By Guest Blogger Craig Cole, Senior Editor, EV Pulse
All vehicles need maintenance, even electrics. But did you know electric vehicles generally require way less service than conventional gas- or diesel-powered cars and trucks? It’s true.
Routine ICE and EV maintenance … you’ve got to do it if you want your vehicle to work properly and last. With combustion-powered cars and trucks, this is as streamlined as it’s ever been, but you still have to pay attention to spark plugs, timing belts, oxygen sensors, and fuel filters. Plus, there are oil change intervals, transmission flushes, and MUCH more. With EVs, ALL of that is eliminated, which saves time and money.
Yes, Electric Vehicles Require Maintenance
Of course, that is not to say electric vehicles require zero maintenance, it’s just that the service is reduced. Take the 2023 Chevy Bolt EUV, for instance. Aside from recommended multi-point vehicle inspections, the owner’s manual says you need to:
- Rotate the tires every 7,500 miles
- Change the cabin air filter ever 2 years or 22,500 miles
- Drain and fill the coolant circuits at 5 years or 150,000 miles
- Change brake fluid every 5 years
- The A/C desiccant is good for 7 years
- And then – this is a weird one – replace the hood and hatch support struts every 10 years or 100,000 miles
But really, that’s it for manufacturer-recommended maintenance. I also checked out the Ford F-150 Lightning and Tesla Model 3; their care and feeding instructions are broadly similar to the Bolt EUV’s, which is no surprise.
Aside from the fundamentals I just mentioned, some elements of EV maintenance are identical to gas-powered cars. Wiper blades still need to be changed and the washer fluid reservoir filled. The 12-volt lead-acid battery that runs accessories like power windows and radio will eventually go south, and door latches still need lubrication.
Brake pads and rotors are another shared maintenance item, though these components on EVs need far less service because of regenerative braking, which improves range and dramatically reduces wear and tear.
Pay Attention to Your Tires
Undoubtedly, the biggest maintenance concern with EVs is tire wear. Electric vehicles tend to be a lot heavier than similar combustion-powered cars and trucks, plus electric motors can deliver a huge sucker punch of torque right off the line. These two factors contribute greatly to accelerated tire wear, so you’re going to want to keep an eye on your vehicle’s tires and make sure to rotate them regularly, every 7,500 miles in the case of the Bolt EUV.
EVs often require special tires, ones with lower rolling resistance to help reduce range losses while driving. These tires tend to be beefier to cope with the extra weight and added forces, so, replacement tires for electric vehicles can often cost more.
EV Maintenance Savings
Still, even if new tires are pricier, EVs can still save you money on maintenance. How much? Well, it depends.
According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), scheduled maintenance for an EV will cost about 6.1 cents per mile, while an internal-combustion-powered vehicle totals 10.1 cents. That’s a savings of approximately 40%, which is not insignificant. Over the course of 13,500 miles – roughly how far the average American drives each year – that represents an annual savings of roughly $540.
Craig Cole is Senior Editor at EV Pulse. He brings 15 years of experience to EV Pulse and is a proud member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. Check out the EV Pulse YouTube channel here.