Categories: Auto Loans & Financing
Electric Vehicle Maintenance and Financing
Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity as more environmentally conscious and cost-saving options compared to gas-powered cars.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity as more environmentally conscious and cost-saving options compared to gas-powered cars. However, some prospective EV owners may be uncertain about the maintenance requirements and costs associated with these vehicles. While EVs do not require oil changes or tune-ups and have fewer moving parts overall, they still need some regular upkeep to remain in good working order.
While EVs do not require oil changes, there are still a few fluids that need monitoring and occasional replacement.
Like gas vehicles, EVs have a cooling system for the battery and electronics that requires a coolant (also called antifreeze). The coolant should be checked at each service appointment to ensure proper fluid levels. It also needs replacement periodically, typically every 50,000 miles or so.
The brake fluid system is very similar between electric and gas vehicles. The brake fluid should be checked regularly when inspecting brake pad wear and topped off as needed. Flushing the old fluid and refilling is recommended every two years.
Windshield Wiper Fluid
Windshield wipers serve the same vital safety purpose in all vehicles. Be sure to keep the windshield washer reservoir full of fluid to enable good visibility if debris hits the windshield.
HV Battery Coolant
In addition to the standard coolant, some EVs have a separate cooling system for the high-voltage battery system. This specialized EV battery coolant needs to be checked and potentially replaced at longer intervals, such as 100,000 miles.
Tire Rotation and Balance
EVs are typically heavier than gas-powered cars due to the weight of the batteries. This extra load on the tires makes regular tire rotations and balance checks more critical. Most manufacturers recommend rotating the tires every 6,000–8,000 miles.
Again due to the extra battery weight, maintaining proper wheel alignment helps prevent uneven tire wear in EVs. Alignment should be checked annually and any time new tires are installed.
The regenerative braking system in an EV relies heavily on the friction brakes as well. Brake pad wear should be checked at 6-month or 6,000-mile intervals. Higher mileage drivers may need more frequent brake inspections.
While the EV battery is mostly maintenance-free, it still requires monitoring of the charge capacity and individual cell voltages. Most EVs have a battery management system that handles this automatically. But battery health checks should be part of any scheduled maintenance routine.
The heating and cooling system components should be inspected periodically as moisture and debris can build up over time and affect efficiency. Cabin air filters need replacement approximately every 15,000 miles.
Financing Considerations for Electric Vehicles
Upfront Costs vs Operating Expenses
Electric cars tend to be more expensive to purchase upfront compared to similar gas-powered models. However, EVs have lower operating and maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle. When financing, consider the cost savings from not purchasing gas and fewer maintenance requirements each year.
Loan Terms and Conditions
Carefully read the fine print of any auto financing agreement to understand the loan length, interest rate, monthly payments, and early payoff details. Be aware that some auto loans may include a prepayment penalty, which is a fee charged for paying off the loan before the end of the term.
Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credits
There are federal tax incentives available for purchasing a new electric vehicle depending on the model. Make sure you understand which credits you qualify for and if the dealership will apply them upfront to reduce your overall purchase and financing costs.
Leasing an EV may be an attractive option since battery technology continues advancing rapidly. With a lease, you can enjoy driving an electric car without concern about how newer EV models may hold their long-term value as ownership vehicles. Lease terms allow switching to another electric vehicle in just a few years.
Weigh All Factors Carefully
Purchasing or leasing an electric vehicle is an excellent way to lower your environmental impact and free yourself from volatile gas prices. But be sure to carefully consider the purchase costs, operating expenses, available tax credits, financing terms, and maintenance requirements as you make your decision.