Hybrid cars have become increasingly popular in recent years, due to their ability to combine gasoline and electric power to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. However, the batteries that power these vehicles are often a source of confusion and anxiety for owners, who are not sure how to properly care for them. In this guide, we’ll provide you with tips and tricks to help you maximize your hybrid car battery life, so you can enjoy the benefits of your vehicle for years to come.
Understanding Your Hybrid Car Battery
The first step to maximizing your hybrid car battery life is to understand how it works. Hybrid car batteries are designed to provide power to the vehicle when it is running on electricity and also to store energy generated during regenerative braking. The battery is recharged by the engine or through regenerative braking, and it is never intended to be completely depleted.
Maintaining Your Battery Life
There are several steps you can take to maintain your hybrid car battery and keep it in top condition.
Having regular check-ups with a qualified mechanic is important to ensure that your hybrid car battery is functioning correctly. This is especially important for older batteries, which may start to experience issues over time. During a check-up, the mechanic will examine the battery and its connections, and look for signs of wear and tear. One of the most important regular maintenance items is cleaning the hybrid battery cooling fan and cleaning or replacing the hybrid battery cooling fan filter. This filter gets clogged over time and blocks the access of the cooling air from the cabin which leads to the hybrid battery overheating and significantly shortening its life. They will also check the battery’s capacity and charging systems, to make sure that everything is working as it should.
Reconditioning the hybrid battery
We recommend reconditioning the NiMH hybrid batteries after 10 years. The reconditioning process includes rebalancing the pack and it eliminates the memory effect. We also replace the original bus bar connectors with new Ni-plated, corrosion resistant bus bars.
To increase battery life avoiding Short Trips
Short trips can be particularly hard on hybrid car batteries, as they don’t give the battery a chance to fully recharge. If you frequently make short trips, try to combine them into one longer trip whenever possible. This will give your battery the opportunity to recharge, and it will help to extend its lifespan.
Storing the car for extended periods of time can be extremely detrimental to NiMH batteries. All rechargeable batteries exhibit some degree of self discharge but the NiMH batteries are particularly prone to it. Allowing the car to sit idle for long periods of time, especially once the battery is old, will cause the hybrid battery to become severely unbalanced. This is due to the fact that the collection of modules that comprise the battery will self-discharge at different rates. During anticipated periods of storage we recommend driving the car weekly for at least 1 hour. This will lead to the battery being cycled, thus minimizing the degree of imbalance.
Driving Efficiently to increase battery life
Driving efficiently can also help to extend the life of your hybrid car battery. This means avoiding sudden acceleration or braking, which can put extra strain on the battery. Instead, try to drive smoothly and consistently, and take advantage of regenerative braking to recharge the battery whenever possible.
Also, whenever possible, try to use the “pulse & glide” technique.
The specifics of pulse & glide technique has two parts:
- The pulse: This is a period of gentle to moderate acceleration. Even though you are using a fair amount of gas to gain speed, you’re not flooring it.
- The glide: During the glide you coast down from your top speed to your lower limit with the gasoline engine off, hoping to maximize the distance of your coast.
Replacing Your Hybrid Car Battery
At some point, you may need to replace your hybrid car battery. There are a few signs to look out for that indicate that your battery may be starting to fail. These include:
- A decrease in fuel efficiency
- An increase in emissions
- Warning lights on the dashboard
- Reduced power when driving
- If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to have your battery checked by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible. In some cases, the battery may be repairable, but if it is beyond repair, you will need to have it replaced.
Driving the car with a faulty hybrid battery will lead to increased wear on the brake pads and the brake system. It will also add more stress to an already old gasoline engine and transmission since the hybrid powertrain does not contribute to the propulsion any longer.
Currently there are many options for replacing the hybrid battery. While the brand new, original hybrid batteries are superior to the remanufactured ones, the price may be prohibitive for most owners. If properly rebuilt, remanufactured batteries come close in quality to the new ones.
It is important, however, to choose a reputable remanufacturer who uses high quality, new generation modules. The older the modules in the remanufactured battery, the higher the self-discharge rate of those modules and, in turn, the faster the remanufactured battery will become imbalanced and fail.
At Volts, we only use new generation modules and our batteries are rebuilt using highly sophisticated computerized equipment that assesses the capacity of each module individually.
Our engineers have decades of experience rebuilding batteries so we proudly stand behind our product.
Before committing to a particular remanufacturer it is very important to ask questions pertaining to the age of the battery modules, how recently the battery was rebalanced and how quickly the remanufactured battery can be installed in the vehicle. Be weary of remanufacturers that do not have a physical location and who deliver batteries over vast distances. Their batteries usually spend weeks and months in storage at various locations throughout the country and arrive at the client already out of balance.
Maximizing your hybrid car battery life requires a combination of understanding how it works, maintaining it properly, and being aware of the signs that indicate it may be starting to fail. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this guide, you can enjoy the benefits of your hybrid car for years to come. With proper care and attention, your hybrid car battery will provide you with the power and efficiency you need to enjoy all your driving experiences.