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Raise your Hy-Q

Refocus your attention on hybrid repairs
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 10:54

If you’re like most repairers, you’ve already worked on hybrid vehicles and, odds are, they didn’t pose any particular difficulties. These vehicles have been around for more than a decade, and there’s plenty of repair information and safety material around to help you fix them correctly while protecting your employees and business.

Unfortunately, these same factors can in time work against you. Safety statistics show that businesses like shops run into some of their biggest problems handling potentially dangerous and sensitive products after they’ve spent several years working around them. The main reason: complacency sets in. This is a big reason why shops still have easily-avoidable accidents with welders, tools, caustic substances and flammable products. It’s the same reason why some shops still are hit with OSHA and other workplace safety violations. They get a little too comfortable with their work habits, stop sticking to all guidelines at all times and casually ignore new information.

Let’s put a stop to that with hybrid repairs. Here’s another look at the major repair and safety issues you need to attend to, along with some reminders of just how complex hybrid repairs can be.

Repairing hybrids goes well beyond identifying the orange, high voltage wires.

The basics
The two most basic rules regarding working on hybrids remain the same: the orange wires are the potentially deadly high-voltage lines. When working around them, you need protective gloves rated for 600 volts and over.

While avoiding the orange lines is easy enough to remember and follow, you need to keep one other point in mind. These lines remain dangerous at all times. Even if a manual disconnect device has been activated to allow the vehicle to be serviced, the energy potential within the battery cannot be disabled. You need to assume at all times that the battery, hybrid components and the orange wires still possess or carry 300 volts of electricity.

This remains true even if the battery has suffered severe damage. It must always be handled with caution and only by a trained technician since mishandling it can result in serious injury or death.

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