Lyft’s guide to the transportation revolution

EV buying tip #7: Suss out your service options before you buy

Bryan Gardiner - Apr 24, 2023
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Illustration by Betsy Falco

With fewer moving parts and the majority of battery components covered under warranty, EVs simply have a lot less that can go wrong with them, mechanically speaking. AAA estimates owners can save as much as $250 a year in repair and maintenance costs over traditional vehicles, while Consumer Reports puts the number at around $4,600 over the lifetime of the EV. In fact, between charging, repairs, and maintenance, EV owners can expect to save anywhere between $6,000 and $10,000 over the life of the vehicle. Still, your EV will inevitably need some semi-regular maintenance, and unlike gas-powered vehicles, the corner mechanic isn’t necessarily the best place to get it done. While you may be able to get a fluid top-off or cabin air-filter change, many technicians won’t be well-versed in the particulars of your EV’s drive train or electrical system. What’s more, your vehicle’s warranty for certain parts could be voided if maintenance is done outside of an authorized dealership or service center.

The good news is that most EV companies make servicing your vehicle a relatively painless experience. Established automakers have already built out large networks of local dealerships, which can perform nearly any kind of maintenance you require. Then there are newer manufacturers like Tesla that use a mobile fleet of service providers that come to your home or work to do things like tire rotations and other basic services. 

The key thing to do before settling on a specific model is to understand what services you’ll need to perform, how often, and where that service will take place. It may be great that your new EV’s brake pads last twice as long as they would in a conventional vehicle, but if you have to travel 600 miles to get new ones, that may cancel out the convenience.

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