Auto Service World
News   March 7, 2024   by Jack Barter

Key differences between gas and EV maintenance


Teslas on display at the 2024 Canadian International AutoShow

As the world of automobile technology changes quickly, the rise of electric vehicles (EVs), especially Teslas, is having a big impact on how cars are maintained.

For those working around these vehicles, from shop owners to technicians, it’s essential to understand the differences in maintenance of gas and electric cars.

As Tesla dominates the market, we’ll focus mainly on those vehicles as we go into detail about the main changes between maintaining gas and electric cars.

Basics of Electric Vehicle Maintenance

Electric vehicles simplify maintenance in many ways. With Tesla at the forefront, EVs eliminate the need for several traditional maintenance tasks. Key areas of focus include:

  • Battery Health: The lifeline of EVs. Tesla models require monitoring and maintaining the battery pack to ensure its longevity.
  • Brake System: Thanks to regenerative braking, EV brakes often have an extended lifespan, but still require regular checks.
  • Routine Checks: While EVs forgo oil changes, they still need regular tire rotations, wheel alignments, and other standard checks.

Gas vehicle maintenance essentials

In contrast to electric vehicles, gas-powered cars have a more traditional and, obviously, familiar maintenance routine for automotive professionals. The internal combustion engine (ICE) of gas vehicles necessitates regular upkeep. Key maintenance tasks include:

  • Oil Changes: Essential for engine lubrication and cooling, requiring regular checks and replacements.
  • Fuel System Maintenance: Involves replacing fuel filters and cleaning fuel injectors to ensure efficient fuel delivery.
  • Exhaust System Upkeep: Regular checks for leaks or damage, particularly in the muffler and catalytic converter.
  • Engine Tune-ups: Involving spark plug replacement, checking the ignition system, and timing adjustments for optimal engine performance.

These tasks form the backbone of gas vehicle maintenance, demanding a detailed understanding of engine mechanics and systems.

Comparative analysis: Gas vs. Electric

When comparing the maintenance of gas and electric vehicles, several key differences stand out:

  • Powertrain Complexity: Gas vehicles have complex engines with many moving parts, requiring more frequent attention. Electric vehicles, like Teslas, have simpler powertrains with fewer components that wear out or need replacing.
  • Fluid Maintenance: Gas cars require regular fluid checks and changes, including oil, transmission fluid, and coolant. In contrast, EVs, particularly Teslas, have fewer fluid maintenance needs, mainly concerning the coolant for the battery and electric motor.
  • Brake Wear: Due to regenerative braking in EVs, brake pads and rotors often have a longer lifespan compared to those in gas vehicles, where regular wear and tear are more common.
  • Battery Maintenance: The most significant difference in EVs is battery maintenance. Teslas, with their sophisticated battery systems, require specific care to ensure battery longevity, such as maintaining optimal charge levels and avoiding extreme temperatures.

For automotive professionals, understanding these differences is vital for providing proper maintenance to both types of vehicles.

Special considerations for Tesla maintenance

If you’re an automotive technician or a shop owner, you need to know how to take care of Tesla to guide your customers. Maintaining Teslas involves unique considerations:

  • Model-Specific Needs: Different Tesla models may have unique maintenance requirements, like the air suspension in Model S and X.
  • Software Updates: Regular software updates play a crucial role in Tesla maintenance, impacting various vehicle functions.
  • Battery Management: Proper charging practices and temperature management are key to maintaining Tesla’s battery health.

Advice for automotive professionals

For professionals in the automotive industry, adapting to EV maintenance, especially Teslas, involves:

  • Continuous Education: Keeping up-to-date with the latest EV technologies and maintenance practices.
  • Appropriate Tooling: Investing in the right tools and equipment to handle EV-specific maintenance tasks.
  • Safety Practices: Adhering to safety protocols, particularly when dealing with high-voltage systems in EVs.

The transition to electric vehicles, with Tesla leading the charge, represents a significant shift in vehicle maintenance practices. For automotive professionals, understanding and adapting to these changes is crucial for staying relevant and proficient in the industry. This journey into the new realm of EV maintenance is not just a challenge but an opportunity for growth and expertise expansion.


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