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Hybrid Car Maintenance: What You Need to Know

The automobile powertrain has begun a fundamental shift to cleaner and greener technology with an end goal of replacing antiquated fossil fuels as the primary power source. Bridging the gap between old and new is the hybrid: a car that runs on both electric motors and a gasoline engine to maximize fuel efficiency. Considering that the Toyota Prius is the number one selling car in California clearly shows that consumers are ready to make the change.
 
With the shift to cleaner fuels, maintenance and service needs are changing to. For years, vehicles were strictly “analog”, so to speak. Mechanical parts fit together and worked to create a cohesive, albeit complex, machine. When something broke or needed service, just about any shade tree mechanic could fix the problem. Today, cars are equipped with multiple computer systems that continually check the vehicles status and performance, notifying you when there’s a problem. This can make trouble shooting easier, as you no longer have to manually trouble shoot problems. Just plug into the cars computer for an error code. 
 
Before the heavy reliance on computers, anyone who wanted to fix their own car could purchase a service manual and perform most repair tasks on their vehicle. While on hybrids, you can still check fluids and change spark plugs, the union of the gas powered engine with electric motors means that any maintenance that falls outside of these basic repairs should be done by a trained mechanic. 
 
The drivetrain and wiring system is far more complicated than a traditional combustion engine, and as such it’s critical that you take it into your local auto repair center for service. For those who like to get under the hood and wrench, driving a hybrid means those days are more or less behind you. 
 
However, this is not meant to put a bleak picture on servicing a hybrid. In fact, due to the way the power train works, less wear and tear is put on the engine and brakes. While you’ll need to consult a certified auto repair shop for service, those incidents will be few and far between. People have claimed to drive over 150,000 miles before servicing the brakes on their hybrid. As car technology continues to advance, the ability to diagnose and repairs will become something that only a trained technician can do.