As highlighted in our Hybrid blog post, Paul’s Automotive specializes in hybrid and electric vehicles too, complete with specialized hybrid performance checks and services. One aspect of hybrid maintenance that is getting increased attention is the catalytic converter (cat) theft.
How do you know if someone stole your cat? The sound of a hybrid vehicle with a stolen cat is unmistakable: the modest Prius will roar and rattle like a diesel truck. Unfortunately, theft is on the rise. At Paul’s we used to see a hybrid with a stolen cat about once a month, now we see them about once a week. The cat contains the precious metals of palladium, platinum, and rhodium. These metals are sold as scrap for hundreds to thousands of dollars and hybrid cats contain higher amounts of these metals. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, buying and installing a new catalytic converter could cost anywhere between $2,500-$5,000. If you park your hybrid regularly on the Midtown or Downtown streets, we HIGHLY recommend you check with your insurance company to see if your coverage includes stolen catalytic converters. If not, we recommend adding the extra coverage.
The good news is that there is something you can do to help protect your hybrid catalytic converter from theft. Paul’s offers different catalytic converter protection devices to prevent catalytic converter theft, including installation of protection cages, bars, and plates. These devices deter thieves because they are challenging to cut, even with power tools. Check with your insurance carrier too as they may pay for this service! If you are interested in learning more, please talk to us. Let Paul’s Automotive help protect your hybrid from catalytic converter theft!
If you drive a hybrid, you likely relish how your vehicle rarely needs gas, needs relatively little maintenance, and reduces the pollution in your neighborhood. These are indeed all things to be proud of! Paul’s Automotive recognizes how hybrids are a special kind of vehicle, so we provide your hybrid with a special kind of service!
First, it is true that compared to a conventional vehicle, your hybrid does not need as much maintenance. For example, due to a hybrid’s regenerative braking system, brakes and brake pads last longer. This does NOT mean hybrids require NO maintenance. Your beloved hybrid needs some TLC in return in order to give you that high mileage performance and long life that you love about your hybrid. Here are some items that need special attention:
- Antifreeze/Coolant: Changing out your hybrid’s coolant/antifreeze is especially important because antifreeze can break down. With all the electronics on the vehicle, the antifreeze can become an electrical current and cause corrosion and hydrolysis on engine components.
- Transmission fluid check: Hybrids do not allow you to flush out the transmission fluid, and there is no filter. We can only do a drain and fill, meaning there is still about 60% of old transmission fluid still running through the system. To keep your transmission working well, your transmission fluid should be drained and filled with clean fluid every 30,000 miles.
- Modules and hybrid battery: Hybrids have a lot of advanced computer technology going on. It is important to scan the system when you service your car to make sure everything is running as it should and there are no trouble codes or red flags in the electronic or battery system.
- Tires: Keep an eye on your tire pressure. Because the hybrid battery is so heavy, tires often deflate more quickly than a gasoline vehicle. It can also mean uneven wear and tear on your tires, so it is a good idea to rotate your tires when you have an oil change.
- Fuel system cleaning: Poor fuel efficiency, loss of power, and slow response time may mean it’s time for a fuel system cleaning. At Paul’s, we stock BG Product’s Hybrid Performance Kit as part of this fuel system cleaning. The process keeps variable valve timing composites free from debris, removes deposits from valves and combustion chambers, and improves spark plug life. All of which ensure's a high MPG, keeps your hybrid running better, longer, and reduces emissions even more.
- Catalytic Converters: First the bad news—thefts are on the rise. This car part contains a precious metal called palladium and is sold as scrap for around $450. Buying and installing a new catalytic converter could cost around $2,500. The good news is there is something you can do.Protection cages surround the catalytic converter with a wire cable that is very difficult to cut, even with power tools. Large, round metal bars can also be welded to the catalytic converter to prevent thefts. If you are interested in learning more, please talk to us.
And of course, whether you have gas, hybrid, electric, or anything in between, you will eventually need
new wiper blades, headlights, struts, shocks, cabin air filters, and other basic mechanic components that
make for a smooth, safe, and comfortable ride.
When you come to Paul’s we will do a Hybrid Vehicle Performance Check on your vehicle to make sure everything is running as it should be. We also offer a Hybrid Performance Service, which includes inspecting and addressing many of the critical components listed above and will help you get even better gas mileage! Let Paul’s be your shop for all your hybrid’s needs!