Winter Maintenance for Electric Cars

An electric car charging in the winter covered in snow.

Owning an electric car is different from having a traditional gas-powered vehicle in a lot of ways. You don't have to wait for the engine to heat up in the morning, and the heater will work as soon as you press the button. Forget about pumping the gas and all that stuff, too. But there are still some winter maintenance tasks you need to complete for your electric car. You won't have to check the oil, the spark plugs, or the fuel filter. However, there are several winter maintenance tasks you'll want to complete to keep your electric car running great.

Check the Wiper Blades

Check your wiper blades at least once a year, and replace them if needed. You don't want to discover your wiper blades are worn out during a rain or snow storm. Examine the blades for signs of wear by looking at them from the side. Your blades should be in a straight, even line. If you see visible gaps or tears in the blades, you need to replace them.

Check the Coolant

Like gasoline-powered cars, electric cars have a coolant system. Check your coolant level, and add coolant to the engine if needed. Coolant is important in winter, just as it is in summer. The engine still needs to avoid overheating, and in winter that engine might be working overtime.

Rotate the Tires

A car tire in front of a snowflake sign.

You should actually do this for any type of car, be it electric, hybrid, or a gas-guzzler. Take the time to rotate your tires at the beginning of winter. You’ll have to remove all four tires at once to perform this task, so make sure you do it safely.

Check Fluid Levels

Take a look at all your car's fluids. There is no oil in an electric car, but you do have brake fluid and windshield wiper fluid in addition to the coolant. Check the level on both of these, and add more if needed.

Driving Electric in Winter

Your electric car will continue to function normally in winter. You won't notice much difference in how your vehicle drives, but you will notice a difference in battery drain. Your car's heat draws energy from the battery. In winter when you're using more battery power to heat the car and drive, you may need to charge your battery more frequently.

Your electric car will have noticeably less range on cold days. On extremely cold days, your range may get as low as 45 miles. To conserve battery power, make sure you use the "Eco Mode" setting if your car has one. Plan your trips carefully, and always charge your battery before you leave home.

You’ll still want to keep an ice scraper in your car to remove ice and frost before you start driving, and it’s a good idea to let the ice melt from the windows before you get out on the road.

Battery-Saving Tips

A close-up of a car's dial for a heating system.

Battery drain is going to be your biggest concern during winter. Practice some everyday maintenance to conserve as much battery power as possible. When you charge before you leave your home, go ahead and turn the heater on while the car is still plugged in. You can get the interior toasty warm without losing any battery energy. Turn off your cabin heater, and use seat heaters to stay warm while you drive and conserve even more battery energy.

When you park your car, try to find a sheltered spot. A heated garage is ideal, obviously, but when that's not available look for a covered area, at least. Any type of weather protection will help shield your car from the cold, which helps reduce battery drain.

Good Winter Maintenance

Practice good winter maintenance on your electric car to keep it in great shape and running well. Electric cars are much easier to maintain than gas-powered vehicles, and they offer a lot of advantages in winter when temperatures drop.