“To infinity and beyond!” That’s the most famous line by Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story franchise.
The quote implies many things. We can interpret it as reaching for our engine dreams, or most of us try to innovate and create new things.
Since the invention of the steam-powered car, automobile manufacturers have outdone each other to make the perfect model. Others created powerful engines, but some stepped further and made electric cars.
Manufacturing electric vehicles started in the early 1900s. However, due to the constraints of the storage batteries, it didn’t gain any traction from the consumers.
Nonetheless, when most countries pushed sustainability and eco-friendly, the electric car’s popularity arose.
According to a Congressional Research Service report last year, electric-powered vehicles produce less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional cars.
Most of us are more well-versed with a gasoline-powered one. From driving a manual to doing maintenance work, we know it.
But now that electric cars are taking over the automobile industry do they still require conventional maintenance?
Moreover, you may ask questions like, do electric cars still need oil changes?
In this article, you’ll learn about the answer to that question, electric car maintenance tips, and solutions to relevant questions.
Crank up your engines, and let’s get started!
Do Electric Cars Need Oil?
A more simplified answer to the question is no.
Some people are unaware of this information, and they avoid electric cars because of it. They also develop range anxiety or the fear of the vehicle not reaching its destination.
Traditional oil changes are not required for electric automobiles. They have a whole different mechanism than their gasoline-powered counterparts, so you’ll never have to worry about this maintenance work.
Why Electric Cars Don’t Require Oil Change
As stated earlier, electric cars have different components than their traditional counterparts. They don’t have the internal combustion engine along with the moving parts.
So how does an electric car work?
On the outside, you will not tell the difference between a regular and electric car. But once you open the hood, you’ll see how they differ from one another.
As its name implies, an electric vehicle is powered by electricity. Instead of an engine, it has an electric motor that drives the wheels.
Electric cars have either two motors (one for each axle) and a four-wheel-drive or one motor with only two-wheel-drive. The number of engines highly depends on the manufacturer.
An array of battery packs powers motors on electric vehicles. They store electricity when you charge your car.
Electric cars also have another battery pack solely for the provision of power to the vehicle’s accessories. Moreover, these automobiles have sophisticated control units equipped with advanced car software.
Other parts include the charge port, DC/DC converter, a cooling system, an onboard charger, and electric transmission. Still, manufacturers put additional components in their models.
Although electric cars don’t have internal combustion engines, they still need fluids in their system. Examples of fluids are oils for differentials, coolants for the car battery, braking fluids, and grease for the car’s components.
Lubricants must pass industry standards and are made to cater specific needs of eclectic cars. These needs include such as friction reduction, antiwear performance, and electrical compatibility and insulation.
As more people hop on the electric car bandwagon, more research studies are initiated to create better fluids. Nonetheless, the current state of electric vehicle fluids is excellent and provides optimum efficiency.
How Maintenance Works For Electric Cars
There is no such notion as a “zero maintenance” car. Every car model needs some kind of maintenance work.
Although you don’t need to change the oil of an electric car, you still need to perform necessary maintenance works. Here are some of them:
Battery Performance Checks
An electric car’s battery is one of its most important components. It’s more similar to a regular car’s engine than its electric motor.
Every electric vehicle manufacturer puts specifications or scenarios you should never do to your car. Always read that part, so you know what to avoid.
Some instances include charging too much or letting it sit in extreme temperatures for a long time.
Moreover, it is wise to know how many charging cycles your battery has. It will prepare you to buy a new one before the old one runs out.
But then again, you shouldn’t be concerned with the lifespan of the batteries on electric cars.
You should also check the car’s cooling system. Electric cars employ liquid coolants to ensure your battery is in safe operational temperatures.
Similar to conventional cars, heat spells big trouble for electric vehicles. Manufacturers have installed cooling systems in electric automobiles to regulate the heat generated by the battery.
There are different cooling systems for an electric car, each with varying advantages. Some use the conventional liquid coolant and air-cooled systems, and others use Phase Change Material (PCM) of fin cooling.
Cooling systems don’t need to be replaced throughout the battery’s lifespan. However, when using liquid coolant, check the frequency you need to do a coolant system flush.
Some manufacturers have a shorter frequency with only 4 years or 50,000 miles, while others peg it longer.
Always let a certified mechanic check the coolant fluid levels and keep putting it on a high level.
Brake Fluid Replacement
Although most electric cars have regenerative braking systems, changing brake fluid is vital even to electric vehicles.
It’s easier to check the brake fluid on an electric car.
You don’t need to open the reservoir cap to check it. Instead, check from the outside between the Max and Min lines on the reservoir.
Every manufacturer has its timeline when replacing the brake fluid. Some will instruct you to change it after 2 years and others 5 years.
However, always follow the specified timeline in your car’s manual. You can also check with your dealership or a mechanic if you need to change your brake fluid.
Speaking of brake fluids, another thing you want to check is your brake pads. Like the brake fluids, you still need to care for your brake pads.
