10 Maintenance Tips Every EV Driver Should Know

10 Maintenance Tips Every EV Driver Should Know
Photo by Gustavo Fring

Electric cars are fast-gaining grounds in the auto market thanks to their smaller carbon footprint. These sustainable cars don’t require frequent oil changes, new spark plugs, or annual emission inspections. Although EVs come with fewer mechanical parts than gasoline-driven cars, it doesn’t mean drivers can overlook maintenance. Green cars have special auto service demands, which can lead to costly repairs when not met. Therefore, electric car owners will want to learn these essential maintenance tips to keep their vehicles safer.

1. Inspect the coolant system

Many electric cars come with thermal management or cooling systems that control temperature and reduce stress on the battery. The Chevrolet Bolt, for example, features a rechargeable energy storage system consisting of cooling plates underneath the vehicle’s battery pack. Coolant systems ensure an EV’s battery operates at the optimum temperature, boosting rechargeability and longevity. Your electric car maintenance routine should include inspections on the coolant system and antifreeze flushes when required. Refer to your vehicle manual for more details on how to maintain your EV’s cooling system and what kind of coolant to use.

2. Change the brake and windshield wiper fluid

Although EV brakes usually last a long time, you still have to maintain them regularly. Inspect the brake fluid, especially when the brake light warning flashes on the screen. Topping your electric car’s brake fluid can reduce the risks of early brake failure, which may be more expensive to fix. Have a certified EV service centre fix problems relating to the braking system. Ideally, you should schedule your EV brake inspection and fluid flush every three to five years.

Apart from brake fluid, remember to also pay close attention to your vehicle’s wiper fluid. The reservoir requires you to add windshield fluid yearly every 5000 to 10000 miles. It would be best if you replace the fluid whenever it runs dry. Many electric vehicles can use the standard window wiper fluid. That said, you may want to check your car manual and apply fluid that works best for your climate.

3. Go for wheel alignments

You may have wheel alignment issues if your electric car veers to one side or shakes violently at high speeds. A wheel or tire alignment service re-adjusts the angles of your wheels to meet the manufacturer’s specifications. Routine wheel alignment maintenance services will improve your electric vehicle’s mile range and reduce tire tread wear, resulting in a longer lifespan. You should align your wheels once annually or every 15,000 miles.

4. Maintain your home-charging station

Along with the regular EV car service, you must maintain your electric car’s home charging station. Fortunately, most home chargers for EVs last up to 10 years. EV cars in the garage have Level 1, Level 2, and DC charging systems, with each requiring its own maintenance. Consider hiring electric car charger installation experts to mount new chargers when the need arises. Experienced technicians can give the best maintenance service to ensure your EV charging station is highly functional and efficient.

5. Take care of the suspension

The suspension system makes driving smoother on rougher surfaces. Similar to traditional petrol and diesel cars, EVs also experience rough patches on the road. Accordingly, the suspension system of your electric vehicle may become damaged with time. Therefore, to improve comfort and safety, you should regularly inspect the suspension and conduct maintenance when required.

6. Park the vehicle safely

On hot days, parking your electric car in the open sun for long periods can force the thermal control system to activate. The temperature control system may temporarily shut down in worst-case scenarios, like when the car is turned off. It may remain inactive until you restart your EV, during which the temperature can rise and potentially cause battery overheating. Eventually, this can reduce the battery’s lifespan. To avoid experiencing such heating issues, try to park your EV in shaded areas or under shelter. 

7. Wash your EV carefully

Since EVs primarily rely on electronic components, you must ensure critical parts don’t come into contact with water. It would be best to use electric car washing machines rather than apply gas-pressure washers. Electric car washing machines are more convenient for cleaning EVs thanks to the relatively low pressure. Some people use water jets to clean the edges of their electric vehicle doors, but this practice may not be safe. Switch off all automatic functions in your car before washing; windscreen wipers may turn on automatically after detecting water. Also, avoid washing and charging the vehicle simultaneously since that can cause electrical hazards.

8. Drive responsibly

The electric vehicle technology is relatively new; it works differently from that of conventional internal combustion engine cars. So, it would be best if you handled your ride with utmost care. Driving at high speeds for extended periods is not recommended. The habit can create a significant impact on your battery’s health and performance. Consistent speed fluctuations may exert unnecessary strain on the battery. Therefore, consider driving at moderate speeds to reduce accident risks and improve battery longevity. If you experience a situation where a feature malfunctions, turn off the car and restart it instead of carelessly pressing buttons, which can worsen issues. 

9. Clean the charging cables

With time, EV car charging cables may accumulate dirt, debris, grime, and corrosion, which can affect the device’s charging speed and efficiency. Therefore, drivers must learn to clean their charging cables properly. Regularly wipe down your cables with a dry, neat, and soft cloth for optimal performance. This simple habit can boost the lifespan of your cables.

10. Service the air conditioning

Effective EV AC maintenance is important for your comfort. Old refrigerants, dirty lubricants, and degrading heater pump elements can impact your air conditioning efficiency and longevity. Servicing your electric car’s AC system is one task professionals can best handle; your EV may need specific AC refrigerant and compressor oil. Plus, there are federal regulations on how car owners should recycle automotive air conditioning refrigerants correctly.

Aside from servicing the air conditioning, remember to replace air filters when necessary. Similar to regular cars, electric vehicles have air filters to stop pollen, road dust, dirt, and other contaminants from invading the cabin. Consider replacing filters every two to three years or as stated in your manual. Those who use specialty filters like HEPA filters can go up to five years between replacements.

Investing in an EV has never been more affordable than now, but you don’t want to overlook maintenance after purchasing your green car. Taking good care of your electric car will make it more efficient.

About the author

Tom Bernes

Tom Bernes is the Editorial Director at The Next Hint Inc.

Prior to joining The Next Hint Inc, Tom had a hand in a number of online and print publications, including as chief copy editor and Government Technology Magazine as managing editor. He also did a stint in Sydney as group editor of RBI Australia's manufacturing group, which is when he also developed an affinity (a love, really) for cricket.

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