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Lower Maintenance Costs. Another Perk Of Driving Electric.

Electric vehicles (EVs) truly are high-tech. But did you know they’re also low-cost when it comes to maintenance? It’s estimated that the price of servicing your electric car, SUV, or truck will be about one-third of what you’d spend on service for a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE).

Why Electric Cars Cost Less To Maintain

Electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than their ICE counterparts. There’s no fuel or water pumps to replace, radiators to service, engine gaskets to leak, or fuel-injection systems to go bad. You won’t need regular maintenance for the transmission, spark plugs, oxygen sensor, timing belts, fuel filters, or engine air filters.

Despite all of the amazing technology that goes into electric cars, they are quite easy to maintain and cost roughly one-third of what you’d typically spend to keep a gas-powered car serviced.

Here are a few more reasons why EVs cost less to operate:

  • The battery, motor, and electronic devices require little to no regular maintenance.
  • There’s no engine oil to change and fewer fluids to replenish.
  • The wear on brakes is significantly reduced by regenerative braking, which is much gentler on the brake pads.

What’s Required To Care For An Electric Vehicle

The maintenance schedule for an electric car is simple when compared to the traditional 30,000, 60,000, 90,000 services of gas-powered cars. Like all vehicles, EVs need regular refilling of washer fluid, tire pressure checks and rotation, and replacement of air filters and wiper blades.

In addition, electric cars, SUVs, and trucks require a series of periodic inspections and services for warranty purposes. These checkups should be performed by a trained technician at your Baxter Auto Service Center.

Here’s a typical outline of maintenance for an EV:

Monthly (performed by owner)

  • Examine the tires and adjust tire pressure as needed
  • Check and fill the windshield washer fluid as needed

Every 7,500 miles

  • Check the battery coolant level
  • Inspect and rotate the tires; perform wheel alignment if needed
  • Inspect the brakes, steering, drive shafts, suspension, and chassis components
  • Lubricate the door locks
  • Check the restraint (air bags) system
  • Inspect the accelerator pedal and replace if needed
  • Check the cabin heater, light bulbs, power inverter, accessory power, and charger modules

Every 15,000 miles

  • Replace the windshield wiper blades

Every 30,000-40,000 miles

  • Replace the tires

Every 36,000 miles

  • Replace the air filter (more frequently if necessary)

Every 75,000 miles

  • Replace the hood and/or body lift-support struts

Every five years

  • Drain and fill the vehicle coolant circuits
  • Replace the brake fluid

Every seven years

  • Change the air conditioning desiccant, which absorbs moisture in the air conditioning system to prevent corrosion

A Look At Hybrid Vehicle Maintenance

Studies have shown that hybrid cars, which run on the combination of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine, are less expensive to maintain than conventional vehicles.

To start with, the vehicle’s electronic components require infrequent maintenance, and the ICE components incur less wear than in a gas-powered car. For example, when a hybrid idles, the electric motor kicks in and reduces ICE strain. Another reason is that hybrids rely largely on regenerative braking, decreasing brake pad wear.

However, since hybrid and gas-powered vehicles both have internal combustion engines, they share many routine maintenance tasks including:

  • Oil changes, though oil lasts longer in hybrids because the engine is used less frequently
  • Fluid changes for coolant, antifreeze, steering, and transmission
  • Standard battery replacements when needed (not the electric motor battery pack)
  • Filter, spark plug, and belt replacements when needed
  • Regular tire rotation and tire replacement or wheel alignment when needed
  • Windshield wiper replacement when needed

Hybrid cars, SUVs, and trucks have a few additional elements that require maintenance. These include:

  • The electric battery pack, which is designed to last approximately 150,000 miles if properly cared for with annual cleaning to remove debris and corrosion.
  • The inverter, which converts DC energy created by the regenerative braking system into AC energy to power the vehicle. Heat generated by this process must be neutralized using a cooling system that may require routine service.

To keep your hybrid running efficiently, follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule and rely on the experienced technicians at your Baxter Service Center.

What You Need To Know About EV Batteries

One of the myths about electric cars is that the battery packs will need to be replaced at a price that outweighs what you save in operating and maintenance costs. Even though batteries degrade over time, advancements in EV technology and battery range are making this a nonissue. In fact, batteries in today’s electric-drive cars, SUVs, or trucks are designed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle.

About battery life:

  • Under normal operating conditions, battery lifetime is calculated as 12 to 15 years or 100,000 miles. In extreme climates that are very hot or cold, battery expectancy should range between eight to 12 years.
  • Automakers factor in environmental extremes by fitting EVs with the necessary cooling and heating systems to maintain an acceptable battery temperature.

How you charge is important:

  • Batteries degrade more rapidly when charged to full capacity or when used to depletion. To prevent this issue, most EVs have settings that prevent 100% charging, and automakers recommend a 90% charge for daily use.
  • Avoid overusing commercial fast charging stations. Fast chargers can degrade batteries more rapidly than the typical home charger, which delivers 120 or 240 volts. In addition, fast charging stations cost three to four times as much as standard home charging units.

Extended battery warranties:

  • Some auto manufacturers offer extended warranties for their EV battery packs. Check with your Baxter Auto dealership to see if the vehicle you’re interested in has an extended warranty.

Statistics Underscore EV Driver Satisfaction

While all vehicles require maintenance, AAA reports that EV owners can save approximately $330 per year on service costs as compared to ICE-powered vehicles. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why a survey by the trusted organization showed that 96% of first-time EV owners would buy or lease another electric automobile the next time they’re in the market for a new car. Those are convincing statistics for going electric when you start searching for your next vehicle.

If you’re interested in checking out an electric car, SUV, or truck, Baxter Auto is here to help. We look forward to meeting you!

Information in this article has been provided by the U.S. Department of Energythe Nickel Institute, AAA, and a study by the Argonne National Laboratory.

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