Considering A Used Hybrid Car? Here Are A Few Tips To Help You Make A More Informed Decision

29 October 2015
 Categories: Automotive, Articles


According to JD Power and Associates, the average hybrid car will hold its value for much longer than a traditional, combustion-only vehicle. This fact, combined with the potential to save thousands on gas each year, may have  prompted you to purchase a used hybrid model. Before you purchase a hybrid car through a private seller or at a dealership, here are some tips to help ensure you make a savvy choice:

Not All Batteries Are Created Equally

According to Repair Pal, the average cost to replace a traditional car battery is anywhere between $174 and $240. In the case of a hybrid car, depending on the model, the average cost to replace the battery is between $1,000 and $6,000, according to How Stuff Works.

If you find a hybrid car that seems like a steal, the reason might be because the battery is either nearing the end of its warranty period or the warranty is no longer valid. According to Trusted Choice, the majority of hybrid batteries come with a warranty that covers them for the first 100,000 to 150,000 miles.

If the car's battery is no longer under warranty or the battery isn't working, reconsider buying that vehicle. Instead, look for a car that features a battery that is still under warranty and in good working condition.

Taking A Used Hybrid For a Test Drive

If you've never driven or ridden in a hybrid before, one of the first things you will notice is the peace and quiet. This is because the components that typically create the most amount of noise in a traditional gas-powered car simply aren't present.

When it comes time to get behind the wheel of a hybrid to take the all-important test drive, don't be surprised if you aren't quite sure if the vehicle is in great shape or needs some work.

Once you find a used hybrid that fits your budget, ask a mechanic or a knowledgeable hybrid owner to accompany you on the test drive. In addition to pointing out any noises that could be a sign of trouble, a mechanic can also safely look under the hood.

Remember, hybrid cars are powered by a much stronger voltage than traditional gas-powered vehicles. This can make examining all the wires and widgets under the hood very unsafe.

Don't Forget the Vehicle History Report

You've found a used hybrid that seems perfect for your lifestyle and budget. However, before you move forward, it is vital to obtain a vehicle history report. You can go to websites online to find free car history reports. 

While perusing the report, keep an eye out for these potentially-serious red flags:

  • The words salvage, rebuilt or rebuildable. When a car is labeled a "salvage" vehicle, this typically means it was totaled at one point and was rebuilt to its present condition.

  • The phrase "Insurance Loss." In most cases, if you see the phrase "insurance loss," it typically means the car was in a serious accident. If you see this phrase, you should definitely reconsider buying this particular hybrid.

  • A "Failed Emission Inspection" label. All states require vehicle pass an emissions test. If the vehicle fails, it is technically illegal to drive on the road. If you purchase the vehicle and it fails another emissions test, you will need to pay the cost to have it brought up to your state's standards. 

From the opportunity to save thousands on gas to the potential to receive a huge rebate from Uncle Sam, there are many reasons you're purchasing a used hybrid car. If you're not familiar with hybrid cars, make sure to bring along a knowledgeable friend or mechanic on the test drive, and don't forget to buy a vehicle history report!