Motor oil, maintenance needs, and engine components—there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to electric cars. And while the electric car market continues to expand and improve, consumers still have a lot of questions about electric vehicles (EVs). 


One question you might wonder when buying an EV is if electric cars use oil. No, electric cars do not use motor oil. But, the answer isn’t as simple as that. At Diepholz Auto, we’re working to create greater clarity around the electric car industry. 


We’ve answered your most frequently asked questions about electric car components, including motor oil, fluid intake, and the correct way to maintain your electric car. Read on to learn why electric cars don’t use oil and top reasons to buy EVs

Do Electric Cars Use Oil?

First things first, let’s discuss whether electric cars use oil. The short answer is that no, electric cars do not use oil. This is because electric cars are powered solely by a battery, removing the need for motor oil. There are no pistons, valves, or other mechanical parts that require lubrication, which would otherwise require oil.  


In a gas-powered car, also known as an internal combustion engine, oil is used to lubricate moving motor parts. These engine components include valves, pistons, and other components that need to be lubricated at all times. Without proper lubrication, metal-on-metal wear would destroy the engine. 


When it comes to hybrid vehicles—that is, those that use both battery and gas to power the motor—there is a need for oil. Since hybrid vehicles contain a combustion engine, it requires the same maintenance and care as the engine in a traditional car. The engine in a hybrid requires periodic oil changes to maintain and protect the health of the engine. So, while a hybrid vehicle does require engine oil, an all-electric car does not.

Do Electric Cars Need Oil Changes?

No, electric cars do not need oil changes because they do not require motor oil. That said, electric cars still require a variety of fluids that need to be replaced, similar to a traditional car. These include liquids like coolant and brake fluid. So, while you won’t need to take your electric vehicle to get an oil change, you will need to take it in to replenish or replace other fluids. Taking your electric car to the mechanic should still be a priority in order to keep your vehicle running efficiently, boost charge range, and prevent problems down the road. 

What Fluids Do Electric Cars Need?

So, if oil is not required, what fluids do electric cars need exactly and how do EVs work? This is an important question to consider before choosing an all-electric car in order to understand how to take care of it properly. While motor oil is not needed, there are a few other essential fluids you’ll need to maintain throughout the life of your electric car. 


Combustion engines require coolant to manage heat, and the same goes for electric vehicles. In fact, managing heat can be an issue for electric cars due to the battery. To counteract this challenge, an electric car contains coolant which regulates the temperature of internal components. Coolant controls the temperature of the battery, power inverter, and cabin heater—all of which are important for the upkeep of your EV.

Brake Fluid

Electric vehicles primarily use regenerative braking to slow the car down. This braking system works by turning the kinetic energy of a moving vehicle into electric energy for the battery. Using this system minimizes the amount of wear on brake pads. However, there are times when the mechanical brakes are not used, in which case electric vehicles use brake pads. EV brake pads use the same brake fluid found in a conventional car. This means that in order to prevent corrosion to the brake system, it’s essential to keep up with regular brake fluid changes. 

Transmission Fluid

Some electric cars need transmission fluid, depending on if it’s single-gear and the year it was built. In the past, electric cars were made with a single gear, removing the need for a transmission altogether. However, newer EVs are now being built with additional gears which allow the cars to achieve better performance and a longer range. In these cases, a transmission is required and, likewise, transmission fluid is needed. Keep in mind that electric car transmission fluid is much different than that found in combustion engines, meaning you’ll need to take it to a professional to ensure the proper fluid is used. 

Key Components of an Electric Car

With a variety of different fluids used in an EV, it can be helpful to understand each of the key components of an electric car. Having a better understanding will allow you to know how to maintain your electric car properly. Key elements of an EV include:

  • Battery: The battery stores electrical energy. An EV battery is the equivalent of a fuel tank in an internal combustion engine. The maximum driving distance of an EV is often determined by the battery capacity?the higher the capacity, the higher the driving distance. 
  • Motor: The motor converts electric energy into kinetic energy that moves the wheels.  It’s also, in part, an electric generator as it converts the kinetic energy generated while in neutral gear into electric energy saved to the battery.
  • Reducer: The reducer is a kind of transmission as it transfers the motor’s power to the wheel. With a reduced RPM, the EV powertrain can take advantage of the resulting higher torque.
  • On-board charger: The On-board Charger (OBC) is used to convert Alternating Current (AC) from slow chargers or portable chargers used on home outlets into Direct Current (DC).
  • Electric power-controlled unit: The Electric Power Control Unit (EPCU) controls the flow of the electric power in the vehicle. It consists of the inverter, the Low voltage DC-DC Converter (LDC), and the Vehicle Control Unit (VCU).
  • Cooling system: The cooling system maintains a suitable operating temperature for the electric motor, engine, and other moving components.
  • Charge port: The charging port allows the car to connect to an external power source in order to charge the battery.

Additional Electric Car Maintenance Tips

Now that you know the mechanics behind electric cars and that they don’t require oil, you may be wondering if there are additional maintenance needs beyond oil changes. Electric cars are similar to traditional gas cars in that they still need to be serviced by a mechanic. Follow these additional tips to ensure the proper maintenance of your electric car. 

How Often Does an EV Need Maintenance?

While an electric car doesn’t require traditional oil changes, it still needs to be serviced regularly. EVs require a twice-a-year service check to examine the vehicle system and fluid levels and to perform tire rotations. This helps maintain optimal battery performance and the car’s longevity.

EV Maintenance Costs

The cost of electric car maintenance depends on the type of car you get and the year, the manufacturer warranty, how well you upkeep it, and a variety of different aspects. While maintenance costs vary, electric cars allow owners to save money on gas and the cost of repairs because they don’t contain as many mechanical parts. This means you’ll save money on maintenance with an electric car vs. a traditional vehicle. 

Categories: Electric Vehicles

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