When you first buy an EV, you’ll be more focused on the joy of driving it than anything else. But when the time comes for a little bit of maintenance, the simple vehicle checks you might’ve done on your previous car might not be necessary. So, who do you turn to?
While most complex repairs for EVs should be undertaken by a professional, there are a few jobs you can do at home. And with sales of new plug-in vehicles up by over 70% across the UK, more drivers need to learn about their cars.
If you have some basic mechanical knowledge and the right equipment for the job, it’s possible to get one step ahead.
Keeping your electric car in top shape
The UK is rapidly investing in electric vehicle accessibility, installing hundreds more charging points every month. Since meeting Net Zero targets involves cutting CO2 emissions, diesel, and petrol cars are slowly being phased out in favour of EVs and plug-in hybrids.
If you’ve invested time and money into a new EV, you’ll want to keep it looking tidy and running smoothly. While many electric models might look like their internal combustion engine counterparts, the maintenance demands of EVs are entirely different.
Electric car maintenance and servicing: What’s different?
Electric vehicles are cheaper and simpler to maintain than traditional cars. Thanks to fewer mechanical parts and efficient regenerative braking, there’s simply less to potentially go wrong.
However, just like any other car, your EV will still need the occasional service. This usually includes checks on tyre wear and pressure, brake fluid change, and an MOT without emissions testing.
Due to their powerful batteries, electric vehicles tend to be much heavier. When dealing with such components, professional mechanics might use equipment like Milwaukee drill drivers and handheld tools in assorted sizes.
But even if you’re a qualified mechanic, you should always exercise caution while working with a vehicle on a ramp. No matter which type of car needs servicing, it’s important to remember that working under vehicles comes with serious risks.
Maintaining an EV: What can I do at home?
- Brake pads
You can change your brake pads at home providing you have a way to lift the vehicle to remove the wheel. Check out the Edmunds guide for advice.
Nearly all EVs use regenerative braking, meaning some of the stopping power gets fed back into the car. However, many also use hydraulic bakes too. These eventually wear down and the pads wear thin, which often prompts a whistling sound when you brake.
Despite having an average lifespan of 45,000 miles, it’s still worth keeping an eye on the condition of your brake pads. Just make sure you have a disc brake toolkit on hand.
- Tyre pressures
You can check tyre pressures at home with a simple tyre pressure gauge and you can top them up with a rapid tyre inflator.
Car tyre pressures are important because they directly affect the handling, braking, and grip of the car. Correct tyre pressures help the car respond better to steering inputs, and provide good traction and stability when cornering.
In addition, correct tyre pressures can improve fuel economy and reduce the risk of an accident due to their influence on braking and grip.
However, beware of punctures – making sure you have the right tyre pressures is only the first step to optimise your car’s performance. If your tyres have been damaged or punctured, you should replace them as soon as possible.
- Windscreen wipers
Windscreen wipers should function in the same way regardless of the car you’re driving. If they start to wear down or malfunction, they can be replaced quickly and easily.
You won’t need any special tools to do this – but if you’re in doubt about any of the maintenance checks on your EV, don’t hesitate to consult a professional.