How Much Does Maintenance Cost for a Hybrid SUV?

Are you considering buying a used hybrid SUV and worried about the maintenance costs? You might be shocked to hear that hybrid vehicle maintenance probably won’t cost any more than maintenance for a traditionally-powered vehicle. It might even cost less!

A used hybrid SUV may require less brake maintenance

An auto technician maintains a vehicle on an overhead lift, one of its tires visible behind him.
Auto mechanic | Hum Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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When you tap the brakes in your hybrid SUV, its electric motor/generator helps slow the entire vehicle down. This unit simply switches to generator mode, charging the vehicle’s battery and creating drag in the process.

According to NAPA Auto Pro, this means that your hybrid SUV’s traditional service brakes come on much later during a stop. Even when they do engage, they don’t need to do 100% of the braking. Components such as brake pads and brake rotors may last longer on a hybrid SUV than on its traditional counterpart.

A used hybrid SUV may require less engine maintenance

A Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in hybrid SUV stripped down to its chassis for display.
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe chassis | Stellantis

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When you step on the accelerator of your hybrid SUV, its electric motor/generator switches into motor mode. It uses the electricity stored from braking to launch the vehicle from a standstill. This entire cycle is called regenerative braking, and it is why hybrids often offer better mpg than traditional SUVs during stop/go driving.

During a low-speed drive, some hybrid vehicles may go for miles without using their internal combustion engine. Plug-in hybrid SUVs often don’t need their internal combustion engine for the first 20 miles of driving–or more. Because a hybrid SUV does not use its internal combustion engine 100% of the time, this engine will likely need less maintenance than the engine on a traditional SUV with the same mileage.

You may be wondering how much maintenance the electric motor/generator in a used hybrid SUV will require. Modern hybrid SUVs use brushless electric permanent-magnet and induction motors which will outlast every other drivetrain component in the vehicle.

Hybrid batteries are engineered to last for a vehicle’s entire lifetime

White Jeep Grand Cherokee hybrid SUV plugged in to a remote solar panel charger.
2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve 4xe | Stellantis

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Some EV owners suffer nearly as much battery replacement anxiety as the dreaded “range anxiety.” It doesn’t help that the news seems full of stories about some unsuspecting Tesla or Leaf owner hammered with a $20k+ bill for a battery replacement. Obviously, an aging battery is less of an issue in a hybrid than an EV, but owners of hybrids may worry as well.

Here’s the truth, automakers such as Toyota do their best to engineer hybrid batteries to last the entire lifetime of a vehicle. Air-cooled batteries may require periodic air filter replacement. Water-cooled batteries have slightly more complicated systems. But because these batteries run cooler than water-cooled internal combustion engines, their water-cooling system will last longer than the engine’s cooling system–often as long as the vehicle itself.

Most automakers offer an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty on their EV and hybrid batteries. Definitely read up on the manufacturer’s warranty for the new or used hybrid SUV you are considering: it will give you an idea of how long the automaker expected the battery to last.

If you are coming up on a battery swap, you can easily calculate how much a replacement hybrid battery will cost. You can also watch Toyota’s estimates for hybrid maintenance in the video below:

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