Understanding EV weight to master ride control

Understanding EV weight to master ride control

EVs are significantly heavier than their internal combustion counterparts, often 1,000 to 3,000 pounds more due to battery packs.

Electric vehicles are not immune to the harsh road conditions that today’s gas-powered vehicles take on daily. Potholes, curbs, and rough pavement will eventually take a toll, requiring the repair or replacement of shocks, struts and springs over time. Let’s find out what to expect when servicing EV suspension and ride control.

EVs are significantly heavier than their internal combustion counterparts, often 1,000 to 3,000 pounds more due to battery packs. This increased weight puts stress on suspension components, likely leading to accelerated wear, which means more repairs for your business.

The good news is, there’s not a dramatic difference when it comes to actually replacing ride control parts on EVs vs. gas vehicles. The components may have modified valving or spring rates to account for the heftier weights, but they’re still available from the typical aftermarket suppliers, not just the dealership.

Some EVs utilize an air suspension system. These “smart” systems don’t just provide a cushier ride – they can actively adjust ride height using GPS data and vehicle speed to optimize aerodynamics or clear road obstructions. Certain models even allow the driver to set location-based memory points for automatically raising or lowering at specific areas.

When it comes time for service, the good news is that if you’re capable of replacing a conventional strut or shock, you can handle EV suspension work too. You typically won’t need to access the high-voltage battery system, so no special insulated tools or additional protective equipment is required.

If servicing an air suspension system, putting it into jack mode to depressurize the system may be needed for certain repairs like strut replacement. A scan tool will likely be required to actuate the system’s valves.

Some EVs, like Teslas, utilize nitrogen gas rather than standard compressed air to prevent moisture contamination inside the airlines over time. There’s a dedicated valve under the front trunk lid to refill the system’s nitrogen reservoir to the proper 8-9 bar pressure range using a specialized tool and nitrogen tank.

After a suspension repair, your techs should complete the recommended ride height calibration procedures using a scan tool.

While some additional preparation is required, actually swapping out shocks, struts and air suspension components should feel familiar to experienced technicians. Just be sure to carefully consult the service information for each specific EV model beforehand.

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