Do electric cars require a lot of maintenance?

Electric cars may not need oil changes, but they still need many of the same checks as any other car.

Electric vehicles may still be – for the most part - more expensive to buy than their petrol or diesel counterparts, but they do have the advantage of much lower running costs. The biggest saving comes in the form of not having fill up with petrol, and there are other savings too such as cheaper motor tax and a more relaxed servicing schedule.

An electric vehicle has fewer moving parts compared to a car with an internal combustion engine and, in short, there’s a lot less to go wrong. Owners don’t have to worry about oil or oil filter changes and major parts such as the motor and reduction gear are sealed for life.

That isn’t to say, however, that EVs are totally maintenance free. They do still require regular servicing, though this varies from car to car. Nissan, for example, recommends a servicing interval of every 29,000km or one year, depending on which comes first, for its Leaf model. A Volkswagen ID.3, according to VW, doesn’t need inspection or servicing for the first two years and, after that, inspections are every year or 32,000km. Manufacturers including Tesla and BMW don’t give any specific intervals, the car’s diagnostic system informing the owner if maintenance is required.

That said, Tesla does recommend checking the car’s brake fluid and replacing the air conditioning desiccant bag every two years, so, regardless of whether there’s a warning or not, the de facto service period for Teslas (and BMWs) seems to be two years.

What does EV servicing involve?

So, if an electric car doesn’t require an oil or oil filter change, what does servicing an EV actually involve? Aside from EV-specific checks such as examining the state of the cabling and battery cells, the requirements for servicing an electric car and for getting an EV to pass an NCT are much the same as those of a petrol or diesel car. As with petrol and diesel models, annual servicing is no substitute for regular owner checks on the condition of the tyres, wiper blades and fluid levels.


Hooking the car up to a diagnostic computer is usually the first part of any EV service. This will be able to tell the mechanic at a glance if there are any issues with the battery, such as if any of the individual cells are damaged and malfunctioning and whether they need replacement.


Well protected though the high-voltage cables in an EV may be, they still have the potential to get damaged, so a mechanic will carry out a thorough inspection of any exposed cabling.

Electric Vehicle Servicing Ireland


Electric vehicles still use liquid cooling to prevent their powertrains from overheating and, in that respect, they’re just like most petrol- or diesel-powered cars. Because cooling systems are sealed, the technician will check for any leaks and top up the coolant if required.


With regenerative braking, brake discs and pads on an EV may not see as much use as in other cars, so they’re unlikely to wear out as quickly. A mechanic will check brake lines and the condition of the discs and pads to ensure they aren’t rusted, warped or worn, replacing the brake fluid as per the manufacturer’s schedule.


The level of wear on suspension components will depend both on the roads over which a car usually travels and how it’s driven. Like any other car, suspension parts on an EV will wear out over time and will eventually need to be replaced, possibly slightly more frequently due to the comparably heavy weight of an electric car. During servicing, a mechanic will inspect the suspension for wear and tear, replacing anything which appears past its best.


Electric Car TyresTyres can wear out quickly on an electric vehicle thanks to their instant torque and comparably high weight, so owners might find themselves having to replace their tyres more often than on a small petrol-powered car.


If wiper rubbers are perished or worn, they need replacing. That applies to all vehicles, regardless of what’s under the bonnet.

Air conditioning

Air conditioning should be ice-cold, and a technician will inspect the system’s performance as well as the cabin ventilation, recharging the system and replacing the cabin filter if required.

Where to get an EV serviced?

As EVs are still a relatively new phenomenon, it’s still best to stick with main dealers who’ll have the equipment and training to properly deal with the cars on which they’re working. That said, if you’re not experiencing any issues with the battery or powertrain, if you’re content to let an independent garage work on your car and doing so won’t affect your warranty, servicing jobs such as checking and replacing brake or suspension components and topping up fluids are well within the capabilities of any competent mechanic.