Do Electric Cars Use Oil?

If you’re considering buying an electric car, you may have a number of questions about how it works and the maintenance requirements, and you might also be wondering, “do electric cars need motor oil?” These are important questions for a first-time owner of an electric vehicle. You might be thinking "how do electric cars work"? Full EVs are very different from conventional petrol and diesel engine cars, so they don’t have internal combustion engines and all those moving parts that need fluids like oil. (But of course this doesn't apply to hybrids). But this doesn’t mean full EVs no longer need the same level of care. Let’s learn more about how electric cars work to help you prepare as an EV owner.

How do electric cars work UK?

Electric cars have electric motors that make the wheels run. If you’ve ever had a radio-controlled toy car, it works in much the same way. The electric motor gets its power from the rechargeable battery pack under the vehicle's floor or stacked under the bonnet, where the engine of a conventional car is typically found. 

If we compare the way EVs work to that of a fuel-powered car, what’s immediately noticeable is the simplicity of an electric car’s inner parts. Conventional diesel and petrol engine vehicles have many components that make it possible to burn fuel and convert it into energy to power the wheels through the gearbox. As for an EV, it only has two main parts, the motor and the battery pack. 

Electric Motor

Most electric cars on the market today use only one motor to make the car run. The motor creates a magnetic field, turning the rotor shaft and making the wheels move. Some electric vehicles focusing more on power and speed use two or more motors. One can be found in the front and the other at the back. While a three-motor setup for EVs is not typical, some models have three or even four electric motors, such as Tesla Model S Plaid, Audi e-tron, and the Rimac Nevera. 

Battery Pack

The battery pack is the other main component of an EV. It’s where the electric motor draws power to make the car run. They are made up of a stack of battery cells like a TV remote control and devices at home that use several batteries to work. EV batteries are rechargeable and can easily be topped up by plugging the car into your home charger or at a rapid charging port at one of the many public charging points in the UK. 

Do electric cars need motor oil?

With conventional cars that use internal combustion engines, many moving parts like pistons and valves are necessary to make it run. To ensure the vehicle runs smoothly, the engine needs motor oil to flow through the tubes and pipelines throughout the combustion engine. Even the bearings and crankshaft need oil so that they’ll remain cool while spinning. 

Traditional cars have as many as 200 moving parts, while some models with the best electric car design, like the Tesla Model 3, only have 17. EVs don’t have pistons, valves, camshafts, and valve springs that need oil to run properly, so there’s no need for motor oil. However, electric cars still need certain maintenance fluids such as coolant, transmission fluid, and brake oil. But when it comes to electric or petrol cars, EVs will save you money on general maintenance. 

Fluids for Electric Cars


Electric vehicles still need coolant to regulate the temperature of their batteries. The coolant has to be flushed and topped up from time to time, depending on the requirements of the electric car. You can check the owner’s manual for specific details, but it’s typically after the first 50,000 miles. However, note that the cooling systems of EVs are sealed, so to replace the coolant, you need to take your car to a qualified electric car technician. 

Brake Oil

One of the key features of electric cars is the regenerative braking system. This system allows the car to increase its range while reducing the wear and tear on the brakes by using the magnets located in the motor. An electric car still relies on its brake discs and pads, especially when emergency braking is necessary. That’s why it still needs brake oil to ensure the brake system won’t corrode. The brake fluid should be replaced every two years. 

Transmission Fluid

Electric cars still need transmission or gear fluid. The great thing about EVs is that it might take a decade before you’d have to replace them. For example, the Tesla Model S only requires the replacement of transmission fluid once every 150,000 miles or 12 years, whichever comes first. 

Car Issues You Won’t Encounter in an EV

  • Exhaust system maintenance
  • Problems with the radiator
  • The carburettor flooding
  • Water pump replacement
  • Changing fuel filters
  • Drive belt replacements
  • Problems with camshafts, crankshafts, and bearings
  • Wear and tear of ring and cylinder
  • Replacement of belts and hoses
  • Damaged head gaskets
  • Spark plug replacement


The short answer to the question, “Do electric cars use oil?” is no. EVs don’t need oil because it doesn’t have the parts that need oil for the car to run smoothly. This is a good thing because, as an owner of an electric car, you don’t have to worry about so many maintenance requirements, unlike with a conventional internal combustion engine car. Nonetheless, electric cars still need to be taken care of, so be sure to check the owner’s manual when it comes to replacing the transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant.