Posted By RichC on October 12, 2011
Surprise! This is something to keep in mind when it comes to replacing the “starter battery” in a hybrid car … not the one to power the electric motors, but the smaller one to start the gasoline engine. As I recall, most gasoline and diesel only car starter batteries are significantly less than $530. This costly item might be something to think about as more and more cars switch to the start and stop hybrid system (oh, and by the way don’t get me going about the price of buying and replacing a Xenon headlamp … one lamp $90!)
Q: My exactly 4-year-old Toyota Camry Hybrid needed a new battery at just under 20,000 miles. The cost was $530! Is this a typical experience? I keep it garaged, get great mileage and otherwise love it.—Phyl Howard, Little Silver, N.J.
A: Starter batteries for hybrids can cost quite a bit, but like any battery in a modern car, they are under a lot of stress to keep up with the demands of a vehicle’s electronic systems which, like an office computer, never shut down completely. I keep my car attached to a trickle charger to keep the battery at or near maximum charge, which helps it last longer. Since the chargers cost about $50, they are worthwhile.