A great advantage of EV over ICE is that they need very little maintenance. Compared to ICE, EV’s have very few moving parts: no crankshafts, pistons, valves, coolant, clutches, torque converters or even transmissions.
Nissan Leaf is the worlds No 1, while Tesla is catching up. And we are in the age of online diagnostics and remote repairs as Tesla already eliminates the need of visiting a dealership
In the meantime Nissan Leaf built from 2012 upwards are delivering great service and it is still a debate the need of adhering to manufacturer maintenance schedule even after 8 years of the introduction of this great car. No wonder any manufacturer wants to ensure minimum expenditure on its warranty repairs, and keeping an eye over intervals is justified from their side.
But what about the costs? For majority E.V. stand for Economy and Value.
Are we doing too much or too little?
The question need answering for both cars with warranty and grey. Grey EV s are much popular in most parts of the world, from New Zealand to Sri Lanka, due to its cost effectiveness and higher features. Even for grey cars there are third party warranties where they need you to adhere to specific schedules.
There are two standards for maintenance Nissan has specified two standards. The “severe use” schedule is the default. It’s labeled Schedule 1, and it is listed before Schedule 2 (“less severe operating conditions”). Now this indicates most owners need to adhere to Schedule 1 .
Lets take Sri Lanka, where there are over 4,500 Gen 1 & Gen 2 Leafs operate. Most drivers live in cities with stop-and-go traffic and less usage on highways in moderate speeds. Again warmer and high humid and dusty conditions makes the severe operating conditions are more applicable.
Nissan has mandated a comprehensive MPI to follow with Leaf and theirs no argument that it need practicing whether the Leaf is Grey or not. And its not a costly affair to follow, although a dealership may apply a fee based on their structure. In Sri Lanka’s GoEV executes this for 10$.
Multi Point Inspection
Lot of thing to be done in any ICE or Hybrids even worse, but the EV s. Specifically in Leaf.
There is a comprehensive MPI, which can be administered for just under 10 $ in Sri Lanka. Which includes the brake caliper cleaning and lubrication as well.
The Mainly it consists of rotating the tires and the rest is just inspections which includes cabin air filter, coolant, reduction fluid, suspension, drive axle boots, brake pads and rotors, and interior electrical connectors (such as the USB port).
Also it mandates the scanning of the both batteries and the electrical system too. We know the battery worth’s over 1/3 of the value of a new EV, as for used its over half of the cost.
So the Leaf’s maintenance schedule largely confirms that there’s lots less to replace in an electric car during periodical maintenance. But there are some new systems (such as the charge port), and owners need to beware that the very lack of use can increase the need for maintenance of some items.
Lets look at the need of checking some of the critical areas.
Before that, we observed some of the repair places have replaced the transmission fluids and the coolant. This is simply a waste, Coolant is for 15 years or 200,000 kms, and the reduction gear is for life. But this does not eliminates the need of checks as scheduled.
Brake service & fluid replacement.
We agree upon the valid need of brake servicing includes the caliper lubrication especially in the tropics. But even under Schedule 2 (less severe conditions) , the Leaf manual calls for changing the brake fluid every 2 years or every 30,000 kilometers. This is interesting as we are not used to do the brake fluid change under these intervals.
However it is to be considered at what cost the replacement should be. GoEV of Sri Lanka performs the task with 6.5$ labor and another 6.2$ for Caltex DOT 3 fluid of 1L. Still it needs to know why one should be doing this , whatever the cost is. Waste is a waste.
This is what we learnt of the benefits of fluid change.
- High humidity contaminates the fluid
- Lessening lubricity
- Once you know that the fluid has lost its character or color you are too late
There are some reported cases of failed ABS actuators and also leakages. However the data wasn’t enough to establish a firm case of the causes.
What Nissan says?
Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org) wrote to Nissan to get the Nissan explanation that brake fluid has a fairly high tendency to absorb moisture and should be replaced regularly in any car, especially with today’s anti-lock braking (ABS) and electronic stability control systems. “Increasing the brake fluid replacement frequency reduces the likelihood of braking performance issues due to increased moisture content,” a spokesperson wrote in an email.
It may be that with an all-electric car and frequent use of the regenerative brakes, the company is concerned that the hydraulic brakes may get used so little that increased moisture could build up, leading to rusted and dangerous brake lines.
Air conditioning system and the cabin filter.
Checking this in at least 6 months interval will save a major cost of replacing the evaporator coil, especially in high humid areas. You may read further https://evrev.lk/2019/05/16/leaf-undue-ac-failures/
All at what cost?
So there are a few, if we follow the manufacturer guidance. Now at what costs. In Sri Lanka s GoEV extends the complete severe usage maintenance service package for ( 23 USD ) 4,100 LKR at following rates, but may vary without informing us. You may inquire in advance.
- MPI inclusive of but not limited to : Preventive maintenance program # Drive shafts & suspension # Brake pads, rotors # Mounts & boots # Ball joints & rod ends # Steering gear & linkage # Brake, Coolant fluid check # 12V Battery scan # Charging ports # Cabin micro filter clean # Rotate tires # Reduction fluid check # Displays & controls
- HV Battery scan
- Electrical system diagnostic scan
- Body wash and interior vacuum
Optionally undercarriage wash (4 $ , LKR 800) & motor bay degreasing ( 3 $ LKR 600 ) can be requested.
Whats our take?
Its the users call, however prevention cannot be ignored. Even a simple observation of a cracked boot may save your drive shafts. And we often observe clogged caliper pins, rusted shock mounts which will be causing you lot of money if not attended on time. Not only, a clogged cabin air filter is detrimental to your health. Some issues may impact on your efficiency too.
And do not forget when you speak to a knowledgeable service adviser or a technical you may learn better in taking care of your EV. Still we do not underestimate the knowledge of the majority of EV owners, especially in Sri Lanka.
Another advantage of having the softcopy scans saved in you PC or phone, you will surely be with a much higher resale value if all your scans are available in 6 month intervals to prove the authenticity of your EV. Because, the car trade is not very ethical, and sadly we cannot expect all to be honest.
Prevention is better than cure, and it need to be within the fundamental principal, maintenance of EV s are a fraction of the cost of an ICE.
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