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Are hybrids reliable? Costly to service?

SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
edited March 2014 in Toyota
Are hybrids reliable? Are they more costly to service than a regular car?


  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Are the new hybrids by Honda and Toyota at the same level of reliability as regular Honda's and Toyota's?

    There seem to be many more complaints for hybrids than the non-hybrids of Toyota and Honda. Maybe the techs. simply do not know how to work on them.

    quote-Bruce of Baltimore (1/26/02):
    Prius is one of the most troublesome cars I've ever owned. Over the year I own it I had to take it to the dealership over 10 times for major repairs. The service was dreadful. The same problem needed to be repaired over, and over and over...-end I discovered many complains similar to the one above when I did a simple search for problems. Not encouraging.
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    I haven't heard of hybrids having more problems, actually have heard the opposite (a Honda is a Honda etc) I don't have a hybrid yet, next one will be (not sure what brand) I try to keep my vehicles for 6 to 8 years (~100 K miles) which should be no problem for a hybrid. As for the above when you take a vehicle (hybrid or otherwise) back for the same thing over & over that should be a hint.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    This is a Hybrid topic? What connection does VW have with hybrid reliability? Did VW start selling hybrids?

    A better question is "If a new hybrid has a problem in an area w/o a dealer that sells hybrids, who can service them?".
  • mcatsmcats Posts: 8
    Well if it was the same problem "over and over' again then chances are that the dealer wasn't able to pinpoint the problem (I assume that it deals with an ECU), thus it kept re-ocurring.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    Actually, It appears they could not repeat the problem. and did not have any ECU codes to state what the problem was. Without either of those a problem is much more difficult to diagnose and fix.

    I am glad you finally got your problem fixed and have not had any reoccurences,

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,080
    I think no matter who the manufacturer is they would not want the bad publicity on such a high profile vehicle. They will try their best to keep it running. I can believe the training is not up to what it should be. That is the norm in most high tech fields these days. Only train people if you have to...
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,080
    Take a look at these pictures. This could be your hybrid if the automakers decide to pull the plug.
    This is why GM is backing off of the hybrid program.
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    Kinda reminds me of the SUV graveyard I passed going through Ohio.
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    GM is backing off the hybrid program, were they ever on ?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,080
    Over a $1,000,000,000 spent. Not sure how much was our tax money..Actually it sounds like CARB was instrumental in messing up the EV1 project. Something to do with chargers. It is a shame to see that much hardware junked before it has been given a chance.
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    Gary.. better think about getting a Honda hybrid. I hear that Honda is looking for graveyard space as well. Happy Hunting!!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,080
    Actually I was looking for a used EV1 to play with, and stumbled onto that site. I did not realize they were all leased from GM. I think the leases are all about finished and there was no keeping them after. So all the EV1's will be returned to GM for disposal. Also it took $2000 or more to set up a charging station at your home. So they had some real problems to overcome. I doubt the HCH is that bad. I have not driven one. I would be more likely to buy the CNG version of the Civic. Except I just do not want a car that small. I'm holding out for a high MPG PU of any size.
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    Just my obnoxious humor Gary. I do remember that ALL of those cars were indeed leased. Hard to imagine that they are just going to destroy them! I also didn't realize that you needed a $2000 charging station either. Thanks for that link too!
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868

    What happens when out of warranty? I would not want to find out.
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    I supppose the same thing can be said about diesels. Your corner mechanic really can't work on them. With that said, I always bring my cars to the dealer. Especially when you own a Lexus, Audi, or Mercedes (which I have). For now, my Prius will only see this inside of a Toyota dealership. Probably a LOT less than if I owned a VW TDI.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    I supppose the same thing can be said about diesels. Your corner mechanic really can't work on them.-end

    Your statement could not be further from the truth. Diesel engines are easy to work on. Many diesel owners do their own maint. and repairs due to the simplicity of a diesel. If you have the skills to work on a gasoline engine, you can work on a diesel.
  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    My friend owns two diesels and has to bring them to specialists. Quite odd that there are folks selling the TDIs for a Prius. That speaks volumes!!
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    What repairs require a specialist? Be specific please. Who is selling a TDI for a Prius? How many people? What does this speak volumes of? Or is this just a fairy tale?

    jason- In post #19 why was it necessary to veer off topic and make a false statement about diesels and make a negative comment about TDI? My previous post was not a personal attack and in no way directed toward you. By posting negative comments directed at the type of vehicle I own when TDI and diesel are not the subject of the topic I can only conclude you are attempting to inflame the discussion.

