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

Hybrid cars and SUVs have been around long enough that it’s becoming obvious their hybrid batteries last for 100,000 miles or more. But if you have an older hybrid with a battery finally showing signs of wear, the price of replacing it at a dealership may shock you. Luckily, an increasing number of private technicians are offering hybrid battery replacement services at a lower cost.

Can you replace a hybrid’s battery yourself?

The high-voltage batteries in hybrid cars and SUVs–like the batteries in full electric vehicles–are specialized, high-voltage units. They are not accessible by just popping the hood, and their replacement is best left to trained professionals. But if you want to save some money, you do have alternatives to shelling out for a dealership battery swap.

A rideshare/carpool access sticker on the rear bumper of a Toyota Prius hybrid car.
Toyota Prius | Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

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Have you ever replaced the battery in an internal combustion car? It’s often a relatively simple affair that only requires you to pop the hood, detach two heavy-duty wires, unclamp the battery from its tray, and lift out a unit about twice the size of a shoebox. Once you’ve finished this service item on your own, you may begin wondering how much harder swapping the battery in a hybrid could possibly be.

The truth is that replacing the battery in almost any hybrid car is going to be much more complicated. The battery unit will be several times larger and heavier. The fact that it is a high voltage battery will make swapping it without the proper training dangerous. And finally, disposing of the old battery may be expensive and difficult.

Can any auto repair shop replace a hybrid’s battery?

No. Servicing the high-voltage circuit in a hybrid or electric vehicle is not something every automotive technician is trained to do. That said, an increasing number of private auto shops have the training and know-how. But you’ll definitely want to ask ahead of time.

A technician looks at a row of Toyota Priuses in a factory.
Toyota Prius assembly | TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images

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Your local dealership will definitely have service technicians capable of swapping an aging hybrid’s battery. But if you want to restore your hybrid car or SUV’s range without spending much money, you might consider using a private shop.

There are actually an increasing number of shops specializing in hybrid vehicle repair. There are also private companies offering replacement batteries that may cost less than OEM parts. But you should do your research if your hybrid is still under warranty–you’d hate to void your warranty.

How do you know when your hybrid’s battery is worn out?

Most hybrids will display a warning screen when their battery is worn out and affecting performance. Eventually, a full battery failure can leave you stranded by the side of the road–in certain vehicles.

Toyota dealership technicians in training learn how to replace a Prius hybrid high-voltage battery.
Toyota dealership technicians | Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Long before a full battery failure, you may see your hybrid’s mpg decrease. You may also see the all-electric range of a plug-in hybrid dropping. If this is happening, it’s a good idea to have your dealer’s service department or a hybrid vehicle specialist take a look at your car or SUV.

Next find out the cost of replacing your hybrid’s battery or meet the family that started the Green Tec Auto hybrid repair shop in the video below:

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