Do Electric Cars Use Oil? Here’s What You Need To Know


As the electric car craze gets bigger and bigger, more people than ever are switching over to electric cars. This is largely due to the new exciting electric cars that are offered. Blistering fast acceleration, super high levels of technology, and futuristic styling are calling to a lot of people. On top of that, rising gas prices are leading many people to purchase electric cars so that they do not have to pay those gas prices.

So if you have an electric car, or have ever wondered how electric cars work, you may have asked yourself the question, do electric cars use motor oil? A fully electric car does not use or require motor oil. This is due to the car not having the moving parts associated with internal combustion engines. But there are other lubricants that an electric car needs in order for it to stay in prime condition.

If you have looked into owning an electric car, you have probably also heard that they require much less maintenance than regular internal combustion cars. This is true. One of the biggest reasons for this is that electric cars do not require oil changes. Electric cars still do require maintenance, but it is much less than internal combustion vehicles. In this article, you will learn why electric cars don’t use oil, and what type of lubricants are needed for the upkeep of an electric car.

Why Electric Cars Do Not Use Oil

So why exactly do electric cars not need oil? The answer to that requires an understanding of how both internal combustion engines work and electric vehicles. On an internal combustion engine, you are combining air, fuel, and a spark inside of a chamber. This creates an explosion that moves a piston generating motion and transferring energy to the drivetrain. Doing all of this requires precision timing. In a cylinder, there are valves for both the intake and the exhaust. These have to open and close at rapid rates with extreme accuracy, or you can severely damage components.

The piston itself that is being driven by the combustion, moves up and down at high speeds as well. All of these moving parts require proper lubrication. It needs lubrication that can keep them moving freely and also protect the components against rubbing against other surfaces or contaminants that may be in the engine. That is why it is so important that an internal combustion engine has motor oil in it.

While electric cars have motors, they are nothing at all like internal combustion motors. An electric car will have a large high voltage battery bank. These batteries will supply voltage to the electric motors that drive the wheels. These motors could be either DC or AC motors. Both are used in today’s electric car market. These motors use electricity to generate a magnetic field in what is known as a stator. This magnetic field then turns a part known as the rotor. This rotation is what brings life to your vehicle.

As the movement in these motors uses magnetism in order to produce motion, there are not parts constantly coming into contact with each other. As such, there is no need for a lubricating protective barrier there. In fact, having fluid media between the stator and rotor will actually mess up your magnetic field.

So, to summarize things, electric cars do not need motor oil because the design is fundamentally different than that of an internal combustion engine. This removes the need for oil to be added and for regular oil changes to be performed. On top of that, electric cars also no longer require other common maintenance procedures or repairs such as spark plug changes, fuel filter replacements, engine damage (head gaskets, ring or cylinder wear, or knocking), replacing belts, hoses, and repairing exhaust systems. If you are looking to greatly reduce the time and money you put into maintenance, electric cars are a great choice.

Do They Use Other Forms Of Lubricants?

If electric cars do not use motor oil, do they require other types of lubricants instead? The answer is yes. When we say that electric cars require less maintenance than other cars, that does not mean that you can ignore them completely. Every vehicle out there requires some level of maintenance. Lubricants are a fundamental component of any type of mechanical system and even in electrical vehicles, these fluids will be required.

First off, your electric car uses a very special type of oil for cooling. This performs a very critical function for your car. If this fluid were to get low, your battery and motors could start to overheat. This could result in either you being stranded or damaging the electrical components themselves. If you want your car to function as it should, this is not something that you should ignore.

Secondly, your electrical car requires lubrication for the electric motors that are driving the vehicle and for the gearbox that controls speed output. Both of these components require lubrication. They also have to be capable of varying in speeds from just crawling, to 15,000 RPM. These fluids are also exposed to high voltages which requires them to have unique properties in order to accommodate the needs of the car.

So yes, your electric car still requires lubrication. It is fundamentally different than an internal combustion vehicle but nonetheless, it will require something. Virtually any moving component will require lubrication and some level of maintenance, or else it will wear very quickly. The same is true for electric cars.

How Often Other Lubricants Need To Be Changed?

So, how often do you actually need to change these lubricants? This is question is located in grey territory. Electric car technology is still fairly new. As such, the maintenance schedules are very up in the air. Currently, the lubricants and the entire powertrain on an electric car are designed to last the entire life of the battery. The standard electric car battery lasts for about ten years. So, the lubricants for the powertrain will not necessarily need to be replaced until about 10 years. At this point, you will likely already be replacing the batter, so you should get everything relubricated or replaced while this is being performed.

Even if you are lubricants are not being changed for up to 10 years, you should definitely be regularly inspecting the condition of things. If things are not properly lubricated, you can very quickly kill your motors and/or your battery. Even if things continue working, you will greatly be shortening the life of these components, and these are not cheap components to replace. That is why it is so important that these things are inspected at least annually.

Many people are not comfortable with working on new electric cars, even if they are very mechanically inclined. If you are not comfortable or do not know how to inspect your vehicle properly, it is important that you find a trustworthy shop that does know how to work on electric vehicles. You can then take your car to them to be inspected regularly to make sure everything is properly lubricated.

Does An Electric Car Use Lubricants That A Regular Car Does Not?

So, do electric cars use lubricants that regular internal combustion cars do not use? The answer to that is yes. The lubricants used in electric cars are specially designed for electric car usage. In an internal combustion engine, your motor oil is specifically designed for high-temperature use. It is designed to be thick enough to prevent damage from the friction of the moving components.

In an electric car, the lubricants are very different. First off, they do not need to be nearly as thick as motor oil. Secondly, they are specially designed to be capable of being exposed to high voltages. These lubricants are safe in high voltage environments, and they do not wear or shift fluid properties due to exposure to it for extended periods of time. These fluids are very unique to electric cars and are made specifically for them.

So, as you have learned, electric cars and internal combustion cars are incredibly different. How they work, the maintenance that goes into them, and the fluids that they use are all extremely different. If you are considering joining the electric car revolution, it’s important that you understand these changes, so you aren’t surprised further down the road.

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