As more and more people are swapping to electric vehicles, more facts are spilling out. A big one that always gets discussed is the unique service intervals of electric cars.
Your service interval will vary from car to car, but you can expect to perform maintenance every 2 years or so. Comparatively, a gas-powered car might go in for servicing 2 or 3 times a year. EV servicing is infrequent and easy to perform. You can probably do most of it on your own.
If you want to know how often electric cars need servicing, you came to the right place. I’m going to discuss this point and get into the specifics with you.
The Benefit of Servicing a Car
Servicing your car is one of the quickest ways to extend the life of your vehicle. Auto manufacturers have pinpointed some common problem areas with cars. They put out a list of suggested servicing in order to deal with these common problems.
For example, a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) has a big problem with lubrication. Auto manufacturers added in an oil distribution system to help keep things running smoothly.
Of course, oil gets gunked up and becomes useless after a while. Once this happens, we’re back to square one and your engine can seize and moving parts can break. To deal with this, auto manufacturers developed a service interval for changing oil.
Basically, they realize that by routinely changing your oil, your car will live longer. That’s the bottom line whenever you take your car in for servicing.
Differences Between Servicing and Repairing
There is a little bit of confusion between “servicing” and “repairing” a car. I had a buddy tell me that his car was in for service when he was getting a new transmission dropped into his old Lancer. Yeah… that’s not servicing.
Getting service is a way to prevent a big problem from happening with your car in the future. It’s a predictable, preventative type of maintenance.
It doesn’t involve swapping out big parts of your car that cost a ton of money.
In fact, you can probably mark on your calendar for the next 10 years all the times you’ll need to get your car serviced. You can’t do the same when it comes to predicting repairs.
Repairs are for when something unexpectedly breaks.
List of Maintenance an Electric Car Needs
With a gas-powered car, you’ll find yourself servicing the car every 10,000 miles or so. There are a number of big-ticket items from the transmission to the oil and even the engine.
With an electric car, these three big items don’t need to be maintained at all. So, what’s left? The only items you’ll need to maintain routinely in an electric car are:
- Air filters
- Brake fluid
- Tire rotation, alignment, replacement, and balance
- Brake calipers
That’s it. A list that can be read in a few seconds is the extent of your service needed for your electric car.
How Often Do Electric Cars Need Servicing?
Electric cars don’t need servicing that often. Looking specifically at a Tesla, they have gone away with the yearly maintenance that a lot of other cars require.
If you rotate your own tires, you will reduce the frequency that your car needs servicing. You’ll find yourself in Tesla’s facility once every 2 to 3 years rather than 2 times a year with an ICE car.
Suggested Service Intervals
To get more specific, let me talk about some service intervals you can expect. These are all suggestions from Tesla talking about their Model 3.
1. Air Filters
Cabin air filters should be swapped out every 2-3 years.
2. Brake Fluid
You should test and replace (as needed) your brake fluid every 2 years.
3. Tire Maintenance
Tires should be rotated every 6,250 miles. When the tread is less than 1/16 of an inch, then you should replace your tires.
Be sure to replace your tires in pairs at a minimum. Typically, drivers will replace all four at the same time.
When you get new tires, it’s a good idea to have a mechanic install them for you. They’ll be able to balance the tires and make sure everything is aligned properly.
4. Brake Calipers
If you live in a cold area, then you should take a look at your brake calipers every year. A sticking or frozen caliper can be the reason why your car shakes when you brake.
The best practice is to lubricate and clean your calipers every 12 months.
Does a Lack of Servicing Mean Money Saved?
A big benefit of swapping to an electric car is the lack of maintenance that you’ll need to perform. For EV owners, this means a lot of money saved each year.
A gas-powered car needs service 2 or 3 times a year. Each of these visits will cost a minimum of $50 and typically float around $100 each. That means up to $300 saved every year in just maintenance alone.
This is one of many compelling reasons to swap to an EV. Not only will you confidently drive by gas stations without stopping, but you will also do the same with mechanic shops.
Do You Need a Mechanic for EV Servicing?
You’re already saving money thanks to a reduced service interval, but you can save even more money on maintenance for your EV. I always suggest performing your EV servicing on your own.
If you take another look at the required maintenance, it becomes pretty obvious. 3 of the 4 items can be easily performed with minimal tooling and very little mechanical knowledge required.
Rotating your tires will take you 30 minutes, replacing an air filter takes 5 minutes, and maintaining your brake calipers can be done when you rotate your tires for an additional 5 minutes.
More importantly, the cost of these repairs is very inexpensive if you do them on your own. A new air filter is 10 bucks. The tire rotation and brake caliper work are both free.
The only foreseeable issue is trying to work on your brake lines. Checking your fluid and repairing the lines isn’t something the everyday car owner can do on their own. I’d still suggest going to a mechanic for that.
Still, now you’re down to a single item that you need to pay a mechanic to maintain. You can use all that money you’re saving on a nice set of car speakers or something.
Electric vehicles require servicing infrequently, and all the required maintenance is low-effort and inexpensive. That’s because these cars are easy to keep alive for a long time. For more of your car questions answered, explore the rest of my blog. Have something to say? Drop a comment below! Also, be sure to check out my list of car care products that you deserve to have in your garage.