As a vehicle owner, it’s important to understand how expert diagnostics and maintenance can help you get the most of your hybrid car. The hybrid market has exploded over the last decade and the need for trained technicians with a multitude of knowledge has expanded.
With the popularity in hybrid vehicles growing, vehicle owners should know the signs of a battery in need of service. One of the many services offered by The Hybrid Geek is reconditioning. In this article, you can find helpful information on hybrid battery recondition and how it matters to the health and longevity of your hybrid.
What is Battery Reconditioning?
Reconditioning is a process of diagnostics and methods such as balancing, cycling, grid charging, and discharging. This service was designed to isolate damaged modules or cells for replacement.
NiMh (nickel-metal hydride) hybrid electric vehicle reconditioning consists of:
- Charging and balancing the battery pack for up to 48 hours
- Deep discharging the battery pack
- Repeating the above cycle at least 2-4 times to ensure one reconditioning session
Battery reconditioning combines the charging and balancing process with deep discharging process multiple times to “recondition” the hybrid battery. By doing so, this process breaks down crystal formations or voltage depressions which form in the battery’s cells. Thus, lost battery capacity is restored to a usable state and cell voltage levels are equalized. The final result is more usable capacity in a hybrid battery.
Reconditioning often helps the hybrid battery revert to a more functional condition and is best suited for hybrids less than 7 years old and low commuting miles (>6,000 miles/year).
When to Recondition
Some hybrid owners are unsure of when to have their battery reconditioned; others are unaware the service exists. If you fall into either category, read on for signs your hybrid may benefit from a battery reconditioning.
- Reduced Fuel Economy. Are you noticing your engine kicking on more than it used to? Most drivers will experience a lessened MPG; a sign of a weak battery in need of diagnostics.
- “Check Hybrid System” Warning Light. An obvious and concerning sign, it means your hybrid battery may need reconditioning. Continuing without battery testing puts an added stress on other components of your hybrid.
- Rapidly Charging/Discharging Battery. Your hybrid’s battery level indicator may quickly rise and fall. Simply put, your battery is unable to hold the same charge as it once did.
- Reduced Acceleration. The electric motor relies on power from your hybrid battery. If the battery is only partially charged, you will notice this by reduced power in the electric motor.
How it Matters
In many cases, a battery reconditioning service will restore battery performance. The condition of your hybrid battery matters in this process. Depending on how degraded it is, hybrid batteries may need more than just a reconditioning service.
As mentioned before, the objective of a reconditioning is to isolate damaged modules or cells within the battery. This diagnostic allows trained professionals to replace just the damaged module/cells, which saves drivers money. Without this capability, the entire battery pack would eventually need to be replaced; likely sooner than with the reconditioning.
For drivers who are especially environmentally friendly or cost-conscious, battery reconditioning is the best route. Instead of replacing a battery pack (upwards of $4,500 for some models) technicians can focus on just the problem cells.
One for the Road
Understanding the intricate process and knowing what signs to look out for is essential knowledge for hybrid owners. The vast benefits of a battery recondition outweigh the alternative; a new battery pack.
By scheduling a state of health check, you can find out if your vehicle may benefit from a battery reconditioning. Ask us about the best option for your vehicle by filling out our contact form here or call us at (919) 996-0626.