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  • Writer's pictureSilvia Josten

Are inspections for e-cars necessary at all?

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

ATU Mechatroniker überprüft mit einem Diagnosegerät Werte im Motorraum eines Elektroautos

Changing the oil and filter, replacing spark plugs, checking the exhaust system - these costly maintenance tasks are not necessary with an electric vehicle. So the question arises: Does an e-car need to be inspected? And if so, who offers this service? Not all manufacturers have their own nationwide network of workshops. ATU now offers a manufacturer-independent all-round service for e-cars.

What maintenance work is necessary for fully electric vehicles?

Although the typical maintenance tasks of an internal combustion engine are not required, a few essential components of an e-car should not be neglected. Wear parts such as tyres, brakes and windscreen wipers, as well as operating fluids such as brake fluid and coolant, should also be checked regularly in vehicles with alternative drives. The 12V on-board battery is and remains the number one cause of breakdowns. To prevent defects, it is advisable to have the vehicle inspected and checked regularly. As a rule, maintenance is less frequent than for conventional combustion engines. The respective manufacturer gives recommendations here. With the Hyundai Kona Electric, for example, the vehicle is called into the workshop after the first 15,000 km. With other brands, this is much later; VW and Tesla want to see their customers again after 2 years. The Aiways U5 only needs to be inspected after 100,000 km or three years.

Does the inspection of an e-car have to be done at an authorised workshop?

No. Independent workshops such as ATU* are also allowed to carry out inspections and maintenance on your e-vehicle. There is no need to fear a loss of warranty. The prerequisite for this is that the motor vehicle mechatronics technicians are trained for high-voltage work. Only with this qualification may repairs be carried out on e-cars. In addition, it should be ensured that work is only carried out according to the manufacturer's specifications and that original-quality parts are used. We present the service offer for electric vehicles by ATU in more detail in our e-Services. In the case of car leasing or car subscription, however, the small print in the contract counts. Under certain circumstances, a workshop obligation may be stipulated.

If the journey to the nearest specialist workshop is too far, some manufacturers, such as Tesla, offer the option of using a mobile workshop service. The desired appointment can be conveniently booked via the vehicle app and a service vehicle will then come to your home or office. After all, electric two-wheelers also require regular care and maintenance.

Mann und Frau stehen mit Laptop an der geöffneten Sitzbank eines blauen Elektrorollers
Maintenance of an electric scooter

Not all independent workshops offer service for e-vehicles

Providers of services for e-cars and the like must be able to prove that they have certain qualifications. However, this effort is too high for some workshops. 20 % of the participants in a survey by the initiative "Quality is added value" are not yet planning to expand their service in terms of electro mobility. The reasons for this would be the limited working time or the below-average market share of e-vehicles. Some consider e-mobility to be only a temporary phenomenon because electric drives would not become established anyway – probably more of a fallacy, as it was 100 years ago on the part of the horse-drawn carriages.

Inspections for e-cars are cheaper.

Since there is less work involved in maintaining an e-vehicle, according to the Institute of the Automotive Industry (IFA), the overall costs are about 35% less than for a petrol or diesel car. Thus, one can expect costs of about €150 for the first inspection. The second service is somewhat more expensive due to the materials required. The brakes last a long time thanks to recuperation and are not broken even after three years and 55,000 kilometres driven, but rather rusting.

How often does an electric car have to go to the main inspection?

However, certain important dates should not be forgotten: The intervals of the statutory general inspection (HU) remain unchanged, but the exhaust emission test (AU) and its costs of around 40 € are of course omitted. Not only vehicles with combustion engines, but also electric cars, must be inspected by TÜV & Co. 36 months after initial registration. After that, the MOT for e-cars is due every 24 months. In principle, there are no differences between the inspection of an e-vehicle and an internal combustion vehicle

Techniker von ATU misst die Werte der Klimanlage in einem Auto
Air conditioning check at ATU

Only the different components require a different inspection. While the engine management and exhaust gas purification systems of combustion engines are inspected, the high-voltage system of purely electric vehicles is inspected extensively. In addition, the inspectors check the condition of the insulation, cables, connections and plugs. The insertion and removal of the plug from the charging connection is also subjected to an inspection. Overall, the focus of the inspection is mainly on safety-relevant aspects. The lithium-ion battery in particular is examined intensively during the main inspection of an electric vehicle. Ultimately, it should be noted that the maintenance costs for an electric vehicle are also lower and the effort is considerably less than for a conventional combustion engine. Nevertheless, your garage will certainly be happy about regular visits – even if it's only for a seasonal tyre change.

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