While you may be familiar with the routine maintenance checks of a traditional car, an EV (electric vehicle) requires relatively less maintenance despite the myths. An EV has regenerative braking, and fewer parts whereas a combustion engine contain hundreds of working parts. With the simplicity of the electric motor, the number of parts that experience wear and tear narrows down significantly, making the EV car an ideal choice for many drivers. But this isn’t to say that there are no maintenance issues facing an EV car. The parts in an electric engine are often much easier to replace and can be quite durable. To help you we have put together the ultimate guide for everything you need to know about electric car maintenance.
How does electric car maintenance differ from petrol or diesel cars?
When it comes to maintenance, there are some key differences between electric cars and their traditional counterparts.
- When considering the pros and cons of electric cars, the simplicity of the structure is one of the selling points. Whereas a traditional vehicle has a whole different range of parts that will need to be maintained (e.g. oil, cooling systems, spark plugs, fuel pumps), most EV cars have three main elements. The electric car engine, the inverter and the on-board charger are where the most investment in maintenance is required.
- Thanks to regenerative braking and optimal EV driving style this significantly reduces wear on brakes and tyres. Regenerative braking only allows the car to coast to a stop and has not replaced existing hydraulic brakes in an EV. You’ll still need the hydraulic brakes for emergency situations or braking from speed.
- Given that EVs have fewer components, the maintenance costs can be a lot lower dependant on the make or model.
- EV cars generally only have three key fluids that need to be topped up regularly: coolant fluid, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid which is the case for most green cars, with a few exceptions. Coolant fluid is also required for the EV car’s thermal management system and will need to be topped up from time to time.
- While the EV battery may deteriorate over time and eventually need replacing. However, this isn’t categorized as “regular maintenance,” as they can last for at least a decade, as many manufacturers provide a warranty for up to 10 years.
Annual car maintenance checklist
If you’re the type of person who wants to keep up with the maintenance of your car but is not fanatical about it, then you might want to develop an annual car maintenance checklist. We’d recommend that you make the following checks:
- Check the brake fluid level: You might not need to change this every year, but it’s worth checking annually for contamination and then looking to replace if necessary.
- Check the coolant strength: Like with a fuel-powered car, electric cars with a thermal management system will need their coolant levels topped up from time to time.
- Inspect the brakes: Rest assured, that if you have subscribed to Onto for a long period of time, then your brakes will be checked with your service and as part of your subscription. But, we do recommend cleaning and lubricating all brake callipers every 12 months.
Monthly car maintenance
The best way to ensure that your car stays in a good condition is to maintain it regularly, each month. Here below are some tips to help with your monthly car maintenance:
- Cleaning interior and exterior Lights: You should be able to monitor this on an ongoing basis, but if you aren’t known for your observant nature, then make sure you are at least checking this once a month. Not just relying on warning signs on your car, but checking behind and asking for help if necessary.
- Tire inflation, tread, and general condition: In your owner manual, you’ll see recommended information on tyre inflation and tread. It’s worth taking precautions and checking regularly about your tyres. If you’re unsure on anything then you can contact the Onto team to clarify
Car maintenance tools
Having an electric car subscription means that you don’t need to regularly maintain your car and you especially don’t need a lot of tools as you might in a petrol car. But, we do have some recommendations for your car maintenance tools. If you don’t already have these, you may want to consider buying them:
- Portable air compressor
- Tyre pressure monitoring system
- Tyre pressure gauges
- Digital tread depth
All of the above can be bought online from Halfords, Amazon and other retailers, as well as from most high street car accessory shops.
Car maintenance shopping list
It might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many people don’t buy anti-freeze, before the cold temperatures set in. The effects of this can mean your car freezes or overheats.
Other things to buy with your next supermarket haul include a good screenwash additive, car wash sponges and cleaning fluid, plus lights and bulbs.
Always check that you have the appropriate equipment and tools for your model of car, otherwise you could cause damage.
How much will maintenance cost be? When you get a car subscription with Onto you’ll benefit from an all-inclusive free service. This means that you’ll only have to pay for the items listed above which mostly retail for under £10.
In the incredibly unlikely situation that a car will have to be taken in, a courtesy car will be provided. However, keep in mind that the courtesy cars we provide are small, mostly petrol fuelled vehicles. This applies to all drivers, regardless of how much you're paying for your current Onto car.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on electric car maintenance checks. If you have any other tips that you think we could include then please do get in touch.