Hybrid Vehicle Servicing – Why and When You Should Recondition Your Battery

Hybrid vehicles are becoming a more popular choice for drivers as prices at the gas pumps increase and climate change becomes a looming reality. As such, it’s important to know the servicing needs of your hybrid as these will vary from that of a traditional gas or diesel-engine vehicle. /p>

Most hybrids use NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) and lithium-ion batteries to improve fuel efficiency and cut back on emissions. These batteries may last for years but do have a finite lifespan and will eventually stop working. For some of the most popular hybrids available in T&T – the Toyota Aqua, the Honda Vezel and the Hyundai Ioniq - the general battery life can be estimated at 160,000 km (100,000 miles). Replacing a hybrid battery is expensive and the material the battery is made of creates hazardous environmental waste once it is disposed. Battery reconditioning can delay this outcome!

What is reconditioning?

This is a process done to increase the battery pack capacity. It is a recurring maintenance process and can significantly extend the service life of the hybrid battery pack.

The process is performed by charging and balancing the battery pack with a hybrid battery charger. The battery is deeply discharged to a low level which drains the battery to break down the memory effect within the cells. As this happens, the usable capacity increases. After this discharge is complete, the hybrid battery charger charges the cells back to full and rebalances them.

A one-time battery reconditioning can last 8-15 months. Routine battery maintenance can significantly extend the life of your battery and should be done regularly as advised by your service center – we are here to guide you!

How do you know when reconditioning is needed?

Over time you may notice that the battery is holding charge less than before, and sometimes won’t charge properly. An early sign of decreased battery performance is reduced fuel economy and vehicle performance. The vehicle will not have the same fuel mileage as compared to its peak and may lack acceleration power. The vehicle will then use the battery less and the gas engine more.

Another warning sign can be observed when just before the vehicle is turned off the dashboard display shows a full or almost full hybrid battery then after some time when the car is started again the display shows an empty or near empty battery. If this is not addressed, the battery will progress to failure. At this point reconditioning can help retore functionality to the battery!

The most obvious warning signs the vehicle shows of a failing battery are issues that occur while the vehicle is in use. The dashboard battery display will drop from near full to near empty suddenly and can also be heard by the gasoline engine idling loudly. At this point, battery reconditioning should be performed as soon as possible.

After reconditioning, vehicle performance will improve since the battery delivers more assist when accelerating and higher fuel economy, since the car is spending less time charging the battery in the background.

We hope that this helps demystify some of the maintenance needs for your hybrid – feel free to reach out to us for more guidance or to book your service appointment!