Why Not to Buy a Used Hybrid Car

Rev up your engines,
today I’m going to help you decide whether it’s a good idea or not to buy a hybrid car,
now lately people have been asking me, Scotty I’m thinking about buying a hybrid
car, what do you think about that, well we’ll start with a little history lesson,
hybrid’s really started with submarines, they have diesel engines that would recharge
the battery, or run the propellers and then necessary and
they were under the water, they would run only on the electric battery
power, now the early Honda hybrids used a system
that was rather similar to the submarines but it was a failure,
people didn’t like them, they hardly sold any of them and they were really slow,
as an example of this, in 2013 Honda only sold 4,802 Insights,
while Toyota sold 145,172 Priuses, so right off the bat I’d say don’t buy a Honda
hybrid car, if you want to get a hybrid car you want to
use the Prius design, which actually most manufacturers use,
and that’s an Adkinson cycle 4 cylinder engine combined with a hybrid generating system,
and using a hybrid battery pack to store the electrical power,
now the early hybrid used nickle metal hydrate batteries,
and they were rechargeable, the modern ones use lithium ion batteries
but for a long time they used nickle metal hydrate batteries,
now in the case of the Priuses, originally they had 28 Panasonic hybrid modules
and each module had 1.2 volt cells in it, which would make 200 something volts for the
whole system, the price of these batteries has come down over time,
now you can get a new one for about $2,600, but I don’t advise going any cheaper than
that, there are places that recondition them, but
really you got an old worn out battery that’s made out of a bunch of little batteries,
if they replace a few of the battery cells in them, hey the other ones are still old
and they’re only going to break down over time,
you really have to go new if your planning on keeping the car for a long time,
so you have to decide how long your going to drive your car,
in the case of the Prius the newer ones come with a 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty,
so if your happy with that you’ll never have to worry about the battery,
but if your planning on buying a used hybrid car that’s more than 8 years old that has
more than 100,000 miles on it, then you might want to think twice about that
one, because not only do the batteries cost a lot
of money, but other repairs cost a fortune too,
like this one that burnt out the generator, a customer towed her Prius over to my place
because it died while she was driving down the road,
and found out that it wasn’t putting out any charging voltage at all,
so I checked all the fuses and relays and they were all perfectly fine,
then I thought, hey it just needs a new alternator, but guess what, a Toyota Prius doesn’t have
an alternator, it uses a generator that’s built into the
transfer case, now if it would have been an older Toyota
like this old Celica, the alternator is right here,
you just take off a couple bolts and a fan belt and replace the alternator,
you could get a rebuilt one for $100 or so and put in on in about 10 minutes,
but sadly in this hybrid system that’s not the case,
it doesn’t use an alternator to charge the battery, it uses a generator,
inside the transfer case here it’s not seperately serviceable,
I did a lot of research on the internet and you have to buy the entire transfer assembly
for $3,459.68, and if that wasn’t bad enough, it takes over
10 hours of labor to take it all apart and put it all back together again,
so most places are going to charge over $5,000 to do the job, and unfortunately in these
2002 Priuses it’s very common for the generators to short out they overheat and melt,
and unless you want to keep buying giant batteries and recharging them to drive the car,
you have to fix it to make it able to drive, and then of course you have to factor in the
cost of the car, they cost a lot more, how much gas mileage
your actually going to get, and does this amount to a profit over time,
a lot of times it doesn’t for normal people, but I recently came back from Seattle and
all the Uber drivers there were practically all driving Priuses,
since they get such better gas mile with regenerative braking,
in town, and a lot of taxi drivers do a lot of in town driving,
you see all these Priuses because they’re cheaper to operate, it’s a business and your
putting a lot of miles on it, but if your just driving your car normally,
you might find that the extra expense of buying a hybrid, and if your like me and want to
keep your car for 100,000’s of miles, the extremely high repairs your going to do
as they get old, it’s not really worth it buying a hybrid for
somebody who drives like that, now my opinion on hybrids is this,
I see them as a type of stop gap technology, there half way between gasoline cars and electric
cars and since your not fighting a war in a U boat,
it’s really not that necessary for most people, so if you never want to miss another one of
my new car repair videos, remember to ring that bell!

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