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Do electric vehicles need maintenance?

With the rising cost of fuel and the growing movement for a more sustainable future, electric vehicles (EVs) can seem like a win-win for the planet and your bank account. It’s beginning to be a lot more accessible, with recent news of $91 million being allocated to charging stations at highway stops, carpool parking lots, parks and sports arenas.1
According to a 2022 survey, 71 per cent of Canadians would consider an EV for their next vehicle purchase. And half the survey respondents said their interest in electric vehicles is greater now than it was last year.

But how do electric vehicles compare to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles when it comes to maintenance?

Electric vehicles are cheaper to maintain than gas-powered vehicles
If you’re part of the majority of Canadians considering an electric vehicle for your next purchase, you’ll be happy to know that maintenance for EVs is typically more affordable than gas-powered vehicles. In fact, according to a study from 2018, EV owners spend only half as much on maintenance and repairs over the vehicle’s lifetime than gas-powered vehicle owners do.
EVs have fewer moving parts than conventional vehicles, which means they have fewer parts to maintain and repair. EV owners avoid paying for many of the scheduled maintenance checks that conventional vehicles require, like oil changes, spark plug replacements and transmission servicing.

Electric vehicles do require regular maintenance
While EV owners can expect less maintenance and repairs than conventional vehicles over their vehicle’s lifetime, EVs do still require regular maintenance and mechanical inspections. EV owners must schedule maintenance appointments according to their owner’s manual and make repair appointments when needed.

The most common items that require maintenance in an EV are:

  1. Tires. Just like a conventional vehicle, an EV’s tires need to be regularly inspected, aligned, and rotated according to the owner's manual and tire condition.

  2. Battery. An EV’s battery functions as the heart of the vehicle and must be maintained properly to prolong its life. Battery coolant levels must be checked regularly. Over time, the EV’s battery life will start to degrade and will eventually need to be replaced. The manufacturer’s warranty on most EV batteries is typically eight years, though some offer extended warranties. Battery pack replacements are costly, and many EV owners choose to trade in their vehicle at this point rather than purchase a new battery pack.

  3. Brakes. EVs use a regenerative braking system, which means they harness the kinetic energy from the car braking to charge the vehicle’s battery. Regenerative braking systems are gentler on the brake pads, meaning they won’t need to be replaced as often as those on a conventional vehicle. However, they still need to be inspected to ensure they meet safety standards.

  4. Fluid top-ups. Like conventional vehicles, EVs require regular windshield washer fluid and brake fluid top-ups. Coolant fluid should be checked and replaced when suggested by the owner’s manual.

It’s important for all vehicle owners—electric or conventional—to follow their vehicle manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule. This ensures the vehicle passes all required checks and is safe to drive.
While electric vehicles have a higher upfront cost than most gas-powered vehicles, the combined savings of lower fuel costs and less frequent maintenance visits can make them the more affordable choice in the long run.
Have questions about your current OTIP car insurance policy? Contact your OTIP broker today at 1-833-494-0090. Shopping for car insurance and interested in getting a quote? Call us today at 1-888-892-4935.

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