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Vehicle Servicing & Maintenance

If you're thinking about making a change on your driveway for the first time in about 10 years, you now have more options than you would've had last time you were car shopping.

Electric & Hybrid Maintenance

As a responsible car owner, it’s important to know the ins and outs of your vehicle and what is needed to keep it in good working order. The good news is, in many ways, electric vehicles and hybrids are often easier to maintain as they have fewer moving parts and less fluid than a traditional vehicle. That said, there are certain things you need to keep in mind.

As is the case with all vehicles, electric, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid vehicles need to be serviced on a regular basis. Much like a diesel or petrol car, you will be able to get your electric vehicle serviced at a main dealership or an independent garage.As electric vehicles have fewer moving parts, their service intervals are extended. This means you should be making fewer trips to the workshop.

With that being said, on this page, we will reveal everything you need to know about getting an electric car service so that you can understand your requirements and what to expect.

Note: Just like a regular car, your EV will need an MOT once a year after it turns three years old.

Electric car servicing explained

If you have owned a diesel or petrol vehicle before, the prospect of getting your car serviced on a frequent, predetermined basis is something you will be very familiar with. The experience is a similar one when running an electric car. However, that is not to say that the electric servicing system operates in the same way.

In most cases, electric vehicles demand less frequent servicing and electric car maintenance is less too. As a consequence, electric cars should be more cost-effective in terms of running costs. There are fewer moving parts, meaning there is less for the mechanic to check. However, just because your vehicle demands fewer services does not mean you can afford to take your eye off the ball when it comes to consumables, such as wipers, lights, and tyres. These elements still need to be checked on a frequent basis.


Another reason why electric vehicles tend to require less frequent servicing is because of their use of regenerative braking. For those who are unaware, this is a major difference between electric vehicles and the other cars on the market today. Regenerative braking will use an electric motor to slow down the vehicle and recharge the battery under braking. As a consequence of this system being in place, you won’t need to use your traditional friction brakes as often, meaning they will last longer and suffer less wear as a result.


You should be able to get your vehicle’s service schedule directly from the dealer. We will certainly provide you with this when you purchase an electric vehicle from Swansway Garages. Typically, all vehicles need to be serviced after a specific mileage or period of time. You will be able to keep your vehicle in pristine condition by keeping on top of this schedule, as well as ensuring any warranty that is remaining is kept intact.

Are electric cars less maintenance when compared with diesel or petrol vehicles?

Yes, when compared with petrol or diesel vehicles, electric cars are less maintenance. The reason for this is because conventional internal combustion engines (ICE) have hundreds of moving parts. This means that many different things could potentially go wrong over the lifetime of a diesel or petrol vehicle.

When compared with this, electric motors only have a handful of parts, which means that there is not going to be as much maintenance that is needed for electric cars.

However, we should point out that electric cars do have complicated and complex electrical components. This includes power steering motors, AC pumps, and high voltage relay banks.

There are other parts of an electric car as well, so there are certainly still elements that can go wrong, which is why regular servicing is still needed.

With an electric vehicle, parts like the wipers, tyres, and brakes need to be maintained regularly. Moreover, the battery requires maintenance and care. Nevertheless, you are not going to need to be concerned with replacing parts like the timing belt or topping up engine oil.

Understanding the differences between the parts in an electric vehicle and a standard car

The differences in the servicing requirements stem from the fact that electric cars have different parts when compared with typical vehicles. 

 

There are hundreds of moving parts within internal combustion engines. In fact, some engines can have as many as 2,000 parts. Some of the main car parts in a conventional vehicle include:

  • Timing belt
  • Exhaust
  • Fuel pumps
  • Spark plugs
  • Clutch

 

By comparison, the drive train within an electric vehicle tends to have approximately 20 parts or less. Some of the main parts that are included are as follows:

  • Charger
  • Inverter
  • Electronic power control
  • Electric motor

 

It is also worth pointing out that there are some components that are common to all vehicles. Examples include the following:

  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • Steering

 All of these parts will be subject to the typical wear and tear, and so they will need to be repaired, maintained, and replaced over the lifetime of the vehicle. 

Which parts of your electric vehicle need to be serviced?

When it comes to having an electric car service, the key areas that must be checked are as follows:

  • Lights
  • Tyres
  • Wheels
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • High-voltage electric cabling
  • Battery pack
  • Electric motor(s)

Of course, there are sometimes further elements than this. It all depends on the specific make and model of vehicle you have.



