Hybrid and electric car: service and MOT

Electric and hybrid vehicles have been around a while but are only now becoming common on our roads. Some models are very reliable while others have had a few problems. The first challenge for many drivers however is finding suitably qualified mechanics. High voltage batteries and other components are potentially lethal and so you need a garage that has the right equipment and properly trained engineers. Letting poorly trained mechanics perform electric or hybrid car servicing isn’t safe. It is also likely to void your warranty and insurance.

Finding an electric car specialist near me

Calling into garages at random or searching online for an “electric car specialist near me” probably won’t find the best choice. The best way to find trained and certified engineers is to use the garage locator on our website. Servicing and diagnosing modern cars, especially electrics, often involves inspecting their electronics with specialised computer equipment. Our garage finder allows you to confirm that the garage is fully equipped before you book.

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Getting an MOT for an electric vehicle

Electric goods vehicles registered with the DVLA before March 2015 do not require an MOT certificate. However, for an electric car you will still need an annual MOT test after 3 years of age. Most tests are the same as for conventional cars, but obviously there is no emissions test for an all-electric vehicle.
Cost-wise there are few differences. Much of the cost of an MOT is related to paperwork, training and equipment. However, many drivers wisely ask for a full annual service beforehand. All-electric vehicles have motors rather than engines so there are fewer parts to worry about and on average the overall cost of electric car servicing and MOT is lower. The only exceptions are if the battery is damaged, the charging port needs replacing, or high voltage cabling is corroded.

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Note that during the test the regulations state that engineers are not allowed to remove panels to check for rust. Since most electric vehicles have aerodynamic underbody panels your tester will not be able to check behind them for you. In this and other ways an MOT does not check all the same components as a full service, so it is always best to have both.

Finding a hybrid car specialist near me

Because hybrid vehicles also contain high voltages you will still need to locate a properly qualified and equipped garage for hybrid car servicing so use Protyre’s garage locator and contact form.
So far, most hybrid models seem to be reliable, but they do have more components than either an internal combustion engine or an electric motor. They contain both sets of engine components as well as some complex parts to combine the benefits. Inevitably that means there are more things that can go wrong and more items that need to be checked.
In our experience, the cost of replacement parts for many hybrids is still high so it is wise to take good care of them. Regular servicing will catch emerging issues before they become serious and regular tune-ups are essential to maximise the lifespan of the battery.
Many superficial checks are free at any Protyre garage, so it is well worth calling if you have any concerns.

Getting an MOT for hybrid vehicles

Any Protyre garage can perform an MOT test on a hybrid, but they may have to refer you to a nearby hybrid car specialist if you need significant repairs. Normally there is no difference in the cost for a hybrid compared to petrol, diesel or electric vehicles.
There is some evidence that the high weight of electric batteries and the high torque of electric motors puts more strain on the tyres and suspension, at least in some models. Tyres are one of the most common causes of an MOT fail, so it’s wise to check your tyres regularly for damage or tread wear and to ensure optimum inflation.

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Buying tyres for hybrids and EVs

There are 3 key points to consider:

  1. Electric vehicles and hybrids are quiet so you will notice a noisy tyre. Some low noise tyres are also light rolling, also known as low friction, so they could extend your range between recharges too. When a tyre is described as “fuel saving” that applies equally whether it is driven by a petrol engine or an electric motor.

  2. The extra torque and weight can cause faster tyre wear, so hybrid and electric owners should look for strong durable tyres.

  3. Many owners want to maintain the green credentials of these vehicles, which could sway them toward the “eco” tyre offerings. However, there is no better way to be green than by choosing durable tyres.

Pirelli have recently released the Pirelli Elect range for electric vehicles, based on the proven Pirelli P Zero. Also consider the Bridgestone Ecopia or Michelin Energy Saver A/S. You can also choose any XL-rated tyre.

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