Top 5 Tips to Maintain Your Customers’ Hybrid Vehicle
Hybrids have been on the road for almost 20 years now, and if you’re like me, you kept your distance from these strange vehicles at first. But we can no longer avoid them since nearly every automotive manufacturer has one (or more) in their lineup. Every shop is going to deal with maintaining hybrid cars.
This blog post summarizes some key points I’ve learned over the years about hybrid vehicles.
- First, hybrids are a breed of their own — and so it’s important to know how to maintain a hybrid car. Spending a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the added systems and services will help prepare you for customer questions. In your auto repair information system, check for operation type information and graphics. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be.
- You will have to pay special attention to fluids use as some are specially formulated for use in hybrids. One that I recently had experience with was A/C Refrigerant Oil. It makes sense, too, that when your A/C Compressor is also an electric motor, the oil needs might be different.
- Understand how to maintain a hybrid car battery and hybrid battery precautions. 200 plus volts of DC power can kill or severely injure, therefore follow all manufacturers’ guideline and heed all warnings. Stay safe out there.
- Battery cooling is very important as well. The hybrid pack is under enormous strain during electric power mode as well as during charging on the fly via regenerative braking. I mean, think about it, the battery is either taking in, or releasing enough power to push or slow down the vehicle. All that energy creates lots of heat. Most hybrids use a fan and duct air over and around the battery pack, while some surround the unit with a modified A/C system, essentially surrounding the pack with an A/C evaporator and air. So knowing where these systems intake fresh air will help you and your customer keep these areas clean and unblocked.
- Keep in mind that your customer may be more concerned with fuel mileage and/or the environment. Connecting with them on this level can pay dividends when it comes to getting their approval for needed service and repairs. Letting them know that you care about keeping their car running, performing, and coasting along (hybrid style) and your understanding of their vehicle is paramount to your success. Plus, your customer’s confidence in you and your repair shop will surely increase.
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