Everybody has learned to change the oil and replace spark plugs on conventional gas-powered vehicles.
But what are the maintenance steps you must take with environmentally friendly cars to keep them on the road as long as possible?
You might believe that driving a hybrid or electric vehicle requires no maintenance, but that’s not the case.
While the maintenance needs for hybrid vehicles aren’t much different than conventional cars, electric vehicles require far less care. When in doubt, you can always reference your owner’s manual, but we also have a few steps to consider.
Environmentally Friendly Cars Maintenance Comparison
In the United States, there were five million hybrid vehicles sold by the end of 2019. At the same time, it’s estimated that 1.45 million electric vehicles have been sold. With so many eco-friendly cars traveling America’s roads, it’s vital that owners understand the maintenance requirements.
HEVs and PHEVs both contain internal combustion engines. Because of this, the maintenance requirements remain similar to that of the conventional vehicle. As an owner of a hybrid vehicle, you will still need to think about oil changes, brake replacement, and other common needs. However, you also need to consider the electrical system.
On the other hand, EVs require less maintenance than a conventional vehicle, mainly because:
- There aren’t as many fluids to change.
- The electronics (battery, motor, etc.) require less care.
- Regenerative braking causes less wear.
- The vehicle features less moving parts.
With that said, here are some things you want to which you will want to pay attention…
Hybrid & EV Battery Maintenance
The advanced batteries found in these vehicles contain a limited amount of charging cycles. This cycle refers to the number of times that the battery can be discharged and charged. If your battery system requires liquid coolant to maintain temperature, you will want to perform regular checks. Your dealer can help you with this necessary task.
Here are a few other EV battery considerations:
- Maintain a charge between 20% and 80%.
- Avoid charging it to 100% unless you are going on an extended trip.
- Don’t park your vehicle in the hot sun (100°F+) or leave it outside in the freezing cold for too long without plugging it in.
Hybrid & EV Brake Maintenance
We have discussed general car tire maintenance before. Thankfully, EV requirements aren’t much different.
To protect your tires and on-road safety, you must perform the following tasks.
- Check the air regularly and adjust as needed.
- Perform regular tire rotation.
- Have tires balanced and aligned.
Some drivers say that the instant torque and weight of an electric car cause tires to wear faster. However, tire wear can be prevented by implementing smart driving techniques as well as ensuring that you only drive on tires designed specifically for electric vehicles, and by maintaining higher air pressure, which can be 10-15 PSI higher than conventional tires.
Hybrid & EV Fluid Maintenance
The electric car doesn’t contain a lot of fluids. The most significant difference is that the EV includes a thermal management system, which does require coolant. The owner’s manual that comes with environmentally friendly cars tells you when you need a coolant system flush. Additionally, watch the brake fluid and windshield washer fluid levels. Both of these are simple to top off when needed.
Sample Environmentally Friendly Cars Maintenance Schedule
While each vehicle has different needs, we can show you the requirements of a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV.
- Check the tire pressures and adjust as needed.
- Perform a visual inspection of the tires to look for wear.
- Check the windshield washer fluid and fill if required.
Every 7,500 Miles
- Rotate the tires.
- Check the coolant system level and inspect for leaks.
- Visually inspect the braking system, steering system, and suspension.
Twice a Year
- Rinse the underbody with plain water to remove any corrosive materials.
Every 15,000 Miles
- Change the windshield wiper blades.
Every 36,000 Miles
- Change the cabin air filter.
Every 75,000 Miles
- Install new support gas struts to the body lift support and/or hood.
Every Five Years
- Replace brake fluid.
- Flush the coolant and refill.
Every Seven Years
- Change air conditioning desiccant.
To find out what’s required with your hybrid or electric vehicle, reference your owner’s manual or speak to the service department at the dealership. With a little care, you can keep your EV running its best for many years.
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