Can You Save Money by Taking Your Plug-In Hybrid to a Private Shop for a Battery Replacement?

Investing in a hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle can save a lot of money in the long run. If you do a lot of stop/go driving you can expect substantial fuel savings. In addition, the hybrid drivetrain actually saves wear and tear on the vehicle’s brakes and internal combustion, often reducing maintenance costs. But when you finally need your high-voltage hybrid battery replaced, it can be an expensive procedure. You could save hundreds of dollars by taking your vehicle to a private shop instead of a dealership, and perhaps thousands by opting for a reconditioned hybrid replacement battery.

How much does a dealership charge to replace a hybrid’s battery?

The cost of a new hybrid battery and service charges to swap it will vary greatly by vehicle. Toyota estimates that you can expect to pay anywhere between $2,000 and $8,000. A simple formula should help you guess how much.

White electric car plugged into a charging cable while parked in a garage, a sunny street visible in the background.
Electric car | DCbel via Unsplash

RELATED: Do You Have To Go to the Dealership To Replace a Hybrid’s Battery?

The average new replacement battery cost is currently $137/kWh. Kilowatt Hour (kWh) is a way automakers measure a battery’s capacity. A larger, higher capacity battery–such as the battery in a hybrid truck or a plug-in hybrid–is going to cost more to replace.

Some automakers will charge more to replace your dying hybrid battery. An especially small hybrid battery may also cost more than $137/kWh. This formula is best used to ballpark what you will pay.

You will also need to pay the service fees for a technician to swap your old battery with your new one. Any dealership service center should be able to tell you how much this procedure will cost for your specific model. For some models, with easy-to-access batteries, the procedure may cost less than $1k. But for certain models this can add up to voer $2k.

How much does a private shop charge to replace a hybrid’s battery?

Just like a dealership, the amount a private shop will charge to replace your hybrid’s battery depends on the make and model. But private shops now have trained technicians replacing the batteries in common hybrids for as little as half the service cost of a dealership.

A hybrid and electric vehicle lithium-ion battery technician reads a computer read out in a garage.
Electric and hybrid vehicle technician | David Zorrakino/Europa Press via Getty Images

RELATED: Is Buying a Used Plug-In Hybrid SUV a Good Idea?

One such hybrid specialist is the Greentec Auto nationwide chain. Hybrid vehicle owners report that Greentec’s mobile technicians have come out and replaced the battery in their used hybrid car for as little as $450 in service fees.

Can you save money with a reconditioned battery?

Even choosing a private shop over a dealership won’t save you much money on the actual replacement battery that goes in your car. But you can save thousands if you opt for a used, reconditioned battery.

Michigan factory workers install the battery in a Ford C-Max hybrid car.
Ford C-MAX Hybrid assembly | Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images

RELATED: How Much Does Maintenance Cost for a Hybrid SUV?

Reconditioning used hybrid batteries is one of Greentec’s specialties. For example, the company offers a remanufactured battery for a 2010-2015 Prius for just $1,250. If you want the same battery rebuilt with brand new lithium ion cells and a 48 month warranty, you will pay $2,550.

Next, learn how the projected lithium shortage may affect hybrid battery costs or meet the founders of Greentec in the MotorWeek video below:

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