Having higher repair costs than regular cars has always been one of the few negative aspects of hybrids, and one of the things that has prevented them from becoming more mainstream. But, this has started to change in recent years, with automakers managing to bring down the cost of hybrid drivetrains, which is the most expensive part in these alternative fuel vehicles. According to a recent study, hybrid car repair costs where significantly lower in 2014 than the year before, and they have been dropping for several years in a row, which is great news for potential hybrid-vehicle owners.
CarMD has released its annual Vehicle Health Index report, that takes a look at average auto repair costs, as well as the most common repairs reported by auto mechanics from across the country. The report shows that while average repair costs for regular cars in 2014 were pretty much the same as in 2013, costs associated with hybrids dropped for a fifth consecutive year. After analyzing about 98,000 car repairs that occurred in the U.S. in 2014, CarMD states that overall auto repair costs saw an insignificant increase of 0.6%, noting that it is probably due to the fact that even though labor costs went up, car parts became more affordable.
According to the report, the average cost to replace a hybrid inverter assembly in 2014 was $1,357, which is about 50 percent cheaper compared to the year before, when an average cost of $2,826 was recorded. This is a very important finding, given that replacing an inverter assembly is usually one of the most expensive repairs on a hybrid vehicle. However, the report states that the cost to replace another key component in a hybrid – the battery pack, saw an increase of 11% in 2014 over the previous year, rising from $3,140 to $3,479.
In addition to the average repair costs, CarMD’s report highlights the most common repairs across the country in 2014. The 2015 CarMD Vehicle Health Index shows that the oxygen sensor was the most common car repair, as it was involved in 40% of the analyzed repairs, followed by replacing spark plug and ignition coil, at 25%, and replacing a catalytic converter (20%).
On top of this, researchers found that only one of the ten most expensive repairs in 2014 involved hybrids, down from three in 2013.
Finally, the report compares regional repair costs, showing that people who live in the Midwest paid the least, with an average auto repair costs of $375, followed by drivers in the South, with $400, those in the Northeast with $418 and car owners living in the West, with $423.
Those who own a hybrid or are interested in buying one soon, will certainly be encouraged by these findings, as they show that one of the biggest drawbacks of owning a hybrid is slowly, but surely, starting to fade away, which should lead to a faster growth of the hybrid car market in the near future.