When it comes to servicing your vehicle, you want a good job at a good price – but sometimes the two don’t mix.
SoGlos sat down with Cleevely EV and Cleevely Motors owner Matt Cleevely to learn about good maintenance practices and the difference between regular vehicles and electric vehicles.
Is there something you would like to emphasize about maintenance that drivers are often unaware of?
As a veteran technician with 26 years of experience, I was very frustrated with the misinformation being disseminated by the main dealers regarding maintenance.
Manufacturer’s representatives will inform owners that in order to maintain the manufacturer’s warranty, the vehicle must return to them for service, but this does not apply, regardless of fuel type.
The automotive aftermarket is governed by the Right to Repair rules, supported by block exemption legislation that allows the vehicle owner to choose where and by whom their vehicle is serviced.
As long as the company is VAT registered and uses genuine parts, they can carry out the maintenance and all repairs.
An independent workshop does not get paid for warranty repairs, but can report them to the vehicle to be booked with a main dealer and carried out free of charge.
Servicing within the aftermarket by trusted, quality, independent repair shops is cheaper and, in my opinion, largely better quality. That’s because independents have a vested interest in protecting and maintaining their reputation.
If you’re considering moving into the increasingly popular electric vehicle market, are these cheaper and quicker to maintain than regular cars?
Electric vehicles are cheaper to maintain than their internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalents because they have fewer serviceable parts.
They still need service as they have moving and wearing parts, but much less than an ICE vehicle.
Electric vehicles contain a small amount of oil in the drive unit that should be replaced periodically, but not annually.
EV maintenance focuses on steering, suspension, tires, brakes, lighting, levels and numerous other tests to ensure reliability and efficiency.
A TÜV test, which electric vehicles still have to have every year after three years, is the same as for a combustion engine, only without an emissions test.
It is important to note that an MOT is a basic inspection with minimum safety standards and should never replace an inspection service performed by knowledgeable technicians.
How long do batteries in electric vehicles typically last before they need to be replaced?
Batteries last longer than initially expected. Nissan, which launched one of the first battery-powered electric vehicles, has reported less than expected battery degradation.
We’ve seen vehicles over 10 years old with battery health of 75 to 80 per cent, which means a two to three per cent annual deterioration, which is very good.
It becomes a topic of conversation because it’s measurable, but engines also deteriorate, which is never discussed or easily measured.
We have repaired some batteries that failed due to individual cell problems. We always do our best to repair at a modular level, which means lower costs for our customers.
Which EV parts usually need to be replaced – are they different from normal cars?
Having repaired and serviced electric vehicles for the last five years, we have a good idea of which components need to be replaced most frequently.
EVs are fairly heavy, so suspension components can wear out a little quicker than the ICE alternative, but not dramatically.
We also find that due to regenerative braking, where energy is recovered and the car slows down because the electric motor is converted into a generator, there is less physical brake wear, but brake components can also corrode due to lack of use.
Based on the data we have collected we have set up our own EV specific parts department stocked with different product lines for all makes and models so that we can keep our customers on the road as safe as possible with quality components.
Are the maintenance intervals longer for electric vehicles?
As with any vehicle, annual maintenance is always recommended. Some manufacturers do a biennial service, but my personal opinion is that vehicles, regardless of fuel type, should have an annual trained inspection to ensure reliability and safety.
People fight for time in busy lives, and it’s my fault if they forget to check important fluid levels and tire pressures.
Lower tire pressure than specified can drastically affect road holding, braking distance and vehicle efficiency.
Maintenance doesn’t have to be expensive, and most quality garages will openly discuss vehicle requirements with customers to ensure expectations are known to all.
Is EV maintenance better for the environment?
EV maintenance offers a small benefit to the environment.
Without regular large-volume oil changes, the dependency on the production of fossil materials is reduced.
Through our daily maintenance of internal combustion engines, we have to dispose of more than 6,000 liters of contaminated motor oil every year and therefore also refill a similar amount – the production of which represents an enormous environmental burden.
Properly inflated tires reduce wear and tear and the production of harmful particles in the air we breathe. This also applies to properly maintained brakes, because brake dust is also harmful if inhaled.
Regular maintenance allows any vehicle to be more efficient and therefore use less fuel, whether electric or fossil.