The inner workings of an electric car are very different to those of a regular car. Packed full of complicated technology, when you open up the hood of an electric car, you might be surprised with what you find.
Because of this, many people expect the maintenance of an electric car to be costly and complicated. Actually, the opposite is true. Electric cars have fewer moving mechanical parts, so maintenance is both easier, and less expensive.
However, that doesn’t mean an electric car doesn’t need any maintenance at all. There’s more than just an engine to a car. For all electric car owners, this guide gives a quick look at the level of maintenance that needs to be carried out. This way, your vehicle can stay healthy for mile after mile.
What’s different about electric car maintenance?
The major difference in maintenance between a regular car and an electric car is the simplicity. An electric vehicle, or EV, doesn’t have anywhere near the same amount of moving parts and engine pieces as a traditional vehicle.
An internal combustion engine is packed full of important mechanisms, all of which work together and are vital for the correct running of the car. But they’re also liable to faults – this leads to a lot of necessary maintenance. As an EV doesn’t have the same amount of engine parts, maintenance can be streamlined.
While the engine won’t need the same level of maintenance, there are parts unique to the EV that require consistent care. Under the hood of an electric car are complex electrical components that ensure the smooth running of your vehicle.
High voltage relay banks and cables, AC pumps, and power steering motors are all found in an EV, and all need care. A professional mechanic will be needed to run checks, but much of the maintenance can be accomplished with a visual assessment.
The fluids in an EV are also reduced, again lowering the level of maintenance needed.
Without the same engine, an EV has an electric battery. The battery of an electric car does also need to be serviced, but this won’t fall under the banner of regular maintenance. EV batteries are designed to last for almost 10 years, and diagnostic tools can assess the health of the cells.
Although there may be many differences between electric and standard, there are also similarities that an EV owner needs to be aware of. Like all cars, steering, suspension, and the brakes will need maintenance. However, the advanced nature of an EV does mean that the necessary maintenance is reduced.
Brakes especially need only a limited amount of upkeep. Regenerative braking means the electric motor slows the car, reducing the wear that the brakes encounter. The brake pads and disks will still need replacement and care, but less often than in a traditional car.
There are parts of the EV that are essentially similar to the regular car: tires and wipers. These are subject to the usual wear that accompanies any vehicle, and so will need to be maintained.
What maintenance do electric cars need?
Although an electric car doesn’t require the same kind of maintenance as a regular vehicle, it does still need to be taken care of. However, an owner shouldn’t be required to spend much time searching under the hood for faults. Similarly, while services are necessary, they should hopefully be quicker – and cheaper.
As an owner, many areas of maintenance will fall under the category of regular care. Tires in particular need to be checked often. This is actually one area where the electric car can be at a disadvantage. The heavy battery weighs down on the tires, as does the instant torque delivery.
An EV owner can often find that their tires wear out surprisingly fast, at least when compared with a traditional car. They needed to be rotated, as the owner’s manual instructs. The pressure also needs to be monitored, and topped up as necessary. The tires on an EV will likely need to be replaced with more regularity.
The battery may have a long life, but it’s important to take care of it to ensure it lasts. The battery shouldn’t be allowed to run out completely, and it should be kept efficiently charged. Check the user’s manual, which should give an indication of the best way to keep the battery healthy.
The fluids in an electric vehicle are reduced, but they do still need to be cared for. The brake fluid will need to be changed roughly every two years. Coolant is used to keep the battery operating efficiently, and this will need to be topped up or flushed on occasion.
Windshield wiper fluid also needs to be topped up and replaced. Some EVs also use transmission fluid. Be sure to check the guide for your specific model, as care levels differ. In some cars, the fluids will be sealed, and only accessible via servicing.
How often do electric cars need to be serviced?
Although the electric car may not need the same level of maintenance as a regular vehicle, it’s important to follow the same timeline for services. The engine may be simpler, but the EV still has the same safety features as a standard car. The brakes and suspension need to be checked, to ensure the car is safe to drive.
When a service is required will partly depend on the vehicle itself, so be sure to check the specific guides. An electric car is an advanced vehicle, and many of them are programmed to alert you to when maintenance is needed.
Your maintenance requirements may also depend on how easily you can access a garage that offers support for electric vehicles.
While it is important to regularly get your EV serviced, the maintenance should be quicker and cheaper. The tires may wear down, but other parts, such as the brakes, have a longer life compared to a regular car. Overall, maintenance of an electric vehicle is easy to achieve.