Electrical Vehicle Maintenance: Everything You Need to Know
“Change your oil” used to be the #1 maxim for car maintenance. But with an Electrical Vehicle (EV), this popular tip and other auto advice no longer applies.
If you’ve recently purchased an EV of your own, or you’re considering one, you may be wondering what EV maintenance is like. Luckily, an EV requires minimal upkeep compared to a vehicle with a fuel-drinking engine.
In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to service your EV and keep it in tip-top road condition. The Electrical Revolution is here… and with it, our best practices for EV maintenance.
At W. Bradley Electric, we’ve recently expanded our qualified electrician experience to EV charging stations. Reach out to our team to find out how we provide seamless and sustainable planning for EV charging stations.
Do EVs really involve less maintenance?
EVs require comparatively less maintenance than fuel-based vehicles. That’s because a conventional combustion engine has oodles of mechanical parts – up to 2,000. All these moving parts mean more potential problems to fix.
In contrast, an EV powertrain has only about 20 parts. Overall, this translates into less garage time for your EV. However, it’s still important to service your EV regularly. In fact, you may be required to get your EV checked on a certain schedule in order to keep your warranty.
Do EVs require special servicing procedures?
The two most specialized parts of an EV are the battery pack and the electric motor. On the off chance that these powertrain pieces fail, you’ll have to get special (and pricey) servicing.
That said, these parts typically have long warranties and last for tens of thousands of miles. You’re unlikely to face issues with this specialized equipment and if you do, your warranty should cover repairs.
What about routine maintenance for EVs?
Regular service for EVs is even better news. Studies show that EV owners spend half as much on routine maintenance compared to conventional car owners.
Of course, EVs aren’t invincible. You’ll still need to keep up with routine maintenance for your EV. In fact, there are a few key aspects of EV maintenance that you should be especially careful about.
Brake wear for EVs is lower than conventional cars due to its regenerative braking function. (When you brake an EV, the energy lost from slowing down is converted back into stored battery power.)
Yet, brake wear and tear will still happen, just at a slower rate. This means you will need to replace parts such as brake pads, discs and fluid. If you drive often and hard, you should be particularly proactive about getting your brakes checked.
All car owners should rotate their tires regularly, though many skip it. For EV owners, it’s essential to do a tire rotation every 5,000-10,000 miles.
That’s because EV tires may be more prone to wear. With instant torque, your tires will likely get more action. EVs also often have a heavier footing with their battery, so wear and tear is more involved.
To keep your tires performing, you should also check tire pressure often and replace them when worn.
Batteries tend to overheat. To keep yours from catching fire, EVs include a coolant system to cool down the battery pack and charger.
This coolant system may occasionally require a flush or refrigerant recharge to stay efficient. For some EV models, this is recommended as early as every 50,000 miles, but you should check your owner’s manual for specifics.
EV powertrains may also require a fluid change in order to continue performing efficiently. To find out the recommended frequency, check your owner’s manual.
What’s the average cost to maintain an electric vehicle?
EVs may have a higher purchase price, but they beat out maintenance costs any day. According to studies, regular maintenance costs of an EV are about half of conventional cars.
In fact, EV owners save about $4,600 in maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle. This is likely because there are fewer parts to replace and EVs don’t require regular servicing such as oil changes and engine tune-ups.
Besides saving on maintenance, EVs offer a range of other economic benefits. Learn more about EV financial incentives here to get the full sense of cost savings.
A mile by mile EV maintenance checklist
Keeping your EV road-safe is mostly about getting regular inspections. To get a specific maintenance checklist for your EV model, head to your owner’s manual. However, this mile by mile checklist should be a good general reference to get started:
Monthly (performed by owner):
- Follow battery care (keep your battery charged between 20-80%, don’t leave your car in the sun for long hours, etc.).
- Check the tire pressure and top up as needed.
- Fill up the windshield washer fluid
Twice a year (performed by owner):
- Check the tires for wear and tear.
- Rinse your car’s underbody with water to flush out corrosive materials.
Every 7,500 miles:
- Rotate your tires.
- Get the coolant system inspected.
- Inspect the brakes for any wear and tear.
Every 15,000 miles:
- Get a full EV system check, including the charging port, EV battery usage report and computer diagnosis.
Every 22,500 miles:
- Replace the air filter.
- Change brake fluid.
- Get the steering and suspension parts inspected.
Every 30,000 miles:
- Replace the windshield wiper blades.
- Get the charging port inspected.
Every 5-7 years:
- Drain and fill coolant circuits.
- Replace the hood and/or body lift support gas struts.
- Get the air conditioning desiccant changed.
Prolong the battery life of your EV
It’s vital to take good care of your EV’s battery pack. While the battery will degrade over time, you can slow down decline in a few key ways.
Avoid extreme heat and cold
Keep your EV from getting exposed to extreme heat and cold. For example, you should avoid leaving your car in the sun and park your car in an enclosed lot during winter weather. Over time, extreme temperatures will drain your battery and make the charge less efficient.
Don’t fully charge or deplete the battery
Avoid topping up your battery to 100% or letting it run down to 0%. Ideally, you should try to keep it within 20-80% of charge for maximum efficiency. Your model may even have a mechanism to stop a full charge in order to preserve battery life.
Try not to use fast chargers often
Some EV charging stations will offer “Fast Charge” units that let you fully charge within 20-30 minutes. While convenient, these fast chargers can quickly deplete your battery, making charging less efficient. Try not to use these fast chargers on a regular basis.
Enjoy our EV charging stations
EVs are key to a more sustainable future. As more car owners opt for this eco-friendly choice, it’s important to understand the full scope of EV maintenance. With our expert-backed guide, you should now have a good handle on how to service your EV.
As you enjoy your road-safe EV, here at WBE (W. Bradley Electric) we’re working on building best-in-class EV charging stations throughout California. With 40+ years of experience and a five-star reputation, we’re a one-stop shop for creating EV charging stations. Cut the red tape and partner with us to get qualified EV charger station setup from start to finish.
Reach out to us to become part of the Electrical Revolution and build EV charging stations near you!