EV Owners Guide to Servicing Your Electric Car

Welcome to Electric Car Guides’ introduction to servicing your electric car. It’s vital for EV owners to understand how to properly maintain and service electric cars to keep them running smoothly. Unlike petrol cars, EVs have different components and systems that require specialised attention from trained EV technicians. 

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about servicing your electric car, including the importance of regular maintenance and the most common issues to watch out for.

Volvo electric XC 40 having a service

Do electric cars need servicing?

Yes, Electric cars absolutely do need servicing, just like any other car. EVs have to be regularly serviced and checked to ensure they are running correctly and safely, to prevent any future issues from arising, and to keep the manufacturer’s warranty valid.

What are the common maintenance needs for electric cars?

EVs generally require less maintenance than petrol vehicles, because they have fewer engine parts to look after. That being said, there are a number of important things to look out for that owners should be aware of:

Battery maintenance
The battery is the beating heart of an electric car! It needs to be looked after. This includes regular checks for damage, cleaning the battery pack, and monitoring the battery’s state of charge and its ability to connect to a home charging unit.

Brake maintenance
While electric cars use regenerative braking to slow down and recapture energy, they still have traditional brakes that need to be checked and serviced like with any other car.

Charging system maintenance
Electric cars have a charging system that needs to be maintained regularly, including checking the charging cable, connector, and port for damage.

Cooling system maintenance
Electric cars have a cooling system to regulate the temperature of the battery and other components. The cooling system should be checked regularly to make sure there are no leaks or other issues.

How often does an electric car need servicing?

Always refer to your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, and don’t try and put off a service because you personally feel an electric car doesn’t need servicing. The service schedule varies depending on the make and model of the car, but normally new EVs need servicing every 10,000 to 20,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first.

How much does it cost to service an electric car?

Most EV service centres do not advertise a fixed cost for servicing an EV because they need to tailor it to your specific vehicle. The manufacturer’s recommended service schedule can vary depending on factors such as the age, model, and mileage of the car. So to get an accurate cost for your electric car service you will need to speak to your nearest EV service centre and obtain a quote before you take the vehicle in to be serviced.

What factors affect the cost of servicing an electric car?

Let’s look in more detail at the 4 key things that can affect the cost of servicing an EV:

  1. The EV make and model: Different makes and models of electric cars have different servicing requirements, and the cost of servicing can vary depending on the specific model

  2. How old is the EV: As with normal petrol cars, older electric cars may need to be serviced more often versus newer models

  3. How much mileage has it done: Electric cars that have seen more miles probably have more issues, which can increase the cost of servicing

  4. Where do you live: Electric cars that are driven in harsher conditions, such as extreme temperatures or rough terrain, might need servicing more often
Volvo XC40 being serviced by an EV technitian
EVs all have different servicing requirements – check the manufacturer’s guidance

Are there any ways to reduce the cost of servicing an electric car?

It is certainly possible to reduce the cost of servicing an electric car, here are a few ideas:

Regular maintenance
Just like any other vehicle, try and keep the EV in good condition to help prevent expensive repairs in the future. Learn how to perform simple maintenance tasks like changing the windscreen wipers or indicator bulbs.

Pick a reliable brand
Do some research, and make sure you go for a reliable brand that has a good track record for producing quality electric cars.

Battery maintenance
The battery is a significant component of an electric car, therefore regular EV battery maintenance is a factor that determines how long an EV will last for. Regularly check the battery’s state of charge and recharge it as needed. Also, try to avoid letting the battery run completely flat, be sure to charge it before it gets too low or too high, and keep it in the sweet spot between 25 and 75% to ensure the EV battery lasts longer.

Is a service cheaper on an electric car?

In general, servicing an electric car is usually cheaper compared to a traditional petrol or diesel car. Electric cars are cheaper to run, they don’t have a lot of the components that regularly need servicing in petrol vehicles, such as engines, oil systems, spark plugs, and transmission fluids.

Can normal garages service electric cars?

Normal garages may not always have the expertise or equipment that’s needed to service electric cars. Servicing an electric car requires specialised knowledge and training that you might not find in your average back street garage.

Most new EVs will need to be serviced at a franchised dealer during the warranty period. After the warranty ends it will cost less to use a normal garage to service the EV, do some research and find a garage that has experience in servicing electric cars.

white Volvo outside a garage being serviced
Not all garages will have technicians capable of servicing electric vehicles

Is an electric car service a legal requirement?

There is currently no legal requirement for electric car owners to have their electric vehicles serviced in the UK. It’s not a requirement, but it is certainly recommended by electric car manufacturers.

Manufacturers will have specific EV servicing requirements that need to be kept in order to validate the vehicle’s warranty. If you don’t follow the manufacturer’s recommended servicing schedule then you could void the warranty of your car or any extended EV battery warranty you have taken out.

Can I get my electric car serviced during an MOT?

MOT tests can be a great opportunity to deal with some basic servicing needs for an electric car, but it is not really a substitute for regular servicing.

When you take your EV for an electric car MOT test you will get some basic maintenance checks, they will look at the battery system, charging cables, and other components related to the running of the EV. The technician will report faults and make recommendations, but regular servicing of the vehicle will help prevent future issues.

Can I service my electric car myself, or do I need to take it to a garage?

In theory, it’s possible to service an electric car yourself, but it’s not recommended. Servicing an electric car incorrectly can result in damage to the vehicle and the risk of invalidating your EVs warranty. Take your EV to a garage with a qualified technician for servicing, they should have the expertise and equipment to properly service the car.

Do electric cars need oil?

Nope, electric cars don’t have an engine so EVs do not need engine oil. There are some other EV parts that need oil, such as the bearings in the wheels and the gearboxes that drive the wheels. These parts use specialised lubricants that are different from engine oil, and they don’t need lubricating as much compared to how often you would need to put oil in a petrol car engine.

The final word on servicing your electric vehicle

Despite the fact that Electric cars are considered to need less maintenance than their petrol or diesel rivals, it is still important to follow a regular service schedule. The warranty of your EV may be invalid if you do not stick to the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule.

Shop around to find a good price for your EV service, as service centres tend to provide bespoke quotes for servicing – depending on a range of factors. 

By choosing a reliable brand, looking after the car, taking care of the battery, and using efficient charging methods, electric car owners can reduce their servicing costs and make sure the EV runs well for years to come.

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