Electric vehicles are known for being more cost-effective than combustion cars when it comes to running costs and maintenance. That’s because the cost per mile is usually lower than gas-powered vehicles and because they have fewer parts in general.
EVs don’t need oil changes and their brake pads and rotors will typically still be in good shape even after several years because most modern EVs use a lot of regenerative braking which not only puts energy in the battery but also reduces wear on the braking system.
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Rivian publishes R1S/R1T maintenance guide online
Rivian published the official maintenance intervals for the all-electric R1S and R1T adventure vehicles. The list includes things like tire rotation and detailed vehicle inspections, but also regular brake fluid changes as well as coolant and drive unit fluid changes.
That said, battery-powered cars are not maintenance-free and things can still go wrong. This is probably why Rivian recently published an official maintenance schedule for the R1S all-electric SUV and R1T pickup truck. It covers everything from the tire rotation interval to the drive unit fluid change interval.
Here’s what Rivian says on its website regarding the maintenance schedule for the R1S and R1T:
- Tire Rotation and Multi-Point Inspection: every 7,500 mi (12,000 km)
- Comprehensive Inspection: every 22,500 mi (36,000 km)
- Brake Fluid Flush: every 36 months
- Coolant Change: every 112,500 mi (180,000 km)
- Drive Unit Fluid Change (Quad-Motor AWD vehicles only): every 112,500 mi (180,000 km)
The multi-point inspection that needs to be done every 7,500 miles includes things like checking the tire pressures and tread depth, the thickness of the brake pads and rotors, suspension wear, brake fluid level, and windshield washer jets, among other things.
The comprehensive inspection that occurs every 22,500 miles goes into more serious stuff like checking the air conditioning lines, low voltage system, air suspension system, and kinetic anti-roll system.
However, what caught our attention was the recommendation to change the coolant and drive unit fluid (for quad-motor all-wheel-drive models only) every 112,500 miles. The coolant Rivian is probably referring to is the liquid that’s used to cool the battery pack and also provides heat to the cabin with help from a set of resistive heaters. As for the drive unit fluid, it’s probably the oil that lubricates the gears.
Compared to traditional ICE cars, these maintenance procedures are nothing special. Every legacy automaker out there recommends flushing the engine coolant once in a while, as well as the brake fluid, as they lose their properties over time. Off-road-ready vehicles also need to have their differential oil changed at some point.
However, when compared to Tesla, this schedule is a bit more complicated. Take the Model 3 service intervals. They say the brake fluid should be checked every four years and replaced only if necessary, the AC desiccant bag should be replaced every four years, and the cabin air filter should be replaced every two years.
The tires should also be rotated every 6,250 miles and the brake calipers should be cleaned and lubricated every year or 12,500 miles if the car is driven in an area where roads are salted during winter.
As for the fluid replacement intervals, Tesla says that the battery coolant does not need to be replaced for the life of the vehicle under most circumstances and that owners should not top up the brake fluid.
Tesla’s approach seems to be more user-friendly while Rivian is seemingly playing it safe with more regular maintenance required. That said, the R1S and R1T are touted as being adventure vehicles, so they have a higher chance of being used more aggressively, in which case changing the fluids seems like a no-brainer if the owner wants to keep the car in good shape for a long time.
But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.