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BG Products, Inc.

Do hybrid cars need oil changes?

Yes, hybrids need oil changes. If you own a hybrid but have never had the oil changed, please heed this advice: hybrid vehicles, while incredibly fuel-efficient, are not low maintenance vehicles. (Low maintenance vehicles don’t really exist by the way. But, instead of listening to me on my soapbox, you can just read this article.)

So yes, just like all other vehicles, hybrids need oil changes. But, thanks to their design and how we drive them, they need a little bit more than a standard oil change. 

What makes a hybrid different?

Hybrid vehicles operate differently than traditional fuel-burning cars. They have a gas-powered engine and a battery. And they can run off of either one. While those components seem relatively straightforward to maintain on their own, combine the two and it’s a whole new ball game.

The majority of hybrid owners live in urban areas and drive relatively short distances with frequent starts and stops. If this sounds like you, then your hybrid typically operates on its battery, only occasionally using the gas-powered engine. 

Why does driving style matter?

It matters because these short and infrequent drive cycles present challenges to the gasoline fuel systems and engine oil environments that are unique to hybrid vehicles.

Problem: Fuel oxidation

Hybrids are extremely fuel-efficient (I know, I know, thanks Captain Obvious). Many hybrid engines use a technology called “Stop-Start.” This means that when a hybrid is operating by engine, it shuts off when the vehicle stops and starts again when you engage the gas pedal. Smart, right?

You can get by on only a few gallons of gas per month thanks to a hybrid’s battery and electric capabilities. This is great news for your wallet, but bad news for the gas in your car.

When gas sits in a fuel system for too long, it starts to oxidize (ie. it goes bad). This “bad gas” causes byproducts to develop that can destroy fuel system components. It can also lead to poor burning fuel and an increase in engine deposits. So, the money you’re saving on gas can end up being spent on expensive vehicle repairs. 

Problem: Moisture

When an engine warms up and then cools down, small amounts of condensation can form in the engine crankcase. If the engine doesn’t run long enough to burn off that condensation, it can lead to moisture accumulation. That’s a problem. 

If you recall, hybrids probably aren’t getting the chance to run their engines long enough. They are either using their Stop-Start technology or rarely using their engine at all. They will likely fall prey to this buildup of moisture. And eventually, this moisture will corrode engine components. 

More than just an oil change

So not only do hybrids need oil changes, but they need a little more TLC than your average oil change. We know this at BG, so we formulated products specifically with hybrids in mind as part of our BG Hybrid Performance Service.

BG Platinum™ 44K® for Hybrids helps stabilize the fuel, keeping it fresh and ready to burn, even when it has been stored in the vehicle for long periods of time (I’m looking at you, hybrids). It also has increased anti-corrosion chemistry to help protect fuel system components.

BG Advanced Formula MOA® for Hybrids is added to engine oil during an oil change. It contains special detergency to tackle the moisture accumulation in hybrid engines (bye-bye moisture problem).

BG EPR® Engine Performance Restoration® for Hybrids cleans the engine, removing deposits and helping restore an engine’s performance. 

Key takeaways

No vehicle is low maintenance (and the ones that are treated that way probably end up in the dump before they reach 100k miles). But, just because hybrids need special care doesn’t mean they are high maintenance. Thanks to BG, your hybrid’s special requirements are covered.

After all, adding a 3-part kit of high-quality products to your oil change isn’t exactly high maintenance… it’s just, maintenance. 

Andy Berlin

BG Product Technical Service Representative

Andy Berlin brings 24 years of experience as a chemist and product technology advisor to the BG Products R&D team. He acts as a technical advisor, helping international and domestic distributors and sales representatives understand BG product chemistry and applications. Andy writes technical articles for the BG Blendr’ and contributes content for use in social media and digital marketing.

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