What Maintenance Do Electric Cars Need?

Beyond charging: Decoding the maintenance checklist for your electric car

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By Max Bender

What Maintenance Do Electric Cars Need?

In this article we will explore the maintenance needs of electric vehicles (EVs), breaking down the essentials by component and addressing common questions.

Do Electric Cars Ever Need Maintenance?

Yes, electric cars need maintenance, though less frequently than their combustion engine counterparts.
Electric cars are highlighted for their mechanical simplicity, relying on a motor and battery rather than the thousands of moving parts found in internal combustion engines. Despite this simplicity, you cannot overlook the necessity of regular servicing for EVs to ensure safety and performance.

Key components like brakes, suspension, and battery condition require periodic checks, alongside software updates. Now, let’s see exactly what type of maintenance electric cars require.

Maintenance Needed, by Component

Ensuring the longevity and performance of your electric vehicle (EV) involves regular maintenance of key components. Let’s dive into the specifics of what needs attention, from the battery to the brakes, to keep your EV running smoothly

Electric Battery

The battery in an electric vehicle (EV) is akin to its lifeline, dictating range, performance, and overall longevity. Unlike traditional cars that require oil changes, the EV battery is largely maintenance-free. However, it’s not entirely devoid of care needs. Regular diagnostic checks can help monitor the battery’s health, including its charging capacity and any potential degradation over time.

Many EVs come with built-in battery management systems that optimize battery performance and lifespan. Owners should avoid extreme temperatures and consistently charging to 100% to prevent undue strain on the battery.

Brakes and Brake Maintenance

Thanks to regenerative braking, which recharges the battery during braking, EVs experience less wear on brake pads and discs compared to traditional vehicles. Despite this, the braking system still requires attention. Hydraulic brake fluid, crucial for transmitting force within the braking system, can degrade or leak over time, necessitating regular inspections and replacements to ensure the system’s integrity and safety.

Cabin Air Filter

The cabin air filter plays a critical role in maintaining the quality of air inside the vehicle. It captures pollen, dust, and other airborne particles. Over time, the filter can become clogged, reducing airflow and the efficiency of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Regular replacement of the cabin air filter, typically once a year or as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, ensures a clean, healthy, and comfortable driving environment.

Tire Rotations and Tire Pressure

Tire maintenance is crucial for EVs, as improper tire care can significantly impact vehicle efficiency and safety. Regular tire rotations ensure even tire wear, extending the lifespan of the tires and maintaining optimal vehicle handling. Additionally, keeping tires inflated to the correct pressure is essential for maximizing the vehicle’s range and preventing premature tire wear.

EVs often have tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) that alert the driver to any discrepancies in tire pressure.

Cooling and Battery Coolant

EVs rely on sophisticated cooling systems to manage battery temperature, especially during fast charging or in extreme weather conditions. The coolant in these systems needs to be at the proper level and condition to function effectively. Regular checks and maintenance of the cooling system, including the replacement of the coolant as specified by the manufacturer, are vital to prevent overheating and ensure the battery’s longevity.

Suspension

The suspension system’s role in absorbing impacts and maintaining vehicle stability is critical, especially in EVs, which are often heavier than their gasoline counterparts due to the battery’s weight. Regular inspections can identify signs of wear and tear, such as worn shocks or struts, which may require adjustments or replacements. Properly maintained suspension contributes to a smoother ride and better handling.

Wipers

Visibility is paramount in all driving conditions, making windshield wipers an essential safety feature. Wiper blades deteriorate over time due to exposure to the elements, losing their effectiveness. Inspecting the wipers regularly and replacing them when they start to streak or miss areas of the windshield ensures clear visibility during rain or snow.

Gearbox Lubrication

While electric vehicles feature simpler drivetrains than those with internal combustion engines, they do include a gearbox that requires lubrication to function smoothly. This lubrication reduces friction and wear on the gearbox components, ensuring efficient power transfer from the electric motor to the wheels. The lubricant level and condition should be checked periodically and replaced according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.

Fluids and Oil

Although EVs don’t use engine oil in the traditional sense, they do have other fluids that require attention, such as brake fluid and coolant for the battery and electronics. These fluids play critical roles in the vehicle’s operation and safety. Regular checks ensure these fluids are at the correct levels and are not degraded, ensuring the vehicle’s systems operate efficiently and reliably.

What Maintenance Do Electric Cars Need?
Batteries can be considered one of the main maintenance considerations for electric vehicles (EVs). Proper care and monitoring are crucial to maximize battery health and efficiency.

Q&As on Electric Car Maintenance

To finish with, some frequently asked questions on this topic.

What Routine Maintenance is Required for Electric Vehicles?

Routine maintenance for electric vehicles includes vehicle inspections to check battery health, tire condition, brake system, cooling system, and other essential components. Regular vehicle inspections ensure the EV operates efficiently and safely.

Typically, a multi-point vehicle inspection should be conducted every 12 months or after every 10,000 miles traveled, depending on which milestone is reached first.

This guideline serves as a general recommendation for vehicle maintenance to ensure your car remains in optimal condition. However, it’s important to note that specific intervals can vary based on the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, the model of the car, and its usage conditions. Always refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the most accurate maintenance schedule.

Are Electric Cars Low Maintenance, Compared To Traditional Cars?

Yes, electric cars are typically lower maintenance than traditional gasoline or diesel vehicles. This is because they have fewer moving parts and do not require oil changes, leading to less frequent service needs and potentially lower long-term maintenance costs.

What are the Most Common Problems with Electric Cars?

Common issues include battery degradation, electrical malfunctions, and problems with the cooling system. Regular maintenance and diagnostics can mitigate these issues.

What is the Lifespan of an Electric Car?

The lifespan of an electric car can vary but is generally comparable to combustion engine vehicles, with many models expected to last over 200,000 miles with proper care.

The battery, often with a warranty of 8 to 10 years, may need replacement during the vehicle’s life.

A Conclusion

In summary, maintaining an electric vehicle (EV) involves a systematic approach to ensure its components, from the battery to the brakes, are in optimal condition. Despite the mechanical simplicity that reduces maintenance frequency compared to combustion engine vehicles, EVs require regular checks and servicing.

Key components such as the battery, brakes, cabin air filter, tires, cooling system, suspension, and wipers play crucial roles in the vehicle’s performance and safety. Regular maintenance not only extends the lifespan of these components but also enhances the driving experience.

Addressing common questions, we’ve highlighted the importance of routine inspections, the most common EV issues, and their overall lifespan, emphasizing that with proper care, EVs are a reliable and efficient choice for modern transportation.

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