7 steps to get your electric vehicle summer ready
May 22, 2018
May 22, 2018
If you’re the proud owner of an electric vehicle (EV), then congratulations, you’re doing your part for the environment. However, if you’re looking for a way to minimize your global footprint and think an electric car is a way to do it, then this article is for you as well.
This ‘get ready for summer’ guide outlines how simple it is to maintain an electric vehicle – whether you have one now, or you’re looking to in the near future. An electric car’s maintenance schedule may just surprise you, so here are seven steps to show you how easy electric vehicle ownership can be.
Step 1: Find a reliable service dealership
While owning an electric car is beneficial for both your pocket and the environment, it can be tricky – at least in the beginning – to find a service dealership for it. While regular car service garages are a dime a dozen, finding one to cater to an electric vehicle is a little more challenging.
Therefore, as you prepare for the summer months ahead, it’s a good idea to browse the internet for a dealership or service center that is certified to work on electric models. Once you’ve found one, you’re well set up to benefit from regular servicing just in time to head away on summer vacation.
Step 2: Learn about your battery
Electric cars are a relatively new phenomenon, so gaining an understanding of your unique electric vehicle’s limitations and benefits is essential. Just as you know how much fuel your combustion engine vehicle uses and needs, it’s a good idea to be aware of how long your battery lasts and what you need to do to maintain it. As you head away on summer holiday, getting to know your vehicle’s battery is all the more critical.
Each type of electric car’s battery will have a different set of guidelines, but there are a few standard rules by which many abide.
The first universal rule doesn’t sound all that obvious, but it does make sense. Many electric car manufacturers recommend that you don’t charge your battery fully. Charge it to around 80 percent and no more. By doing so, you can increase its lifespan while avoiding overcharging it as well.
Just as it’s not healthy to run your gas-powered vehicle down to empty, it’s a good idea not to run your electric car flat either. When you get to around a third of its charge, consider putting it on charge.
Step 3: Check your tires
Aside from the internal working components of your car, its tires are the next most important thing to check. Without tires in good condition, you are at a higher risk of having an accident, or not being able to stop in time with emergency braking. While summer conditions make the instance of snow and ice less likely, long road trips do mean that having tires in good shape can be beneficial for the many different roads ahead.
The tires of an electric car don’t really vary that much from those of a combustion engine vehicle (there are tires designed specifically for EVs though), but they do wear slightly differently. EVs are generally heavier than their gas counterparts, because of the batteries, and deliver instant torque that can wear tires quicker as well. Therefore, the tires are at a higher risk of wear and tear without care being taken. To lengthen their lifespan, avoid making drastic turns and hard acceleration.
Step 4: Pay attention to the coolant
If your electric car has a thermal management system, you will need to keep a close eye on coolant levels. While they may very rarely need to be topped up, it’s helpful to remember that it’s a necessary part of your vehicle’s maintenance schedule.
Most electric cars have liquid-cooled inverters and motors, or liquid-cooled traction packs instead, so paying attention to these is quite crucial if you want your summer vacation to go off without a hitch. In the same way that you would lift the hood to check your fuel-powered vehicle’s motor, it’s a good idea to get into the same habit for your electric car.
The benefit is, there are fewer components to check. Alongside the inverters and motors, some electric vehicles may also have a cooling unit for the DC converter as they can run in the same loop as the battery.
If you’re unsure of the type of coolant you require – or where it needs to go – check in with your local dealership or refer to your user manual.
Step 5: Check fluids
Equally as important as the coolant are the fluids your vehicle needs for its brakes and windscreen. As you head off on your summer vacation, check to make sure you have enough windscreen washer fluid to wash off all those bugs and maintain the brake fluid levels as well.
While brake fluid doesn’t need to be checked as often, it’s a good idea to be aware of its presence while having a bottle of it handy for when you need it.
Step 6: Window wiper blades
Since you’ve already checked your window wiper fluid, why not check your wiper blades as well? There could be nothing more frustrating than trying to use your wipers only to find the rubber has perished. The result? Smeared water, solution, and bugs all over your windscreen and no effective way of getting it off. Window wiper blades for electric cars are the same as those on offer for fuel-powered vehicles. If you need help with their installation, assistants at most automotive stores will be happy to help.
Step 7: Maintain the interior
It’s easy to forget about maintaining the interior of your car, but in some cases, it can be as important as the working parts. Over time, internal components can wear out which can not only pose a danger to your safety, but to that of your passengers. When your electric vehicle is due for its regular service, pay close attention to the seatbelt straps, the buckles, and the door handles. If you see any frays, cracks or wear and tear, consider a replacement part sooner rather than later.
Getting your electric vehicle summer-ready takes minimal time and effort, especially if you’re comparing it to its often-laborious fuel-powered counterpart. When you’re ready to hit the road, check in to your local certified service center and ensure your vehicle is prepared for the journey ahead.