One of the most talked-about benefits of owning an electric vehicle (aside from saving on expensive gas) is the lack of maintenance that needs to be done.
All-electric vehicles require little maintenance compared to conventional hybrid or gas-fueled cars, but they have special needs of their own, and you must maintain and repair them to keep them running smoothly and safely.
This article will discuss some of the common repairs and maintenance that electric vehicles require.
Maintenance for Electric Vehicles
With no combustion engine, you can say goodbye to the days of paying for oil changes, transmission service, and cooling system flushing, just to name a few maintenance tasks associated with gas-powered vehicles.
EV owners don’t have to worry about fuel, a muffler, spark plugs, automatic transmission fluid, or motor oil.
This is also because electric cars have less moving parts than gas-driven cars. See our comparison of how many moving parts electric cars have compared to gas-driven cars.
Ensuring your EV is properly charged isn’t the only task that you need to think about if you own an electric vehicle. EVs do need regular maintenance, just like other cars.
Keep reading to learn about common maintenance tasks associated with electric cars.
What Type of Maintenance Do Electric Vehicles Require?
1. The Battery
The battery is the centerpiece of any electric vehicle, as it’s the largest, most expensive, and critical component of every EV.
How you care for your EV’s battery has a direct impact on its durability and lifespan.
Some tips to follow include:
- Keep the electric vehicle’s battery charged between 20-80%.
Avoid allowing the battery charge to drop close to zero or 100%.
Fully charging your car’s battery can cause the battery to degrade more quickly. Allowing the battery to drop below 20%, meanwhile, can also have negative effects on the vehicle.
However, there is a caveat regarding this tip that we’ll discuss next.
- Fully charge the battery only on long trips.
It’s OK to fully charge the battery when you’re taking a long trip. The battery won’t degrade if you charge it to 100% and then start driving it. Degradation of the battery can occur if you charge it to 100% and keep it charged at that level for several hours and days at a time.
- Try to limit rapid charging.
Rapid charging can be very convenient when you’re on a road trip or if you have an hour to charge it during a lunch break. But relying on rapid charging too frequently can also degrade the battery. If you have an at-home charging station, use it as frequently as possible. Overnight charges at home are far healthier for your EV’s battery life.
- Try to avoid extreme temperatures.
Avoid parking your electric vehicle in extreme weather conditions, if possible, such as in the blazing sun or below-freezing temperatures. This can negatively affect the battery’s range and lifespan.
- Take the car for regular drives.
If you don’t drive your electric vehicle regularly, consider taking it for a drive around the neighborhood occasionally. This is good for the health of your car, as well as its battery.
Some electric vehicle batteries may last the lifetime of the vehicle.
However, most EV batteries last an average of 10 to 20 years.
The Federal Regulation for Electric Car Battery Warranties requires EV manufacturers to provide warranty coverage for a minimum of 8 years, or 100,000 miles – whichever comes first. Some manufacturers, though, offer warranty coverage for 10 years or more.
For example, Kia provides a battery pack warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles, while Hyundai offers a lifetime warranty for its electric car batteries.
The best way to ensure your EV battery lasts as long as possible is by following the tips we mentioned, including avoiding limit rapid charges and keeping the battery charged between 20 and 80%.
Electric vehicles are about 750 pounds heavier than gas-powered cars on average.
Much of this is due to the fact the average EV car battery weighs around 100 pounds.
Due to an EV’s strong instant torque action and heavier weight, tires can wear out roughly 20% faster than the tires on combustion engine vehicles.
Even though EVs use specialized tires, you can typically expect them to last 20,000 to 40,000 miles.
Pay close attention to how many miles you’ve driven on your current set of tires to ensure they’re not starting to wear down. Check the tire tread depth regularly to determine when they might need to be replaced.
Just like gas-powered cars, electric vehicle tires also need to be rotated on a regular basis. But instead of rotating them every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, EV tires should be prorated when the tread depth reaches two millimeters or the equivalent of 3/21”.
3. The Brakes
Electric vehicles use a regenerative braking system, which harnesses the kinetic energy from the braking system and turns it into electric power to charge the EV’s battery.
Fortunately, this type of braking system is very effective and can last twice as long as the brakes for an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle.
However, the brakes should be inspected at regular intervals.
According to the Tesla Model 3 owner’s manual, brakes should be inspected, cleaned, and lubricated every year or 12,500 miles – whichever comes first. This is because dirt and other debris can enter the braking system’s components and negatively affect how they work.
4. Coolant Replacement
EVs contain coolant to help prevent the battery from getting too warm.
Although some Tesla models do not need the coolant replaced for the life of the vehicle, many makes and models of electric vehicles require coolant replacement about every 5 years or 100,000 miles.
Depending on how long you own the vehicle, you may never need this service to be done.
It’s still important to have a mechanic check the coolant levels to see if they need to be topped off.
Consider having the battery’s coolant level checked about every 7,500 miles.
5. Fluid Check
Speaking of fluids, there are a couple of other types of fluids that should be checked and replaced periodically according to the car’s owner’s manual.
We created a list of fluids you find in electric cars.
Windshield wiper fluid should be added when the level in the reservoir tank becomes low.
It is especially important to check before winter arrives to wipe away salt, dirt, or debris that has accumulated on the roads.
Brake fluid should also be changed according to the owner’s manual. Test strips are commonly used to check for corrosion in the brake fluid so you know when it’s time to replace the fluid.
6. Wiper Blades
Your EV’s wiper blades need to be replaced just the same as any combustion engine vehicle’s blades.
It’s good practice to replace windshield wiper blades twice per year – once in the spring and again in the fall – but follow the owner’s manual for proper replacement intervals.
If you don’t drive the vehicle very often, you can probably get by with changing the blades once per year.
You can have wiper blades installed at almost any auto mechanic’s business, or you can save a few bucks and replace them yourself by following the instructions in the owner’s manual.
7. Cabin Air Filter
If you rarely or never change your vehicle’s cabin air filter, you’re not alone!
This is one of the most-skipped car maintenance tasks. Although cabin air filters can be located in different places in your electric vehicle, they are typically found inside the glovebox.
Check your owner’s manual to learn where your cabin air filter is, and read the instructions on how to replace the filter. Cabin air filters can be purchased at any auto parts store.
Cabin air filters help keep the air inside your EV clean and healthy.
If you can’t remember the last time you replaced the cabin air filter, then it’s time for this service to be done. This service should typically be performed about every 35,000 miles.
8. Take Care of the Body
Just like gas-powered cars, it’s important to regularly wash and wax your car’s body to prevent damage to the paintwork.
This is especially true if sap or bird droppings find their way onto your car’s surface, as these substances can quickly damage the paint if not removed quickly.
The electric vehicle industry is poised to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years.
According to recent studies, the electric vehicle market size and share were roughly 185 billion in 2021 but are expected to reach 980 billion in 2028, with a compound annual growth rate of 24.5%.
Although it may seem like we just went through a long list of maintenance tasks that need to be performed on electric vehicles, it’s drastically less than what combustion-engine cars need.
With an EV, you can say goodbye to oil changes, oil filters, engine air filters, and fuel filters for good.
Although all of the maintenance tasks we detailed in this article should be performed according to the vehicle’s owner’s manual, it’s especially important to take care of the battery. An EV battery can cost thousands of dollars, but if taken care of properly, it can last you the lifetime of the vehicle.