Can You Tow an Electric Car If It Breaks Down? (Read This First)


Can You Tow an Electric Car If It Breaks Down?

Being the owner of an electric car comes with many benefits. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it can also save you money on operational costs. However, as with every other car, things can sometimes go wrong and you may be wondering if your electric car can be towed.

An electric car should never be towed using traditional methods such as a rise or rope as this can cause damage to the mechanisms. However, electric cars can be transported via a flatbed tow truck.

In this article, we will take a look at everything you need to know about electric cars including how they work, what to do in the event of a breakdown, and how to maintain an electric car. We will also take a look at some of the major differences between electric cars and traditional gas-powered cars.

How Do Electric Cars Work?

The way electric cars work is actually a lot simpler than you might think. Basically, electricity is stored within an electric car battery pack. This electricity is then used to power the car’s motor and gives it the power to drive.

Since an electric car relies on a battery, the main difference between an electric car and a gas car is that your electric car will need to be charged up regularly. One of the most common questions amongst people who are interested in owning an electric car is “how do I charge it?”.

The answer to this is quite simple. With the growing popularity of electric cars and the increase in demand, there are more and more public charging points becoming available. This is a public space where you can park your car to be charged.

You can also charge your electric car at home or work providing there is an appropriate charging point installed.

Reasons Why Your Electric Car May Need to Be Towed

Electric cars are great in many ways, however, they are not indestructible. Things can still go wrong with them just like any other car.

Below is a list of reasons why your electric car may need to be towed:

  • Flat tire
  • Brake problems
  • Battery issues

Flat Tire

A flat tire is a common problem with cars, whether it is an electric car or not. The simplest fix for a flat tire is to change the tire, however, most electric cars don’t come with a spare tire. Instead, they usually come with a patching kit but this isn’t always a reliable solution.

Break Problems

Similar to gas-powered cars, the brakes on an electric car will need to be maintained as they will get worn over time. If you notice that your electric car is starting to experience some brake issues, you shouldn’t risk driving it. Instead, you should call a company about getting your car towed as soon as possible to the nearest car shop that services electric vehicles.

Battery Issues

The battery of your electric car is like the heart of the car. It needs to be running perfectly for the car to run properly. Charging the battery is essential if you’re making a journey but sometimes you might forget to charge it.

Unfortunately, if your car runs out of battery during a journey, it’s not as easy as a gas-powered car to get it going again. You will most likely need to have your car towed to the nearest charging point. Another scenario that could come up is that your battery gets worn out and may need replacing.

Can You Tow an Electric Car?

On the off chance that your electric car does break down or runs out of battery, you should contact a local breakdown company and request a flatbed tow truck to transport your car to the nearest shop or charging point.

Electric cars should never be towed using a lift or rope as this can cause damage to the traction motors in the car that generate electricity through regenerative braking.

Different manufacturer’s offer different advice, however, a flatbed tow truck is the most common and safest choice for transporting an electric car.

How Can You Maximize the Range of an Electric Car?

If you are worried about your electric car battery running out while you’re driving, there are some things that you can do to maximize the range so that each charge provides a longer journey.

Below is a list of ways that you can maximize the range of your electric car:

  • When it is safe to do so, make use of regenerative braking rather than using the brake pedal
  • Avoid traveling at very high speeds
  • Practice hypermiling techniques
  • Remove anything from the outside of your car such as a roof box or bike rack
  • Switch off the heating and air conditioning
  • When the weather is hot, use your windows instead of the air conditioning
  • Use heated steering wheel and seats to increase the cabin temperature and save some energy
  • Use pre-heating or pre-cooling features if possible

Are Electric Cars Less Reliable Than Cars That Run on Gas?

Although electric cars are still relatively new to the vehicle market, they are thought to be very dependable cars. It’s quite rare for issues to arise with electric cars and many issues can be fixed quickly with little to no costs.

Electric cars need regular servicing just like any other car, but there are fewer parts on an electric car to fix. With electric cars featuring a lot more tech than conventional cars, many problems that arise in these cars are often software related. This means that many problems with electric cars can be fixed remotely.

Battery Life on an Electric Car

On average, you can expect the battery on an electric car to last around 10 years. However, there are a number of factors that can affect this. The battery capacity will decline with age and use.

Newer electric cars have a much better and much longer battery life than older versions. As technology improves, so does the battery life.

There are a number of factors that can affect how long the battery lasts. These include the following:

  • Temperatures (both internal and external)
  • Overcharging or using excessively high levels of voltage
  • Deep discharges or low voltage
  • High discharges or high currents

Similar to that of a smartphone, you will find that overcharging your electric car will cause its lifespan to shorten. This is a result of Lithium batteries – when these exceed their terminal voltage capacity, the lifespan begins to shorten.

The capacity of an electric car battery is usually around 3.9-4.2V. If you exceed this number, you will cause long term damage to the battery. In extreme cases, this can also lead to fires breaking out as it can cause the battery to overheat.

The actual battery life that you can expect from your electric car will depend on the specific make and model of the car as different manufactures offer different average battery life rates. Many electric cars are designed to last for at least 100,000 miles or for a total of eight years, however, all models are different.

How Does Maintaining an Electric Car Differ from a Gas Car?

When it comes to maintaining your electric car and avoiding the chances of it needing to be towed, there are some notable differences compared to the maintenance of a traditional gas car.

