How to take care of your hybrid or electric vehicleBy Kijiji Autos
Hybrid and electric vehicles have proven to work wonders when it comes to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, but they still need proper care and maintenance to run properly. If you own or are considering buying an eco-friendly car, here are some ways to keep your vehicle in peak condition:
Respect the maintenance schedule
A few of these electric car maintenance tips apply to all vehicles, and this is the first one. To make sure your engine and various parts are running smoothly, be sure to follow the recommended electric car maintenance schedule.
Avoid excessive temperatures
While brand-new hybrid and all-electric vehicles are built to withstand a long list of environmental stressors, some older models may be susceptible to battery deterioration if subjected to very hot or cold weather. If you live in places like Montreal or Ottawa with extreme temperature variations (we're talking 30 degrees in summer and –30 in winter), you might want to think about investing in underground parking or clearing out space in your garage. Excessive heat from rapid charging can also cause your batteries to deteriorate.
Rule of thumb: Try to keep your battery temperature within the range of 10 and 40 degrees celsius.
Accelerate with a featherlight foot
One of the major concerns about buying a hybrid vehicle is premature battery deterioration. The batteries in a hybrid are required to pull a lot more weight than the regular 12-volt car battery. To prolong your car's battery life, it's best to treat it gently and avoid overheating it. One of the easiest ways to avoid stressing your battery is to accelerate slowly. Conversely, try to avoid slamming on the breaks.
Drive it regularly
Just like a gas-powered vehicle, the best way to keep the battery running smoothly is to drive it on a regular basis. There is no such thing as prolonging battery life by not using it, so just enjoy the ride as you normally would with a non-hybrid car.
Don't overcharge the battery or let it die completely
There's a myth that letting batteries die completely before charging them fully again is the correct mode of operation, but this is not the case in hybrid or electric vehicles. In fact, letting it die or charging it at full capacity is not recommended. Once in awhile is fine, but making it a regular habit can shorten the lifespan of your battery pack. Your battery will last longer if it's plugged in before it's fully depleted and unplugged before it's fully charged. Consult your owner's manual for more details about your specific model's charging needs.
DON'T TOUCH orange cables
The high-voltage circuits are easy to spot—they're the bright orange cables attached to your electric system. DO NOT TOUCH. If maintenance is required on these components, only a mechanic with experience in electric vehicles should be the one to safely depower it.
Take care of your hybrid like you would a gas-powered car
At the end of the day, eco-friendly cars are still cars. They require the same care and maintenance like any other vehicle, such as:
- Tires: Switching from summer to winter tires (and vice versa) will put less stress on your car and make it safer to drive
- Oil changes: Check your oil levels regularly, and remember to change your oil every 8,000–10,000 km
- Respect dashboard lights: Address your red and amber dashboard lights as soon as they turn on to avoid expensive repairs.
Shopping for an electric vehicle?
If you've read through these electric car maintenance tips you might be shopping around for a new car. You can easily find new, certified pre-owned and used eco-friendly cars in your area when you start your search with Kijiji Autos.
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