The maintenance on electric cars can be significantly lower and cheaper than maintaining a gas car. According to Consumer Reports, in 2020 electric cars cost about $900 per year to maintain, while gas cars cost about $1,200 per year. Consumer Reports’ study also showed an average savings of $4,600 for electric car owners over the lifetime of their vehicles. A separate study by We Predict found that 2018 model-year EVs cost 31% less to service than 2018 model-year gas cars over the first three years after purchase.
“Typically, electric vehicles require less maintenance than their regular counterparts,” says Zach Wimpey, operations manager at Craig and Landreth Cars in Louisville, Kentucky. “This is primarily because they have fewer fluids and fewer moving parts that need checking. They also have regenerative braking, which reduces brake wear.” Electric cars don’t need oil changes, transmission fluid, fuel filters, coolant, or spark plug replacements since they don’t use gas.
What kind of maintenance does an electric car need?
Electric vehicles may be low-maintenance, but they’re not no-maintenance. Wimpey offers the following electric car maintenance tips.
- Check tire pressure and examine tires monthly for excess wear.
- Check battery coolant level, power inverter, cabin heater, and charger every 7,000 miles.
- Flush corrosive materials like road salt every six months.
- Check your car fluids and replace the brake fluid every five years.
Bruce Chidsey, vice president of automotive technical support at AAMCO Transmissions and Total Car Care, recommends drivers get professional service checks for various systems in an EV that include: electrical systems, cooling systems, braking systems, AC and heating systems and power accessory parts and tires.
“In addition to addressing normal wear and tear, maintenance checks help maintain optimal high-voltage battery performance,” Chidsey says.
What kind of maintenance does a hybrid car need?
There are some major differences between hybrid and electric cars. A hybrid car is partially gas-powered and partially electric-powered. It runs on its electric battery at lower speeds and switches to gas when the car accelerates.
Chidsey says hybrid cars can require as much maintenance as gas cars, or possibly more because they retain the internal combustion engine and often a transmission in addition to the newer electrical systems that need to be checked. Plug-in hybrids, however, can be more in the realm of EV maintenance savings. A plug-in hybrid has a larger battery that can last longer and be recharged at a charging station. This can reduce wear and tear on the gas engine and transmission.
Other EV costs and comparisons to consider
Maintenance on electric cars is just one thing to think about when deciding whether to buy one. An EV will likely need a battery replacement at some point, which Chidsey says can range from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the vehicle. It’s important to understand how long electric car batteries last. Keeping your vehicle well-conditioned and charged can help prolong its life.
Electric vehicle insurance can also be more expensive than insuring a gas car. Meanwhile, never buying gas is attractive financially. You also may be able to get a tax credit for reducing emissions with an EV. Learn more about the pros and cons of buying an electric car.