There are many benefits to owning a hybrid vehicle. Probably the best reason to purchase one of these vehicles is in order to keep the pain at the pump at a minimum. Did you know that there are some precautions to take if you plan on working on one of these vehicles yourself though? First of all, it is true that working on a standard gas-only consuming vehicle is very much the same to working on a hybrid, but you should keep in mind that the battery voltage is much higher.
While each hybrid vehicle is different, each operates under the same principals. It has an internal-combustion engine like all other vehicles, but as a back up power supply, it possesses an electric motor as well. When it comes to working on hybrids, you should know that you are in for something completely different. These vehicles possess more computers and sensors, not to mention they pack a lot of power.
These hybrid vehicles feature high powered battery packs located at the back of the cars which can produce 200 to 275 volts of electricity at up to 80 amps. Honda hybrids produce 144 volts. Keep in mind that 50 volts is enough to kill some people. If someone has only had experience working on non-hybrid vehicles, they could easily make a mistake that could electrocute them pretty badly, even leading to death.
Therefore, if you work on cars and are thinking about working on your own hybrid, keep this in mind. Before you work on your new hybrid car, make sure you have read the manual. Reading a licensed repair manual, such as those prepared by Chilton or Haines would be a good idea as well. If you are a novice at car repair, you may want to leave it to the professionals. One of the best precautions to take though is to make sure that your vehicle is completely powered down before you attempt to work on it. Make sure that you have removed the keys from the ignition, as the vehicle will start the engine if the battery needs charging.
Some hybrid vehicles have already taken this potential danger into consideration. For example, Toyota has made all of the high voltage cables in their hybrid vehicles bright orange. This will be a big help in preventing you from making any spur of the moment mistakes. Also, in their Prius model, they have made it so that when the car is powered off, no power is running through these cables. Another precaution that has been taken in this car is the service plug located on the battery. When this plug is removed from the battery, no energy is able to leave it.
If you are the proud owner of a hybrid vehicle, there is no reason to get paranoid about working on your vehicle. It still remains a very safe endeavor, just as long as you are aware of the added danger and take the proper precautions in order to prevent it.