Many Chevy Hybrid owners are pleased to learn that routine maintenance for the popular eco-friendly vehicle differs little from traditional vehicles. The added electric drive motor, dual voltage system, electronics, and the systems that control the storage batteries may be unique, but other than the maintenance on these components, maintaining a Chevy Hybrid is quite similar to the maintenance required to keep an old Cadillac on the road. The maintenance differences may be few, but following this advice and routine maintenance schedule will ensure you have all of your bases covered.
The Chevy Hybrid is designed to automatically turn off its internal combustion engine and run solely off of its electric motor under certain driving conditions, such as slow cruising and maneuvering. Thanks to this, the engine doesnt have to work nearly as hard as it would in standard vehicles, which results in much less wear and tear. The Chevy Hybrid also employs a regenerative braking system that leads to reduced wear on the brake system components and charges the batteries at the same time. These differences are obvious, but understanding the other major differences is necessary for proper maintenance.
Whats Different on the Chevy Hybrid?
First of all, much of the drive train on the Chevy Hybrid is different than traditional vehicles. The nature of the cars internal combustion engine melds the vehicles transmission and electric drive motor together working almost as a single entity. Therefore, a transmission malfunction can also affect the function of the motor. Although the malfunction of these components may be rare, proper maintenance will ensure years of smooth operating function.
The sophisticated electronics modules that control the regenerative braking capabilities and propulsion of the electric drive motor generate a significant amount of heat, making it necessary for them to have their own cooling systems. Additionally, battery control modules regulate the charging of the entire battery bank as well as their charge and discharge rates. In order for these modules to operate consistently under every condition, they also have their own cooling and heating systems.
Beware of the Orange Cables
The Chevy Hybrid uses a dual voltage system. One system generates the standard 12 volts required for the electric door locks, lights, and radio, while another generates well over 100 volts to power the electric drive motor and related system components. An electric shock of just 50 volts can sometimes be fatal, creating little margin for error when operating near these systems. In order to warn drivers and technicians about the presence of these high voltage circuits, the systems cables are wrapped in a bright orange rubber casing. The entire system must be powered down before maintaining or repairing these components. However, any maintenance to these components is best left in the hands of trained technicians.
Routine maintenance on a vehicle may be a hassle and sometimes time consuming, but it will help your Chevy Hybrid last longer and cost you less money in repairs in the long run. Performing regular routine maintenance on each of the Hybrids individual components and major systems will add to the vehicles overall safety and keep it running smoothly for years to come.
You may be tempted to perform all of the necessary routine maintenance yourself, but doing much more than changing out the spark plugs, checking the fluid levels, and replacing the air and fuel filters is not recommended. However, if you perform any maintenance on the engine cooling system, you must remember to check all of the pipes, hoses, clamps, and the filters used on the battery cooling and heating system. Any maintenance above and beyond these routine tasks should be performed by a specially trained technician.
Chevy Hybrid Routine Maintenance Schedule
As with any vehicle, it is recommended that you strictly adhere to a general maintenance schedule in order to keep your Chevy Hybrid running as smoothly as possible. The following maintenance schedule includes a list of checks, adjustments, and parts replacements for your Chevy Hybrid based on mileage and time intervals:
Weekly or Every 300 Miles Check the engine oil, engine coolant, windshield washer fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid levels. If any of these levels are low, fill them back up to their proper levels. You should also check the condition and air pressure of the tires and make sure all of the lights are operating properly.
Every 6 Months or 6,000 Miles Check the brake master cylinder fluid level, differential oil level, and lubricate the throttle linkage. At this time, you should also check the brake pads, the brake system, and the battery.
Every 12 Months or 7,500 Miles Under normal conditions, you should change the engine oil and the oil filter at this time.
Every 15 Months or 15,000 Miles This maintenance interval requires some additional work. At this time, you should rotate the tires, lube the chassis, bleed the brake system, and replace the brake system fluid. You also need to check the cooling system, the transmission fluid level, windshield wiper blades, driveline components, clutch disc wear, steering components and suspension, engine drive belts, and the fuel system components.
Every 30 Months or 30,000 Miles This is an important time in the life of your Chevy Hybrid and it will require quite a bit of normal routine maintenance. The cooling system, transmission oil and filter, and differential oil should all be drained and refilled. You should also replace the fuel filter, replace the air filter element, check the emissions system, and repack the wheel bearings.
If your Chevy Hybrid has been operating under severe operating conditions, such as sustained high speeds in severe weather conditions, frequent short trips, dusty conditions, traveling up and down steep mountainous terrain, or towing a trailer, then the engine oil and filter needs to be changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles.
Although many of the maintenance procedures are similar to standard vehicles, due to the uniqueness and complexity of some of the systems, any repairs or maintenance tasks not on this list should be completed by a qualified technician. If you regularly follow this maintenance schedule, your Chevy Hybrid will be cruising the roads and driving like new for a number of years to come.
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