How can you maintain a hybrid vehicle ?

Here are few key things you have to know about hybrid vehicle maintenance:
Hybrid cars are becoming increasingly popular these days, with more and more manufacturers bringing their respective hybrid offerings to the market.Because these cars are still relatively new to market, the maintenance and servicing of such cars is still something of an unknown commodity. Do you know which workshops are able to service hybrid cars? Are there specific things different from traditional cars that you need to take note of?

1. Maintenance costs are similar to a traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) car
Many people have the wrong impression that hybrid cars will be more expensive to service and maintain, because of all the supposedly 'high tech, complicated' electric parts. In reality, the cost of maintenance should be fairly similar. The one component that requires regular servicing is the combustion engine, which makes it no different from your typical car.

2. Check the required oil change interval
Because of the expected lower usage of the combustion engine, a hybrid car would usually have a longer oil change interval. To be sure, make sure to check the owner's manual, where the manufacturer will have a recommendation on the oil change interval.

3. Longer life on brake pads
Thanks to the regenerative braking feature in hybrid cars, the brake pads experience less heat and friction, which makes them last longer. Of course, this is contingent on you adjusting your driving style to take advantage of the car's regenerative braking.

4. Cooling is key
Enormous amount of heat is generated because of the regenerative braking system and hence the cooling system should be in prime condition at all times. Hence, check individual hoses, pipes and clamps and any additional air filters used in the motor and battery heating and cooling system.

5. Don't worry about the battery
This is probably the biggest concern potential buyers will have about hybrid cars, but the truth is that you shouldn't be too concerned. The electrical components in hybrid cars are designed to be maintenance-free, and thus don't require any of specialist maintenance.According to Toyota, the battery is likely to last the car’s lifetime. Even if you are not that lucky, it will survive at least for 10 years or more than 250,000 km. Replacing a battery pack will require 230,000TK to 350,000TK (depending on the year and model of car).But, investing in a hybrid car is still worthwhile since the car is unlikely to give up before 250,000 to 300,000 km. Also, if you can manage a reconditioned battery unit (use it at your own risk), it won’t cost more than 100,000Taka.You should have your mechanic check the power cords and connections during every engine tune-up, to ensure that everything is in proper working order.

6. Make sure the technician is experienced with hybrid vehicles
Hybrids employ sophisticated electronics with wiring systems that may be more complex than that of an ICE car, with wires that you are likely to be unfamiliar with. Make sure that the workshop you are going to has trained technicians proficient in dealing with such components, which can be potentially dangerous due to the high electricity voltage.The key thing here is to make sure the technician knows what he is doing, and that the workshop has the right tools for the job.

7. Ensure you are using engine oil of the appropriate viscosity
The viscosity grade is the unit that determines the thickness of motor oil. Most of the manufacturers recommend using fully-synthetic oil with a thickness range of 0W-20. It means that the oil should not be over the range of 20W viscosity grade. On the other hand, most traditional cars use oil with a 30W viscosity grade.However, the hybrid oil change mainly depends on their make and model. You should check the owner’s manual guide to be sure about the recommended type of oil and grade. You could damage the engine and invalidate the warranty of the vehicle by using a wrong grade or type of oil.