SANTA MONICA, Calif. — May 20, 2013 — With a growing volume of new hybrid cars in the automotive market each year, the number of used hybrids available to shoppers will only continue to swell, too. And while the process of buying a used hybrid isn't much different from buying any other used car, Edmunds.com, the premier resource for car shopping and automotive information, says that there are a few special factors that used hybrid shoppers should consider before making a deal.
"Used hybrids can offer great deals for car shoppers who are willing to do a little extra homework," says Edmunds.com Green Car Editor John O'Dell. "Many buyers are not familiar with all of the technology that helps hybrids deliver such great fuel economy, and it's critical that they understand exactly what to expect."
After used hybrid shoppers read the general information in the Quick Guide to Buying a Used Car, Edmunds.com advises them to consider the following hybrid-specific tips:
Limited Options (for now) — Experts estimate that there are more than 415,000 used hybrids on the market right now in the U.S. But shoppers will find that a large number of those vehicles bear the Toyota Prius nameplate. That's because the Prius has accounted for about half of all new hybrid sales. There are now about two dozen other conventional hybrid models for sale in the U.S., but most of them are so new that they've yet to establish much of a presence in the secondhand market.
Know Your Battery — All hybrids, regardless of battery type, come new with at least an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty. In most cases, that means the used hybrids you're looking at will still have some battery warranty remaining. But if a buyer has to foot the bill for a replacement battery down the road, the cost could range from $1,700 for a Honda Civic Hybrid to as much as $4,900 for a Nissan Altima Hybrid.
Get it Inspected — Edmunds.com advises all used car buyers to have their vehicles inspected before purchase, but there's a special note of caution for hybrid buyers: Not all mechanics are capable of working on hybrid cars. It's critical to find a mechanic who has successfully completed a hybrid technician program.
Check the Brakes — Hybrid brakes usually last much longer than brakes on conventional vehicles. That means a big savings on regular maintenance costs. But if maintenance records show frequent brake jobs, you may be dealing with a hybrid that was driven hard by a previous owner.
Edmunds.com lays out all of the factors that used hybrid shoppers should consider at http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/tips-for-used-hybrid-car-shopping.html.
Shoppers can check pricing and reviews on all used hybrid vehicles on the market today at http://www.edmunds.com/hybrid/used-car.html.
About Edmunds.com, Inc.
Edmunds.com is a car-shopping Web site committed to helping people find the car that meets their every need. Almost 18 million visitors use our research, shopping and buying tools every month to make an easy and informed decision on their next new or used car. Whether you're at the dealership or on the go, we're always by your side with our five-star Edmunds.com iPhone and iPad apps and our Edmunds.com Android App. Our comprehensive car reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories offer a friendly and authentic approach to the automotive world. We're based in Santa Monica, Calif., but you can connect with us from anywhere by following @Edmunds on Twitter or by becoming a fan of Edmunds.com on Facebook.