Should You Recondition, Repair, or Replace Your Hybrid Battery?
All hybrid batteries have a life cycle and when they fail to perform, replacing them can incur costs of several thousands of dollars.
A hybrid battery pack contains 20-40 modules, depending on the vehicle make and model and each module can contain anything between 120 to 140 individual cells each the size of your typical D-cell battery.
As time progresses, these cells often begin to fall out of sync – meaning that each individual cell begins to display varied levels of capacity and charge. Simply put – as this imbalance grows, the usable range of the battery suffers severe reduction. This natural deterioration is the result of wear and tear and is the root cause of the gradual decline of energy storage.
THE USUAL LIFESPAN OF A HYBRID BATTERY
Hybrid vehicles are likely to provide many years of trouble-free driving – however, just like the traditional lead-acid batteries that power combustion engines, the lifespan of hybrid batteries is affected by driving habits, weather conditions and more.
Depending on the vehicle that you own, hybrid batteries have been reported to have a lifespan of anywhere between 120,000 and 250,000 kilometres.
Interestingly, many owners have made reports that identify 150,000 kilometres as a major tipping point and that after this, cells within battery modules begin to wear out and fail.
With this being the case there are subtle cues that you can look out for as an indication of the level of health and functionality of your battery pack.
By paying attention to these warning signs and taking preventative measures, you can save thousands of dollars in avoided replacement costs.
First, the initial indicator of a deteriorating battery is the reduction in fuel economy which leads to diminished performance. As your battery begins to fail, workload is shifted to the combustion engine – which results in a steep reduction of miles per gallon.
The second sign of deterioration is when your battery falls out of calibration. This occurs when, for instance, the dash display shows a full battery after charging – yet when you return to the vehicle several hours later, the display informs you that your battery is empty. This is a sign that serious issues are imminent and that your battery is in severe need of attention.
The fact is, the ability of hybrid batteries to store energy degrades over time. However, there are a string of measures that can delay this process and add length to the lifespan of your battery.
WHAT IS HYBRID BATTERY RECONDITIONING?
When owners of hybrid vehicles are presented with symptoms of battery failure, the initial response is replacement. However, at a price that can run as high as $5,000 – this isn’t the most cost-effective option.
Instead – you may want to consider having your battery reconditioned. The benefits of reconditioning are clear. Aside from avoiding the immense costs of battery replacement, you will experience drastic boosts in performance which will manifest itself in the form of increased fuel efficiency.
Hybrid battery reconditioning combines a number of procedures to essentially reverse the aging process and bring your battery back to life.
First the battery is discharged well below the level that your vehicle would naturally allow for during normal operation. Then it is charged and balanced. This cycle is repeated several times over a course of about 20 hours. This deep-discharge procedure is a process that restores the capacity of the modules.
Priced far below the cost of a new battery, reconditioning can restore your battery and vastly extend its lifespan.
WHAT IS HYBRID BATTERY REPAIR?
In some cases your battery pack may contain damaged cells that need to be repaired. But – without running diagnostics, it’s difficult to pin point how many cells are damaged and where they’re positioned. Our equipment does exactly that. It shows us in great detail the health of each cell of the battery in units of voltage, resistance, amp hours.
To provide context – the battery’s purpose is ultimately to function as a repository for energy, and due to the changing chemistry that occurs within the battery, the internal resistance levels of each cell is increased.
At this point, instead of energy being stored within the cells – the energy is lost and converted into heat. Making this worse, dust and debris from within your vehicle also contributes to the failure of your battery to appropriately cool itself – this causes overheating and leads to individual cells becoming damaged.
Where there are only a few faulty modules, repairing is a cheaper alternative to replacing an entire hybrid battery pack.
If there are several modules that are faulty and non-repairable, then battery replacement is your next option.
SHOULD YOU REPAIR, RECONDITION, OR REPLACE YOUR HYBRID BATTERY?
If you’re still under warranty, then this should cover the full cost of replacement and will enable you to avoid having to shell out thousands of dollars. However if your warranty has expired, then the most practical option for you is to consider reconditioning, repairing, or replacing your battery.
Deciding which option is best depends on the condition of your battery. If you are unsure, contact our team. We can run diagnostics on your battery and advise you on the best, most cost effective solution that fits your budget.