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Do Electric Cars need oil changes?

Electric cars, or EV’s do not require oil changes like regular gasoline or diesel cars. While a regular car has an internal combustion engine that has a lot of moving parts that require continuous lubrication, EV’s are powered by electric motors which have very few moving parts and do not require the owner to ever do an oil change again.

Just becuase EV’s don’t need oil changes doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. Electric cars do require routine maintenance and some fluids though such as brake fluid, coolant and windshield washer fluid,. Thankfully though you can scratch oil changes off your service list.

Electric cars, obviously have electric drivetrains powered by batteries and propelled by motors, not engines. Engine oil is used to lubircate the moving parts of the engine, such as the crank and cams. It also helps to cool the engine as well.

The motors used in electric cars, like all motors are quite simple devices. A housing, Stator, Rotor, and Bearings. The bearings being the only thing that typically wears out on a brushless motor.

An internal combustion engine on the other hand has pistons, crank shafts, camshafts, valves, valve seals and on and on. Those parts are moving at great speed and in time the rubbing metal surfaces being to wear out. The oil not only cools and lubricates the moving parts but carries away those microscopic metal partials to the oil filter. As the oil gets saturated with metal, and begins to break down due to heat you need to change the oil. Usually anywhere form 4000 miles to 8000 miles.

Different EV manufacturers recomend slightlt different schedules which may affect maintenance. Though this is roughly what you can expect.

  • 6-7000 miles: Check brakes fluids, coolant, general inspection and rotate tires.
  • 15,000 miles: Rotate tires again, replace wipers.
  • 40,000 miles: Or every two years – Replace cabin air filter
  • 50,000 miles: Inspect battery cooling fluid.
  • 75,000 miles: or Every 5 years: Fill vehicle fluids and replace brake fluid.
  • 6 Years: Service Air Conditioning.

While many people are used to taking thier car to the local shop for an oil change ( Myself included, I have a great spot around the corner for my other cars ) At least for now, the dealer is where it’s at for your fluid changes. Many small local shops are unfamiliar with EV’s and their maintenance.

Tesla for example release a service schedule for the Model S and X. The image below gives you an idea of what is expected and when.

There is sometimes a misconception that electric cars require no maintenance, which I’m afraid is not true, but skipping oil changes certainly can save you time and money.