When weighing the pros and cons of electric vehicles (EVs), a major benefit is the minimal maintenance they’ll need—which translates into lower lifetime maintenance costs.
As an EV driver, you can put tune-ups and oil changes in your rearview mirror. But some routine maintenance will still play a vital role in giving your electric car a happier and healthier life.
At Lemonade car insurance, helping keep you protected as a driver is our priority, and preventative EV maintenance is a great step in this direction. Let’s take a spin through what your EV maintenance schedule might look like.
Here’s what we’ll discuss:
- What maintenance does my electric vehicle not need?
- What preventative maintenance do electric vehicles need?
- When is it urgent to get an electric car to the repair shop?
- How can car insurance help with EV repairs?
- How can I maintain my EV?
- How can I take my electric car to the repair shop with confidence?
What maintenance does my EV not need?
First things first: Let’s talk about the maintenance you’ll no longer need to do once you trade a gas-powered car in for a fully electric one.
The components of an electric car are a little different than what a traditional vehicle uses to drive and operate—like having a charge port instead of a gas tank. Because there’s fewer moving parts, getting your EV serviced will likely be much more streamlined compared to the preventative maintenance required for internal combustion engine cars.
When you drive an EV, you’ll be able to ditch a number of checks, repairs, and replacements, including:
- Engine oil and filters
- Spark plugs
- Fan belts
- Air filters
- Fuel lines and hoses to the tank
- Transmission fluid
- Catalytic converter
You could save lots of time and money on visits to the repair shop when you drive an electric vehicle. But you won’t be totally off the hook from the occasional checkup. There’s still some important maintenance your EV will need to prevent costly repairs down the road.
What routine maintenance does my EV need?
Even though electric cars require significantly less maintenance than gas-powered cars, it’s important not to become complacent when it comes to keeping your EV rolling smoothly. In order to satisfy your electric car’s warranty, for example, check what services the manufacturer requires.
FYI: US federal law requires all car manufacturers to warranty EV batteries for at least eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Why is keeping on top of maintenance so important? Well, your EV may have come with a maintenance schedule that, if not followed, could partially or completely void your warranty. Yikes.
Say you skip your electric car’s scheduled mechanical inspections with an EV certified auto technician—and then your battery pack’s capacity takes a hit because of it. The car manufacturer probably wouldn’t take responsibility for repairing or replacing the battery in this case, and you’d have to pay out-of-pocket—we’re talking upwards of tens of thousands of dollars—or be stuck with a lower performance battery.
Crucial details—like required service dates—can be found in your owner’s manual (that, for most drivers, stays stashed in the glove box for eternity, but is probably available online too). It’s worth looking up those dates and saving them as calendar reminders on your phone.
Coverage for an electric car warranty typically applies to EV battery defects or malfunctions that are the manufacturer’s fault, not things like from a crash or damage from extreme weather—that’s where car insurance comes in—or ordinary wear and tear (which car insurance wouldn’t cover, either).
When is it urgent to get my EV to the repair shop?
Sometimes you can just feel that something is off about your car. When you notice something— like a new sound, smell, or an alert on your car’s screen—trust your instincts and get your EV checked out by a professional.
If you start to hear your brakes squeaking, for instance, that could mean your brake pads are worn out. Even though an EVs regenerative braking system is more gentle on brake pads, it can still happen, and continuing to drive without getting them replaced could ruin your brakes.
Also, if your electric car was damaged—like in a collision or by a fallen tree—take it to a certified auto technician immediately to get it back in shape. Even if something seems relatively minor to you, getting your damaged electric car fixed urgently can help prevent bigger car troubles (which could ultimately impact your safety and the safety of others on the road).
How can car insurance help with EV repairs?
When you file a claim on the Lemonade app, we’ll help you find a repair shop nearby that Lemonade has had positive experiences with in the past. We’ll also be able to send a tow to get your damaged EV to the repair shop if it’s undriveable. Just make sure all drivers on the policy have location services and permissions enabled on the app.
How can I maintain my EV?
Even if everything seems to be in good shape, it’s still crucial to take your electric car to a repair shop for regular maintenance. And some services are non-negotiable if you’re serious about improving and extending the life of your electric vehicle.
Frequent DIY checks
There are some quick things that you can do yourself on at least a monthly basis to help keep your EV running smoothly:
- Check tire pressure, and adjust as needed
- Inspect tires for excessive wear
- Measure tire tread depth
- Check windshield washer fluid and top up as needed
Regular inspections at a certified repair shop
When it comes to maintaining an electric car, there are some things that EV owners shouldn’t try at home. Get your EV to a certified professional about every 7,500 miles for a tire rotation, and a mechanical inspection that includes checking and servicing things like:
- Coolant level of the battery
- Battery capacity
- Brake pads
- Brake fluid
- Cabin heater
- Power inverter
- Accessory power
- Charger module
- Light bulbs
When you take your EV for its regular inspection—especially if it’s part of your warranty’s maintenance schedule—there might be little to no out of pocket costs. But down the road, your EV will need some parts replaced, including:
- Windshield wiper blades, about every 15,000 miles
- Cabin air filter, about every 30,000 to 36,000 miles
- Hood and/or body lift support gas struts, about every 75,000 miles
Protection from the elements
EVs usually run on lithium-ion batteries, which are sensitive to extreme temperatures. During the winter months, help maintain your battery’s short- and long-term performance by taking some precautionary measures:
- Park your EV in a garage
- Warm up your car before driving, ideally while the car is still charging
- Avoid fast charging
- Check tire pressure and tread
- Take advantage of eco mode and regenerative braking
Cold weather can have a bigger impact on an EV’s performance than when it’s hot out. But the summer heat can still affect an electric car’s range. Keep your EV cool during the summer months with some easy breezy tricks:
- Park in the shade
- Minimize your AC use, but still cool off the car before driving
- Use sun shades or tint your windows
- Maintain smooth acceleration and braking (which could also improve your Lemonade Safety Score)
- Leave excess cargo at home when possible—EVs are already pretty heavy
How can I take my EV to the repair shop with confidence?
Stepping into a repair shop to get necessary checks and tune-ups on your electric car shouldn’t be a nerve-wracking experience. And you definitely don’t have to be a car or tech expert to get the right services.
Worried the technician will try to oversell you on services you’ve never heard of before (and don’t know if you actually need)?
First of all, don’t feel pressure to say yes to any service, especially if it isn’t an emergency. And don’t be afraid to ask the repair shop follow-up questions about the services they recommend.
Take a little time to research what the repair shop recommends, or ask someone that you trust for advice. For example, you don’t necessarily need to have your cabin air filter replaced every single time you take your car in for servicing—but it should be checked about every 30,000 to 36,000 miles.
Learn more about how you can head into a car repair shop visit with confidence here.
Show your EV some TLC…
You’re committed to the best ways to keep your electric car protected. So why not go the full distance and take Lemonade Car for a spin? We offer extra discounts and coverages for EV drivers—including coverage for your home charging station or your portable charger.
A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage may not be available in all states.