Hybrid vehicles are gaining popularity nationwide and sales are increasing, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. With more of these cars on the road, there will be more used electric vehicles available to consumers. So, what should you look for when purchasing a used electric or hybrid vehicle? Below we outline some helpful tips for buying a used hybrid car.

What to Consider When Buying a Used Hybrid

If you haven’t owned an electric or hybrid vehicle before, the first question you need to ask yourself is if this is the right car for you. Once you’ve weighed the options and understand the main differences from a gas-powered vehicle, you might consider are used hybrid cars worth it? You may be motivated by improving your fuel economy, but there are other considerations when shopping hybrid cars.

Purchase Price

When price shopping hybrid vehicles, you’ll see two types that come up frequently: traditional hybrids and plug-in hybrids. A traditional hybrid combines both internal combustion engine and an electric motor while a plug-in hybrid plugs into an external power source to recharge its electric battery. A plug-in hybrid will have a higher price tag than the traditional. Your budget is something to consider when deciding which is right for you.

Battery Health

Consider asking the seller for information about the car’s battery, including if there is a battery warranty. You can also request to take the car into a shop to have the hybrid battery scanned for issues like battery drain.

Battery Replacement Costs

A hybrid battery will likely cost more than you’re used to seeing with a gas-fueled vehicle. Luckily, they last longer too. The cost of replacing the battery is something you should price before purchasing so you’re aware of the price you may be looking at in the future.

Maintenance and Repairs

Along the same lines of planning for battery replacement, it’s wise to price what other ongoing maintenance will be required for the used hybrid. Things like hybrid brake pads and tending to the complex hybrid system may cost more than what you’re used to seeing with a gas-fueled car.

Resale Value

The resale value of your car may not seem important when shopping, but it will matter if and when you sell the car in the future. Factors like car color, brand and mileage will affect how much money you can get for your car when the time comes to sell, possibly impacting the next car you’ll be able to afford.

What to Look for When Buying a Used Hybrid Car

Once you’ve decided a hybrid is the right fit for you, what should you be looking for while shopping? You’ll notice many of the selling points look the same as shopping for a gas-powered vehicle.

  1. Check the Vehicle History

    Knowing a vehicle’s history can offer insights on service records, major repairs and accident history. There are multiple resources available online to obtain a car’s history and it’s worth looking into before making a purchase.

  2. Compare Fuel Efficiency

    Save money in the long run by running the numbers on what you’ll spend on fueling your hybrid. This is a major selling point for hybrid cars but it’s wise to know the numbers before you buy.

  3. Get an Inspection

    To verify there are no underlying issues that may cause you trouble in the future, you might consider having a professional peek at the inside. An auto shop will be able to look into the battery pack condition, suspension and steering quality, signs of collision damage, evidence of rust or mold and more.

  4. Take a Test Drive

    The best way to get a feel for a car is to get behind the wheel. This is when you might find issues that you wouldn’t have noticed without driving like problems with power assist steering and an odd engine noise. Here are some tips for your test drive.


Put Protection in Place

No matter what car you buy, you need to make sure you’re protected on the road. Call your local Farm Bureau agent to add any new or new-to-you car to your policy. We can answer your questions and give you peace of mind knowing you’re better protected.


Want to learn more?

Contact a local FBFS agent or advisor for answers personalized to you.