ALL ABOUT ELECTRIC CAR MAINTENANCE
Electric vehicles (EVs) are no longer a novelty. The last few years have seen a surge in EV sales as automakers embrace the platform and diversify the selection of electric cars. The fact that there are even several all-electric truck models now in production is a sign of EV demand.
In total, automakers have committed $225 billion to the research and development of more electric vehicles. The goal is to make EVs more powerful, efficient and affordable while easing the burden of ownership.
DOES HAVING AN ELECTRIC CAR SAVE ON MAINTENANCE COSTS?
Part of the appeal of owning an electric vehicle is saving money on gas, especially now that there are more public EV charging stations. But did you know you can also save on maintenance?
Electric Car Maintenance Cost vs Gas Vehicles
Electric vehicles may look pretty similar to gas-powered vehicles, but what’s under the hood is totally different. EV automakers have done a good job of making electric vehicles easier to maintain compared to internal combustion engines. Dozens of the components in a traditional gas-powered vehicle are nowhere to be found in an EV. Less moving parts means there’s less that needs to be maintained.
In an electric vehicle:
- There are fewer fluids to keep at an optimal level.
- No oil changes are needed.
- Regenerative braking reduces wear on brake pads.
- Air filters and oil filters don’t have to be changed.
- Spark plugs are no longer used.
- The exhaust system is eliminated along with maintenance.
- Drive belts don’t have to be replaced.
- Transmission tune-ups typically are not needed.
Electric engines are also more efficient at converting energy, which puts less strain on the mechanical systems. As more miles are traveled the reduced wear will make maintenance easier to manage.
The general consensus is EVs are less expensive to maintain than gas-powered vehicles. While electric vehicles don’t need as much maintenance as gas-powered vehicles, certain upkeep is required to get the best longevity possible, minimize the need for electric vehicle repair and keep your EV warranties in effect.
MOST IMPORTANT ELECTRIC CAR SERVICE AND REPAIR NEEDS
No vehicle is maintenance-free. All you have to do is crack open the owner’s manual and you’ll find a suggested maintenance schedule from the automaker. If you’ve owned an internal combustion engine vehicle in the past some of the timelines and services will look familiar, but you’ll also notice a lot of differences. For starters, maintenance doesn’t typically start until you reach the 7,500-mile mark.
Below is a rundown of the most important electric car maintenance requirements every EV owner should know.
Get Your Brakes Serviced
One of the most important maintenance measures on any type of vehicle is brake servicing. EVs require less brake servicing than gas-powered vehicles, but it’s still a vital need. Despite using regenerative braking technology, there’s hydraulic fluid, brake pads and discs just like you’d find in a regular vehicle, and they all need to be serviced and replaced at some point.
It should be noted that driving habits play a role in brake servicing. The miles traveled, braking pressure, road conditions/terrain and regenerative braking settings all influence how often brakes need to be serviced.
Regular brake fluid flushing is also required. Just as with traditional vehicles, the hydraulic fluid can corrode the brake system if it isn’t flushed and replaced.
Change Your Windshield Wipers
The need for windshield wiper maintenance in an EV is exactly the same as an internal combustion car. Wiper blades should be replaced twice a year or sooner if there’s wear. The general guidance is to change the wiper blades at the start of summer and just before winter.
Windshield washer fluid should also be topped off whenever it gets low. If you live in Pennsylvania or another state up north, opt for winter blend windshield washer fluid with a lower freezing point.
Monitor Your Motor
Electric engines are less parts which require continual maintenance than combustion engines, but they still need to be monitored. This is best left to a professional mechanic with EV maintenance experience, like you will find at Jack Williams Tire and Auto Service Centers. Our technician should look for any issues with your electric vehicle. The inspection can reveal problems before they become a serious electric car repair issue.
Replace Your Battery System
The battery is the heart of an electric vehicle. Without it your EV will go about as far as a junkyard car.
Once a battery begins to decline, you’ll probably notice a reduction in the range. Battery replacement is one of the few downsides of EV maintenance. EV batteries are going down in price, but they are still very expensive to replace, even with a $1,000 rebate for the old battery. The good news is there are maintenance measures that can help extend the life of an EV battery beyond 8-10 years.
