Do Electric Cars Need Oil Changes? A Complete Guide

Knowing how to properly maintain any vehicle will strengthen its safety and longevity. If you are an electric car owner, you are a part of a movement that no one saw coming at this rapid pace. With 30% of all car sales being electric by 2040, the industry is going to change quickly, along with how you maintain your vehicle.

No, electric vehicles do not need oil changes because no oil is utilized to power them. They also don’t have spark plugs or fan belts. However, they still require fluid and coolant replacements.

If you own an electric vehicle or plan to – use this guide to understand how your car is different than a traditional gas-powered vehicle, how to maintain it, and what your car does need. We will also explore the long-term effects of your electric car on the oil industry and how all of this change will impact you as a car owner.

This Guide Will Cover

  • How Your Electric Car Works
    • Parts/Replacements You Won’t Require With an EV 
  • What Your Electric Car Does Need 
  • Tesla Model 3 Example
  • Tips to Properly Maintain Your Electric Vehicle 
  • Why Electric Cars Outperform Oil-Functioning Cars
  • The Future is Electric – How Does This Effect Oil Industry? 
  • How All of This Impacts You – An Electric Vehicle Owner

How Electric Cars Work

Before diving into the marketplace, it’s essential to understand what your electric vehicle requires instead of oil.

To understand what it needs, you must first understand why it needs it.

Your electric vehicle functions by plugging into an electrical power source and absorbing energy from the grid. Since the batteries are rechargeable and no oil is present in EVs (Electric Vehicles) an oil change will never be required.

You will need to maintain the critical parts of your electric vehicle. The main elements to be aware of for maintenance-purposes (according to The U.S. Department of Energy are:

  • The Battery – Usually Electric Auxiliary and Lithium-ion battery, this fuels your car.
  • Charge Port – The part to connect with an external power source to charge the battery
  • Electric Traction Motor – Turns the battery power into a moving vehicle, propels the wheels forward.
  • Transmission – Electric transference that powers the motor. 
  • DC/DC Converter – The high-voltage DC power, combined with the low-voltage DC helps to recharge the battery. 
  • Power Electronic Converter – Manages the flow of all electrical currents and energy. Controls the energy for efficiency and longevity.
  • Thermal Cooling System – To cool the interior of the vehicle including the:
    • Electric Motor
    • Powered Electronics
    • Engine
    • Other Interior Parts that easily overheat
  • Onboard Charger – Converts AC power to DC power and monitors your battery functionality including:
    • Temperature
    • Voltage
    • Current/Power 
    • State of charge (full, empty, etc.) 

These are the aspects to be aware of for a properly-running electric vehicle, and these are the parts that will require maintenance.

Parts/Replacements You Won’t Require With an EV 

The parts and services that you will not have to worry about with your electric vehicle are:

  • Oil changes
  • Replacing spark plugs
  • Replacing fuel filters
  • Transmission fluid
  • Any part that requires motor oil or lubricant in traditional combustion vehicles 

What Your Electric Car Does Need

It doesn’t need oil changes, so you may be asking, ‘what does my electric vehicle require?’ Luckily for you as an EV owner, electric vehicles have considerably fewer parts than a traditional combustion engine.

How to Maintain
MotorElectric motors should last 15-20 years without requiring replacement. 
Battery– Electric Vehicles are under regulatory warranty against a failed battery within the bounds of either 8 years of age or 10,000 miles (sometimes ten years and 150,000 miles depending on state laws, according to Green Car Reports.
– Your battery will require daily charges and is safest when used regularly (meaning that taking a year off from using your EV could be bad for the battery’s condition).
– Your battery should last 10-20 years before requiring replacement
– A new battery will cost between $1,000 to $6,000 depending on your model. 
Brakes– Your brakes are entirely different in an EV, functioning by regenerative braking as compared to friction-based braking in traditional engines. 
– Regenerative brakes tend to feel smoother, gentler, and tend to last longer than traditional brakes with less frequent servicing.
– Elon Musk, CEO of the largest electric brand in the automotive game presently, Telsa, says that “Brake pads on a Tesla literally never need to be replaced for lifetime of the car.”
– Traditional brakes last between 25,000 and 75,000 miles. There is no exact figure for electric vehicles yet, but it is unanimous that their brakes last considerably longer and require less maintenance.
Tires and Extras – Since electric vehicles are relatively new, there is not as much research on these precise standards for maintenance. Many electric models vary widely in this regard.
My EV states that you should have, “the tires rotated every six months or 7,500 miles and changing the cabin air filter every 12 months or 15,000 miles.”
– Replace as needed: Brake fluid, windshield-washer fluid, air conditioning coolant

Tesla Model 3 Example

Sometimes it is best to see a direct example, which can only be done by examining a specific model.

