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Tips on Buying a Used Hybrid

Hybrid cars are higher in demand than they have ever been. Luckily, over 2 million hybrid cars have been sold in the last decade, now putting hundreds of thousands of USED hybrid cars, especially the Toyota Prius (which consisted of roughly half of the new hybrid sales)  out onto the market. 

Finally, used hybrids are available in abundance to the public. However, there are a few specific things to look for when buying a used hybrid that are not applicable when buying a used fuel-based car. 
As with purchasing any used car, it is important to have a qualified mechanic inspect the vehicle. It is vital to make sure that the mechanic you choose in knowledgeable of hybrid cars because of their complex and intricate nature. 

You cannot simply assume that any dealership will have mechanics that are trained in hybrids. Call before hand and ask; if they say ‘no’, then move on. One resource to search for the perfect mechanic is the Auto Career Development Center. 

One key indicator of potential internal problems of a used hybrid is its brake history. The electric motor of hybrid vehicles helps to slow the car down naturally, consequently leaving the brakes to be, generally, in much better condition than fuel-operated cars. Therefore, if there is a history of brake replacement on the used hybrid in question, than the previous owner had to have driven the car in a very hard manner. Thus, a closer inspection of the condition of other internal parts should be completed in order to make sure no other parts were affected by the previous driver’s habits. 

One big plus to purchasing a used hybrid, other than the monetary savings in gas and insurance, is the extremely reliant and resilient battery life of the hybrid batteries. Federal regulations require the cars to have a minimum of 100,000 mile or eight-year battery warranties (some states, such as California, have even longer minimums). Therefore, if the hybrid you are looking to buy is under 5 years old, then the battery need not be an issue. 

Used hybrids are surprisingly affordable. A new 2013 Prius in generally priced in the $24,000-$32,000 price range. Used hybrids are nearly half the price. Here are some current used hybrid listings: A 2006 Prius with 58,000 miles if going for $16,000, while a 2008 Prius with 83,000 miles is going for $15,000. Pretty sweet deal, right?

Sources: New York Times
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