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Hybrid vehicles and when to buy a new car

Anyone know the reliability of a hybrid vehicle? Can I get 10 years out of one?

secondly, any advice as to when to buy a new car?

Mondays always work for me.

The hybrids that have been on the roads thus far have proven to be very reliable and the general consensus is that they will likely continue to be very reliable as they get older. For 10 years, it’ll be no problem. One issue is that if you’re the kind of person who keeps a car for several decades and several hundreds of thousands of miles, you might have to budget for a multi-thousand dollar battery replacement down the road somewhere, although they’ve yet to get a really good handle on what the life expectancy for these are because so few of them have gone out.

As for when to buy, everyone has their own little car buying tricks. I will tell you, however, that none of them will work with hybrids because they’re in such high demand at the moment.

Hybrids have been on the road long enough to conclude that they aren’t going to fall apart. Ten years should be easy to reach. The fundamental reliability of the brand is probably more important than whether or not it is a hybrid. What we don’t know is whether hybrids will last as long as a conventional drive trains. If you keep them in good repair, both mechanically and cosmetically, modern cars with conventional drive trains will last for decades and several hundred thousand miles.

When to replace and old car with a new one (or a used one that isn’t as old) is a difficult decision. The financial side is difficult to calculate, but the intangibles like safety, comfort and the enjoyment of a new(er) car are even harder to evaluate. In principle, what you should do is compare two scenarios. In one, you keep your old car and pay what it takes for repairs, but save on insurance and, depending on where you live, on annual registration. In the other scenario, you buy a replacement and make car payments, etc., but save on repairs at least until the end of the warranty. (Even if you pay cash, there is an “opportunity cost” since you could have invested the money, instead.) To estimate costs, talk to your mechanic about repairs, your insurance agent about insurance, and your county treasurer about taxes. Buying a new car may give you the opportunity to save on future fuel costs by selecting one that gets good gas mileage. A spreadsheet program (e.g. Microsoft Excel) will make the calculations easier. A quick and dirty way of deciding is to keep your old car until repairs begin to cost as much as car payments for a new one.

An electric motor is far far far more reliable then ANY internal combustion engine ever made. Almost everything you find on a hybrid that’s NOT on a conventional car is electronic. Those parts should be a factor of 10 more reliable then the rest of the vehicle. Some of the mechanical parts like the engine and brake are actually worked less because of the added parts.

do you do a lot of stop and go city traffic, or do you do lots of highway travel? if the latter, you’d be better off waiting for the new generation of diesels that will give far better mileage on the highway than a hybrid will