As gas prices rise and the climate crisis grows even more serious, many people are purchasing electric cars to save both their money and the planet. These innovative vehicles aren’t necessarily new. However, they are beginning to gain a bigger, brighter spotlight in the auto industry.
If you have an EV or are thinking about purchasing one, you must know how to take care of it. Of course, many maintenance tasks are similar to that of a conventional car and, therefore, fairly obvious. However, others will take some getting used to, especially if you’ve never had an EV before.
1. Change the Brake Fluid
Unlike those who own gas cars, you won’t ever have to worry about taking your vehicle in for an oil change. However, EVs still contain a few liquids that you’ll want to keep an eye on. The brake fluid is one such liquid. If your car doesn’t have enough, you may have trouble braking. Therefore, you must change it out every few years. Follow your manufacturer’s guidelines when adding more fluid and checking levels.
2. Replace the Air Filter
Like conventional cars, some EVs have air filters to keep dust, dirt, pollen and other pollutants outside of the cabin. If your vehicle does come with one of these bad boys, remember to replace it with a new one every few years. Filters are relatively cheap and will help you breathe easier during your daily commute. Once again, be sure to replace yours at whatever interval your manufacturer recommends.
3. Check the Coolant System
Most EVs feature a thermal management system that cools the battery when temperatures rise. In some cars, this arrangement involves a series of cooling plates underneath the battery pack. These plates keep your vehicle operating at an optimum temperature so the entire machine is functional and efficient. Because it’s so essential, it’s important to check the coolant system and flush coolant and antifreeze when necessary.
4. Service Your AC Unit
The battery isn’t the only thing that needs to stay cool. You do, too! Whether or not you feel like your air conditioner is functioning well, you must have someone inspect it periodically. Servicing an EV is AC a task for the professionals, so be sure to take it to a mechanic or dealer. Most systems draw energy from the car’s battery pack and that’s a lot of voltage to mess with, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.
5. Refill Windshield Wiper Fluid
No one likes straining to see through their windshield. Yet, many drivers forget to refill their windshield wiper fluid until it’s too late. Before your reservoir runs dry and leaves you with a dirty view, refill your fluid. If your car has a rear wiper, you may have to add more liquid to it as well. If you check and refill the container every week or so, you shouldn’t ever run out.
6. Charge Your Battery Correctly
You might not consider charging your car as maintenance. However, plugging it in and juicing it up correctly can help prolong the life of your vehicle and its battery. To maximize your charge and drive further between fill-ups, minimize the time your car spends at a 100% charge. Likewise, don’t let your car rest at 0%. You can actively prevent these extreme levels by using your car on a regular basis and fighting the urge to plug in overnight.
7. Get Tire Alignments and Rotations
Conventional car drivers like to get tire rotations and wheel alignments every other time they get an oil change. Of course, you don’t have oil in your vehicle, but you must still tend to the tires. Consult your owners manual to determine when you should take your car in for these services. Proper wheel alignment and periodic tire rotations will prolong the life of your tires and improve your mile range so you don’t have to recharge as often.
8. Wash the Underbody
Maintaining your EV also requires a good underbody wash every now and then. If you fail to take it through the wash, oils, salts and dirt will build up underneath your car and cause early-onset oxidation. If left untreated, this rust will eat away at essential components and cause you to purchase another vehicle much sooner than you’d like to. Purchase an annual pass to your local car wash for an easy way to save money and keep your car clean.
Small Investment, Big Reward
Electrical vehicle prices tend to prevent drivers from going green. However, most people don’t know that EVs require much less maintenance than conventional cars because they have fewer moving parts.
While the above list may seem a bit overwhelming, know that it certainly could be longer and more expensive if you stuck with a gas guzzler. Moreover, if you fail to take care of your EV, repairs will likely cost more than maintenance ever would. Therefore, it’s best to invest in the upkeep and prevent problems — or having to buy a new car — altogether.