We’re seeing more hybrid vehicles on the road today.
Like other cars, they come with their own benefits and drawbacks.
One common problem lies with the cooling fan for the battery pack, which can wear out.
This component does have vent tubes coming in and out to help direct the air around the battery pack and outside the vehicle.
Cooling fan problems
Generally, when there’s a problem with the cooling fan, the check engine light will turn on and there will be a code for the hybrid battery pack cooling system. The lifespan varies, with some beginning to go bad as soon as three years. Typically, they last between five and eight years.
The cooling fan going bad isn’t a big issue. It’s not overly expensive to fix, but you do want to use high quality parts. This is not a time where you should use aftermarket parts. It needs to be functioning correctly so everything is working with the computer.
One of the things to watch out for is people carrying stuff in their vehicle, whether they’re going to Lowe’s and mulch gets spilled there, or lots of papers and clothes pile up. Depending on where it is and how packed it gets, the clutter can block some vents and impact the vehicle’s ability to cool the battery pack.
On the back of the Toyota Prius, you can see both batteries. You have the 12 volt battery that will run your lights and wiper blades. Meanwhile, the hybrid battery pack is located behind the rear seat. The orange tab is the battery disconnect, in case you need to do any work.
When working on these cooling fans, you will want to make sure that the air ducts are in good working order, and aren’t broken, blocked, or venting back inside the car. It’s important that they are repaired correctly.
Battery packs: When to replace them
The battery packs tend to go bad every eight to 10 years. It’s always good to go with the factory module. I would be wary of aftermarket ones, but we have put a couple in from different manufacturers and we’re still testing them out to see how they do in the long run. So far, so good.
As you start to see the mileage decrease over a period of time, it could have to do with the cells in the battery pack. They’re just like any other battery. Eventually, they will wear out or certain cells will have a problem.
Once you hit around the eight year mark, it’s probably a good idea to replace the entire pack over changing out the individual cells.
An extra tip for hybrid vehicles: With hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, make sure to use tires like the Goodyear Assurance CS Fuel Max. Some of these tires feature low rolling resistance to help give you better fuel efficiency.
These are just some things that owners of hybrid vehicles should keep in mind.
Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.