Electric Vehicles: Low Maintenance and Essential Care Tips
The primary allure of electric vehicles (EVs) lies in their ability to provide a greener alternative to traditional combustion-engine cars. EVs offer the convenience of at-home charging and emission-free performance, allowing drivers to bid farewell to gas stations and exhaust fumes. However, in addition to these benefits, EVs also bring another advantage to the table: they require less maintenance compared to their combustion-engine counterparts.
The reduced maintenance requirements of EVs can be attributed to the simplicity and durability of their primary components, namely the battery and electric motor. Unlike combustion engines that necessitate regular attention to various fluids such as engine oil, EVs have fewer fluids overall, making upkeep significantly easier. Moreover, EVs experience less brake wear due to the regenerative braking system, which mitigates the need for frequent brake replacements. Overall, the streamlined maintenance experience of EVs can be attributed to their fewer moving parts, in stark contrast to vehicles with combustion engines.
However, it’s essential to note that EV owners aren’t completely exempt from taking care of their vehicles. There are still some crucial tasks that need attention to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Here are a few points to keep in mind:
The regenerative braking system in EVs leads to less wear and tear on the brakes compared to conventional cars. However, specific maintenance recommendations may vary depending on the manufacturer. For example, Chevy suggests brake fluid replacement every 150,000 miles for the Bolt, while Tesla recommends a brake fluid health check every four years for the Model 3. The frequency of maintenance can also be influenced by usage patterns, such as towing or regular mountain descents, which may require more frequent fluid checks and replacements. Additionally, environmental factors, including hot and humid climates or roads salted during winter, can impact brake maintenance requirements.
Cabin Air Filter:
An often overlooked but crucial component of an EV’s maintenance is the cabin air filter. This filter aids in removing pollutants, such as pollen and dust, from the air circulating within the cabin. Manufacturers provide individual recommendations on replacement intervals, so it’s essential to consult your car’s owner’s manual. For instance, Chevy suggests replacing the Bolt’s cabin air filter every 22,500 miles, while Tesla recommends replacement every two years or three years for vehicles with HEPA and carbon filters. Lucid, on the other hand, recommends replacing the filter in its Air EV every year or 12,000 miles.
Regardless of the type of motor, regular tire rotation is highly recommended for both EVs and combustion-engine vehicles. Regular rotation helps prevent uneven tread wear, improving grip, handling, and safety on the road. Furthermore, it can enhance fuel efficiency and mitigate tire noise and vibration. Each carmaker provides specific recommendations for tire rotation, so consulting the owner’s manual is crucial. For example, Chevy recommends tire rotation every 7,500 miles for the Bolt, while Tesla suggests a rotation every 6,250 miles for the Model 3. Ford recommends a rotation every 12 months or 10,000 miles for the Mustang Mach-E, and Lucid suggests a rotation and tire balance every 12 months or 12,000 miles for its Air EV.
Windshield Washer Fluid:
Maintaining clear and spotless windshields is crucial for safe driving, and EVs are no exception. Regularly check your windshield washer fluid levels and top up as needed to ensure optimum visibility on the road.
The battery is an integral part of an EV’s operation and performance, and proper care is essential to maximize its lifespan. Consider the following tips for extending your battery’s life:
1. Slow Charge When Possible:
While fast charging at DC fast chargers is convenient during road trips, it can degrade battery packs faster compared to slower charging with 120- or 240-volt outlets. Regular fast charging can diminish battery capacity over time. Kia recommends eight years of slow charging for 10 percent more battery life than regular fast charging over the same period. Therefore, for daily use, it’s best to charge your EV at home to optimize battery health. Occasional use of fast charging has minimal impact, so there’s no need to worry during road trips.
2. Avoid Fully Charging the Battery Unless Otherwise Recommended:
Typical lithium-ion EV batteries don’t fare well when regularly charged to 100 percent. Doing so may provide more operating time but can diminish the battery’s overall lifespan. Most automakers suggest charging only up to 80 percent to optimize battery health. However, this rule has one exception. Some Tesla Model 3 vehicles use lithium ferrophosphate (LFP) batteries, which require charging to 100 percent. Tesla recommends fully charging LFP batteries at least once a week. To determine your battery type, refer to your vehicle’s charging screen or owner’s manual.
3. Don’t Get Too Close to Empty:
Keeping your EV’s battery above approximately 20 percent charge helps avoid unnecessary strain on the battery and contributes to optimal battery function throughout the vehicle’s life.
4. Read the Manual:
Each automaker may have specific recommendations for battery care, so it’s crucial to consult your car’s owner’s manual. For instance, Tesla recommends keeping the vehicle plugged in when not in use to help retain heat in cold weather. Other automakers, like Nissan, advise plugging in only when necessary.
In conclusion, EVs offer the advantage of reduced maintenance compared to combustion-engine vehicles. With fewer moving parts and less reliance on fluids and brake replacements, EV owners can expect a streamlined maintenance experience. However, it’s crucial to address certain aspects of care to ensure optimal performance and longevity. By following manufacturer recommendations for brake maintenance, cabin air filter replacement, tire rotation, windshield washer fluid check, and proper battery care, EV owners can enjoy their vehicles for years to come. Always consult your car’s owner’s manual for specific maintenance guidelines, as recommendations may vary from one automaker to another.