Maintaining an Electric Car

By
Laurance Yap
Updated:
Sep 2022
Time to read:
4
min
One of the best things about an electric car is that you won't have to pay for tune-ups, oil changes, cooling system flushes, spark plugs, drive belts, or transmission and differential servicing. But EVs are still cars, and will still require some maintenance over time. Read on to learn more.
person putting air in tires

Fewer Moving Parts Means Fewer Headaches

One of the best things about an electric car is that it will be cheaper in maintenance costs over the long haul, as well as more affordable to “fuel.” 

While gasoline cars have dozens of mechanical components that require service or repair, with electric cars, you don’t have to pay for tune-ups, oil changes, cooling system flushes, spark plugs, drive belts, or transmission and differential servicing. In fact, electric cars generally cost roughly one-third of what you’d typically spend to keep a gas-powered car serviced.

While it’s true that EVs require less maintenance, and that they experience less mechanical wear and tear due to fewer components in the drivetrain, they still need service – after all, there are still many hard-working parts that make them stop and go. Generally, electric vehicles also weigh more than their gasoline counterparts, meaning tires, brakes, and suspensions are subject to wear and tear.

Needed Maintenance

Regular inspections will keep your electric car running well and covered under warranty.

As with any vehicle, you’ll need to check your tire pressures. Properly inflated tires give you better mileage. Rotate the tires and inspect them for wear. Depending on how the tire tread is wearing, you might eventually need a wheel alignment if the car pulls to one side or the other. 

Your electric car has a heating and air conditioning system, so you will need to replace the air filter in the cabin. You’ll also check and replace the windshield wiper blades when needed, and top off the washer fluid. These simple services can be performed by a trained technician at your local dealership, or you can do many of them yourself.

After a longer period of time, you will want to have a trained technician check the cooling system of the battery, as well as the status of the cabin heater, power inverter, accessory power, and charger modules. At the same time, they can also inspect the brakes, steering, suspension, and chassis components for wear or damage.

Pay Attention to Tires

The combination of weight and performance means electric cars work their tires harder than gasoline cars.

You may find yourself replacing tires on your electric vehicle more frequently than you’re used to. When the time comes to replace the tires on your EV, research your options and find a tire that will support the weight and performance of your vehicle without impacting its range.

The original-equipment tires that came on your EV will likely have an extra load (XL) rating to indicate they can withstand the additional weight and the higher forces of an electric drivetrain. They will also have “low rolling resistance” – materials and designs to improve their efficiency. A proper low rolling resistance tire may cost a bit more, but will improve your EV’s range, and keep it within the manufacturer’s advertised spec.

Splurging on a full set of tires with these features might cost you $1,000 or a lot more. The easiest thing to do is to fit the exact same tires as the originals – your electric vehicle will therefore perform exactly as advertised.

Electronics and High-Voltage Systems

The complex electrical systems in electric cars need special attention if they do go wrong – and you’ll probably need to go to the dealer.

Electric car batteries, and the high-voltage systems that support them, require special training and equipment for proper handling. Many car manufacturers require these equipment and training upgrades before allowing dealerships to handle electric cars.

Most electric cars also come with a suite of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), enabled by their fully integrated, networked technology. Using a battery of sensors, cameras, and radar systems, ADAS provides additional safety and security for drivers – but these features require lengthy and complex calibration processes when they go wrong, or when a vehicle is involved in a collision.

Worry-Free Road Ahead?

While electric cars come with their own nuances when it comes to service and maintenance, they have still proven to be very rewarding to own and drive. Over time – and the more you drive – the savings in conventional maintenance costs compared to gasoline cars really add up. Plus, you’ll be enjoying an amazing driving experience with the latest technology.

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