10 important hybrid car maintenance tips
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Hybrid cars are the type of cars that use power from batteries combined with power from internal combustion unit (engine).
Maintenance is action performed to keep a machine or system functioning. We have preventive and corrective types of maintenance.
Hybrid Synergy Drives are great advanced and complex automobiles that serve well if properly maintained.
Some users of hybrid cars have experienced difficulty in properly maintaining hybrid cars.
This is not because the cars are bad but because of lack of knowledge of good maintenance practices that are specific to hybrid cars.
BELOW ARE VERY USEFUL TIPS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR HYBRID CAR OWNERSHIP A GREAT EXPERIENCE:
1. Only recommended AC compressor oil should be used. This is because the compressor is electrical and oils used in conventional compressors can damage them. Similarly, only recommended refrigerant should be used and only the volume required should be put in. Note that many of the HSD use refrigerant volume that is less than that of many conventional cars.
2. The air conditioner should be working at all time because the cabin air is used for traction battery cooling. Similarly, the cabin air filter should be replaced when due for replacement.
3. Recommended brake fluid should be used and should be replaced at recommended interval in the owner's manual. Brake fluids are hygroscopic hence the retain considerable amount of moisture from the atmosphere over time. This can cause corrosion of some brake system components. Most importantly, using brake fluid that has degraded causes damage to the brake actuator which is an expensive component.
4. The neutral mode of the transmission should not be used over extended periods. In this mode, the internal combustion engine is not charging the hybrid battery while the battery keeps discharging. This can cause the battery to discharge below the set depth of discharge thereby shorting the battery's lifespan.
5. The traction battery's terminals should be cleaned at least once in a year. This will ensure that the corrosion at the terminals don't remain. They can increase resistance of the terminals between cells and cause batteries not to be equalized. This can in turn shorten the life of the entire battery pack fast.
6. Only recommended inverter coolant and internal combustion unit's coolant should be used. This will ensure that the coolant does not boil easily at elevated temperatures and the cooling system parts will be protected.
7. When traction battery becomes weak, replace on time to restore lost fuel efficiency and to ensure that excessive current draw at the inverter does not damage the inverter.
8. The Atkinson cycle engine is a high compression ratio engine and care should be taken on adding fuel additives that can excessively lean out the air to fuel ratio. This can cause uncontrolled engine knock. Again, the knock sensors should be replaced immediately they go faulty to avoid engine knock.
9. Only recommended eCVT transmission fluid should be used. This is because the transmission has electrical motors in it and using unspecified transmission fluid can cause electrical short circuit to the windings of the motors.
10. Recommended engine oil should be used because of the severe start and stop working condition of the internal combustion unit.
Adhering to these useful tips will make a HSD last long and also turn out a low total cost of ownership for the user.
You can take a look at why hybrid cars are good and their advantages over internal combustion engine cars.