Today, you can’t go more than a few miles without noticing a hybrid vehicle. The future seems clear that, for most commuters, a hybrid electric car is the wave of the future. We at Midwest Auto and Diesel Repair are a part of this future, with the training and experience to service your hybrid vehicle properly and safely.
Their popularity is due in part to their ability to use far less gasoline than cars with internal combustion engines only. These cars can run up to 40 miles without the use of a drop of gas, on battery power alone. For money-conscious commuters, once they’ve traveled by hybrid it’s extremely difficult to go back to a gasoline powered vehicle.
Hybrid vehicles may look like a “normal” car on the outside, because they move passengers just like any other car would. However, under the skin is a very different animal, much more sophisticated than even the most complex and luxurious gas or diesel-powered sedan.
The part of a hybrid that gets the most attention is the main battery. This is a mass storage device that is comprised of many small cells that hold a charge, just like a rechargeable battery for your flashlight. However, there are dozens, to hundreds of these per battery, to allow for extensive storage capacity and long service life. The main battery IS a maintenance item, so if your hybrid vehicle has over 100,000 miles, or if you notice your electric range dropping, the cell may need replacing.
Depending on the make and model, some hybrids use the engine to power the car in conjunction with the electric motor(s); other use the gas-powered motor strictly as a generator to recharge the battery pack. Both types still use a smaller internal combustion engine that will require maintenance and tune ups just like a gas-only car. Stay with me, we’re just getting started!
The hybrid powertrain typically has one or more electric motor(s), an internal combustion motor, a voltage, current, and temperature measurement (VITM) module; a transmission, and vehicle-specific ECM and TCM devices. Additionally, to facilitate the flow of energy to-and-from the motors and battery, there are a cell balancing circuit and a cooling system. Keep in mind, the power moving from the battery to the motor and back is extremely high voltage and very dangerous!
To top it off, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) also have a regenerative braking system, which takes the rotation of the wheels and turns each one into a little generator, to help recharge the main battery each time the brakes are applied. These have their own feel, and can also be a point of eventual wear or damage.
With the exception of the main battery pack, most of these items should have a very long service life. However, like all things mechanical or electrical, age, damage, and improper use can take its toll. Diagnostics can usually help to pinpoint problems at any point in the hybrid system, but it takes experience and “know-how” to properly service and repair your hybrid vehicle.
Our experienced technicians have been trained on the many systems that make up a hybrid vehicle, and are certified to perform any and all service procedures. You might say we get a charge out of working on your hybrid, and you won’t be shocked when we present our bill!
At Midwest Auto & Diesel Repair, your complete automotive care center in Wichita, KS we install only quality replacement parts. Give us a call and let us help keep you safely and economically on the road. We serve Wichita and the surrounding areas.