See also: Do Teslas Need Oil?

Tesla’s cheapest car, as of April 2019, was the Tesla Model 3. This is a prime example of a fantastic electric vehicle that offers:

  • Electric-powered performance at the lowest rate on the market
  • The autopilot that is demonstrably safer than a human driver.
  • Tesla’s Vehicle Safety Report describes that the “Model S, X, and 3 have achieved the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by the U.S. government’s New Car Assessment Program.”

As a highly affordable example of what maintenance might look like for an electric vehicle, the maintenance for a Tesla Model 3 is as follows:

Equipment or Required MaintenanceMaintenance Frequency
Brake FluidEvery 2 years
Air Conditioning BagEvery 5 to 7 years
Air Conditioning Coolant Fluid/Anti-FreezeAt the first 50,000 mark and then every subsequent 30,000 from then on
Brake CalipersLubricate every year or every 12,000 miles
Rotate Tires Every 10,000-12,000 miles or if your tread is wearing thin (1.5mm or greater) 
RegistrationYearly 
InspectionYearly
BatteryTesla concedes the battery life is undetermined, but Elon claims the battery life should be in the middle of, “300k to 500k miles (1500 cycles).”
WarrantyOffered until 120,000 miles

Tips to Properly Maintain Your Electric Vehicle

Although your electric vehicle will require much less maintenance and expense as compared to a traditional vehicle, maintenance must be done, nonetheless.

Some tips to get the most out of your electric vehicle, for each of its parts, are: 

Battery:

  • A hack that well-researched electric vehicle owners know about is to never charge your battery to 100%. The CEO of SpaceX and Tesla states that, “at 100% state of charge, regen braking doesn’t work, because the battery is full, so the car is less energy efficient.”
  • It is recommended to charge to 80-90% each charging session. Nissan suggests charging the battery to 80%, while Musk says 90% is fine. This will make the car have to work harder on less power, which comparable to your EV’s survival skills being forced to kick-in, leading to increased efficiency. 

To offer you a relatable comparison – It’s roughly akin to the human body feeling slowed by a large meal. If you eat light and frequently, you will have more energy.

The same goes for your EV.

  • Don’t leave your car for months or years at a time without use. Regular driving will keep your battery and EV functioning correctly.
  • Park in shady locations to keep temperatures moderate. EVs can overheat and don’t respond as well to prolonged direct sunlight as the batteries on oil-powered vehicles.
  • If there’s nothing you can do about sunlight (such as living in a humid desert with little shade), simply realize that this will cause your battery’s life to be quite a bit shorter than an EV kept in moderate temperatures. 

 Motor:

  • Examine your EV’s motor regularly for corrosion or rust.
  • Check the bearings by examining for:
    • Dirt build-up
    • Corrosion
    • Rust
    • Poor lubrication (although it won’t be oil-based, your EV will still require lubrication in the form of grease to keep gears running smoothly. It also strengthens against rust). 
    • Any wear-and-tear

Repairs:

  • Since many mechanics will not know how to fix an electric car, you’ll have to be more selective about which mechanic you bring your car into. They are still relatively new, and technicians can be unfamiliar with the repairs in general auto-body shops.
  • We recommend bringing your vehicle in for service to the dealership you’ve purchased from. This guarantees the repairmen are familiar with your make and model, able to easily order electric-compatible replacement parts. 

Why Electric Cars Outperform Oil-Functioning Cars

The automobile market is rapidly changing and creating astronomical effects on the oil industry. If you own a vehicle (gas or electric) all of these changes will affect you at some point. Experts claim that these effects are not a matter of if, but a matter of when.

The longer life expectancy of your electric car is only one of its advantages that result in a car that out-performs traditional gas cars.

There are many benefits to owning an electric vehicle as compared to a traditional oil-guzzler; some of these include:

  • It’s Cheaper in the Long-run – As stated by Energy.gov on their updating e-gallon comparison, “on average, it costs about half as much to drive an electric vehicle.”

The price of oil is anticipated to reach a per-barrel price of $90/bbl. by 2030 and $103/bbl. in 2040, (according to IEA and World Oil Predictions). From the current status in 2020 of $60/bbl., oil prices are expected to nearly double by 2040.

Utilities also tend to be a more stable metric within the economy than the oil market, so electricity will be an even more reliable source of power that gas in the coming years.