Assessing the main electrical parts of the vehicle

One of the great things about electric motors is that there are a number of bearings that are designed to take the brunt of the wear and tear, which is why an extensive servicing schedule is not typically needed. Other key electrical pieces that are commonly touched upon are high-voltage cabling and battery packs.

Carrying out a visual inspection of the high-voltage cabling is imperative to make certain that being on the road has not resulted in the cable’s protective outer layers perishing or the connectors breaking.

Checking the electric car battery is one of the first things that the mechanic is going to do. You may think that this will include the battery being removed and taken apart. However, that is not the case. The professional will plug the battery into the car’s computers and they will then evaluate the data.


Checking the parts of the vehicle that are not electric

Of course, there are elements of the car that are not electric, and this will need to be evaluated during the servicing as well. For example, there are systems in place to protect the batteries from temperature changes, i.e. making sure they do not get too cold or too hot. These systems tend to be dependent on some type of fluid. The professional will make certain that there is sufficient fluid and that it is in good enough condition.



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​Minor and major servicing is available for electric vehicles 

Very much like traditional vehicles, we will be able to provide you with either a minor or major service depending on your needs. The reason for this is because some parts need to be checked, repaired, and replaced more frequently than others. Therefore, for some services, a few parts can be skipped. However, you will reach a period in time whereby they will need to be checked and repaired.

As you would expect, a minor service is going to take less time and so it will not be as expensive as a major service. Because of this, it can be tempting to put major services off because you do not want to spend money on this. While this is understandable, you are only going to end up spending more money in the long run if you do not keep up with the specified service schedule. 

In terms of expenses, the electric car service cost tends to be the cheapest, followed by petrol cars, then diesel vehicles, and finally, hybrid cars are typically the most expensive to service.


​An insight into electric car maintenance

The main parts that must be maintained on an electric vehicle are the

electrical motor, the battery, and any associated electronics. You are also

going to need to look after the windscreen wipers, tyres, and the brakes too.

Below, we will give you a bit of insight into maintenance for these main areas.

Keep a check on coolant levels

The first thing that you need to do when you are maintaining your

electric vehicle is to keep a check on the coolant levels. The coolant used in

electric vehicles is imperative to prevent the battery from overheating.

How regularly your coolant will need to be topped up or flushed depends on the make and model of your car, so the best thing to do is refer to your owner’s manual.


Caring for your tyres

You also need to pay a considerable amount of attention to your electric

car’s tyres. Heavy batteries mean that electric vehicles weigh more. The tyres

can also wear out quicker because they have a greater amount of accelerating

power.

There are a number of different things you can do to keep on top of tyre maintenance. This includes replacing the tyres when they are worn, keeping the tyre pressure topped up, and rotating your tyres in accordance with the owner’s manual. 


Brake maintenance

Next, we have brake maintenance. As mentioned, regenerative braking is

used within electric vehicles. When the car slows down, the energy that is lost

will be converted back into the battery’s stored energy. This means that you’re

benefitting from a highly efficient braking system, resulting in less wear and

tear on your brakes.

Despite this, you will still need to replace brake fluid and brake pads on an occasional basis, so do keep a check on this.


Battery maintenance

Finally, we have battery maintenance. Just like other types of

batteries, an electric car battery is not going to last forever. To make sure

you get the best lifespan and range from your battery, you are going to need to

look after it.

There are a number of different things you can do to look after the battery of your vehicle. This includes keeping DC charging to a minimum and ensuring your battery does not completely run out. You should also ensure you refer to the owner’s manual and charge your battery in accordance with this.

 


Contact us today for more information on electric car servicing

If you have any further questions, whether it is about booking a hybrid car service or you want to know more about the electric car service cost, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for more information, or to book a service.

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Other Electric Services Got a question or need help with an electric vehicle? If you're looking for your next vehicle, our teams across the country will be happy to assist to help meet and exceed your requirements. Click on the link below to get in contact with your local retailer.

Do electric cars need MOTs?

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If you have an electric vehicle, it will need to have a yearly MOT by law once the vehicle is three-years-old. The rules are the same as the rules that are in place for other cars.

While you still may be required to have an MOT on an annual basis, the process involved is very different when compared with MOTs for standard vehicles. To begin with, fluids such as transmission fluid and engine oil are not going to need to be changed with an EV. It only has a single-speed gear setup and it does not have an internal combustion engine (ICE), which means it is not necessary for either to be added.

