Electric vehicles are new to the block and these new kids need proper care and love just like the older ones do. Our regular, fossil fuel-powered cars need spark plug changes, periodic oil changes, and annual emission inspections. But the new electric cars don’t require any of these. They have regenerative braking technology and an electric motor that stops without any mechanically based friction that obliterates changing brakes as well. Their significantly lower maintenance costs make them more desirable to new car buyers.
However, any car will need a basic amount of maintenance for it to run smoothly. While an electric car might be easier and cost less in terms of “maintenance”, their repairs are very expensive when not properly maintained.
Here are 10 important EV maintenance tips that you should never miss out on.
The first and foremost thing in an EV is its battery. Especially if it’s a lithium-ion pack, it will require a regular battery check. Certified EV mechanics and technicians will be able to check battery fluid levels, filler openings, and connections, and also in assessing the battery cycle count. Most EV car batteries can go over One Lakh miles with regular servicing. Now, for what not to do, let’s look at this list below for things to avoid doing:
- Charging the battery to 100%. An 80% charge is better for the lifetime battery cycle count.
- Parking an uncharged EV for long periods of time.
- Exposing the battery to extreme heat or cold.
- Aggressive Braking.
- Driving over rough terrain that deactivates the battery’s electrical system
- Charging in direct sunlight and reversing the Battery Management System
- Using multiple in-vehicle devices and consuming larger amounts of battery power.
- Over or under-charging.
- Frequent use of “Quick Charging” stations.
Performing routine EV battery maintenance annually can save you thousands of dollars, as complete battery system replacements can cost anywhere from Rs 3,00,000 to over Rs 15,00,000, depending on the vehicle make and model. A well-maintained battery is designed to last the lifetime of the electric vehicle.
Coolant System Maintenance
Electric vehicles have thermal management or cooling systems to lower the temperature of the battery. In a rechargeable energy storage coolant system, a series of cooling plates is placed below the electric car’s battery pack. This ensures the electric vehicle’s battery functions at the optimum temperature, increasing battery rechargeability and longevity. Regular maintenance should include a check on the coolant system and coolant or antifreeze flushes whenever required. With the help of the owner’s manual, check the coolant system maintenance schedule and the type of coolant for your EV.
Brake Fluid Change
Two primary fluids run through your electric car: coolant and brake fluid. The brakes on an EV last longer than the ones in regular cars. But we still need to check the brake fluid from time to time. EVs even have a brake warning light flash on the driver information cluster to warn and remind us to check it periodically. Always add more brake fluid and check the suggested type of fluid in the owner’s manual and also check for leaks. Keeping on top of the brake fluid can save you thousands of rupees spent on changing the brakes following a failure due to non-maintenance. Make sure that you schedule your electric car brake inspection and fluid flush every 3 to 5 years.
You should rotate your tires with every oil change or on the alternate oil change. Now we don’t have to concern ourselves with oil change routines in an EV. So it is more important to make sure tire rotations are done as per the manual recommendations. The interval between tire rotations is typically 8,000 to 16,000 kilometres.
Electric vehicles will start pulling to either side or shake violently, especially when travelling at higher speeds. This means that it may be time to get your wheels balanced. A wheel balance, or tire alignment, is the adjustment of the angles of your wheels to match the vehicle manufacturer’s original specifications.
Proper wheel alignment on an electric car will have an improving effect on the car’s mile range and reduce wearing off of tire tread. This can increase the tires’ lifespan by at least one year or more. This needs to be done at least once per year, or every 10,000 kilometers, which could save you from spending more money on new tires when they can be used longer with the right maintenance.
Air Filter Replacement
EVs have air filters that reduce pollen, road dust, dirt, and other potentially harmful particles from entering the cabin. These filters are not very expensive and they need to be replaced every 2 or 3 years, or whatever interval is recommended by the manufacturer. If your EV has a speciality air filter, like a HEPA filter, you may be able to go up to 5 years between replacements.
Air Conditioning Service
A/C maintenance in any car should be performed occasionally as particles of old refrigerant, dirty lubricants, and deteriorating heater pump elements can reduce air conditioning effectiveness and longevity. Servicing the air conditioning system in an electric vehicle needs a proper mechanic or service professional. The service may require specific AC refrigerant and compressor oil.
Windshield Wiper Fluid
Windshield Wiper fluid needs to be added manually for every 5000 to 10000 kilometres, or whenever it runs dry. The standard fluid can be used unless it is specifically mentioned by the manufacturer to use a certain type of windshield wiper fluid.
Car washes need not be stressed about more as we all know how road salt, oil, and other chemicals can damage the undercarriage of your vehicle. Rust is never good and rust on a car is the worst thing that can happen to any car. A good washing under your car can help you avoid early-onset oxidation and rust formation which would be a cancer to the car if it went unnoticed.
Single-speed transmissions mean the motor works harder the faster you go (power consumption can jump by about a quarter between 80kph and 110kph). Avoid speeding and the electricity will last longer. The same applies to acceleration, and the quick blasts of the EVs are quite exciting to try. But a slower increase in speed can keep you going on the road for longer. This will protect your car’s battery life in the long run.