The automotive world around us is smoothly transitioning into hybrid and purely electric technologies. But how do electric cars differ from regular automobiles? Do electric cars need oil changes like internal combustion engine-powered cars? What fluids do they use, and when should you change them? We’ll see answers to all your questions in this article.
How do electric cars work?
Electric vehicles are powered using batteries that store electricity. The electric motor, which is linked to the battery pack, provides the vehicle’s motive force. When you press on the accelerator, the motor rotates the wheels, which in turn moves the vehicle forward. Though this system also has a number of gears, like a regular car, that work in unison to get the car moving forward. The whole system is called the EV drivetrain.
Why do cars use oil?
The combustion engines of conventional gasoline vehicles have numerous moving parts that require lubrication with oil. A gas-powered car engine needs oil to lubricate the valves, pistons, and other moving parts, which are in constant contact with each other so that they operate with minimal friction, without overheating, preventing their damage at high speeds.
Thus, to keep the engine in good working order, it is necessary to periodically change the oil and filter, drain, and replace the oil because of the accumulation of tiny metal particles in the oil from continuous metal-on-metal contact.
Do electric cars need oil changes?
Now that you know how electric cars work and why cars use oil, the simple answer to this question is no. As you know, electric cars employ an electric motor, which in turn has very few moving components compared to an internal combustion engine. There’s no need to lubricate them using oil, as there are no parts in constant friction. Therefore, there is no question of an oil change. However, they do need some other fluids, and fluid changes from time to time to keep the car running in shape.
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When do electric cars need oil changes?
Now that we’ve got an answer to the question: do electric cars need oil changes? We’ll now look at the kind of oil changes needed to keep your EV running flawlessly. In their various capacities, all of these fluids aid the smooth functioning of your electric car. Thus, it is essential to keep watch and change them at manufacturer-specified intervals.
Changing the Battery Coolant on your EV
Coolant is required for lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles because excessive heat can cause them to catch fire. Make sure that you take your car to the dealer at manufacturer-recommended intervals to avoid any such mishap.
Different EV makes have different time intervals for coolant change. For example, the factory-fill coolant of the Nissan Leaf has a recommended service interval of 125,000 miles. Similarly, the coolant flush interval is 150,000 miles for a Chevrolet Bolt and 4 years or 50,000 miles for a Tesla Model 3. However, the Tesla Model S has a sealed coolant system, and the owner will have to deal with it.
When should you change your electric car’s transmission fluid?
As opposed to gas-powered vehicles, which require multiple gears to go from low to high RPMs, Electric cars have single-gear motors that can clock up to 10,000 RPMs. This workload in transmission fluids calls for an efficient cooling process, which is taken care of by the transmission fluid. If you own an electric car, ensure that the transmission oil levels in your car are adequate; if they’re not, make sure to take your car to the dealer for a top-up.
The Tesla Model S (2012-2016 models) uses ACDelco’s Dextron VI fluid, which needs to be changed after the first 12,500 miles or one year, and then after 5 and 9 years.
Changing your EV’s brake fluid
Brake Fluid is a common component in EVs as well as internal combustion engine-powered automobiles. With technologies like regenerative braking in electric vehicles, brake fluids don’t play a major role in EVs like they do in regular automobiles.
Regenerative braking is the system where the electric motors themselves are employed to slow down the vehicle rather than the brake pads, reducing the wastage of energy.
However, that doesn’t mean you should neglect your electric car’s brake oil levels. Their service intervals are similar to those in gas-powered cars. For example, electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla change the brake fluid once every five years.
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The major difference between an electric car when compared to a gas-powered automobile is the absence of an engine. This pretty much means that most of the other components are more or less the same. So, Electric cars need all the general fluids and oils you’ll use on a regular car. These are air-conditioning fluid, steering fluid to aid the hydraulic steering system, windshield washer liquid, grease, etc.
Should you buy an electric car?
Switching to an electric car is one way to help address the growing environmental concerns of our world. But before getting one, you have to make sure that you’ve done enough research on the make and model you’d like to buy. Battery life, specifications, driving range, software updates, and value for money are the most important aspects to consider before zeroing down on a particular model.
Insuring Electric Vehicles
Whether you’re buying an electric car or not, auto insurance should always be your top priority. The cost of insuring an electric vehicle is higher than that of a conventional vehicle, but with the help of Way.com, you can find a policy that meets your needs and fits your budget. Click here to get a free quote.
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Silas Smith is a seasoned writer with over 5 years of experience in the travel and automotive industry. His love for exploring the cityscapes is equal only to his passion for music. NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, F1, NASCAR– his cravings for the thrills of the sporting world knows no bounds. He loves to visit auto shows when he is not watching a game or playing NFS and Forza Horizon.