Home > Hybrid Maintenance

Hybrid Maintenance

February 20th, 2023 at 03:41 pm

Both our EVs should be extraordinarily low maintenance.  But my expectations are pretty low because of the dealership factor.   With the more specialized cars and the long warranties, we are at the mercy of the dealership.  (Might need less repairs, but the repairs will cost a lot more than we've paid to our trusted independent mechanics in the past).  It is on my list to find a trusted EV mechanic at some point. I just thought we would have more time.

We've saved $1,200 this past year by not trusting the dealership.  I don't know much about cars, but I can recognize complete made up bull crap when there is nothing wrong with the car.  This hasn't left me feeling warm and fuzzy about the "if anything goes wrong with our cars" factor.  

In the end, I've seen several people complaining about this dealership in my online EV groups.  It is the worst of the worst.  For whatever reason, MH liked this dealership more than the others and had been digging in his heels a little bit.  But...  I do think they royally pissed MH off in recent months.

We drove the hybrid to San Francisco last weekend.  We stopped at the gas station by our house, on the way home, and the engine light came on.  Got an error to "service high voltage charging system", something like that, and the car would not charge.

I was relieved when I checked my online EV group.  A - the car was perfectly fine to drive.  (A very helpful Chevy EV tech had told many people this.)  B - It was most likely something very simple, like low coolant or just needing a software update.  

I was surprised when MH just booked the appointment with the other dealership in our city.  Phew!  

I quickly looked up this other dealership and saw absolutely glowing reviews in my online group.  We quickly found out why.  The service manager has the same car.  I am relieved that the service manager has the same car, because otherwise I would have questioned if they knew what they were doing.  Because the repair bill ended up being far below average for the work done.  (Which in many cases in other states or regions is because they don't have EV techs or have no idea what they are doing.  But in this case...  I have to trust they did all of the maintenance and knew what they were doing.)  

I am not ready to give my full praise to this dealership.  We paid $200 for the diagnostic.  Which made this repair at least 70% more than it would have been with our independent mechanic.  We've *never* paid a diagnostic fee before.  Not to the shop that is going to do the work we asked them to diagnose.  

But overall I am happy that we found a dealership that we could trust a wee bit more, and that it did end up being the simple fix. 

There is only one line item basically re: maintenance for our EV.  Change out the (battery and other) coolant every 150K miles.  It's the same on my hybrid but maybe a few more line items of maintenance with the hybrid.  The cars are very similar.

My first impression of this dealership was not good when they immediately started pushing "recommended maintenance."  But I quickly deduced from my online group that this is a thing and that it is in the manual.  It was also universally agreed that this was useful maintenance. So I did pull up the car manual later.  There is a footnote that you do this every 5 years or 150K miles.  I had literally never heard this before.  & this does not redeem the scammy dealership.  Never in a million years would I have thought they would sell us bullcrap while completely ignoring the actual recommended maintenance.  But the scammy dealership did exactly that.   

In the end, it was just low coolant.  The maintenance was the fix.  

Moral of the story:  We could have saved $200 (diagnostic fee) if we had realized this.  My car is 6 years old, so should have flushed out the coolant a year ago.

{To be *very* clear, scammy dealership had both our cars in the past year and failed to mention the one line item of maintenance that is recommended after 5 years.  This put both our cars at risk (of damage) and left me with a separate trip back to the dealership for repairs.  I guess MH too.  Will be a separate trip for maintenance they should have done when they last had his car.}

Instead of oil changes, the EV is going to need a $300 coolant flush every 5 years.  I can live with that.  It's the 'oil change' equivalent I guess.  

This means that our EV is also due for this service.  & that we realize we want to of course be proactive because the EV would be far less useful if we couldn't charge it.  But the EV is about 15,000 miles behind the hybrid and the battery coolant (probably the most important part) was changed out already with the battery recall.  So we are just going to wait for a more convenient time.  Will get it done this spring or summer.

Oh yeah, and the dealership told us that the brakes on the hybrid are at 95%.  No surprise.  The traditional brakes are used very little on these cars (only for hard/fast stops).  It was just the first time we had any feedback on our personal cars.  My car has 70,000 miles, for reference.  We've always heard the brakes will last the life of these cars.  

I guess it was a big car repair week for SA.

Edited to add:  I've never joined an online car group before and don't know that I would have thought to do so.  But our EV friend added me to some Volt group when we bought the Volt.  It does help to soften the blow of not having our forever trusted (gas car) advisors to turn to.  & is helpful when you completely miss the fine print.  

Second edit:  To clarify, all maintenance quotes were given without even looking our cars.  This was the stuff they were trying to sell us when we dropped off the cars.  None of this stuff is actually recommended maintenance, except this hybrid maintenance that we agreed to.

2 Responses to “Hybrid Maintenance”

  1. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    So cool to know. I feel like we are spending a lot because our cars are aging and gas vehicles. But I'm torn about getting an electric car when our cars are so newish and good.

  2. PatientSaver Says:

    I don't know much about cars either, but I do usually give in and do the maintenance the dealership recommends. Are they overpriced? Sure! I think their labor charge is $130/hr right now. But I don't want to take a chance of being stranded, so yeah, i usually keep my vehicle in tip top shape, running-wise.

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