center may not have.
Replace the air filter every six months. This is easy to check yourself; just look in the owner’s manual for how to pop the cover off. Laurens says a dirty filter "is like trying to breathe through a dirty rag while running hard!" It's the lungs of your car. If the used car has a dirty filter then it may not have been maintained well!
Read the owners manual! "This is the book in your glove box under all the napkins and ketchup packs." Lauren admits it's not a great novel, but there is a lot of very useful information in there. Remember: they wouldn't pay for it to be printed if it didn't matter.
Remember to change the Inverter Coolant! For many hybrids this should be done during the 30,000 mile service, so when purchasing a used hybrid, be sure to ask for all receipts!
About Lauren Fix
Lauren Fix, "the Car Coach," is a nationally recognized TV Automotive Expert and is an authority on consumer issues such as: new and used cars and trucks, automotive car care, driving skills, repair and safety issues. Lauren has been a strong part of the automotive industry all her life and is a trophy winning racecar driver!
(Source: The Car Coach)