Getting The Most Of Your Hybrid Battery

As a hybrid car owner, you see the many advantages your car has over regular gas guzzlers.  The car's display gives instant feedback about your gas efficiency which hones your ability to drive with an energy-conscious attitude.  With both gas and electric power available, you have the best of both worlds in your hybrid.  You save gas as well as wear and tear at lower speeds and when idling.  Plus, you have the power to get-up-and-go at higher speeds.  

All of those components add up to saving you money.  However, replacing the battery of a hybrid can be costly, so you should strive to lengthen the life of your hybrid battery.  

Life Expectancy

Your hybrid's battery should last a minimum of 100,000 miles and 8 years with many owners finding even greater longevity.  The reason for this long life lies in how the car uses the battery.  Most damage to normal batteries in our cord-free devices occurs when we charge them to 100% and then allow them to completely drain to 0% battery life.  

Car designers have out-smarted our tendency to overcharge and over-drain our devices.  The automobile computer system keeps the battery from charging over 80% or falling below 20%, although your car's display will say the battery is fully charged or completely drained.  By not overtaxing the battery, hybrid vehicle battery life is extended for years.  

On the other hand, the battery for a typical gas-powered vehicle lasts around 2-5 years.  Traditional vehicles depend on the battery to start the car as well as provide a stabilizing voltage to keep the engine running.  

How to Extend the Life of Your Battery--A Comparison

Traditional batteries:  Extreme weather can affect the life expectancy of traditional car batteries, especially if you live in an area that has warm weather year-round.  In addition, frequent short trips (under 20 minutes in length) can also negatively affect battery life because the battery does not have sufficient time to recharge.  Using features such as lights, radio, etc. without the car completely on will also drain the battery.  

Hybrid batteries:  With Nickel Metal Hydride batteries, frequently using the car (and thus, the battery) actually extends the life of the battery.  When cars sit unused for lengthy periods, battery life is shortened.  As part of the maintenance of your hybrid, your battery can be "conditioned"  or "rebalanced" after about 5 years.  Doing this can extend the life of your battery so you can avoid replacing it as soon.  


Cost of battery replacement is a major difference in gas-powered vehicles and hybrids.  Although gas-powered vehicles have batteries with shorter life expectancy, they are significantly less expensive.  You can expect to pay $50-$150.  However, replacing your hybrid battery ranges from $2,500 to $4,000. 

Although you might think that you must go to the dealer to have your battery problems addressed, there are other solutions.  Quite often, independent auto repair shops also work on hybrids and can replace your hybrid battery with a salvaged one at a fraction of the price.  Speak with your trusted auto service shop like XL Auto Service & Tires to see if they can handle your hybrid battery problem.