Electric car servicing explained

Last updated March 08, 2021

Electric cars are growing in popularity amongst UK motorists, with battery powered electric vehicle sales up a whopping 184.3% in 2020 compared to the previous year. As such, you may be one of the many who are considering buying an electric car and have questions about how it is serviced compared to a combustion engine vehicle.

You may be wondering if you can take it to your local garage for servicing and maintenance, how much it will cost or if you even need to service electric cars at all. The short answer is that there’s not much difference between having an electric car serviced compared to a petrol or diesel car. In theory, it should be simpler to service an electric car due to there being fewer moving parts and it not needing regular oil and filter changes.

Nevertheless, it is still important to ensure your electric car is serviced at regular intervals to ensure the electric motor, steering, suspension, brakes and other major parts are functioning correctly. By reading our article you should have the answer to all of the important questions you may have when it comes to servicing an electric car.

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Where can I get an electric car serviced?

Due to growth of electric cars only happening recently, not all garages offer servicing for electric cars yet, therefore your options may be more limited than if you were getting a combustion fuel car serviced. Nevertheless, the growth of electric cars over recent years should see more garages offering electric car services in the future.

It is important when you get your car serviced that you check the manufacturer warranty guidelines, as they sometimes state you can only use approved parts. If you got a service or repair from a garage that doesn’t use the manufacturers approved parts, you could be invalidating your warranty, or part of it.

Therefore, if you want to get your electric car serviced, your options are to either find a local garage that uses manufacturer approved parts or to get it done from a main dealer.

What parts of an electric car need servicing?

Servicing an electric car isn’t much different to servicing a petrol or diesel. The primary difference is that you need to check the motor(s), electric cables and batteries to ensure they’re in good working order. The other major parts that need to be serviced includes the wheels, tyres, lights, brakes, suspension and steering. You should receive a full list of parts that have been serviced from the garage once they return your car.

A reputable garage should check the state of the battery at each service interval to ensure it’s performing as it should do and there’s no signs of damage. They should also check the condition of the cables and ensure the battery coolant system is operating efficiently so your battery isn’t at risk of overheating. A visual check of the electric wiring is also likely to be performed to ensure that the casing isn’t damaged and there are no loose connections that could be a hazard.

Besides the electric motor, another function of an electric car that needs to be serviced is the regenerative braking. This is the process where the car uses the motor to slow the vehicle whilst using the energy produced to recharge the battery. Making sure this is functioning correctly should ensure you have less wear on the brakes and they last longer as a result.

How much does an electric car service cost?

As with combustion engine cars, an electric car will require both minor and major services. For a minor service, there will be fewer checks required, therefore the costs will be lower than if you are having a major service. Furthermore, the cost of an electric car service will differ based on your location and where the car is serviced. For example, you might pay more to get your car serviced at a main dealer compared to an independent local garage.

The cost of the service will also differ depending on the manufacturer and mode. For example, a 3 years / 30,000 mile manufacturer service plan on a Renault Zoe costs £299, whereas the same plan on a Kia E-Niro would cost £479.

Service intervals for electric cars

The intervals that you need to get your electric car serviced will differ depending on the manufacturer, with some models from the same manufacturer even having different service intervals. Using the same examples as above, the Kia E-Niro needs to be serviced every year or 10,000 miles, whereas the Renault Zoe needs to be serviced every year or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first. Therefore, if you are going to be driving a lot of miles, it may be worth considering the service intervals when buying an electric car.

To complicate things further, some car manufacturers are moving away from fixed servicing terms and instead opting for condition-based maintenance. This effectively means that the driving style will impact how often the car needs to be serviced, with those who drive smoothly likely to not need a service for a longer period of time than those who wear the car’s parts quickly.

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