Electric Vehicle Maintenance 101

Fewer moving parts makes for fewer maintenance concerns with EVs.

Let’s be honest—as the machines they are, we take cars for granted. It’s hard not to. A push of a button, a pull of a lever and a step on a pedal and we can travel anywhere we like. But behind that façade of simplicity is a complex machine comprised of a litany of moving pieces.

Keeping all those pieces humming along in working order is a primary responsibility of car ownership. Not only does proper car maintenance extend the lifespan of the vehicle, it ensures the car is safe to drive.

With this importance in mind, let’s examine how electric vehicle maintenance compares to that of a gas-powered car.

How Maintenance is Different for EVs

EVs have fewer parts than gas-powered cars, meaning fewer mechanical pieces that need to kept in good condition and less of a chance of anything breaking or wearing down. Because of this, EVs require significantly less maintenance than their gas-powered counterparts.

The primary advantage of EVs, in regard to maintenance, is the lack of an internal combustion engine. Without this major piece of equipment, there is no need for common maintenance tasks like motor oil changes and engine air filter replacements. EVs also don’t require components such as radiator fluid (although some use coolant for battery management that requires periodic replacement), drive belts, sparkplugs, and fuel filters, just to name a few. All of these things need to be inspected and eventually replaced in vehicles with internal combustion engines.

Another major point of difference is in the brakes. EVs utilize a braking system known as regenerative braking, which converts the car’s forward momentum energy into electricity to power the motor. The system has the additional benefit of drastically reducing the wear and tear of the vehicle’s brakes and brake pads. As such, an EV’s braking system typically lasts longer than that of a gas-powered car.

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EV Maintenance Considerations

Less maintenance doesn’t equal zero maintenance. EV owners should keep up with their car’s recommended maintenance schedule to prolong the vehicle’s lifespan and keep their warranty intact.

All non-engine related components still need to be checked and, if needed, replaced. This includes tires, windshield wiper blades and fluid, cabin air filter, battery coolant, steering and suspension components, head and taillights, and brake fluid. Like all cars, gasoline or electric, your best source of maintenance information comes from the owner’s manual.

EV Maintenance Costs

The convenience and peace of mind that come with less maintenance concerns can’t be discounted. But this benefit also adds up to real dollars and cents. AAA found EVs cost 7.70 cents per mile to maintain, while the average car cost 9.55 cents per mile. Over the course of 13,500 miles (roughly the average annual mileage of U.S. motorists), this equates to a savings of nearly $250 every year.

As well all know, the cost of owning a car only begins when you drive it off the lot. Between maintenance and repairs plus expenses like insurance, registration, taxes, financing and fuel, motorists spend an average of nearly $10,000 each year on their cars. Getting several hundred dollars back in your pocket is no small change.

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