The rising cost of fuel has made many people who weren’t even thinking of replacing a vehicle several months ago to consider buying an electric car.
Before jumping into a purchase, however, it’s important to really look at the costs of owning an electric car. While the majority of drivers will find that they save money on gasoline, it’s also important to consider maintenance costs on one of these vehicles.
Electric cars are often sold as needing little to no maintenance, but is that really true? Can a car really not need any maintenance?
The short answer is of course not. Just like every other mechanical device, an electric car will need maintenance at some point. As a vehicle owner there are some things that you will need to do to keep your car in top shape.
While these things might not be as involved, expensive, or time-consuming as a gas powered vehicle, it’s important that they get done on schedule in order to avoid larger problems down the road.
One of the most distinctive differences between an electric car and a gasoline-powered vehicle is the battery. Keeping it charged is essential to the proper functioning of the vehicle.
There are several things you need to do in order to keep the battery in top shape:
- Avoid charging the battery to 100% when possible. Ideally, keep it charged around 80%.
- Keep the battery charged. In fact, try to avoid letting the battery charge drop to zero.
- Keep the temperature of the battery in a normal range. Avoid extreme heat and cold if possible.
Coolant System Check
To ensure that the battery does not overheat, it sits on top of a cooling system. If the cooling system stops functioning, the battery will start experiencing issues and could eventually catastrophically fail or explode.
Get in the habit of regularly checking your cooling system; your owner’s manual should give you a schedule or the car will alert you when it’s time for an antifreeze flush.
Windshield Wiper Fluid
The windshield wiper system in an electric vehicle is practically identical to the windshield wiper system in just about any other vehicle. It will need fluid replaced just like a similar system in any other vehicle.
Brake Fluid Change
Generally speaking, brakes on electric cars last a lot longer than the brakes on a gasoline-powered vehicle. Nonetheless, it is important to check the level of brake fluid and replace it as necessary.
Just like coolant fluid, your owner’s manual will alert you of the proper schedule or your car will automatically send you a message when brake fluid needs to be added.
Tire Rotation and Alignment
All vehicles will need their tires rotated and aligned from time to time. Exactly when will depend on the vehicle itself and the type of conditions you drive in; cars that are regularly taken off-road will probably need more maintenance than others.
Tire rotation helps the tires to wear evenly (tires in the front will typically wear out faster than tires in the back), while wheel alignment will ensure that the vehicle drives straight without additional steering.
Air Filter Replacement
Air filters prevent dirt, debris, and pollen from getting into the inner workings of the electric vehicle. Depending on the type of filter used in your vehicle, you may be able to go anywhere from two to five years between changing the filter.
The air conditioner system in nearly all electric vehicles is the same as those used in gasoline-powered vehicles. That means that it has to be maintained in the same way as a “standard” air conditioning system.
Check your manual for a schedule of how often to change fluids and filters.
Washing the car is about more than just making your car look good. It’s important to wash off the salt, dirt, and other corrosive materials that can gradually wear down all of the internal parts of the vehicle. Keep your vehicle as clean as possible.
Your electric vehicle will need some regular maintenance. While some of these items are relatively simple and can be done on your own, others will require you to take the car to a dealership.
There are very few private mechanics who deal with electric cars, and many dealers sell maintenance plans that include the majority of these items along with a warranty for the vehicle.