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Repairing a hybrid & the cost (Posted On: Monday, August 31, 2009)

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The U.S. government backed "Cash for Clunkers" rebate program helped dealers sell off 2009 models, and a wave of new vehicles is coming in anticipation of the federal mandate that cars average 35.5 mpg by 2016. If you haven't updated your vehicle in years, it will be more important than ever to analyze your needs and wants before you buy.

The choice is much more complicated than simply picking a small, mid-size, or large vehicle. If you're considering a hybrid, you might be happy to hear the reality behind some common myths about the dependability of dual-powered vehicles.

Fleets of Toyota Prius and Ford Escape hybrid taxis in Vancouver, San Francisco, and New York City have reliably been in service for more than 200,000 miles. The first generation Toyota and Honda hybrids were introduced more than a decade ago and there are definitely thousands of satisfied hybrid owners.

Another misconception of gas-electric hybrid vehicles is that they are expensive to maintain. With the exception of the hybrid's battery system, there is some crossover in parts between hybrids and gas-powered vehicles.

The batteries in a hybrid or electric vehicle don't get better with age. No one expects the batteries in a 15-year-old electric razor to still hold a charge, and the same will probably be true for a 15-year-old hybrid vehicle. Hybrid batteries are typically covered by at least an eight-year warranty. The replacement cost for new nickel-metal hydride Prius batteries keeps dropping, but a new battery pack still costs around $2,000.

A check of the online auto parts catalog shows hybrids often share fuel injectors, oxygen sensors, water pumps, brake pads, shock absorbers, air conditioners and other commonly replaced parts with conventional, gasoline-powered models. Hybrids do have unique and expensive parts like the Prius' $3,700 power inverter, but shows routine repairs and maintenance for a hybrid do not always have to cost more.

The Repair Index automatically pulls prices from the company's vast auto parts catalog based on year, make, model and type of part. It's a quick, easy way to compare parts costs for different models and the results can be surprising.

While some cars may be appealing because they are better for the environment or great on gas savings, for the average driver some fully electric cars may not be worth the cost to purchase or maintain.

A new lithium ion battery pack for the fully-electric Tesla Roadster - with a sticker price of $101,500 - costs around $36,000. New 100 percent electric vehicles by Chevrolet, Chrysler, Nissan and Mini will have lithium battery packs that cost more than $10,000.  A battery pack's limited shelf life means a fully electric or even a gas-electric hybrid might not be the best choice for a retiree planning to drive 3,000 miles a year for 20 years and then pass the vehicle down to a favorite grandchild.

For more information on the availability of parts without the expense of getting repairs done only at the dealership, go to

Courtesy of ARAcontent


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