Important EV Maintenance Best Left to a Mechanic
While electric vehicles require fewer system maintenance services than internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE), they do still need periodic service, including regular inspection of steering, suspension, and drivetrain components. “Most EVs have a similar maintenance schedule to other cars, but there is actually a lot less work to be done on them during those services,” says Jess Shanahan, automotive journalist and an expert on the future of mobility.
Refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended intervals for inspections and services. “There are sometimes two or more maintenance schedules prescribed by the manufacturer that are specific to individual driving habits,” says Lum. “Owners should ensure they are following the maintenance schedule that is most relevant to their daily habits.”
To prevent uneven wear, your mechanic will remove the tires from the vehicle and reinstall them in a different spot. Your manual will list the recommended interval for tire rotation, but you can expect it to be somewhere between every 5,000 to 12,000 miles.
As you drive, potholes, curbs, and other obstacles may cause your car’s wheels to shift slightly. To avoid uneven tire wear, a wheel alignment should be done for preventative maintenance once a year, but you should bring it in sooner for an inspection if your vehicle is pulling or the steering wheel is crooked while you drive.
Just like on an ICE, brakes need to be replaced when they are worn. However, brakes on an electric vehicle will likely require less maintenance because regenerative braking reduces the wear on brake components, notes Lum. In addition, brake fluid will need to be replaced roughly every five years, but you should check your owner’s manual for specific directions.
Some EVs require the air conditioning desiccant—a substance that removes moisture from the air—to be replaced. Coolant also needs to be changed on EVs, but usually only twice over the life of the car. Check your owner’s manual for exact intervals and other services your car may require.
How to Find a Mechanic for Your EV
Not all mechanic shops are qualified to work on electric vehicles. “AAA recommends researching repair facilities to determine which ones specialize in the repair and maintenance of electric vehicles,” says Lum. You can ask the repair shop if they are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in electric vehicle repairs, which is the aftermarket standard for competency certifications. Use the AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility locator to find a trusted facility in your area. If your vehicle is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, you may also be able to bring it back to the dealership for service.