Navigating EV maintenance: what dealerships need to know

Education is an important part of the process. Dealerships have an opportunity—and responsibility—to demystify EV maintenance for customers.

Imagine walking onto your showroom floor first thing in the morning. The familiar hum of traditional internal combustion engine vehicles buzzes in the background.

But right at the forefront, a lineup of shiny, sleek electric vehicles beckons. As you admire them, a long-time customer walks up beside you, eyeing an EV. “I’ve heard these hardly need any maintenance. Is that true?” they ask.

This misconception is something many dealerships regularly encounter since it’s what consumers are reading in the media. As electric vehicles begin to reshape the auto industry, they’re also redefining what maintenance means.

While they might offer fewer routine repairs, EVs open different doors for dealerships. Let’s unravel the true essence of EV maintenance, understand its implications for your service bay, and learn how you can guide your customers through this electric transition.

The Reality of EV Maintenance

Electric vehicles are inherently simpler in design than their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. With fewer moving parts, no oil changes, no exhaust systems, and no need for fuel filters, the routine maintenance list for EVs is undoubtedly shorter.

This may mean reduced revenue from standard servicing and maintenance work for dealerships. However, this isn’t a sign to hit the panic button.

While EVs promise reduced routine maintenance, they also present new areas of service focus. Batteries, software updates, and cooling systems become central to the EV’s longevity and performance.

Brakes and Tires Still Matter

A common misconception among consumers is that EVs are virtually maintenance-free. While it’s true that electric drivetrains have fewer maintenance needs, some normal wear elements remain constant.

You should keep a good selection of tires around. With the weight of EVs, available power, and energy-efficient construction, consumers will replace their tires more often.

Brakes, albeit lasting longer due to regenerative braking systems, will still need periodic servicing. Dealerships must be clear about these aspects to manage customer expectations and ensure safety.

The Warranty Work Window

EVs might not frequent the service bay for regular check-ups as ICE vehicles do, but they aren’t free from potential issues. Problems related to software, electronic components, and battery health can arise.

Dealerships should find an uptick in warranty-related work, and accident repair, offering an avenue to compensate for potentially lost maintenance revenue.

Educating the Customer: A Proactive Approach

Education becomes important. Dealerships have an opportunity—and responsibility—to demystify EV maintenance for customers. Host workshops, create informational pamphlets, or design interactive sections in your showroom to communicate the nuances of EV care. Some enterprising dealerships may even consider offering tech-related services on call—sort of a customer’s 24/7/365 paid IT service technician.

By doing so, dealerships not only establish trust but can also position themselves as the go-to experts in EV maintenance, ensuring customer loyalty.

Exploring Cost Savings for Consumers

Electric vehicles can translate to significant savings for consumers in the long run. No oil changes, fewer routine check-ups, and less frequent brake services can reduce the maintenance bill substantially.

While this might sound like a grim prospect for dealerships, being transparent about these advantages to customers is essential. It’s a selling point that can lead to increased EV sales and potentially offset the revenue dip from maintenance services.

Rethinking Dealership Revenue Streams

The EV era might require dealerships to get creative. With potentially reduced maintenance revenue, it’s time to diversify. Given their often high-tech nature, this could mean expanding into EV charging solutions, becoming a hub for aftermarket EV accessories, or offering specialized cleaning and detailing services for EV interiors.

Looking Ahead

The transition to EVs is more than just a shift in propulsion; it can potentially transform the entire automotive ecosystem. Dealerships that accept the realities of this change, both the challenges and opportunities, are best positioned to thrive.

In embracing the EV evolution, it’s clear that dealerships need to pivot their strategies, focusing on education, diversification, and the unique maintenance needs of electric vehicles. The road ahead might have its bumps, but with foresight and adaptability, dealerships can navigate it successfully.

Stay up to date on exclusive content from CBT News by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our free newsletter to receive all the latest news, insight and trends impacting the automotive industry.

CBT News is part of the JBF Business Media family.

Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell is a contributing writer and reporter for CBT News. He earned bachelor's degrees in Marketing and Television from the University of Texas in Austin and a Masters of Theology study from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas. His passion for automobiles lead him to become a creative director for automotive marketing ad agency. Most recently, he was the manager of interactive marketing for Mitsubishi Motors, NA.

Related Articles


Manufacturers In This Article

More Manufacturer News

Latest Articles

From our Publishing Partners