If you’re interested in buying a used car, you’ve probably found yourself considering some used hybrids. After all, they’re often roomy, comfortable, well-priced and — of course — fuel-efficient. Although, with all the horror stories out there about hybrid batteries, should you really consider a used hybrid car? We have the answer.
Hybrid Battery vs. Regular Battery
Before we get started, it’s important to explain why hybrids must be treated a little differently than normal vehicles when you’re buying a used car. Hybrid cars use a dedicated hybrid battery that’s very different from a standard car battery. While the function of a hybrid battery is similar to that of a car battery, hybrid car batteries are much larger and more powerful. The result is that replacing one can be very expensive — in some cases, upwards of $2,000. Like all batteries, a hybrid battery will eventually go flat, and it will inevitably need to be replaced.
How Used Is “Used”?
When it comes to hybrid cars, a few years can make a big difference. That’s because hybrid batteries are unlikely to give out after just a few years on the road — despite what some people will tell you. Instead, these batteries typically last for 10 years at a minimum.
You won’t need to worry about the hybrid battery if you’re considering a 2- or 3-year-old hybrid car. Instead, you can reasonably expect this battery to have a lot of life left for years of trouble-free driving. Plus, many automakers extend their powertrain warranties to cover hybrid batteries that go flat after 8 or 10 years on the road.
How Long Will You Own It?
As you consider buying a hybrid car, you should also think about just how long you’ll own it. If you only plan to spend a few years behind the wheel, you shouldn’t spend much time thinking about the battery. If you plan to own the car for a decade or if the car is already almost a decade old, the battery should be a concern.
As you consider your car, ask yourself if you’ll really be able to spend $2,000 or more to replace the battery, should it go flat while you own the vehicle. If that sounds like too much, you might want to reconsider your purchase — though, we must remind you that some hybrid battery replacements cost about as much as major work typically performed on a car of this age. For instance, a new transmission will likely cost more than a new hybrid battery, which means you won’t necessarily save money by simply choosing a different vehicle.
Should You or Shouldn’t You?
In the end, shoppers considering a recent used hybrid car don’t have anything to worry about when it comes to batteries. If you’re looking at an older model — or if you plan to keep your car for a long time — you might want to pay a little more attention to this potentially costly issue.