Electric vehicle owners will tell you that they are just like regular cars, which is true in some respects. When starting an electric vehicle, you step on the right-hand pedal, and the car moves; you turn the steering wheel, and it turns.
However, the only difference is the source of fuel that powers it. Besides reducing the carbon footprint, with fewer moving parts, regenerative braking, and fewer fluids compared to a regular vehicle, electric car maintenance is more affordable and even simpler.
Even though it comprises several mechanical components that require repair, service, or replacement when it comes to an electric vehicle, you save the extra service cost of oil changes, spark plugs, cooling system flushes, tune-ups, transmission, drive belts, and differential savings.
Read on to learn more about electric car maintenance and does your electric vehicle needs oil changes?
How Do Electric Vehicles Work?
Though they might sound technical, the concept behind the functionality of electric vehicles isn’t that complicated. It is powered by an electric car battery that stores electricity and drives into motion.
The only primary difference here is that instead of being required to refuel the car every now and then, you will be required to recharge your electric vehicle after a long drive.
In order to charge your vehicle, all you have to do is plug it into a charging point, whether at home or at a public electric vehicle charging station.
Moreover, because it works only on electricity, electric vehicles don’t contain the typical fuel components such as fuel tank, fuel pump, or fuel line and emit no exhaust from the tailpipe.
Electric vehicles also accelerate faster than gas-powered cars- so they feel lighter and easier to drive.
Check out, How Much Does an Electric Car Weigh?
Does Your Electric Vehicle Need Oil Changes?
When it comes to electric car maintenance, the most common question is, “Does it require oil changes or not?” Fresh oil does a far better job of lubricating your vehicle, enabling their movement, and protecting them from damage.
However, due to the lack of an internal combustion engine that is typically found in gasoline-powered engines, electric vehicles do not need oil changes. It has no pistons, valves, or small delicate parts that need protection, which means that the oil isn’t necessary for an electric vehicle.
Just note that if you own a hybrid model that comprises both a conventional engine and an electric motor, it will require an oil change. As the no oil change policy can only be skipped in an all-electric car maintenance routine.
Electric Car Maintenance
Your electric vehicle’s elements with a gas-powered car, such as brakes and tires, do not need regular maintenance. Though less frequently, taillights do burn out, filters do get dirty, and even the coolant system requires replacement every once in a while.
Along with the lower price of electricity in comparison to gasoline, the affordable electric car maintenance cost is one of its greatest selling points.
According to a consumer report, the estimated average cost of electric car maintenance adds up to $0.03 per mile, which is half that of a traditional car.
This is primarily because the electric vehicle components that do not need maintenance include; alternators, engine air filters, catalytic converters, engine gaskets, fuel pumps, oil changes, oil filters, mufflers, pistons, spark plugs, serpentine belts, timing belts, and tune-ups.
On the flip side, the list of components that require electric car maintenance are as follows:
1. Battery Maintenance Check
One fact about electric vehicles is that “it’s only as good as its battery.” This means that performing a regular battery check is undoubtedly one of the most significant tasks in your electric car maintenance routine, especially if it runs on lithium-ion packs.
Though most electric vehicles can easily surpass 100,000 miles without regular servicing, specific pointers should remember in order to keep your electric car battery in its top condition:
- Never park an uncharged electric vehicle for long periods of time.
- An 80% charge is better for the battery’s lifetime. So, don’t always charge it to 100%.
- Don’t expose the electric vehicle battery to extreme climatic conditions, hot or cold.
- Avoid driving over rough terrains as it can result in deactivating the battery’s electric system.
- Don’t brake too aggressively.
- Keep a check on the Battery Management System.
- Avoid charging your electric vehicle in direct sunlight.
- Don’t over-consume the battery power by plugging several in-vehicle devices.
- Avoid using “Quick Charging” stations as it can diminish the battery’s longevity.
- When charging, always time your battery charger to avoid overcharges or undercharges.
Where complete battery system replacements can cost you from $3000 to over $15000 depending on vehicle model and make, performing regular electric vehicle battery maintenance can save the extra cost.
Therefore, stick to your electric car maintenance schedule and consult certified electric vehicle mechanics to assess the battery’s cycle count and check filter openings, fluid levels, and connections.
2. Brake Fluid Change
As stated earlier, your electric vehicle doesn’t require an oil change. However, there are other fluids that run through your electric vehicle and require proper maintenance – brake fluid and coolant.
Although the brakes of your electric vehicle will last longer than you think, the brake fluid still needs regular maintenance, especially if the warning light is flashing.
The easy way to do this is by buying the user manual suggested brake type, maintaining the fluid level, and checking for leaks. Doing so will reduce the likelihood of early brake system failure, which can burn a hole in your pocket.
If this doesn’t help and the problem prevails, schedule an appointment with an electric vehicle technician. Also, remember to get the brake fluid flushed every 3 to 5 years.
3. Tire Rotation
It’s important to follow the owner’s manual to keep up with your electric vehicle’s tire rotation. The recommended interval between tire rotations should be 5,000 to 10,000 miles.
4. Coolant System Maintenance
Most electric vehicles have exceptional thermal management or coolant systems to maintain the internal temperature and lower the battery’s burden.
For instance, the Chevrolet Volt comprises a series of plates located underneath its battery pack, commonly known as a rechargeable energy storage coolant system.
The system is responsible for increasing the battery’s chargeability and overall longevity and ensuring that it is working at its optimum temperature.
