Electric car maintenance guide: Batteries, motor, brakes, and more

Oct 14, 2021 6 min read
Electric car maintenance guide: Batteries, motor, brakes, and more

Electric cars' upfront cost may seem expensive for the majority. However, you may not have considered the possible cost savings associated with electric car maintenance. Due to fewer moving parts, electric car requires significantly less maintenance. Hence, maintenance bills are less than what you would have paid for an internal combustion engine (ICE) car.

In this electric car maintenance guide, we will cover all the details that you need to know.

What are electric cars?

By definition, electric cars operate on electricity rather than a traditional fuel such as petrol or diesel. It usually implies that the car has a bank of batteries and that you 'refuel' by connecting to a mains power source to recharge the batteries.

Hybrid electric cars are also available. They are equipped with both batteries and traditional petrol, diesel, or LPG engine. The combustion engine may be used to charge the batteries and provide more range or acceleration, while the batteries can be used for short journeys around town and inside urban speed restriction zones that need less acceleration.

How does an electric car function?

An electric car is powered by a bank of batteries housed under the car floor, and in the majority of cases, lithium-ion batteries are used. Additionally, nickel metal hydride batteries are sometimes employed because to their high energy density in relation to their weight.

Range and acceleration capabilities very heavily limited in the early days of electric cars. However, it has changed dramatically in recent years, now electric cars are even faster than supercars and also offer hundreds of kilometers of range.

Are electric cars high on maintenance?

If you've been considering electric cars, you may be wondering what it's like to maintain an EV. While electric vehicles seem complex, they require significantly less maintenance due to fewer moving components.

With no oil to replace and fewer moving components that might go wrong or fail, you're less likely to find yourself in the garage with a hefty repair bill. The most common cause of an electric car failure is a low battery, so pay attention to low-power warnings and charge your car well in advance.

How much does an electric car's maintenance cost?

Having an electric car saves you money over the long term. When comparing electric cars to internal combustion engine cars, it's important to understand where your expenditures will come from and how owning an electric car may result in both spending and saving money on maintenance.

Because electric cars have fewer moving components than cars with internal combustion engines, they are more durable. The electric motor that drives electric cars is simple resulting in less component wear and tear and requiring far less maintenance than conventional cars. There are no gaskets to repair, no oil to replace, and no valves to clog in electric cars because they do not have internal combustion engines. As a result, these expenses are lower. Internal combustion engine cars, on the other hand, may require significant financial investment in engine maintenance, especially as they age.

Maintenance required for electric cars

Battery Maintenance

Since the battery is the most essential component of an electric car, all maintenance should begin there. Batteries have a finite life cycle, which may prolong by proper management and charging at the appropriate times. It is worth noting that the standard lithium-ion battery has a lengthy warranty term (which can vary according to the manufacturer). Batteries, on the other hand, typically last 160000 kilometers before needing replacement.

Despite popular belief, car batteries are more durable than the normal lithium-ion batteries that power our smartphones. It is because a manufacturer-specific battery management system protects your car's battery.

However, each battery may limit to a certain number of charging cycles, which the manufacturer must specify. For example, the Tata Nexon EV comes with an eight-year 1.6-lakh-kilometer warranty, but the manufacturer has not disclosed any information about the charging cycle limit.  The electric car should never leave uncharged if the battery level hits 10%. This is critical not just because you may return to your car with a little battery charge (especially in cold areas), but also because a lithium-ion battery left uncharged for an extended period of time with little to no charging may get damaged.

Similarly, it is preferable not to completely charge it (certainly not when connected to a Fast Charger). To prolong the life and health of a lithium-ion battery, charge it to 90% and then disconnect it. Batteries may also lose charge when the car is exposed to a very low temperatures, so it's better to store your car in a relatively warm spot if possible.

In the long run, continual fast charging may be harmful to the battery's health. As a result, it is preferable to charge it completely at home using an AC charger. What is certain is that the older an electric car gets, the less range it will have. This time, however, significantly exceeds the average EV's ownership span. Batteries can always be replaced, but they are never cheap.

