Almost all car manufacturers are making hybrid vehicles these days. Even the manufacturers of high end sports cars have started using electric motors and batteries to increase the performance of the vehicles while reducing the emissions at the same time.
Hybrid systems allow the combustion engine to shut down while the batteries provide power to move the vehicle. The batteries are charged up fairly quickly through regenerative braking and running the engine to work as a generator. During stop and go traffic, the engine won’t be running nearly as much and your MPG’s will stay high.
What the hybrid drive system malfunction warning light means
Most automakers include a warning light to let the driver know of any problems with the hybrid system. Hybrid drive systems are complex, so the light can come on for a variety of reasons.
If the light comes on while driving, you should pull over safely and shut off the car for a few minutes. Sometimes, this reset will cause the computer to recheck everything and can turn off the light. Like the check engine light, even the smallest errors that are detected will turn the light on even if nothing is actually going wrong with the car’s hybrid drive system.
If the reset doesn’t work, have the car scanned for codes that will help identify any problems. You may or may not be able to use the car in this state, depending on the severity of the problem. Check the fuses if you get a chance as a blown one could cause issues with your hybrid system. Mainly, remember to check the fuse for the hybrid battery itself. This high amperage fuse is commonly integrated into the hybrid battery service disconnect. The service disconnect unplugs the high voltage battery from the rest of the car so that repairs can be performed safely. Your owner’s manual should have more information on where to locate the service disconnect to inspect the fuse. If a fuse is the cause of the issue, once you have it replaced, the light should go out immediately.
Is it safe to drive with the hybrid drive system malfunction warning light on?
Even if you can still use the car, you should not ignore this warning indicator. When this light turns on, it can help you to identify a component that is starting to fail, such as the battery. Get any warnings checked out before a small issue becomes an actual problem. Remember, it could be as simple as switching out a bad fuse.
If you think your hybrid system is malfunctioning, our certified technicians are always available to help you diagnose any problems.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as What Does the Hybrid Drive System Malfunction Warning Light Mean? and was authored by Spencer Cates.