Would you buy a used hybrid car?
Posted Thursday, October 10 2013 at 01:00
It started with the automatic transmission, again with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI), and most recently, with the hybrid car, shoppers skeptical of disruptive technologies wondered how they would be to live with after some years and miles of service.
Hybrids have their skeptics, especially in the used-car market. How long will the batteries last? Will the complicated network of wiring and modules and electric motors cause issues as the vehicle ages?
Since used hybrids carry a price premium versus conventional vehicles of the same type, potential buyers must have some reason other than merely looking for transportation. If your goal is simply to end up with a decent value for a low-priced and reliable set of wheels, there are numerous alternatives that might make more sense than a hybrid. The major reasons to consider a hybrid include one desiring to do something good for or make a statement about the environment or you want something with great fuel economy so they can save money.
If your goal is oriented toward environmental issues, that is a personal choice you alone can make. But, you should be aware that modern non-hybrid vehicles are still exceptionally clean-running. They will generally produce more carbondioxide, however, if that is among your hot issues. And yes I hope you enjoying Uganda’s tourist destinations while at it.
Most of us on the other hand would want a hybrid for the obvious reasons. Hammering down the fuel bill. Although they are significantly different in a number of ways, hybrid vehicles are really not all that different from other used cars, so most of the same used car-shopping rules still apply.
While chances are you shall not be buying one from your colleague’s friend’s car dealer neighbour, perhaps you are importing it yourself or buying from the bond, it is imperative you do enough research about the car specifically that model. The Internet is possibly your best friend.
When buying a used hybrid, total mileage is the most important factor in determining how long the battery will live.
Other than mileage, there isn’t much else to look for. This technology has been on the market since the 1990s, so we are not talking about a technology that is new and which needs to have all the kinks worked out of it. As with any used car, it is important to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle but finding a mechanic knowledgeable about hybrids is critical, because the cars employ some complex technology.
How old is the car?
Also if the car is older than five years and has more than 100,000 miles on it, you might want to factor in the potential for a battery replacement and those don’t come cheap. Nevertheless tests have shown that the batteries used to power the hybrids’ electric motors last much longer. Just two companies, Honda and Toyota, have made most of the used hybrid cars, crossovers and SUVs. The majority bear a single nameplate, Prius. That is because Toyota’s Prius is the best-selling hybrid by far globally.
The Prius is where you ought to focus. Avoid all first-generation models on the theory that it takes a generation for the automakers to work out the nastiest bugs in a new, technology-laden model. Preference should be with second-generation 2004 to 2009 Priuses.