Hybrids & Electrics

Electric Car Maintenance: What You Need to Know

While praising his Tesla, Jay Leno boasted about the car’s low maintenance requirements. However, this doesn’t mean electric vehicles are maintenance-free. As Napa Auto Parts explains, certain maintenance requirements are essential. Some are rather obvious, while others are things new electric car owners may not consider. So, what’s needed in order to keep your electric vehicle in great shape?

Battery system replacement

Electric cars rely heavily on battery power. Therefore, they’ll need to be serviced and replaced more often. Batteries in EVs also differ from traditional batteries in that they are typically made of a nickel-metal-hydride or lithium-ion combo, which tend to break down over time. If your battery is weakening, you may encounter poor performance and won’t be able to travel quite as far on a single charge.

Many manufacturers offer battery replacement as part of their power train warranty. So the battery pack may be covered for up to eight years or 100,000 miles. If your battery is out of warranty, check your dealership for any possible rebates that may save you money. 

Fluid checks

With electric automobiles, you can forego having oil changes performed. This doesn’t mean you can ignore fluids altogether, as these cars still hold brake fluid, coolant, and windshield washer fluid. Refill your washer fluid whenever it gets low, and follow your manufacturer’s guidelines for changing brake fluid. You should also check your coolant on a regular basis and flush at routine intervals as recommended by the manufacturer.

Brake inspections and repair

Napa also reports that EV braking systems can sometimes last up to twice as long as those found in traditional, gasoline-powered vehicles. This is because electric cars use a process known as regenerative braking, which takes the kinetic energy of your vehicle and uses it to slow down. This same energy can also be stored until it’s needed. This means less wear and tear on your brakes in addition to greater stopping power. 

Rotating tires

Although regenerative braking can stop your car more efficiently, it will have little to no effect on your tires. Accordingly, you should plan on having your tires rotated at the same intervals you would if you drove a traditional vehicle. In an interview with Car and Driver, Tire Rack’s Executive Vice President Matt Edmonds recommends having your tires rotated every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, or at least once every six months or so.

Replacing windshield wipers

Your windshield wipers perform the same function regardless of whether you drive an EV or regular car. Be sure you’re ready for any driving conditions by replacing them twice a year, once in spring and again in fall. Check them on a regular basis and switch them out more often if they become worn or show signs of damage.

Electric car maintenance you can forget about

You will no longer have to worry about certain things once you switch to an EV. For example, you’ll find that changing spark plugs and wires or replacing air filters will be a thing of the past. You also won’t have to deal with muffler or catalytic converter issues, since these cars are not equipped with them. 

Keeping up with maintenance is the best way to ensure your electric car runs smoothly and requires few repairs. Pay attention to these things and you will likely encounter very few problems.