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The Best OBD Scanner for Hybrid Battery Issues

By Joe Ballard
Published on May 22nd, 2024

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A Hybrid vehicle uses both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor for propulsion. The electric motor is powered by a high-voltage battery pack that is charged by a regenerative braking system, sometimes referred to as the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). The KERS does not replace the traditional braking system but instead acts as a critical alternative.

Hybrid vehicle

The energy collected from KERS is stored in the hybrid battery pack and used to power the vehicle from a stop to about 25 MPH, at which point the gas engine takes over. The cycle of stopping (charging the battery) and starting (using the battery) is why the Hybrid's city/highway fuel economy is higher than that of a non-hybrid.

Under normal circumstances, the battery will last from 8 to 10 years; however, aggressive driving and extreme temperatures can decrease battery life, while optimal charging and consistent maintenance can extend battery life. The role of regular vehicle check-ups using an OBD scanner is crucial. This tool provides valuable insights into your battery's health and empowers you to take proactive steps to maintain it. Whether you are a DIYer and perform the check-ups yourself or bring the vehicle in for service, an OBD scanner is critical for a long, uneventful battery life.

What Are The Warning Signs That the Hybrid Battery Is Starting to Fail

If you have noticed warning lights on the dashboard, a sudden drop in gas mileage, or the vehicle's battery struggling to stay charged, it is time to take action and find out what is going on. For this article, I will use my 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid as an example of potential problems.

  • If fuel economy decreases, it could mean that the hybrid battery is failing. This is a significant issue as an underperforming battery causes the car to use the gas engine more, resulting in higher fuel usage and increased costs.
  • If you observe that the dashboard charging indicator display indicates erratic charging readings, then it might mean the Hybrid battery is failing. This is a serious issue because it affects how well your car runs.
  • If the hybrid battery is not holding a charge overnight, it might be failing. This issue may prevent your car from starting, so you need to resolve this problem ASAP.
  • If your gas engine is running more frequently, it could mean that the hybrid battery is failing. A hybrid's efficiency is due to its reduced reliance on the gas engine and increased reliance on the electric motor for propulsion.
  • If you hear unusual noises under the hood from the electric fan or other components, it could mean that the hybrid battery is failing, causing these components to work harder.
  • If you observe that the charging system is over/undercharging, this could mean that the hybrid battery is having an issue. Some signs are frequent stalls, dimming headlights, reduced fuel economy, erratic battery behavior, and dashboard warning lights.

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Key Takeaways

The typical warranty for the hybrid battery in my car is ten years or 100,000 miles, whichever happens first. If the hybrid battery fails, then Hyundai will cover the replacement cost. If the vehicle is out of warranty, the typical cost would be from $2,000 to $6,000 plus labor to replace it. With this in mind, if I were to see any of the warning signs, I would immediately connect my Innova 5610 scanner to the car and run a HYBRID BATTERY CHECK/BATTERY ALTERNATOR TEST to check the Hybrid/EV battery system to ensure that it is operating within acceptable limits.

Innova scanner

Using the OBD scanner to check the hybrid battery's status periodically is an important step toward extending its life. If you uncover an issue with the battery, there is a good chance that it will be replaced under warranty. If you uncover an issue with any of the systems that support the hybrid battery, you have drastically improved the chances that the battery will not fail. The other steps that you can take to prevent issues from shortening the hybrid battery's life are as follows:

  • Adjust your driving habits to avoid sudden starts and stops. Opting for smooth starts and stops can significantly improve hybrid battery life.
  • Ensuring that the battery charge remains between 20% and 80% will go a long way to increasing the longevity of the hybrid battery.
  • Try to protect your car from harsh weather conditions (heat or cold), as this will degrade the Hybrid battery life.
  • Don't leave your car parked for prolonged periods. Try to drive it daily to maintain the Hybrid battery's health and efficiency.


Fuel-saving hybrids provide an excellent alternative for people who want to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on fuel costs. In most cases, a Hybrid is an excellent choice because it does not have to be plugged in, so it provides more freedom, especially if you live in a rural area (few charging stations) or travel long distances for work or play. Additionally, the main benefit of a Hybrid is that it captures and reuses braking energy that would otherwise be lost as heat and wear and tear on the brakes. Using KERS to recharge the hybrid battery saves fuel costs and increases MPG by utilizing the electric motor to delay gas engine use.

The key to the Hybrid vehicle's success lies in using the hybrid battery. It is important to periodically check the status of the battery to ensure that you are getting the full benefit of this technology. Suppose you observe or encounter any warning signs that the hybrid battery may fail. In that case, it is imperative to connect your vehicle to an OBD scanner and run the tests on the Hybrid/EV battery system. Taking this proactive step could save you from being stranded or, worse, spending thousands to replace the hybrid battery.

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