Brake Maintenance

Brake maintenance is similar to that of a conventional car, and you should check the hydraulic fluid in the brake lines and the condition of the brake pads on a regular basis.

An exception to this rule applies to EVs equipped with an energy recovery mechanism integrated into the brakes. It recharges the batteries using energy recovered during braking and should be inspected on a regular basis to ensure proper operation.

Motor

Compared to a combustion engine, an electric motor is a straightforward mechanism that will almost certainly never need replacement. The majority of electric cars are powered by a single variable-speed motor, eliminating the need for the transmission to change speeds. (While some EVs have two to four motors, power transfers electronically between them rather than via gear changing.) It eliminates the need for transmission fluid in the traditional sense.

EVs do include a reduction gearbox – which some people call a transmission – between the motor and the wheels that require maintenance – which even EV makers may call transmission fluid. Due to the high reliability with which the gearbox is sealed, inspection and maintenance must be performed by a trained mechanic.

Tire

Tire maintenance for an electric vehicle is similar to that for a conventional vehicle, but you should be extremely careful for signs of wear and tear. EVs are often quite heavy, and that puts additional stress on your rubber. Maintain proper tire pressure, rotate your tires in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, and replace them if the tread begins to deteriorate to an unsafe level.

You must do tire rotations as recommended in your user manual. Tire rotations are usually performed every 10,000 kilometres.

Software upgrade

Because EVs operate on electricity, maintaining your electronics is more critical than in a fuel car. Upgrades to the software and firmware of an electric vehicle may improve its efficiency, add new features, and strengthen the car's electrical security. Certain EV manufacturers provide over-the-air software upgrades, similar to what is available for other digital devices. This is not possible with a number of cars unless they are within the range of your house wifi. Some carmakers require owners to take their cars to the dealership to get their software upgraded.

Checking the coolant level

Electric vehicles utilize engine coolant instead of engine oil. It is critical to avoid the battery overheating on a long journey, so don't ignore coolant maintenance. Check your coolant level according to the manufacturer's recommendation, flush it from your electric car if necessary, and fill it up with fresh coolant.

Wheel alignment

If you feel your electric car is pulling to one side or severely shaking, particularly at higher speeds, it may be time to balance your wheels. A wheel balancing, also known as tire alignment, corrects the angles of your wheels to the manufacturer's standards.

An electric car's tyre range will extend by a year or more with proper wheel alignment maintenance, and tire tread wear will reduce. It should be done at least once a year, or every 10,000 kilometres, and may save you huge money on new tires.

Replace air filter

As with traditional cars, many EVs are equipped with air filters that help keep pollen, road dust, dirt, and other potentially hazardous particles out of the interior. As with traditional cars, EV air filters are affordable and should be changed every two to three years or at the suggested interval in your owner's manual. If you have a specialist air filter, such as a HEPA filter, you may not need to replace it for up to five years.

AC servicing of electric car

Electric car air conditioning maintenance should be performed regularly. Dirty lubricants, old refrigerants, and deteriorating heater pump components may all have an effect on the performance and durability of the air conditioning system. The air conditioning system of an electric car should be serviced by a professional. Use specified refrigerant and compressor oil if required.

Wiper fluid for windshield

You can't expect electric vehicles to magically produce wiper fluid. Every 5000 to 10,000 kilometres, or whenever the reservoir gets dry, it will need manual windshield fluid replacement. 99.9 percent of EVs can use normal window wiper fluid, but you'll want to double-check (again) your manual and add the fluid recommended for your climate.

Wash the underbody

Car washes are also enjoyable for those who drive electric cars! Additionally, it is an essential part of your EV maintenance routine, since road salt, oil, and other substances may cause damage to your vehicle's undercarriage.  A thorough cleaning beneath your car can help avoid the formation of early-onset of oxidation and rust, which may be fatal if left untreated.

Hope, above mentioned points will help you maintain your electric car in a better manner.

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