Therefore, keep a check on the coolant system’s functionality and get the antifreeze or coolant flush whenever required. Also, only opt for the coolant recommended in the owner’s manual.
5. Wheel Alignment
Is your electric vehicle shaking violently or pulling to either side, especially when traveling at high speed? An electric vehicle wheel alignment is what you need.
An electric vehicle technician can help you balance all four wheels and adjust their angles to match the manufacturer’s original specifications.
Opting for regular wheel alignment will reduce the tire tread wear and improve the electric vehicle’s mile range, ultimately increasing the tires’ durability and lifespan.
According to the general manufacturer’s guide, an electric vehicle wheel alignment should be performed every 15000 miles or once a year.
6. Air Conditioning Service
The air conditioning system of an electric vehicle requires proper maintenance. Just like deteriorating heater pump elements, dirty lubricants, and old refrigerators can reduce the air conditioner’s longevity and effectiveness, a neglected air conditioning system can as well.
Therefore, when it comes to servicing an air condition system, hiring a professional is the wisest choice to make. It requires special expertise, specific compressor oil, and AC refrigerant.
7. Air Filter Replacement
Similar to gas vehicles, most electric vehicles have air filters that help in reducing road dust, pollen, and other harmful particles from entering your indoor space.
But do you know the best thing about air filters? It’s that they are very cheap! This means that air filter electric car maintenance will only cost you $50 within a 2 to 3 years’ time span.
However, if your electric vehicle uses HEPA filters, the duration of these intervals can go up to 5 years.
8. Underbody Wash
Regular car washes are essential for your electric car maintenance routine. Oil, road salt, and other debris can cause significant damage to the undercarriage of your vehicle.
Opting for a good underbody wash will prevent rust from forming and early-onset oxidation, which can be catastrophic if left untreated.
Remember that spending a few dollars every year is better than buying a brand new electric vehicle.
9. Windshield Wiper Fluid
Electric cars are magical and advanced; however, don’t expect them to pull out wiper fluid out of a hat. The reserve of a standard electric car requires a windshield fluid refill every 5000 to 10000 miles.
Therefore, our advice is to keep a check on the fluid range and get it refilled whenever required.
10. Electric Vehicle Charging Station Maintenance
The electric car maintenance schedule doesn’t end with your car. Though a home electric vehicle charging station can last for more than ten years under ideal conditions, it requires proper maintenance.
To make things easier, we have jotted down a maintenance guide for your type of electric vehicle charging station:
- DC Fast Charging Chargers: Because they comprise unique components and are fitted with a special coolant system, DC Fast Charging Chargers require the most updates. However, most of these stations are commercial and not residential.
- Level 01 – ESVE Units: Being the most commonly used charging system, ESVE Units should be regularly cleaned with dish detergents and damp cloths. Moreover, their commercial-grade outlets should be replaced every once in a while.
- Level 02 – ESVE Systems: Comprising a more modular design, ESVE systems only require OEM parts updates rather than installation of a new charging unit. Keep the charging unit cleaned using moist cloths and cleaning detergents.
Your Electric Vehicle Maintenance Schedule
Compared to traditional vehicles’ 30,000, 60,000, or 90,000 miles services, the electric car maintenance schedule varies.
Not only is it less expensive, but the schedule for every electric vehicle depends on the make and model of the car.
To make it easier, we have generated a standard electric car maintenance routine that can work for all models:
Every 1-Month/30 Days:
- Examine the electric vehicle tires for wear and tear.
- Check the tire pressure.
- Keep a check on the windshield wiper fluid.
Every 7500 Miles:
- Check the battery’s coolant level.
- Get the tires rotated.
- Check the drive shafts and power steering for wear.
- Check the power inverter, charger modules, accessory power, and cabin heater.
- Inspect the gas struts to look for signs of suspension damage.
- Inspect the electric vehicle light bulbs and get them replaced.
- Check the steering, brakes, chassis components, and suspension for unusual damage or wear.
On Reaching 15000 Miles:
- Get the windshield wiper blades replaced.
On Reaching 35000 Miles:
- Get the cabin air filter replaced.
After Completing 75000 Miles:
- Drain the coolant circuits and get them serviced.
- Get the suspension gas struts replaced.
The best thing about electric vehicles is that their brake pads don’t need to be frequently changed unlike gas-powered cars.
This is because an electric vehicle uses the regenerative braking system, which means that the kinetic energy from the car under the braking system is used to charge the electric vehicle’s battery, resulting in being gentle on the brake pads.
An electric vehicle’s battery is the most expensive component to be replaced. However, almost every electric vehicle comes with a battery manufacturer’s warranty of 100,000 miles or 8-years.
Related Electric Car articles:
- Are Electric Cars Better for Environment
- Is It Worth It to Buy an Electric Car?
- Are Electric Cars Good for Road Trips and Highway Driving?
- How to travel in electric cars
- What to Do When Your Electric Car Runs Out of Charge?
Wrapping It Up!
Electric vehicles are a rare breed within the automobile world. Unlike traditional cars, they don’t require frequent oil changes, yearly emission inspections, or new spark plugs.
Heck, thanks to their ability to stop without the need for any mechanically-based friction or regenerative braking technology, an electric vehicle doesn’t even require brake changes.
While electric car maintenance is easier and cost-effective, it doesn’t mean that you have the leverage to skip a service schedule. Electric vehicles have a list of their own necessary service demands Therefore, to keep your vehicle in top-notch condition, it is essential to follow your electric car maintenance schedule to the tee.
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.