Are Hybrid Cars More Expensive to Maintain?

The US market is becoming increasingly drawn to hybrid vehicles. Over the last two decades, hybrid electric cars have accounted for 1.6% of all light-duty vehicle sales in the country. This makes sense considering hybridization is a solid step toward electrification without sacrificing the fuel-driven rides we know and love. 

All MSRPs aside, saving money in the long term is super important. Of course, hybrids claim to save you a marked amount of money on gas over the course of their lifetime, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s another side to the coin. That’s why I’m posing the question, is hybrid car maintenance more hassle than it’s worth?

You will break even (or save) on normal wear and tear

When it comes to routine maintenance, managing wear and tear on hybrid cars isn’t expensive. Costs tend to be in line with those of regular vehicles, and sometimes even lower.

Hybrid car maintenance can get expensive if the problem is in the wrong place

Not all mechanics know how to work with hybrid car systems. If you run into a deeper issue with your battery-engine setup, you’ll likely have to go to the dealer to get it checked out. This already makes it more expensive since services from dealer repairs often cost more money than local mechanics.

Additionally, repairing hybrid systems isn’t cheap, and it will definitely cost you if you’re not protected by a warranty.

This is why it’s especially important to keep up with routine hybrid car maintenance. If you let issues slide or fail to have your car fixed up on a regular basis, you could see some hefty bills coming your way.

Consider: How long is the vehicle’s warranty?

If something goes awry with the hybrid system while your warranty is still in place, you’re in the clear. However, if your warranty is expired, the cost to repair the system will be coming out of your pocket (unless, of course, you manage to prove product negligence by some miracle).

If you’re considering purchasing a hybrid car, I highly suggest paying attention to the terms of the warranty. You should do this for all car purchases anyway, but in the case of hybrid car maintenance, it’s an emphasized point.

Are you saving enough on gas for hybrid car maintenance to be worth it?

Hybrid car manufacturers like to advertise annual savings on fuel thanks to the car’s higher gas mileage and battery system. Some studies suggest you can save up to $4,000 in gas over the vehicle’s lifetime. Of course, this ranges based on your driving habits, vehicle model, hybrid type (plug-in or not) and more.

These days, hybrid cars don’t cost much more than other vehicles, so you’re getting a pretty good deal when you consider these savings. As long as you don’t have a major issue with your car’s hybrid system breaking down after the warranty ends, you won’t have to worry about expensive car maintenance cancelling out your savings.

Plus, if you’re eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit (hybrids with smaller batteries may only get you as much as $3,750 in tax credits), you can earn big savings on the hybrid car of your dreams—ultimately offsetting your expenses by a landslide. 

All in all, I think it’s worth it as long as you consider a few key elements:

  • Is the model right for you in aspects other than its hybrid powertrain?
  • How long is the vehicle’s warranty, and does it cover repairs to the hybrid powertrain?
  • After calculating the tax credit, conservative fuel savings, and sticker price of the vehicle, would you be able to afford a major repair post-warranty if necessary?

Most likely, you won’t get hit with a major vehicle breakdown in your vehicle’s prime years. But you never know—worse has happened to hybrid car owners before (like those lithium-ion battery fires in Chevy Bolts, causing a 69,000-vehicle recall). 

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Rachel Curry
"Hey! My name's Rachel Curry and I'm a full-time writer who loves telling the world's stories as much as hanging with my dogs (and that's saying a lot). A University of Delaware graduate, I've traveled extensively, living everywhere from Ireland to Thailand. Bylines include Matador Network and Delaware Today."

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    1. I think the battery’s will be expensive .. only time will tell though.

    2. I never really like hybrids, but I honestly want to get my hands a good electrically car.

    3. I would have never thought to question some of these points. I just assume it is a savings in the long run. But I have learned that maybe it is not as much of a savings as I thought. I think the main driving force to getting a hybrid has to be the environment and not the cost savings. The fact that it is still fairly new and not every mechanic may know what they are doing is something I would not have considered.

    4. The new Hybrid F-150 is everything. More power and better MPG, win-win!

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