To get the most mileage out of your electric vehicle’s battery you should:
- Park your EV in the shade or a covered parking spot whenever possible.
- Park in cool areas that aren’t near a heat source.
- Avoid running your EV on a low charge.
- Never let the battery sit with a 0 charge for more than 14 days.
- Only charge the battery to 80-85% capacity.
- Ensure the battery cooling system is operating properly.
- During the heat of the summer and cold of the winter park in an enclosed garage as much as possible.
Proper battery maintenance is also needed to maintain the warranty. Most automakers provide at least an 8-year/100,000 mile warranty so long as you take care of the battery.
Make sure to read the part of your owner’s manual that goes over battery charging best practices. The manufacturer will outline how often to charge the battery to get the longest amount of use.
Take Care of Your Tires
Tire maintenance is something that bridges the divide between electric and gas-powered vehicles. The tires will wear from road friction no matter what you drive. However, because EVs are so quiet you may notice tire maintenance is needed earlier than you would in a gas-powered car that drowns out road noise. Jack Williams Tire carries all of the tires that are designed specifically for electric vehicles. Some of the best tires for electric vehicles are manufactured by MICHELIN, Pirelli, Goodyear, and Continental. These tires consist of a tough sidewall and have very low rolling resistance. Many also have foam padding on the inside of the tire to ensure road noise is kept to a minimum inside the cabin of the automobile.
Tires should be inspected at least once a month. Look for excessive or uneven wear on the tread. Note anything else that looks out of the ordinary, the air pressure and whether you have heard any strange noises coming from the tires while driving.
Tire Alignment and Balancing
Balanced tires ensure a smooth ride as you travel down the road and also prolong the life of your tires. An Alignment will help ensure your tires will wear evenly.
Tire rotation is one of the most common types of electric car service. While tire rotations should be done on every vehicle, the torque associated with electric vehicles makes it even more necessary. Moving the tires around helps to ensure even tread wear for a smoother, safer ride. Regular tire rotations may also be a requirement of your tire warranty.
It’s best to follow your auto manufacturer’s tire rotation recommendations. If you can’t find anything specific get a tire rotation every 7,500 miles.
At some point all tires need to be replaced. With regular maintenance the average driver will get between 50,000 and 70,000 miles out of their tires. If you need to replace the tires consider getting ones that are made specifically for electric vehicles.
Cooling Battery Packs
Cooling systems are found in EVs that have a thermal management system on board. Coolant is used to keep the lithium-ion battery packs cool. Coolant is also needed to prevent the battery from overheating and catching fire. There are various systems such as fin cooling, air cooling, and liquid cooling used in EVs.
Vehicles such as Tesla and GM electric vehicles use glycol coolant. The coolant should be topped off whenever needed, and a full coolant system flush should be performed at least once every 50,000 miles or four years, whichever comes first. There are some EV models like the Chevy Bolt that require coolant flushes just once every 150,000 miles.
WHY JACK WILLIAMS IS THE GO-TO SHOP FOR ELECTRIC CAR REPAIR AND SERVICE
Jack Williams is your neighborhood shop no matter what type of vehicle you drive. Our experienced mechanics understand the unique maintenance needs of hybrid and all-electric vehicles from the regenerative braking system to the cabin filters. You can keep your EV maintenance on-schedule without paying a premium at the dealership you purchased it from.
Electric vehicle repair and maintenance services from Jack Williams include:
- Cabin air filter changes
- Windshield wiper replacement
- Washer fluid replacement
- Brake checks
- Brake pads
- Brake rotors
- Brake fluid replacement
- Light replacement and maintenance
- Steering repair
- Shocks/struts maintenance
With 36 locations across Pennsylvania scheduling service at Jack Williams is quick and convenient. You can make an appointment online or give us a call to reserve a time that works with your schedule. We’re open Monday to Saturday!
Keep your electric vehicle running smoothly - schedule an electric car maintenance service online!