Its upkeep is determined by how frequently you use your automobile, the braking system fitted, and the terrain you drive on.
Transmission Fluids Check
Today, almost every electric vehicle does not use a transmission anymore, so you don’t need to check for it.
However, as some electric car manufacturers add a two-speed gearbox in their vehicles, it will need service. If more and more cars have it, you need to put transmission fluid in your maintenance checklist.
Like any other electrical device, electric cars receive updates that add numerous improvements to their navigation systems. Also known as a software update or software maintenance, a routine software check gives an electric vehicle a performance boost.
Before, owners had to go directly to the dealership to update their car’s software. However, since the utilization of over-the-air (or OTA) updates, they don’t need to go to their dealerships anymore.
It is the process that Tesla, BMW, and many other electric car manufacturers use to update their electric cars. The process is very straightforward.
It simply works by using the car’s Wi-Fi connectivity to download the updates. Through this, updates allow the manufacturers to quickly, conveniently, and automatically issue current and future operating systems.
Still, OTA is fairly new (although it was introduced in 2012).and still hasn’t reached its full potential.
Updates on electric cars also mean adding more features to the infotainment systems. Also known as in-vehicle entertainment, these systems deliver entertainment and information to the driver and the passengers.
It can be through audio, video, or multimedia interfaces with elements like button panels, touch screen displays, and voice commands.
Ford, for example, issued OTA updates to add Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Other manufacturers used the same process to add more detailed maps and satnav systems.
Though software updates have their advantages, they also have their fair share of challenges, for example, security concerns.
Since OTA updates utilize a wireless connection, it risks having malware or personal information leaked. However, having a secure connection can help reduce the risk.
Like our phones, software checks improve their overall efficiency, perform better than before, and add fun to the owners.
Safety Requirements Check
Before you can drive any commercially manufactured electric vehicle, it must pass certain safety requirements. There are international and local standards and guidelines in which an electric car is deemed road safe.
Various studies are conducted to check potential hazards when driving an electric car and ways to handle them. However, currently, no standard encompasses all countries. Some international standards merely act as guides.
For example, the ISO/IEC 27000. It provides guidelines and recommendations about privacy, confidentiality, and cybersecurity issues of micro-processors.
There’s also the SAE J1766 that gives directives on the car owner’s safety during and after a car crash. It checks the vehicle’s integrity to shield its owner from potentially harmful electric currents.
Electric cars are also subjected to their manufacturer’s safety checks. Some of the procedures in those checks include US standards and sometimes international ones.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in the US. These standards include electric-powered vehicles.
The standard includes post-crash safety, safety during charging, and protection from components with high voltage.
Other Conventional Car Maintenances That Electric Cars Don’t Need
Because electric vehicles do not have an internal combustion engine, they require significantly less maintenance than traditional automobiles. Aside from not having to change the oil, here are some more maintenance tasks that are not needed:
- Changing the spark plugs
- Replacing fuel filters
- Issues with the radiator
- Faulty exhaust system
- Changing the water pump
- Blown head gaskets
Removing these tasks saves you money and time.
Costs and Benefits of Electric Cars vs. Conventional Vehicles
Learn how electric vehicles compare to gas-powered automobiles in terms of list prices, operating costs, range, and miles per gallon.
Electric Cars: Did You Know?
Many people have been dealing with electric cars (ECs), but there are a number of things that they don’t know about the vehicles. Read on to learn about 9 real facts you didn’t know about electric cars.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some frequently asked questions in case we missed some important information:
How Often Does An Electric Car Need Maintenance?
Electric cars are dubbed low maintenance, which doesn’t mean it’s free from maintenance work. Each component has different frequencies when it needs some tender loving care.
For example, you need to check the tires monthly while getting them rotated twice a year.
Do You Save Money With Electric Cars?
Electric cars are more economical or cost-effective than their counterparts. However, just don’t be shocked at the price you’ll shell out when getting one.
You can save money by lessening trips to the mechanic, having sturdier components and lesser parts. Moreover, you can have fewer trips to the mechanic.
Do Electric Cars Need Servicing?
An electric car, like any other vehicle, requires routine maintenance. However, its maintenance doesn’t follow the same intervals as the classic cars.
Still, windshield wiper replacement, tire wear, and tear, and brake fluid replacements will all be required.
Are Electric Vehicles Expensive To Repair?
The internal combustion engine and electric motor are both not complex. The same goes for the parts of their cars.
However, servicing electric cars requires more knowledge, and most workshops don’t specialize in it.
We go back to the question, “do electric cars need oil changes?” After reading the article, you know the answer is no.
Electric cars don’t have an internal combustion engine. That’s why they don’t need any engine oil. We’ve also tackled the different maintenance tasks required for an electric vehicle.
Although electric vehicles are marketed as low maintenance, it’s still wise to do regular maintenance to ensure maximum efficiency. Remember that no car is “zero maintenance,” every single vehicle needs to be cared for.