Do electric cars need servicing?
Electric cars may be the future, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need the same TLC you showed your old car. An electric car service can keep your electric vehicle (EV) in tip-top condition. After all, who doesn’t like keeping their car like new?
How often do electric cars need servicing?
Generally speaking, you should aim to service your electric car just as often as you did your original petrol or diesel car. More often if you feel it’s needed. Many drivers follow the MoT schedule and arrange for a service annually, which is a good general rule to follow. Obviously, if you drive extremely frequently, especially long distances or across varied terrain, then you might want to make these check-ups a more regular occurrence.
Your manufacturer’s guide can also help you decide a service schedule. Many brands will tell you precisely when to head in for service. Here are just a few examples for popular electric car brands:
|Tesla Model 3||Every 25,000 miles/every 2 years|
|Nissan Leaf||Every 18,000 miles/every year|
|BMW i3||Condition-based servicing|
Condition-based servicing is a more innovative take, and means that the car’s computer will monitor the condition of all its key components. If something is in need of service, the car will tell you itself!
How to service an electric car
Knowing how to service an electric car is something you don’t want to guess at. Before you head to a garage, make sure they have an electric car specialist on hand, or find a dedicated electric car service shop.
If you’re struggling to know where to get an electric car serviced, you can always head back to the dealership. This can be a pricy option, but going to a local garage that isn’t experienced with EVs could be a far more expensive mistake.
Servicing an electric car will require inspections and, if needed, repairs to the following EV-specific features:
Don’t be shocked to see your service professional not spend a significant amount of time on the motor. Electric car motors are far simpler pieces of equipment compared to a traditional combustion engine. So, you can expect less tinkering about needed to decide if it’s in good condition or not.
Unlike a traditional service which may involve a mechanic hacking away at your car’s internals, an electric car service can be a bit more high tech. So, if a battery inspection is needed, don’t be put off to see that they’re not being uprooted and physically inspected. Many stats to battery health lie in data that the service professional will access via computer.
Cabling, for the most part, will be given a once-over to see if any parts have come loose or any wear and tear has taken a serious toll. Bring your charging cable, too. These cables are designed to be durable and weather-resistant so you shouldn’t expect to run into too many issues unless your cables are relatively old.
Regenerative braking system
The breaking system of electric cars is different from traditional cars, and generally requires fewer changes to pads and disks. Just like a traditional car, though, you’ll want your brake fluid to be changed every two years or so.
Is it cheaper to service an electric car than a petrol or diesel?
Yes, usually, it should be cheaper because there is less to do when it comes to servicing an electric car. For example, none of the following is needed:
- Oil changes
- Transmission oil changes
- Belt changes
- Spark plus
- Coolant changes
How much does an electric car service cost?
The cost to service electric car will vary from place to place. A local electric car service centre may charge less than the manufacturer, for example. There are also electric car service plans you can consider where you pay for cover over monthly instalments.
The type of model you drive will also impact cost, for a BMW, electric car servicing costs could be closer to the £800 mark. While for a more humble Nissan Leaf, figures are closer to £200.
Whatever you decide, don’t try to scrimp on electric car service costs. EVs may be gaining in popularity but they are still an emerging market. It’s well worth the investment in getting a professional electric car service than risking going elsewhere. The plus side is, as EVs become more and more popular, and eventually standard with the 2035 switchover, costs will become more accessible.
Keep an eye on your warranty
Many electric cars come with a warranty to guard the life of the battery and ensure it keeps charging well. Read through the small print of this carefully before your go to an electric car service centre. In some cases, your warranty may be voided if you have repairs carried out on your car using parts that are not manufacturer-approved. It’s just another reason to do your research when it comes to finding an EV professional.
How long does a service take?
An electric car service shouldn’t take much longer than a normal service, although that depends on the condition of your car. In some cases, you might be able to wait in the garage and be out within an hour. In other cases, you might have to leave the car overnight or longer. This is one area where manufacturer services may be superior, as some may let you use a replacement car until your vehicle is ready.
Obviously, if your car is serviced and issues have been discovered like faults in the battery, then the process will take longer. This is doubly true if manufacturer-approved parts will need to be ordered in.
Can I service an electric car myself?
Probably not. Unless you are a qualified professional, taking tools to your electric car, or any car, on the driveway probably isn’t a good idea. There’s a good chance you’ll do more harm than good and, as mentioned above, you could put your warranty at risk.
Servicing an electric car on finance
If you purchased your car through finance such as PCP then you may need to approach services differently. Rather than going when the manufacturer suggests, or when the car itself tells you, your finance company may have a service package you can take advantage of. They may also impose their own service schedule and the precise locations where you can get this carried out.
If you are about to take out finance on a car, then ask if servicing costs can be added/built into your monthly payment for extra peace of mind.
Servicing an electric car vs. a hybrid
While an electric car often works out cheaper and easier to service than a traditional car, a hybrid car can work out pricier than both. The logic behind this is pretty simple — the car has both a combustion engine and an electric motor to maintain, so it’s double the work.
It’s worth keeping this key fact in mind if you’re thinking of going for a hybrid car rather than a full electric. Alternatively, if you are looking to sell your hybrid car, then you can consider these cheaper servicing costs a definite benefit to making the electric switch.
Ready to sell your car?
Ready to learn more about valuing, maintaining, and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from hybrid and electric car depreciation, to converting your car to dual-LPG fuel.
- Electric cars — the ultimate guide
- Electric cars — should you buy or sell?
- What documents do I need to sell a car?
- Do electric cars pay the congestion charge?
- How & where to charge your electric car at home and on the road
- How long does it take to charge an electric car?
- What is a hybrid car and how do they work?
- Do you pay tax for an electric car?