4 Signs a Hybrid’s Battery Needs to be Changed: A Guide for Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Mechanic Students

Hybrid vehicles rely on their battery to function, but often, the symptoms of battery failure look a lot different from those of a traditional combustion engine. Hybrid vehicle batteries are distinguishable from the batteries that standard vehicles are equipped with in a few ways. For one, hybrid batteries are composed of individual cells, all separated by polymer film to prevent short circuiting. On the other hand, a standard battery supplies power to the engine through 6-12 cells, encased together in a single housing. Hybrid batteries are also more fuel efficient, requiring much less gasoline to power the vehicle.

If you’re pursuing a career in the servicing of hybrid vehicles, you’ll come to notice that as a result of these differences, hybrid batteries can give off some unique warning signs when they require changing. 

Below, discover more about the lifespan of a hybrid battery, as well a few common symptoms indicating it’s time for a replacement.

The Average Lifespan of a Hybrid Battery

Hybrid vehicle batteries can be relatively costly to replace, given the fact that the process entails replacing an entire package of batteries, as opposed to a standard battery’s single unit. After hybrid and electrical mechanic training, however, you’ll come to find that hybrid batteries typically last much longer. Depending on how they’re maintained and driven, hybrid batteries can last for around 10 years. What’s more, hybrid batteries may not need to be replaced entirely when experiencing issues. Given their many separate cells, the faulty components can often be identified and replaced, rather than swapping out the entire system unnecessarily. 

Hybrid batteries typically last for around 10 years

The Internal Combustion Systems Works Harder than Normal

Most hybrid vehicles operate with the use of both a battery and an internal combustion engine, the latter of which runs when the hybrid lacks sufficient battery power. When the battery isn’t supplying the right amount of power, drivers may notice that their internal combustion engine is running more than usual. As a mechanic, check to see whether the internal combustion engine is powering on or cutting out at random times, as this could indicate a problem with the hybrid’s battery. 

The Battery Charges Unpredictably

When a hybrid’s battery is charging abnormally, this could mean it’s time to take a closer look at potential problems. Whether the battery is frequently overcharging or unable to hold a charge, these fluctuations can indicate a problem with the battery. Many different factors can cause charging issues, including damaged wiring, electrical plug issues, corrosion and more. As a hybrid and electric vehicle mechanic, make sure to take action in the case of any signs of erratic charging.

As a Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Mechanic, Watch for Poor Gas Mileage

Hybrid battery issues can often manifest in issues with fuel economy. When the battery isn’t providing the internal combustion engine with enough power, this system will need to use more fuel in order to power the vehicle. If drivers are complaining that they’ve been spending more on gas recently, their battery may be losing charge at a faster rate than before. In this case, make sure to run diagnostics on the battery to see whether it’s retaining its charge.

After hybrid and electrical mechanic training, check the fuel economy when identifying battery problems

Unusual Noises When Driving

One of the stranger symptoms of hybrid battery trouble is the sound it makes. When a hybrid battery is running too hot, its fan will be running at a higher rate than normal, creating a constant background noise when driving. If drivers notify you that they’re consistently hearing the sound of the fan, check the battery for signs of overheating, as this can damage both the battery and its surrounding components.

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