Thomas Content:

An Oconomowoc car repair shop is broadening its repair service to include reconditioning of batteries in hybrid electric vehicles.

Silver Lake Auto Center is the first in the Midwest to perform a new service to help boost fuel economy for hybrid cars with aging batteries.

The repair shop technicians will work to recondition HEV batteries in a service that until now has been only available on the East and West coasts, as well as Texas.

Owners of older hybrid vehicles may experience problems with the battery or a decrease in their miles per charge.

In December, Dan Garlock, Silver Lake’s general manager, and three of his technicians went through intensive training. The dealership also invested in battery discharging, diagnostic and re-charging equipment.

Garlock expanded into hybrid repair in part because of a love of technology and also because of the growing number of people in Waukesha County who are buying the high-mileage vehicles. He found there are 11,000 hybrids registered within a 25-mile radius of his shop.

“Waukesha County is really strong with the hybrids,” he said. “There are a lot of commuters traveling in between Madison and Milwaukee and we’re kind of in the middle here. So it made sense to jump into it.”