Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more popular by the day thanks to their environmental benefits, cost savings, and performance. But how to maintain electric vehicles persist and how to keep your EV running smoothly, including the top tips for electric car maintenance, here are some tips for you.
An electric vehicle requires very little maintenance, that dosn’t like the engine and transmission in a gasoline-powered car, Similar to the battery in your smartphone, an EV’s battery has no moving parts. It just works. But driving and then charging your electric vehicle will slowly degrade the maximum capacity of the battery over a long period of time. Battery life reduction is a reality for all EVs. But there are a few techniques you can employ to extend the service life of your EV’s battery pack.
Steer Clear of Extreme Temperatures
Extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) are Kryptonite to batteries. Automakers factor this into the development of their EVs, fitting them with the necessary auxiliary cooling and heating systems to help keep the temperature of the battery in acceptable levels. However, you can also do your part by avoiding parking your EV in direct sunlight or in freezing conditions for long periods of time. If possible, park your EV in a garage or a shaded area, and use a timer or a remote app to pre-condition your EV before driving.
Don't Plan to Use Fast Chargers All the Time
Despite their convenience in rapid recharging, fast chargers degrade battery packs at a quicker rate than slower 120-40 volt charging. However, just how much fast charging impacts battery life isn’t known precisely in these relatively early days of modern EVs. Of course, in a road-trip scenario fast charging is necessary and there’s no reason to avoid it. But buying an EV with the plan to use fast charging exclusively isn’t a great idea, both from a battery life and a cost perspective. Fast charging costs 3-4 times more per kilowatt-hour of energy than you pay at home, a price that can bring the fueling cost of EVs on par with gas-powered vehicles.
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Try Not to Fully Charge or Deplete the Battery
Batteries degrade more quickly when charged to full capacity or when depleted of all their energy. On the plus side, many manufacturers prevent full-capacity charging in order to assist in the battle against battery degradation. Most cars have settings to charge to a level less than 100 percent, and many automakers suggest charging to a level of 85- or 90-percent for daily use. Similarly, you should avoid draining your battery to zero percent, as this can also damage the battery cells. Ideally, you should keep your battery between 20 and 80 percent for optimal performance and longevity.
The brake system in an electric car is very similar to the one you’ll find on a gasoline-powered car. It consists of brake pads, rotors, calipers, and fluid. However, there is one major difference: regenerative braking. Regenerative braking is a feature that allows the electric motor to slow down the car by converting kinetic energy into electrical energy, which is then stored in the battery. This reduces the need for using the conventional brakes, which saves fuel and extends the life of the brake pads and rotors.
However, regenerative braking does not eliminate the need for brake maintenance. You still need to check the brake fluid level and quality, as well as inspect the brake pads and rotors for wear and tear. You also need to use the brakes occasionally to prevent them from rusting or seizing. The recommended frequency and interval of brake maintenance will vary depending on the vehicle model and driving conditions, so you should consult your owner’s manual or a qualified mechanic for specific advice.
Tire maintenance is one of the most important aspects of electric car maintenance, as it affects the safety, performance, and efficiency of your EV. Tires are the only contact point between your EV and the road, so you need to make sure they are in good condition and properly inflated. Here are some tips for tire maintenance:
- Check the tire pressure regularly, at least once a month, and adjust it according to the manufacturer’s specifications. You can find the recommended tire pressure on the driver’s door jamb, the owner’s manual, or the tire manufacturer’s website. Underinflated or overinflated tires can reduce traction, handling, and braking, as well as increase tire wear and fuel consumption.
- Rotate the tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, or as recommended by the manufacturer, to ensure even wear and extend the life of the tires. You can rotate the tires yourself or have them done by a professional service center. Some EVs have different tire sizes for the front and rear wheels, so you need to follow the correct rotation pattern for your vehicle.
- Inspect the tires for signs of damage, such as cracks, bulges, punctures, or uneven wear. If you notice any of these issues, you should have the tires repaired or replaced as soon as possible. You should also check the tread depth of the tires, as worn-out tires can compromise the grip and performance of your EV. You can use a tread depth gauge or a penny to measure the tread depth. If the tread depth is less than 4/32 of an inch, you need to replace the tires.
- Align the wheels every 15,000 to 20,000 miles, or as recommended by the manufacturer, to ensure the tires are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the road. Wheel alignment can be affected by driving habits, road conditions, or suspension problems. Misaligned wheels can cause uneven tire wear, steering issues, and reduced fuel efficiency. You can have the wheels aligned by a professional service center.
Besides the battery, brakes, and tires, there are some other components and systems that require regular maintenance in an electric car. These include:
- The cooling system: The cooling system is responsible for keeping the battery, the electric motor, and the power electronics at optimal temperatures. The cooling system consists of coolant, hoses, pumps, and radiators. You need to check the coolant level and quality, as well as inspect the hoses and radiators for leaks or damage. You also need to flush and replace the coolant every 50,000 to 100,000 miles, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
- The cabin air filter: The cabin air filter is responsible for filtering the air that enters the cabin through the ventilation system. The cabin air filter can get clogged with dust, pollen, and other contaminants over time, which can reduce the air quality and the performance of the heating and air conditioning system. You need to replace the cabin air filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
- The windshield wiper fluid: The windshield wiper fluid is responsible for cleaning the windshield and improving the visibility. The windshield wiper fluid can run out or freeze in cold weather, which can impair the function of the windshield wipers. You need to check the windshield wiper fluid level and quality, and refill or replace it as needed.
Electric vehicles are more efficient, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective than gasoline-powered vehicles, but they still require regular maintenance to ensure their optimal performance and longevity. By following this guide, you can keep your EV running smoothly and safely for years to come.