- Electric cars are trendy and eco-friendly, but not many people understand how they work or how to maintain them for the best possible lifespan.
- Some maintenance and repair issues are the same as combustion engine-powered vehicles, while others are different.
- By knowing what to expect from an electric vehicle, it might become a more popular purchase choice for consumers.
The first electric vehicle design has been reimagined and re-engineered more than a hundred times since its inception, and it continues to evolve. Current models, however, have a similar construction and operation method, making it easy for consumers to learn how they work and how to keep them running at their best, no matter which model or brand they choose. This guide will offer all of the basic insight that you need on electric cars, including how they work, what their maintenance needs are like, and whether they’re known for needing any serious or major repairs regularly.
The Basics of Electric Vehicle Operation
Understanding how your electric car works is the first step to understanding the service, maintenance, and repair needs it may have. These cars use an electric motor that operates off of a large traction-style battery pack. This battery pack has a plug, essentially, that needs to be plugged into a wall outlet or at a charging station to recharge the battery.
Check out this helpful graphic from the United States Department of Energy to see exactly what the inside of an electric vehicle looks like, as compared to a vehicle with a traditional combustion engine:
As you can see, there is also an electric transmission and a thermal system to keep the engine and its components at the proper operating temperature, which are similar features offered in gasoline-powered vehicles. However, you also have an onboard charger and power converter, and an electronics controller that manages power flow, instead of traditional vehicle components.
This is a standard all-electric car design. There are also many hybrid electric options available that feature various combinations of electric and combustion vehicle features and components, such as the plug-in hybrid, hybrid electric, and hydrogen fuel cell models. For now, let’s focus on the standard all-electric vehicle, which is the basis for the other designs.
There are special maintenance requirements for electric vehicles that may not be required of cars with traditional internal combustion engines. They do also have some of the same maintenance needs, such as tire rotations and battery replacements, so you’ll want to keep that in mind. Here are some of the basics of electric car maintenance to keep in mind:
- Battery Care: This is a big part of electric vehicle ownership. The battery is what is mostly responsible for the car’s operation, after all, and it deserves to be cared for accordingly. Maintaining your battery can also affect the resale value of your electric car, so make sure that you give it the care that it needs. Every vehicle is slightly different, but your owner’s manual will have all of the information that you need.
- Brake Service: Most electric cars use regenerative braking to handle everyday driving, but mechanical pads and brake fluid are still employed from time to time and need to be properly maintained and cared for. You should perform routine brake fluid and hardware service and replacements regularly, based on your exact driving habits. Some people will need this more frequently than others.
- Coolant Service: The coolant system in an electric vehicle is still important. It just cools different components than it would in an engine-operated vehicle. Flushes are required at certain mileage intervals, and you should maintain that schedule to keep your car operating at its best and protect the electric motor, battery, and other components.
DIY vs. Professional Maintenance and Parts Replacements
Electric vehicles are just like the rest when it comes to determining who is going to do the work needed. There are several factors to consider, and there may be some jobs that are easier than others that you can do yourself. However, there will also be a time and place to let mechanics handle the job. The good news is that you can generally purchase your own genuine OEM parts to save money and get the peace of mind that you are getting the best parts for the job.
When you are considering whether maintenance and repairs on your electric vehicle require a mechanic or can be done on your own, think about what needs to be done and how comfortable you feel doing the work. If you want, look up online videos on electric vehicle repairs to see exactly how complex the job is and decide how to proceed. Ultimately, most people rely on mechanics because of the specialty nature of these vehicles, but there are plenty of OEM replacement parts available for electric cars if you do want to perform the work yourself.
How to Find Mechanics in Your Area
The biggest challenge for many electric vehicle owners is finding someone to do the repair work. Although the market is constantly expanding, there is limited availability of mechanics who know how to work on electric cars and who are properly certified to do that work. If you are considering buying an electric vehicle and don’t want to rely solely on dealership service, your first concern should be researching how many local mechanics are available.
Look up electric vehicle mechanics online by searching for your city or region. Then, see what kind of specialties they have or if they are certified to work on all-electric cars. Feel free to give them a call and ask some questions so that you can get a better sense of what they have to offer. Check to see if they have been licenced or certified to work on electric motors and cars. At this point, there at least a couple of different certifications available for electric vehicle maintenance and repairs.
If you’re considering an electric car, or you’ve already purchased one and are now trying to learn how to take care of it, this information will set you on the right track. You should take the time to do your homework and learn exactly what the pros and cons of electric vehicle ownership are. For some people, the cost of electricity and other expenses might outweigh the benefits. Others might prefer the low-maintenance features of these vehicles and their eco-friendliness.
The bottom line is that electric cars and other hybrid options do have a lot of benefits to offer, but you have to re-learn everything that you think you know about cars if you are going to own one. Fortunately, the Internet makes it easy to get all of the information that you need.
At Autofixa, we carry a full selection of genuine OEM parts and accessories and are leading the way in the online auto parts revolution. We specialise in offering a comprehensive inventory of manufacturer parts for a variety of vehicles and are regularly expanding our selection to include more parts and solutions for a wider selection of vehicles.