    Hybrids are complex systems that are new. Until they are more common the skills to repair them will be rare.
  • "What repairs require a specialist? Be specific please"

    How about the Turbo? How about 30,000 PSI computer controlled common rail direct injection system? How about complex aftertreatment and exhaust filters? Remember, when the modern diesel engines arrive in U.S with LSD, almost everything will be new, from fuel, engine, to exhaust. Modern diesels will be more alien than gas-electric hybrids.

    What is different with HSD hybrid is the simplified hardware. A number of many different jobs such as starter, alternator, CVT, electric propulsion, regen braking, etc... are consolidated into one Hybrid Transaxle unit. HT is also extremely simple and is about the size of a traditional transmission.


  • djasonwdjasonw Posts: 624
    Dennis replied... no reponse necessary. I am not attacking the TDI but merely using it as a point of reference. You seem to forget I am pro TDI as long as it uses the new fuel. I'll take a chance on its reliability as I usually have good luck with cars. NEVER had a lemon yet!!
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,334
    All new vehicles will be complex and expensive to fix if something *major* goes bad, regardless of being a hybrid or a diesel or a gas engine.

    For hybrids,probably the only alternative will be some type of modular swap-out at the hybrid dealer. I doubt the dealer will be disassembling and rebuilding major systems on hybrids.

    Of course, the clever home mechanic can do certain things on a new car, depending on skill level, but I don't see any of them taking apart major componentry anymore like in the old days.

    As for reliability, it's the same answer as always -- "it depends" in the case of a diesel (which make of diesel and how it is maintained), and it's "nobody knows yet" for the hybrids, as most haven't yet accumulated enough miles/time to test the systems thoroughly and plot replacement costs for batteries, etc.

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  • If Bruce had the Prius for over a year when he wrote his message and since he wrote the message in January, 2002, he is referring to a Prius 2001. The new Prius model version starting in 2004 is very different than the 2001 so his message is not relevant today (2004).
  • "I supppose the same thing can be said about diesels. Your corner mechanic really can't work on them."

    There are plenty of diesel mechanics. They work on the tractor-trailers and diesel-powered farm trucks.


    The only difference between a Civic HX and a Civic Hybrid is the battery. In all other respects they are the same... even the transmission. So you can expect the Hybrid to last as long as any other Honda car (i.e. forever).

    But what about the battery? That's the great mystery, so I advise using my approach:

    - Use the battery minimally.

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,080
    The only difference between a Civic HX and a Civic Hybrid is the battery. In all other respects they are the same

    How about the electric motor, regen equipment, charging equipment, computerization to keep it all going correctly. IMA as simple as it is compared to HSD still adds over 300 lbs of complex equipment. That is about $10 a pound. The price of filet mignon at Costco.
  • electric motor/generator - These last forever. I don't even consider this an issue. I've got motors that are over 50 years old and work as good as day one.

    computerization - same as any other Civic


    Nope. The REAL issue is the battery. How long will it last?
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    I keep my cars for 10years. My HCH will have about 300K miles. I expect the battery to go flat before then. When it does I'll have a few choices;


    1. OEM Whole pack replacement. A costly repair for a car with...say 200K miles.

    2. Check junk yards for used, guaranteed whole packs at a discount.

    3. With the popularity of hybrids a testing system could come available for each individual battery cell. Failed cells could be replaced with new or guaranteed used ones.

    4. Drive it with less performance. Personally, I'd likely still beat the EPA of the car.
  • 4 (continue driving without the battery) is the option I would choose. At 300,000 miles the engine is near-dead anyway. No sense installing a new battery at 300,000 and then have the engine die at 310,000.


  • stevewastevewa Posts: 203
    You can't fix any modern vehicle yourself...and most independent mechanics can't fix them either. The dealers want it this way. I had to replace an electronic throttle module on a 2000 Volvo, and even though the part was relatively easy to get to, if I'd replaced it the car would not have run because the software must be downloaded into the computer at the time of replacement.


    Comparing a modern automatic transmission to the THS/HSD system I know which one I expect will last the longest...the simplicity of design of the mechanical components in the hybrid drive make mechanical failure much less likely.


    After 55,000 on our 2002 Prius we've had no issues except for the utterly mediocre Bridgestone tires.
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