Electric Vehicle Maintenance Is Super-Cheap, But The Dark Secret Is Tires – Forbes
A Tesla gets a tire inflated (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP)
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Today I completed the annual maintenance on my 3.5 year old electric car. I refilled the wiper fluid and added a bit of air to the tires. That’s it. Except for two other things, that’s all I’ve done in the life of the car, though one of those things was a doozy.
The promise of the electric car is that it needs almost no maintenance. There are no oil changes or minor, regular and major service appointments. There are far fewer parts and fewer things to go wrong. In time, I’ll need new wiper blades and a few other minor things. Many drivers report their brake pads not wearing out after 200,000 miles because EV driving almost never uses the brakes.
I did change out the internal air filter to add a HEPA filter for the wildfire and Covid problems of today. That cost about $40 and a bit of time, and probably will need doing again 3 years later.
The doozy was needing new tires at around 28,000 miles. That was much too early, far before their rated life. One reason for this was a stupid mistake on my part. In the past, I’ve taken my gasoline cars in for regular service, and they were rotating my tires as needed during this service. Not taking my EV in for service, I never got the rotation done. That not only meant the drive tires of my car wore out faster, it also meant I could not make a warranty claim on them. Lesson learned.
There is more to the cost than that. EV tires do cost more than tires of similar cars, and may wear out faster than expected for 3 reasons:
- EVs are heavier than the equivalent car. That means you need tires with a higher weight rating, and they will wear out a bit faster.
- With EVs you care more about fuel efficient tires. Even though wasted electricity costs you less money than it costs in a gas car, you care more because more efficient tires mean more range.
- EV motors run fairly silent, so you care even more about getting silent tires and will pay more for this.
Some EV tires may also have tread for high-performance acceleration, though you don’t have to buy these — though you must get a tire that supports the weight of your vehicle.
Traditional gasoline car maintenance is estimated at about 5 cents/mile with tires adding another cent/mile. For EVs, expect the other costs to get very low and the tires to go up a bit.
Some cars recommend regularly checking and lubricating the brake calipers because you aren’t using the brakes. If you book a service appointment just for this, it could cost you money, but it’s an easy add-on to anything else, like the rotation of your tires that you should be doing. And most tire centers give free lifetime rotation on tires they install — but they do that hoping you will need other service when you come in, a hope that may not work on for EVs. Today the service industry is streamlined for the world of oil changes and minor service, and soon there will be streamlined paths for EVs as well.
Indeed, one of the …….