Top 7 Problems With Hybrid Cars

Top 7 Problems With Hybrid Cars

Hybrids are extremely popular at the minute, with many people valuing the fuel efficiency of an electric system combined with the range and convenience of an internal combustion engine.  

But as with any car, problems can arise. So what are some of the common problems found in hybrids? We take a look at the top 7 below. 

1. Battery Degradation 

As one of the defining parts of a hybrid vehicle, the battery health is something every owner should be aware of. Over time, the cells can break down and reduce its performance, this happens through excessive usage, heat and general wear and tear. 

Hybrid batteries can be repaired, but the most cost-effective solution is usually to replace them with an off-the-shelf replacement, either new or reconditioned. This can rejuvenate a tired hybrid back to peak efficiency and performance. 

2. Catalytic Converter Theft 

Whilst not a mechanical failure per se, those who have fallen victim to this crime would argue manufacturers of hybrids should be doing more to protect the catalytic converter from theft.  

The converters in hybrids are more valuable than traditional petrol-engined cars, as they contain higher amounts of precious metals. This is the reason for certain hybrid cars being targeted. Catalytic converter theft can cost over £1,500 to fix, for more information read our guide to preventing catalytic converter theft. 

3. Hybrid System Fault Codes 

Cars are already very complex, with most using two or three separate computer systems to control everything from the engine to the audio system. These systems use a multitude of sensors which can fail and throw up error messages, even if the car functions normally.  

Hybrid powertrains usually add in another one or two control units, one to manage the powertrain, and one to monitor the batteries. Again these use various sensors for temperature, speed and more.  

Any deviation in these sensor readings can cause dire warning messages on the dash, causing any driver to worry and spend time and money getting their car inspected. 

4. Tyre and Brake Wear 

Hybrid cars contain all of the usual components of a petrol or diesel car, in addition to a heavy electric motor and battery. More weight in a car means higher forces and wear and tear on components such as brakes and tyres. 

Some of this problem is negated by manufacturers specifying higher load rating tyres, and utilising regenerative braking to reduce brake pad wear, but it is still a consideration to make. 

5. Poor Handling 

The aforementioned increase in weight not only affects brake and tyre wear but also vehicle dynamics and handling. Whilst this isn’t a problem 95% of the time, it can have an effect on the stability and safety of a car in an emergency situation.  

The “moose test” is a type of vehicle test popularised by a Swedish car magazine, in which a car is swerved violently from side to side, as if avoiding an animal in the road. Most cars pass this test, but many SUVs and in particular hybrid SUVs fail, with the sheer weight of them being the main factor. 

6. Suspension Wear 

Another consequence of hybrid cars being heavier is more suspension wear, components such as bushes, joints and track rod ends take more load the heavier the car is. This can result in them needing more frequent changes compared to the petrol or diesel versions of the model.  

7. Long Range Fuel Efficiency 

Fuel efficiency is often one of the most touted benefits of a hybrid vehicle, but official MPG figures are quoted as a mix of motorway and city driving. The latter hybrids are quite good at, as they do not waste fuel whilst idling, and the inefficiencies of regular braking are reduced by the use of regenerative braking technology.  

However, on longer journeys, the hybrid battery can quickly become depleted, as less braking equals less regenerative charging, once the hybrid system is not being used, the petrol or diesel engine is then no better than a normal car, with the added weight fuel efficiency can actually be worse than a modern diesel.  

Choose Bumper For Interest-Free Car Repairs 

If your car, hybrid, petrol or diesel, needs work doing, Bumper offers zero-interest car repairs from one of its many approved garages across the UK. To get started, find a local partner here. 

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