Working on hybrid vehicles

Working on hybrid vehicleshy

With the new trend in vehicles being better mpgs, it is eminent that there will be more hybrid vehicles.  These vehicles are similar to regular vehicles, but they do however require some extra caution and special tools to work on them.

The main problem with hybrid vehicles is that a lot of shops do not know how to correctly work on them.  This article will be aimed more for the shop, or the backyard mechanic who really knows what they are doing.  When it comes to hybrids SAFETY is number one.  These vehicles use extremely high voltage to run their electric motors.  This is what makes knowing what you are doing extremely vital, or else you could end up hurt or worse dead.

There are a couple safety items that we must understand before I get into some of the tools needed to work on hybrid vehicles.  First on every hybrid vehicle orange wires signify high voltage.  These mean that they are extremely dangerous.  Next, when you are working on a hybrid make sure to have the key out of the ignition in your pocket.  This will prevent extremely high voltages from entering your body.

Now that we understand the safety items, we will now discuss what tools we need to accomplish these tasks.  First you need to invest in a set of rubber gloves rated to 1000 plus volts.  It is recommended that you get these gloves checked every 6 months.  You are also going to want to invest in a rubber apron, to help keep high voltage away from your body.  Another thing that you are going to want to invest in for safety reasons is a face shield.  These are the safety tools that you are going to want to invest in.  It is a good idea to invest in a good set of hand tools that have rubber handles to further protect yourself from electrocution do to high voltage on your metal tools.  You will also want to invest in a special multimeter capable of reading high voltages such as 1000V CAT III Hybrid Multimeter .  This multimeter will allow you to test up to 1000 volts.  It also has a special insulator test that will let you test the insulation on high voltage wires on the hybrid vehicles.  This will help provide safety for you by letting you know if high voltage wires are exposed.

After talking about the tools needed we can now discuss some special things that apply to hybrid vehicles.  The first topic is changing oil.  This is fairly simple task, but it can go wrong and cause severe damage to the car.  To help prevent this it is recommended that you take the keys and put them in your pocket. This will prevent the car from accidently being turned on, and the electric motor needing a charge and starting the gasoline engine while you are draining oil, causing severe engine damage.  The next topic is changing the brake pads.  This is a really touchy subject.  This is because the brake pads are special pads for electric systems. They are extremely expensive.  The other problem with changing brake pads is that some of the systems use the brakes to charge their batteries.  To prevent the brake caliper from accidently crushing your hand while it is off of the car, it is recommended that you follow the proper procedures for disabling the system.  Another good idea is to have the car keys in your pockets at all time while you are working on the vehicle.

This article is very general and basic, but I hope that it gives you a little understanding of what working on hybrid vehicles involves.  The main thing that we must understand when working on hybrid vehicles is the fact that they run extremely high voltages to charge their batteries.  When working on these vehicles we must take extreme caution to not accidentally get shocked.

I hope this article helps people understand some of the basics.  More Hybrid Tools.

Written by: Cody Mammenga an NDSCS Student


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