According to Eric Evarts, senior associate autos editor at Consumer Reports, “Most hybrids have been extremely reliable in our survey, and few have needed battery replacements. Even if you’re one of the unlucky few, look at it this way: In the most popular hybrid design, from Toyota, there are virtually no wearable parts in the transmission. So if you have to spend $1,800 on a battery after 150,000 miles, you’re still ahead of where you would have been in many less-reliable cars that are on their second or third transmission by then.”
So owners of popular hybrids who have seen reduced battery performance or warning lights on the vehicle’s dashboard have worthwhile alternatives that don’t involve sending the car to the junkyard.
(Crain News Service photo)
The first recourse is getting a new battery at a dealership – an experience that has left some consumers with sticker shock. But it may not be quite as expensive as you think. One Long Island, N.Y., 2005 Prius owner was quoted $4,000 for a new pack, and then learned that he was actually covered by the longer, 150,000-mile warranty that applies to owners in states that follow California emission laws.
Another owner haggled the price down from $5,875 to $2,299 after some negotiation – don’t be afraid to bargain. For the record, Toyota now charges an official $3,649 for a new first- or second-generation Prius pack, but a $1,350 “core credit” for your old battery makes that much more reasonable. For the 2006 to 2009 Honda Civic hybrid, expect to pay approximately $2,000 for a replacement pack.
Some of the batteries sold by both auto makers and aftermarket suppliers are remanufactured, which shouldn’t be a bad thing if it’s done correctly. Ironically, major supplier Mile Hybrid Automotive in Denver — which sells 500 replacement packs a year – offers new Honda Civic packs from a supplier in Hong Kong, while an auto dealer is more likely to provide a remanufactured unit.