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What to Do if Your EV Breaks Down

What to Do if Your EV Breaks Down

Date
July 8, 2024
author
Mathew Hayden
reading time
5 Min

So you’re driving down the road in your EV. It’s a beautiful day out, and you’ve got your favorite tunes blaring out of the speakers. But then disaster strikes! Your car comes to a standstill and won’t start again. Now what? 

You stay calm, take the correct next steps, and have your vehicle safely transported and repaired. Why do you know what to do? Because you’ve read this article all about EV breakdown assistance and understand what to do in this exact situation.

Common EV Vehicle Problems

First things first. Figure out exactly what the problem is. Once you’ve identified the issue, you will know the best course of action. 

Battery problems: A depleted battery is the most common reason an EV stops. Less frequent issues include battery degradation or complete battery failure.

Electric motor issues: While rare, malfunctions in the electric motor can cause a loss of power.

Software glitches: EVs rely heavily on software for various functions. Software bugs or glitches can lead to unexpected behavior or even a complete shutdown.

Flat tire: Just like any other car, EVs can experience flat tires.

Do I Need a Tow For an EV Breakdown?

It's important to differentiate between common EV issues and those requiring towing. Use our table below to figure out whether or not you require specialist EV towing services.

Situation Do You Need a Tow? Reason
Complete Loss of Power Yes Battery depletion or failure: vehicle cannot be restarted.
Low Battery Warning No Warning usually provides enough time to reach a charging station.
Electrical System Malfunction Yes Issues like failure of the power inverter or onboard charger.
Minor Software Glitches No Some glitches can be reset by the driver or resolved spontaneously.
Overheating of Battery Yes Can lead to shutdowns or reduced power, requiring professional checks.
Flat Tire No While inconvenient, it does not require towing unless other damages are present.
Collision or Accident Yes Structural damage or safety systems compromised.
Charging Port Failure Yes It prevents vehicle recharging, necessitating a tow to a service center.
Dashboard Warning Alerts It depends Some alerts may indicate severe issues, while others are minor.

Preventive Measures

Do you know the best way to deal with a breakdown? Avoid it altogether. Staying proactive and implementing these EV maintenance tips can help your car run smoothly, mile after mile:

Regular maintenance: Follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule like any car. This includes checking tire pressure, tread depth, fluid levels (especially the coolant for the battery pack), and brake inspections.

Software updates: EV software updates often contain bug fixes, performance improvements, and range optimizations. Ensure you have the latest software installed.

Battery health monitoring: Most EVs have features that allow you to monitor battery health. Keep an eye on these readings and address any concerns promptly.

Steps to Take Immediately After an EV Breakdown

Step 1

Safety first! If your EV loses power, get off the road and onto the shoulder as quickly and safely as possible. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.

Step 2

EV breakdowns can drain the battery faster than normal operation. To conserve battery life, turn off the vehicle completely once you've come to a safe stop.

Step 3

Next, contact a specialized EV towing service. Provide the make and model of your car, your location, and the nature of the breakdown. The more information you provide, the better equipped they will be to assist you.

Choosing the Right Towing Service for EVs

EV towing requires special considerations. Unlike traditional vehicles, EVs don't have a neutral gear that allows them to be towed with the wheels on the ground. Flatbed towing is essential to prevent damage to the electric motor and drivetrain.

Professional handling is crucial. A reputable towing service will have the expertise and equipment specifically designed for EVs. This ensures your car is towed safely and securely, minimizing any potential damage to the battery and complex electronic systems.

What to Do While Waiting for Help

Stay safe while waiting for roadside assistance. If possible, park your car away from traffic and oncoming vehicles. If it's getting dark, turn on your parking lights.

In-car systems can provide some comfort while you wait. You can utilize the radio or climate control system for a short period of time. However, this can cause battery drain, so use these sparingly, especially if your battery is already low charge.

After Towing: Next Steps

Once your EV is towed to a repair shop, the focus shifts to checking and repairing the underlying issue. A qualified technician will diagnose the problem and recommend the necessary repairs.

When communicating with the repair technicians, be sure to explain the specific circumstances of the breakdown (consult the table at the top of this page). This information can be crucial in pinpointing the cause of the problem.

EV Breakdown Recap

A breakdown can be stressful, but you can navigate the situation effectively with the right knowledge and resources. Choosing the right help for EVs is essential. Look for a repair shop with experience servicing electric vehicles and ensure they have the proper equipment for towing and repairs.

For a smooth EV ownership experience, keep important contact information available, such as roadside assistance numbers and your preferred repair shop. Most importantly, regular maintenance is key to preventing breakdowns and keeping your EV running at its best.

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