A comparison of a traditional vehicle as compared to the savings of an electric vehicle are:

Gasoline ICE Vehicle (Internal Combustion) Battery-Powered Electric Vehicle (BEV)Savings
Typical Range360 miles on 30 miles per gallon for a typical 12-gallon vehicle at $4.50/gallon Total gas tank cost for 360 miles = $54.0024KW battery capacity that goes for 70 miles at .34 kWh per mile = $0.36 /kWh Total Electricity cost for 369 miles = $44.06
Fuel TypeGasElectricity 
Cost per Mile$0.15$0.1224$0.0276
6 Years of Fuel$10,800$8,813$1,987
Routine Maintenance Costs$6,000$2,000$4,000
Total Costs in 6 years$16,800$10,813$5,987 Savings 

Information from Electric Cars Vs. Gas Vehicles What You Need to Know

With nearly six thousand dollars saved across six years while owning an EV, due to:

  • Gas savings
  • Less frequent maintenance
  • A more affordable fuel alternative (electricity)

Consider the savings across a lifetime (along with the environmental impact when multiplied across billions of people).

  • Maintenance is Cheaper – As covered on the preceding chart, maintenance will also be cheaper in the long-term. This also includes battery prices, which have steadily decreased. As the chart on Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance of Lithium-ion Battery Market – Batteries in 2020 cost 90% less than batteries did in 2010. The trend depicts a consecutively depreciating battery price, to influence the savings even more greatly.
  • They Last LongerTesloop discusses a Telsa model report that has functioned for 300,000+ miles on only $11,000 worth of maintenance. The same car on oil-functionality was projected to cost up to $85,000 for the same 300,000-mile life expectancy.
  • The Future is Electric – We will cover this more in a later section after discussing the maintenance of your electric vehicle, but if you’ve already purchased one – You’re on the winning side. In the coming years, over 43 popular car brands are anticipated to offer the electric option to their audience, and IHS Markit Research Analysis Data forecasts that the, “sales of vehicles with an electric propulsion system will reach 1.28 million units in the US in 2026, compared with just less than 200,000 units in 2018.

As over 40% of the oil marketplace is linked to cars – we will see how all of this impacts the oil and gas industry.

The Future is Electric – How Does This Effect Oil Industry?

NPR.org states that “non-gas car models likely to nearly triple by 2025.” Everyone is visibly seeing the electric car movement and how the future is electric – the only question is how quickly the movement will transpire.

In 1997 there were 2 EV models on the market, in 2019 there were 98. The change is already occurring in a much more expedited fashion than anyone could have predicted.

But what does all of this mean for the oil and gas industry? And how does this impact you as an electric car owner?

The oil and gas corporations are striking back, as quoted from Gavin Bade’s piece on The Oil Industry Vs. The Electric Car, in which he describes that the impact would:

Erase demand for more than 3 million barrels of oil a day — or more than 20 percent of current transportation consumption.”

As EVs disrupt the global marketplace, the oil and gas groups are beginning to fight in Congress to protect their stake over the market share. They are arguing currently to add a tax against all electric vehicle purchases, and effectively make it more expensive to own an electric car than it currently is (in the hopes of preserving their oil and gas profitability-margin).

How All of This Impacts You – An Electric Vehicle Owner

As lobbyists are fighting to make oil a contender in the long-term rivalry, we will see changes in the affordability of electricity and utilities as well.

Chairman Jason Stanket of the Maryland Public Service Commission states:

The petroleum lobby and the electric utility lobby — I’m talking about API vs. EEI — we are going to see a competition between them for market share like we haven’t seen before.”

It is projected that electric vehicle builders will offer tax credits and electric incentives, while the oil and gas industry fight back harder. This quarrel between markets can increase competition which means a better deal for you as the consumer, but only time will tell. 

Final Thoughts

The transformation from combustion-powered engines to electric vehicles – is already happening. Experts agree that nearly half of all vehicles could be electric in the next twenty to thirty years. This will impact many markets and industries, not just oil and gas or electric industries.

Final thoughts for you as an electric car owner are:

  • Don’t worry about oil changes – the reason that brought you here in the first place.
  • Charge your car to 80% and do regular inspections of the internal functions of your EV. By examining it regularly and doing routine checks, your car should last considerably longer than a traditional car, while also requiring significantly fewer maintenance sessions.
  • News IHS Market states that as people purchase more and more electric vehicles (since these last longer), we will see a decrease in the number of people purchasing new cars.

As their vehicles last for much longer life-spans, the car market will have to discover new ways to make money. In a capitalistic marketplace where everyone has to surpass last year’s productivity, that should make for an interesting evolvement.