Last Updated on January 8, 2020
There are certainly more hybrid cars on the road than ever before. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the United States has seen an increase in the number of hybrid cars being sold to consumers.
In case you didn’t know, hybrid cars work via a combination of an electric motor that is powered by a rechargeable battery and a regular internal combustion engine that is powered by gasoline.
The main point of using a hybrid car is so carbon emissions can be reduced, since the vehicle uses the electric motor to power some of its components. You will also get a better overall fuel economy as well.
Hybrid Oil Change Interval
Hybrid cars still need oil for their engines just like any other car with an internal combustion engine. Since hybrid cars use a gasoline-powered engine, this makes their lubrication needs just as important. However, you may not need to get oil changes as frequently if you mostly drive at low speeds around your town or city.
The reason for this is that hybrid car engines are not put under too much strain when you’re driving at lower speeds. The electric motor takes up a lot of the usage. It is only when you drive at higher speeds that more demand gets put on the engine.
That said, the interval for oil changes on a hybrid can be identical to that of a traditional car. To ensure the health of your hybrid car’s engine, it is generally recommended that you get an oil change every 5,000 miles.
But if you go with synthetic oil, you may be able to go 7,000 to 10,000 miles between oil changes with synthetic. This of course will cost you more money for synthetic oil vs regular oil so you need to factor that in as well. But the extra protection full synthetic oils offer can be a big advantage.
The best hybrid oil change interval is actually what the manufacturer recommends. This info can be found in your owner’s manual or by contacting your local dealership.
Often, you can use either conventional or synthetic oil in your hybrid vehicle unless the manufacturer specifically states one type is required. For most newer hybrid vehicles, synthetic oil is usually recommended. As noted above, the oil change interval is longer with synthetics.
A lot of hybrid car manufacturers will recommend that you use 0W20 oil instead of 5W20 or 10W30 like in other cars. For instance, Toyota states that for 2010 to 2017 Prius models, 0W20 synthetic engine oil must be used.
Hybrid car engines need lower weight oil to get the proper lubrication. Just be sure to check your owner’s manual for clarification on the right type of oil to use. If you use the wrong oil, then it could damage the engine permanently.
Hybrid Oil Change Cost
Some that are currently looking to purchase a hybrid vehicle or have recently purchased one may be surprised that hybrid engines require many of the same maintenance is normal gasoline powered vehicles. Along with that comes to cost of regular oil and filter changes.
While some shops are not setup to work on all components of a hybrid vehicle, oil changes are pretty straightforward. You can get an oil change done at a local repair shop, quick lube shop (ie: Jiffy Lube or Firestone), dealership, or simply do it yourself.
You can expect to pay around $80 to $120 for a synthetic oil change at a dealership. As always, dealership service centers tend to be the most expensive of the oil change options.
Quick lube places may run you about $40 to $50 for a conventional oil/filter change or $70 to $90 for fully synthetic motor oil (unless you find a coupon online or in your mail). That said, quick lube shops often perform some quick inspections and top of fluids but they are known to upsell you on other more expensive services, some of which may not be needed
Related: 4 Common Oil Change Scams
I personally wouldn’t take my vehicle to a quick lube shop because they can be very hit or miss. I’d rather pay a bit extra at the dealership or go to an independent mechanic that I trust.
But the best (and cheapest) option for most is a DIY oil change. With a good setup (ramps, socket set, oil drain pan, funnel), you can change your own oil in about 15 minutes at your convenience. The only cost will be the oil and oil filter.
For a typical engine requiring 5 quarts of oil, expect to pay around $12 to $15 for a 5-quart jug of conventional oil (or $20 to $25 for synthetic) plus another $5 to $10 for an oil filter. It’ll only cost you around $20 (conventional) or $30 (synthetic) to change the oil yourself.
Over the life of your vehicle, this amounts to hundreds of dollars in savings and doing it in your driveway actually saves time since you don’t have to drive anywhere, wait in line, wait while the service is being performed, and drive back.
Hybrid Car Maintenance Tips
You’ll find that the basic maintenance needs of a hybrid car are pretty much the same as with a traditional car. But it may be more challenging to find a repair shop that will service a hybrid vehicle for specific tasks (like replacing a hybrid battery) because many of them don’t have the knowledge or equipment to service them.
You will sometimes need to go to the dealership to get the maintenance or repair service for them. On the other hand, many maintenance jobs can be performed yourself with a little help from Youtube or car manufacturer specific online forums.
Typical maintenance tasks include checking the air pressure of your tires, checking the battery power, refilling the washer fluid, and washing the vehicle. If you want to perform the oil change yourself, you can do that too.
See Also: Pros and Cons of Hybrid Vehicles