With regards to the tests that will be carried out on your electric vehicle, let’s take a look at how your car will go through an MOT:

  • Your car will be logged onto the official test system for MOTs, yet no initial emissions checks will be needed, as is the case with a standard car.
  • The mechanic will test all of the vehicle lights to make certain that they are working to optimal capacity.
  • Other convenience and basic safety features are checked, for example, windscreens and windows for cracks or chips, seatbelts, and windscreen wipers.
  • The tyres, suspension, and steering system of the vehicle will be checked to make sure that they are working effectively on the bearings and there is not any tyre damage.
  • Brackets and mounting points will be inspected for any presence of rust.
  • The mechanic will conduct a break test to determine whether any of the mechanical elements need to be replaced or repaired, for example, brake pads or discs.
  • At some point during the MOT, the vehicle’s electrical systems will be checked to ensure that they are operating in a safe manner, for example, the condition of the electric motor and battery health.

Do electric vehicles require oil changes?

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Engine oil is not required within an electric vehicle. However, electric cars do tend to utilise oil inside of the reduction gearbox, and this may need to be changed over the lifespan of your vehicle.

 

Unlike conventional diesel and petrol vehicles, you do not have to worry about belt changes, spark plugs, or engine oil changes if you have an electric vehicle.​

How long will an electric car battery last?

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One of the most common concerns that electric car buyers have is battery life. After all, your laptop and phone batteries can deteriorate, so why would a car be any different? 

 

Well, the good news is that the batteries that are used in these gadgets are nowhere near the standard of electric car batteries. Car batteries have been designed so that battery life is preserved for as long as possible. 

 

To give you some understanding regarding how long your vehicle battery should last, most manufacturers provide a battery guarantee of approximately 100,000 miles, which will be around 12 years for the average driver. This means that you do not need to worry about your vehicle battery dying on you anytime soon.​

Servicing a Hybrid Vehicle

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  • When servicing a hybrid, the high voltage system must be discharged, to avoid serious mechanical harm.
  • As Hybrids are fitted with combustion engines, the necessary filters, lubricants and ancillary parts are still required.
  • Expect the maintenance invoice to be higher for a hybrid than for a pure EV.

What’s the difference between an electric and hybrid car service?

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As electric vehicles are often easier to service, you may be hoping that the same applies to hybrid cars. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Hybrids tend to be quite complicated because they contain an electric motor and a diesel or petrol engine, as well as all of the other parts that go along with this. Because of this, there are lots of different parts that need to be checked. You tend to have the servicing requirements of a traditional vehicle and electric car wrapped up in one.

As a consequence, you will tend to find that self-charging hybrids and plug-in hybrid cars are more expensive to service and maintain when compared with both conventional vehicles and electric cars.

One thing that is worth pointing out is that diesel hybrid models tend to be more expensive to service when compared with petrol hybrid vehicles. The reason for this is because diesel vehicles tend to have more complex technology under the bonnet, for example, extra emission control systems. As a result of this, the servicing cost can add up.

Why do Electric Vehicles typically require less maintenance than conventional vehicles?

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  • The battery, motor, and associated electronics require little to no regular maintenance
  • There is no need to pay for expensive consumables that require routine renewal, such as engine oil, air/fuel filters, spark plugs and timing belts.
  • Brake wear is significantly reduced due to regenerative braking
  • There are far fewer moving parts compared to a conventional petrol or diesel engine
  • How to maintain an Electric / Hybrid Vehicle

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    Checking the brake pads

    Maintaining the brake pads is an important part of being an EV or hybrid driver. However, this is usually much easier to do thanks to regenerative braking. Regenerative braking uses energy that would otherwise be wasted to charge the battery. The system is smooth, sophisticated and advanced, but still needs to be maintained.


    Checking the windscreen wipers

    The windscreen wipers of an electric or hybrid vehicle are the same as those used for other vehicles and therefore need to be maintained the same way. If your windscreen becomes smeary when the wipers are on, this is a clue they’re not working properly and need to be replaced. As a rule, try to replace your windscreen wipers twice a year.


    Keep an eye on the fluids

    Electric vehicles have three main fluids that you’ll need to keep an eye on: coolant fluid, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid. Some also require transmission fluid that needs to be changed regularly.


    The battery

    Batteries can last for up to a decade. Some automotive battery systems use liquid coolant to maintain safe operating temperatures, in this case, these systems may require regular checks.

    Several manufacturers offer 8-year/100,000-mile warranties for their PEV batteries, but it’s worth knowing that they can become less efficient over time and may eventually need to be replaced.