Guide to Electric Car Servicing Needs

Car maintenance is part of owning a car and being the owner of an electric car is no different. Electric cars needs to be maintained and run smoothly so that you know you can rely on it in the same way that you can a traditional petrol or diesel car.

It's always highlighted that electric cars differ from cars that run on petrol or diesel. If this is the case, then do these cars need to be maintained in the same way? Does an electric car need to be serviced in the same way as it's petrol or diesel counterpart?

Do electric cars need servicing?

Yes, you still need to have your electric car serviced. Like petrol or diesel alternatives, electric cars need to be maintained and part of that involves regular servicing, particularly for keeping your vehicle's warranty in tact. Generally this is once a year but your owner's manual will advise you of the recommended manufacturer's service schedule for you car.

Some manufacturers are moving towards "condition based maintenance" for electric cars which means that the systems in the car itself tells you when it requires a service rather than at a recommended interval. This should help to reduce waste as parts will then only be repaired or replaced when needed, and should help with your car's efficiency.

Do electric cars need servicing differently to petrol or diesel cars?

An electric car looks the same as a diesel or a petrol car, but internally it is an entirely different build with a completely different way of running. This means that there are different servicing requirements when an electric car gets its service.

Internal combustion engines (ICE) have hundreds of moving parts that all need to work together in harmony for the engine to run smoothly. This means that there are many places where faults can happen and cause problems. It's estimated that an ICE engine has as many as 2000 moving parts compared to only around 20 in an electric car. Electric cars are also considered as being more reliable due to having fewer moving parts.

The electric motor, which is the central part of electric vehicles, is enclosed in casing and needs no regular maintenance itself. This is vastly different to an ICE vehicle that has fuel filters, spark plugs, and various other components that must be individually monitored and serviced every year.

What gets serviced in an electric car?

Service work for an electric car is more minimal than that of a diesel or petrol car. There are some things that are the same, such as having tyres checked, air conditioning checks, cabin air filter replacements, and windscreen wipers. The electric motor itself is unlikely to need more than a quick check over.

The car will need to be hooked up to a diagnostic machine to check the system and make sure there are no error codes. The individual battery cells may be checked for performance, with any cells that are damaged within the battery pack being highlighted to the technician. They'll usually also check the high voltage electrical cables too to make sure that they aren't visibly damaged.

Brakes are also a priority as fully electric cars have some form of regenerative braking as part of the electric motor. They still have traditional friction brakes like petrol and diesel cars do, they're just used differently in relation to the rest of the vehicle in electric cars.

The motor captures the kinetic energy produced when the car slows down and converts it into electricity which is then passed into storage in the battery. This means that the brake pads, brake discs, and brake fluid all have to be monitored as they have an additional function in electric vehicles but are generally more efficient.

Many people also worry about the battery in their electric car and if there is anything they need to do to maintain it. Generally as long as you make sure the battery doesn't run out of charge completely and keep it charged according to your owner's manual it will run with no problems. Most manufacturers also have an extended warranty that applies specifically to the battery, so if there are any issues you have peace of mind.

Does it cost more to service an electric car?

An electric car service is usually cheaper than servicing an ICE vehicle. Some estimate that it can be as much as 30% cheaper to have an electric car serviced. This is, of course, dependant on the prices set by the garage that is carrying out your service as well as other factors like if you have to travel to somewhere with technicians that are trained specifically to look after electric cars or if you require any replacement parts.

The absence of parts in an electric vehicle that are in traditional cars will also reduce the cost of your servicing. Electric motors require no direct upkeep, have fewer moving parts, and are enclosed which all contributes to lower maintenance costs. As your car gets older it's also likely to need less replacement parts than a diesel or petrol counterpart, where parts become a more frequent purchase and cost more as the car gets older.

Summary

Being an EV owner provides many more benefits than just significantly lowering a cost to fuel and having lower emissions.

Car maintenance is a normal (and sometimes costly) part of owning a car and electric car maintenance is minimalised in comparison to petrol or diesel cars. Fewer moving parts under the bonnet means that there are less opportunities for for failure and less maintenance costs to incur as the car gets older.

The battery of the car usually has an extended warranty too, meaning that the most expensive part of the car is safeguarded against any issues or large bills if something goes wrong.

An electric car continues to give you an advantage as an owner throughout your period of ownership and helps to reduce some of the financial burden that comes with owning a car.

John Clark Servicing