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Hybrids in Vermont

now priusDriving a Hybrid Vehicle in Vermont causes unique problems, which are not explained in the owner’s manual.

*Cabin Air Filter: If the cabin air filter is clogged in a hybrid, the high voltage battery is cooled less.
This takes life out of the big expensive battery and reduces the car’s power and fuel economy.

And, just like a plugged vacuum cleaner, a cabin air filter with restricted air flow can’t suck up the dirt.

brake pads..
old pads and new pads
*Brakes: Hybrid vehicles have a regenerative braking system. This means that the conventional brakes only work when going 5 mph or less.

Vermont has an excess of moisture and salt on our roads that cause brakes to rust and because the conventional brakes don’t get used much, they never build up the heat that helps to burn off the rust.
Many Vermont hybrid owners are driving around with the brakes stuck on all the time, which causes the car to drag and burn more fuel to go the same distance.

1. I recommend you have a brakes service that cleans and adjusts them every 30,000 miles.
2. You should also wash the brake area on a regular basis to keep off the salt. This is much cheaper than having to replace the brakes from lack of use and neglect.

*Air Conditioning: It is imperative that the A/C on your hybrid is serviced on a regular basis. The A/C is ducted back from the heater box. It cools the expensive, high voltage battery in the summer and heats it in the winter.

BUT, because the air conditioning compressor in hybrids takes special oil that is electrically non-conductive, you need to take it to the dealer or to a shop that has a dedicated A/C machine that only uses the hybrid special oil. If the wrong oil is used it will cause a high voltage ground fault and fry the A/C system. Ouch!

*Small Regular Battery: Basically the hybrids small battery’s job is to turn on the big battery. Then the big battery or electric motor powers the car, slows the car down and recharges itself.

When you need to replace the small battery make sure you get the correct one. Many hybrids take a special glass mat battery.

Hybrids are quirky and have special needs even for something as simple as an oil change or brake repair.
More than 90% of hybrid repairs and service don’t need to be done at the Dealer.
You can save money by going to an independent shop whose technicians are hybrid trained.

Safe and Happy Motoring,

Amy Mattinat
Owner: www.AutoCraftsmen.comAuthor: How To Buy A Great Used Car
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