Below is a list of the major differences between maintaining an electric car compared to maintaining a gas-powered car:

Costs

There are fewer elements to maintain on an electric car. With this in mind, the costs of maintaining an electric car are usually much lower than a gas car. This will, of course, depend on the model. There are some less mainstream electric cars that may be more expensive to maintain.

Simplicity

The structural simplicity of an electric car is a huge advantage in its maintenance. A traditional gas-powered car has a range of different parts that need to be regularly maintained such as the spark plugs, oil cooling systems, and fuel pumps.

In comparison, most electric cars just have three major components – the electric car engine, the on-board charger, and the inverter. These are the parts of an electric car that will require the most maintenance.

Fewer Fluids

Electric cars have a lot fewer fluids to maintain than a regular car. The fluids within an electric car tend to be sealed inside the structure of the vehicle and can’t be accessed.

Regenerative Braking

Regenerative braking is a huge advantage of electric cars as this means that they usually require half the brake maintenance of a traditional car.

What Are the Benefits of Choosing an Electric Car?

There are many advantages to choosing an electric car compared to a conventional car that runs on diesel or petrol.

Below is a list highlighting the benefits of investing in an electric car:

  • Cheaper to run
  • Cheaper to maintain
  • Less pollution
  • Renewable energy
  • Eco-friendly materials
  • Health benefits
  • Safety improvements

Cheaper to Run

Those who own an electric car have the benefit of much lower running costs compared to traditional cars. The electricity it takes to charge up an electric car works out around a third as much as the equivalent in buying gas for a traditional car.

Plus, there are also many free charging points for electric vehicles, which means you can power your car for nothing sometimes.

Cheaper to Maintain

As we touched on earlier, an electric car has a lot less moving parts than a traditional vehicle. This means that electric vehicles usually cost much less to maintain. It will require less servicing and there will be much less chance of parts needing to be replaced.

Less Pollution

By choosing to drive an electric car, you are helping the environment by reducing the harmful pollution that traditional exhaust systems emit. A fully electric vehicle has zero exhaust emissions.

Renewable Energy

If you use renewable energy to charge up your electric car, you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions even more so. For example, you could recharge your electric car at a solar-powered charging point during the day rather than using electricity from the grid.

Eco-Friendly Materials

There is a trend with electric vehicles where many choose to use eco-friendlier materials during production. Many newer models of electric cars are made up of recycled materials and quite often the padding is made up of bio-based materials.

Health Benefits

The rise in popularity of electric vehicles is very good news for our health as there are so many less harmful exhaust emissions being pumped out into the air. This improvement in air quality will help lead to a lot fewer health problems that are caused by pollution in the air.

Electric vehicles are also much quieter than traditional vehicles. This means that there is also a lot less noise pollution. As more and more people switch to electric vehicles, these benefits will only increase.

Safety Improvements

Electric vehicles have been found to be much safer than traditional vehicles. Electric cars tend to have a much lower center of gravity and this makes them much less likely to roll over in the event of an accident.

Electric vehicles also have a lower risk of explosions or major fires, plus, the body constructions are built for durability, making them much safer in the event of a collision.

Are There Any Downsides to Choosing an Electric Car?

As you can expect, there are some downsides to owning an electric car. However, the benefits often outweigh the downsides for most consumers.

The list below highlights some of the downsides to choosing an electric car:

  • Long refueling times
  • Price
  • Range
  • Variants

Long Refueling Times

Although the refueling may cost much less on an electric car than a traditional car, it takes a lot longer to refuel. You will need to dedicate enough time to charge up the car before making a journey to ensure the battery doesn’t run out. If you are planning a longer journey, you may have to factor in time to recharge during the middle of the journey.

Price

Although you can save a lot of money with an electric car in the long term, the initial cost tends to be quite high, especially in comparison to traditional gas models. However, this initial investment is often worth it for the savings that come over the following years.

With the rise in popularity of electric cars, there are many cheaper models becoming available and the overall prices of electric cars are decreasing as time goes on.

Range

The range of electric cars is one of the biggest downsides. If you are someone who regularly makes long journeys, you may begin to become infuriated by constantly pulling over to re-charge part way through your journeys.

Many electric car owners suffer from range anxiety, so this is something to think about if you do often make long journeys. Electric cars are best suited to those who tend to make smaller journeys.

Variants

Unlike traditional cars, there are a lot fewer options to choose from when it comes to electric cars. This lack of variety can sometimes put people off wanting to buy an electric car. However, with the rise in popularity of electric cars, this will soon no longer be an issue as more and more variants are being brought to the market.

How Do I Know if my Electric Car Battery is Running Low?

Similar to traditional gas-powered vehicles, an electric car will have a dashboard which tells you exactly how much power is left in the car. It will also pop up with warnings if your car is getting low on battery.

This means that the chances of you running out of batter are quite low although it is not an impossibility if you are not cautious or if you aren’t diligent.

The best course of action when you own an electric car is to keep an eye on the battery level. Check it before your journey to ensure you have enough charge to make the journey and also check it after your journey to see whether the level is low and needs charging before your next journey.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have highlighted everything you need to know about electric cars, how to maintain them, and how they differ to traditional gas-powered cars. The major question within this article is surrounding whether or not an electric car can be towed in the event that it breaks down.

The answer to this question is yes, however, it must be towed only by a flatbed tow truck. An electric car should not be towed using traditional methods and this can cause damage to the car which could result in some hefty costs.

If you are worried about your electric car and whether it can be towed, your best course of action would be to contact your manufacture. Your manufacturer will be able to offer advice specific to your make and model of car. This can help you to avoid making any mistakes.

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Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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