A used hybrid car is a great investment. Hybrids get excellent gas mileage, are more environmentally-friendly, and can even have a higher long-term value than comparable gas-powered vehicles. If you can find a great-quality used hybrid, it’s a fantastic investment.
However, there are some quirks you should be aware of when trying to buy a used hybrid. Shopping for a hybrid is quite a bit different than shopping for a traditional gas-powered vehicle – and unless you know what you’re doing, you could end up making a poor investment.
In this guide, we’ll go over the most important tips about buying used hybrid cars. Let’s get started.
1. Avoid Hybrids That Are Over 10 Years Old
This does not necessarily have to be a hard-and-fast rule, but it’s a very good rule of thumb. Hybrid cars use both gasoline engines, and powerful electric engines to maximize fuel economy.
These electric engines are powered by large battery packs – and usually, these large and expensive batteries are only guaranteed to work for about 8-10 years.
If your hybrid’s battery fails before the warranty expires, it will be replaced by the manufacturer for free. But if the warranty period has expired, you will be solely responsible for replacing the battery, which can cost between $2,000-$5,000 or more, depending on your vehicle.
Because of this, we recommend only looking at hybrids that are still covered by a warranty. You should avoid hybrids that are nearly 10 years old, and look for hybrids that are somewhere between 3-5 years old.
This way, you’ll maximize your warranty coverage, and ensure you don’t have to foot the bill for a replacement battery.
2. Find The Right Mechanic, And Have Them Take A Deep Look At The Vehicle
Most private sellers should allow you to take the car to a service shop, and many auto dealers will also allow you to do so. Taking a car to a specialized hybrid service shop is a very good idea, and can help you ensure the quality of the vehicle you’re buying.
Most auto mechanics can’t take a deep look at a hybrid’s critical system. You’ll need to find a mechanic or auto shop that specializes in repairing hybrid cars, and have them inspect the vehicle.
This way, you can have complex systems like regenerative brakes and electric motors analyzed, and you can get a comprehensive picture of the overall condition of the hybrid that you intend to buy.
3. Ask For A Detailed Vehicle History And Maintenance Report
Because hybrids have two engines, they’re twice as complex as gas-powered cars. Hybrid maintenance requirements are generally much more stringent than those of traditional, gas-only vehicles. They often use specialized engine oil, and their hybrid components and electrical systems require regular maintenance and servicing.
That’s why you should ask your auto dealer or private seller for a comprehensive, detailed vehicle history and maintenance report. When you get the paperwork, take a look to see if the vehicle’s maintenance schedule was followed correctly, what fluids have been changed, and what repairs have already been performed on the vehicle.
If there is no vehicle history or maintenance report for the vehicle, this should be a dealbreaker for you. Repairing a hybrid is usually more expensive than repairing a gas-powered vehicle – and if the car has been neglected and requires serious repairs after you buy it, you’ll have to foot the bill.
4. Not All Hybrids Are Built Alike – Look For One Of The Most Reliable Models
If you’re interested in investing in a hybrid for the long-term, you’ll want to buy a reliable, time-tested model. Here are some of the most reliable used hybrids available on the market, according to US News.
- Chevrolet Volt – 2011, 2012 models
- Toyota Prius – 2013 Prius Plug-In, 2012-2015 Toyota Prius C, 2009-2013 Toyota Prius
- Ford Fusion Hybrid – 2010 models
- Toyota Camry Hybrid – 2009, 2011, 2012 models
- Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – 2013 and 2014 models
As you can see, Toyota still leads the pack when it comes to hybrids. Both the Prius and the Toyota Camry hybrid dominate hybrid value rankings – so if you’re interested in a hybrid, Toyota may be the right company for you.
Shop For A Hybrid With Confidence – Follow These Tips!
With these simple tips, you’ll be able to buy a hybrid that will last you for years to come. So find the right hybrid for you, and get on the road!
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