Preparing for Hybrids and EVs

Preparing for Hybrids and EVs

By preparing now, you can reassure your customers that your skills are up to the challenge.

The biggest question facing you as an automotive service professional is likely, “when will hybrid and electric vehicles be coming into my bays?” The quick answer, of course, is, they’re probably already there.

However, while news headlines may make it seem like there will be no internal combustion engines on the road next week, we all know that is an unrealistic expectation. The reality is that a lot of what is promised is – at best – decades away. Yet, there are preparations being taken by the leaders in the industry to prepare techs for what they can expect.

Experts say that, with hybrids, the service requirements will be quite similar to what we see with today’s internal combustion engines in terms of fluid change intervals and maintenance. However, the types of oil that will be required with hybrids will change. The constant stopping and starting of engines in hybrid vehicles may prevent them from warming up to achieve peak performance. This less-than-ideal operating temperature may cause sludge, corrosion and motor oil breakdown that can impact fuel economy and engine life.

A premium full-synthetic motor oil formulated with the highest quality base oils and premium additive chemistry, that allows proper emulsification of engine oil and water for maximum protection, will be required. In addition, enhanced anti-corrosion technology will prevent rusting of metal engine components.

In addition to enhanced oil change procedures, you’ll need to be aware of updated tools and processes all around these hybrid vehicles. Here are some key considerations regarding other service opportunities.

You’ll want to be proficient with tire rotation because those new vehicles are heavy. They wear the tires, produce a lot of torque at low RPM and people really ride them for quick starts. Develop a thorough inspection process, and expect to spend some time with each vehicle you service.

Many electric vehicles are heavier than those with internal combustion engines, thanks in large part to the battery packs that can weigh from 1,000 to nearly 3,000 lbs. each. These high-voltage batteries occupy most of the vehicle’s undercarriage, pushing lifting points out to the extreme edges of the frame, making it tricky to lift the vehicle. To safely raise an electric vehicle for service, you’ll need a lift with sufficient rated load capacity and the ability to reach the OEM-recommended lifting points.

You’ll likely need some new tools to handle these new procedures, but don’t panic – the steps you’ll follow may seem foreign at first, but you’ve been here before. Soon, servicing hybrids will be second nature.

Your customers may be intimidated by the technology under their hoods – by preparing now, you can reassure them that your skills are up to the challenge. For more information on training opportunities, visit Valvoline.com.

This video is sponsored by The Group Training Academy.

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EV Safety Basics on the Shop Floor – Part II

As long as you follow the EV guidelines, you are going to have to use the proper PPE and insulated tools.

Staying safe while working on an electric vehicle requires the correct shop equipment as well as the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) and shortcuts are simply not an option. Let’s take a look at everything you are going to need.

We’ll start with PPE and electrical safety gloves. Class zero electrical insulating gloves rated for 1000 volts are required for EV service. Simply put, these gloves prevent high voltage from traveling through your hands, and they must be tested every time you use them by checking for a pinhole or any damage that could allow voltage to pass through a glove. A glove inflator is the most efficient way to do this. Insulating gloves must also be clean and dry so there are no conductive substances that can allow high voltage to travel outside the glove to your arm. Treat these safety gloves with extreme care. They can be damaged easily and they’re sensitive to UV rays, so they should be stored in a dark, dry environment. A ventilated UV-resistant bag is the best option. Safety gloves must also be re-certified every six months. You’ll also wear them with a leather outer glove to protect them, most prefer to wear an inner cotton glove as a liner to allow your hands to breathe.

EV Safety Basics on the Shop Floor – Part I

It’s critical to utilize OEM service information and procedures for each and every hybrid or EV.

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