What Kind of Routine Maintenance Does an Electric Car Need?

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Electric cars are, mechanically speaking, much simpler than cars that utilize an internal combustion engine. In a regular gas or diesel engine, there are hundreds of moving parts. Any of these can fail, and many need regular service to operate properly. Electric cars are much simpler, but there are still components in these types of cars that must be monitored or serviced to achieve lasting performance.

Car Maintenance

  • Some types of regular maintenance are required on all cars, whether propelled by electricity, gasoline or hydrogen. It is very important that you don't ignore these regular tasks just because you're driving an electric car. This means checking your tire pressure, having tires rotated and aligned and having the brake systems serviced at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer. Shocks and struts also require service and maintenance. The components in these systems are all basically the same in electric and conventional cars.

Batteries

  • Electric cars store their drive energy in a series of lithium-ion batteries. If you use your electric car a great deal, your battery will wear out more quickly. Batteries have a limited cycle life. This means after the battery has been charged and discharged a certain number of times, it will hold less energy. When this happens, you need to take your electric car in to have the battery replaced. If you notice your charges not lasting as long, have the vehicle inspected to see if there is an extra drain on the power or if the battery life is actually reduced. Even if you don't notice a decrease in your charges, once you reach the maximum mileage recommended by the manufacturer you must replace the batteries in the car. This happens only every few years, but the cost of replacing the batteries in an electric car is, as of 2011, quite high.

Motor Brushes

  • There are brushes inside the electric motor that powers electric cars. These brushes are subject to constant friction and as a result wear out over time. Replace the brushes on your car's motor approximately every 50,000 miles unless you have a manufacturer's scheduled maintenance on the brushes before that time.

Electrical

  • Because of the obvious importance of the electric systems inside an electric car, they need to be inspected occasionally as a part of regular maintenance. One of the more regular inspections is for the port where the car gets plugged in for charging. For example, a Nissan Leaf requires this every 15,000 miles. The interior electrical components also require periodic testing and inspections.

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