March 13, 2023
As hybrid vehicles begin to age, the need for replacement batteries rises. Most hybrid vehicles will either need a new battery or repair within six to 10 years from their original purchase. Fleet users like taxis may only get a few years from their original battery. Yet, the average car is on the road for over 12 years—hybrids often longer—meaning many hybrid cars will need a replacement at some point during their life. Hybrid owners can choose between replacing their battery with a brand-new or remanufactured one.
Remanufactured hybrid batteries offer a high-quality, lower-cost, environmentally friendly alternative to new batteries. However, because of negative experiences and misinformation, some consumers are leery of choosing reconditioned as an option that causes them to unnecessarily spend thousands of dollars.
As hybrid electric transportation experts with over 30 years of remanufacturing experience, we want to clear up these misconceptions to provide hybrid owners with accurate information to make the best decisions for themselves.
Misconception 1 - Remanufactured batteries are unreliable.
Early on, remanufactured hybrid batteries got a bad reputation. As the need for hybrid battery replacement began to rise, some less-than-reputable hybrid repair companies began appearing. These companies would take a “band-aid approach” and replace only the bad modules in the battery pack without fully reconditioning the remaining modules. This would work for a short period of time, but eventually, other modules would need to be replaced soon after, causing a “domino effect” of failures. This made many hybrid owners believe the reconditioning and remanufacturing process was a sham.
The truth is, simply replacing one or a few bad modules is not remanufacturing. Replacing a bad module is only one step in about a forty-step remanufacturing process. This is because all modules should work together, balanced according to voltage and amperage. Remanufactured batteries should operate as well as new batteries when the process is performed correctly, using state-of-the-art reconditioning equipment. A reputable hybrid battery replacement company like Hybrid Battery 911 will replace the entire imbalanced battery pack with OEM modules that were properly reconditioned and balanced like new.
Be aware there are still module replacement services available. These are cheap and very short-term repair options and are not the same as reconditioning or remanufacturing.
Misconception 2 - Remanufactured batteries are inferior to new batteries.
The idea of a remanufactured hybrid battery makes some people uneasy. They believe they will have problems with the battery in the future, and that the best option is always to buy a brand-new battery from their dealership. They also believe these batteries are not OEM and have cheap knock-off modules.
There are many benefits that lead hybrid vehicle owners to favor reconditioned hybrid batteries over purchasing new ones.
- Aftermarket batteries are much more affordable, often about one-third the price of a new battery.
- They come with warranties often better than what is offered at the dealership (normally only a one-year).
- The batteries work just as well as new batteries when properly remanufactured.
- The modules used are original OEM modules, not cheap aftermarket modules.
Remanufacturing involves refurbishing the battery's existing modules and replacing any damaged or worn components, which can extend the battery's lifespan and performance. Although module and cell are the cause of most failures, it is also important to mention other causes and components failures such as: cooling fan and system, dirt causing modules to overheat, copper busbars and harness contact contamination, battery management system, relays and fuses, ECU failure, and current sensor failures. Inspecting and replacing these critical parts are part of the remanufacturing process. Furthermore, high-quality remanufacturers use higher-quality materials and more advanced refurbishing techniques than the original manufacturer, which can result in a longer lifespan.
New batteries instill confidence in worried consumers, but the truth is that a quality OEM reconditioned battery will offer similar performance for less.
Misconception 3: Remanufactured batteries have a short lifespan.
Another misconception is that reconditioned batteries have a shorter lifespan than new batteries. The lifespan of a battery depends on various factors such as usage, age and condition of the battery, maintenance history, operating environment, type of vehicle in which the battery is installed, and driving habits. Reconditioned batteries have been used for some time, so the initial capacity degradation has already occurred. This means that the reconditioned battery may have a longer lifespan than a new battery. Reconditioned batteries that are properly maintained can produce a lifespan similar to that of a new battery giving it a second, much more affordable, life.
Hybrid owners can also purchase a warranty with their remanufactured batteries. If, for some reason, the remanufactured battery dies under the warranty terms, a replacement will be offered at no extra charge.
Many hybrid owners find out when they purchase a new battery that the coverage is less than new and will not cover the next owner if they sell their vehicle. These customers end up paying more money for a new battery they have no ability to recover from in the future.
Misconception 4 - Remanufactured batteries have a shorter warranty and will void my vehicle’s existing warranty.
A final misconception is that remanufactured batteries come with a shorter warranty, and placing a remanufactured hybrid battery in the vehicle will void any other warranties associated with the vehicle.
In general, reputable remanufacturers of hybrid vehicle batteries typically offer coverage that is comparable in length to, or even longer, than those of new hybrid batteries. For example, Hybrid Battery 911 offers a limited lifetime warranty. These warranties can vary depending on the remanufacturer and the specific battery, but they generally cover defects and performance issues for a specified period of time or mileage. Hybrid Battery 911 warranties are also transferable to the next owner, a value that the owner will capture on the vehicle’s sale.
Regarding the vehicle's warranty, installing a remanufactured hybrid battery does not necessarily void the vehicle's warranty. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a federal law that governs warranties for consumer products, prohibits vehicle manufacturers from voiding a warranty solely because a consumer uses an aftermarket or remanufactured part.
It's important to note that some vehicle manufacturers may have specific requirements or recommendations for replacement batteries, so it's always a good idea to contact a hybrid vehicle expert. Additionally, choosing a reputable and experienced remanufacturer and understanding the warranty terms can help ensure that the remanufactured battery meets your needs and budget while also maintaining your vehicle's warranty.