Hybrid cars team an electric powertrain with a gas engine, and this allows them to deliver great fuel economy. They’re also easy on the environment, typically producing fewer tailpipe emissions than comparable gas-only models.
If you’re shopping for one of these nifty green machines on the new or used market, there are certain things you need to look out for. Here are seven questions to ask about hybrid cars before making a purchase.
1. What’s the gas mileage?
Fuel economy is a hybrid’s biggest draw, but some models are a lot more frugal than others. If you’re considering a hybrid, get a clear picture of its gas mileage so you can make an informed buying decision.
Hybrids come with a battery pack that can intrude on cargo space. As a result, some models offer less cargo capacity than their gas-only equivalents. For example, while the Ford Fusion offers a generous 16 cubic feet of cargo space with the gas-only power plant, the Fusion Hybrid offers just 12 cubic feet of cargo space. If cargo space is important to you, find out how each hybrid stacks up in this area.
3. How many miles are on the odometer?
If you’re buying a used hybrid, you’ll want to give some thought to its mileage. Hybrid batteries can be expensive to replace. It isn’t easy to make a hard and fast prediction about exactly when a replacement battery will be necessary. Some batteries last more than 200,000 miles, while others kick the bucket at around the 90,000-mile mark. To be on the safe side, choose a used model with less than 50,000 miles on the odometer.
4. How long is the warranty, and what’s included?
A newer used hybrid may still be under warranty. This could save you money if a major part fails. When looking at used models, check to see how long the warranty is, and ask which items are covered.
5. Has the car received regular maintenance?
As with gas-only cars, hybrids require diligent maintenance to keep them running at their best. If you’re looking at a used model, inquire if the car was regularly serviced. Ask the owner to provide you with service records that provide a history of the car’s maintenance visits to the shop.
6. Are there any tax benefits associated with purchasing this model?
When purchased new, some plug-in hybrids may be eligible for a federal tax credit. In some cases, this credit can knock thousands of dollars off the purchase price. Find out if the new model you’re looking at is eligible for this tax benefit.
7. Have there been any recalls on the car?
Recalls are common in the automotive industry. If you’re buying a used hybrid, find out if it’s been the subject of any recalls. Make sure that all repairs associated with the recall were made.
If you’re in the market for a hybrid, getting answers for the preceding questions will make you a more confident and informed shopper.
Check out all the batteries available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on questions to ask about hybrid cars, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.