Does My EV Need Oil? Electric Car Maintenance Dos and Don’ts Have Consumers Scratching Their Heads

July 15th, 2022 by

A red 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV is shown from the front at an angle after leaving an Albany electric car dealer.

From synthetic oil changes to tire rotations, new vehicle owners are faced with the daunting task of protecting their investment. Just when we thought we understood the ins and outs of maintaining our cars, the industry threw us a curveball: the electric vehicle (EV). Many new EV owners are confused about maintenance. For starters, an EV doesn’t need oil. While EVs do not need oil changes, they do need other types of maintenance, such as tire rotations. As your Albany electric car dealer, we here at DePaula Chevy want to help clear up the confusion and tell you everything you need to know.

As an EV owner, you’re an early adopter. You’ve embraced EV innovation before most consumers, but as a pioneer, you face a steep learning curve. More and more consumers are choosing to purchase EVs every year, but for now, you’re in the minority. Reliable information about EV maintenance is hard to find. If you’re not careful, you could miss critical factory-recommended service requirements.

Cars that run on battery power don’t rely on the usual fluids or coolants, and because they’re fueled by electricity, many components found on traditional gas-powered vehicles are unnecessary. Still, EVs aren’t maintenance-free, so it’s important to understand how best to care for your vehicle throughout each year of ownership. Here’s everything you need to know about proper EV maintenance.

EV Architecture and How It’s Different

The introduction of electric vehicle technology has ushered in a whole new vocabulary of terms that can get confusing. Terms like hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and regenerative braking get thrown around, but some consumers don’t understand the difference. To put it simply, there are three different types of electric vehicles: the hybrid, which includes both gas and electric components, and the plug-in hybrid, which also includes gas and electric components, but unlike hybrid vehicles, can be recharged by connecting to a power source, and electric vehicles, which run 100 percent on electricity and require charging.

Fully-electric vehicles, or EVs, do not contain combustion engines, meaning they don’t need gasoline or diesel fuel to run. Take a quick walk around an EV, and you might notice the absence of a tailpipe. EVs don’t produce exhaust (a.k.a. emissions), so they don’t require smog controls or exhaust systems. You also won’t find a gas tank, fuel pump, or alternator under the hood of an EV. In fact, you likely won’t find anything under the hood except a “frunk” (front trunk) because the motor is usually mounted on the front or rear axle (or both). Compared with the hundreds of components and moving parts found on a combustion engine, EVs contain only five:

  • Battery pack: where energy is stored (think of it as the EVs “gas tank”)
  • Electric motor: the vehicle’s powertrain
  • Inverter: converts the battery’s DC stored energy into useable AC for the motor
  • Converter: converts the battery’s DC stored energy into low voltage power (for wipers, radio, etc.)
  • Charger: facilitates the flow of energy into the battery pack

As an EV owner, you’re driving a vehicle that has fewer moving parts. The motor doesn’t require fluids to operate, and the battery is essentially maintenance-free. Combustion engines rely on multiple fluids and support systems to operate, which translates into more failure points and additional maintenance requirements that aren’t necessary on an EV. It’s a big shift that takes some getting used to in the early days of EV ownership.

A silver 2024 Chevy Silverado EV is shown from the side while loaded with ladders.

EV Maintenance Basics

If you don’t have to worry about oil changes and topping off other fluids, what should you be focused on maintenance-wise throughout your EV ownership period? Remember, your EV does not need or have engine oil, so you’ll never have to get an oil change. That’s a tough one for most EV owners to get used to after a lifetime of gas-powered vehicle ownership. Beyond that, EV vehicle maintenance is somewhat similar.

First, you’ll need to have the tires rotated and balanced at least every 7,500 miles. At that time, your authorized, factory-trained EV technician will perform a multi-point inspection, including checking the battery’s coolant level and visually inspecting every component to ensure connections are good and no evidence of excessive wear-and-tear exists. Your EV’s braking system should also get a once-over.

At around 22,500 miles, it’s time for a new cabin air filter. Beyond that, you’re maintenance-free. All Chevrolet EVs come with an 8-year/100,000-mile battery warranty, so in the unlikely event of a battery failure, you’re covered. New Bolt and Bolt EUV owners also receive a free first maintenance visit, which saves even more on ownership costs. Are EVs completely maintenance-free? No, but they require a lot less than traditional combustion engine vehicles. Plan to visit our Service Center every 7,500 miles for maintenance.

As with any machine, failures do happen. That’s why it’s important to stick to the plan. Having your vehicle preemptively inspected is the best way to stave off future issues and identify any problems you might not detect during your day-to-day driving. Our technicians are trained by the factory, so they’re your go-to for questions or concerns about your EV. Third parties and internet “experts” don’t know your EV the way our service team does. Our technicians are there to keep you driving worry-free.

Charging Your Battery

Your EV requires a fully charged battery to achieve the best and longest driving range, so make sure you’ve outfitted your garage with a compatible charger. Chevy offers all-new 2022 Bolt EV and Bolt EUV buyers complimentary installation support and covers permit fees for a Level 2 charging outlet. Through a partnership with Qmerit, you’ll easily find a qualified electrician to handle the installation. You can even schedule your appointment conveniently online.

Charging Chevy EVs happens at two different levels: Level 1, which only requires a standard electrical outlet, and Level 2, for which you’ll need either a 240-volt outlet or a dedicated charging station installed in your garage. Charging speed varies, with Level 1 providing approximately 4 miles of range per hour (the slowest). Moving up to Level 2 via a 240-volt outlet gets you about 26 miles/hour. Opting for the dedicated charging station will get you the fastest charge, at 39 miles of range per hour of charging.

When you’re on the go and need to charge up, look for one of the more than 40,000 compatible charging stations with help from the myChevrolet app. The app includes Energy Assist, a feature that displays your EV’s critical data, including battery status. Use Energy Assist to plan long drives and plot available charging stations along your route. Both Level 2 chargers and DC Fast Chargers are part of the network, with the latter offering compatible vehicles up to 100 miles of range for every 30 minutes of charge time.

We still see more gas stations than charging stations alongside our nation’s highways and roadways, but manufacturers and federal, state, and local government agencies are quickly building a charging infrastructure to support the growing number of EV owners. Accessing public charging stations is easier and more convenient than ever. Even local businesses are getting in on the EV revolution, with companies like Whole Foods partnering with EV charging companies to provide on-site chargers for shoppers.

A red and a silver 2024 Chevy Equinox EV are shown from the front.

It’s Time to Consider EV Ownership

Are you ready to say goodbye to gas stations and oil changes forever? EV ownership comes with so many benefits. Best of all, it’s how you can contribute to a zero-emissions future and protect our planet for generations to come. Experience car ownership without all the fluids and moving parts that create extra maintenance requirements, and enjoy years of worry-free driving knowing your vehicle’s key components are covered by extensive factory warranties. Our team is standing by to support your transition from combustion engine driving to EV ownership. Once you’re over the hump, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.