How to Perform Inspections on Used EVs

Electric vehicle owner picks up his car from an automotive technician

A pre-purchase inspection is critical for determining the quality of any used vehicle and whether any major or minor repairs will be necessary in order for the vehicle to remain in good service. Performing an inspection on an electric vehicle is very similar to inspecting an internal combustion engine vehicle, with a few additional steps.

Research has shown that consumers have many of the same concerns when buying an EV as they do when buying an ICE vehicle. This is particularly true for first-time EV buyers. EVs are equipped with some components, such as the high voltage batteries and charging units, which require specialized equipment and expertise to properly diagnose and repair. Only a qualified technician should perform repairs or maintenance on these components.     

However, EVs do also have many of the standard components found on ICE vehicles, such as the suspension and lighting systems. While the technician performing the inspection is not required to be a specialized EV repair technician, they should have a basic understanding through EV training. Training and/or certification like EVfriendly is ideal.

The technician must understand and apply critical importance to the high voltage systems. Other items, like HVAC for example, will be very similar to their ICE counterparts, but in an EV there are unique differences that set it apart and will require the technician to be well-versed with this technology to identify potential problems during the vehicle inspection.

About the Inspection Guidebook

The EVfriendly inspection guidebook was designed for dealers looking to conduct pre-sale inspections for their inventory or for consumers who are looking to purchase a used EV and are looking for some assurances that the vehicle they are considering is a good investment. While a pre-purchase inspection cannot tell you everything about a vehicle, it can – if performed by a qualified technician – give some indication of the vehicle’s overall condition and what, if any, repairs will be required. It is an important tool in helping you determine whether the EV you are considering is right for you.

Below are the following tools and resources:

  • A dealer and repair technician inspection checklist and dashboard report template
  • The EVfriendly Inspection Guidebook, which includes an explanation of some of the key EV inspection areas and critical things to look for, and a quick reference EV state of health (SOH) diagnostic reference chart
  • A link to an educational video showing a typical EV inspection and other resources

There are multiple reasons why a technician may be asked to complete an inspection of an EV. Pre-purchase is generally the most common, but they are also common for pre-road trip, or for licensing an out of province vehicle.

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Inspection Demonstration

The following is a video demonstration of a typical used EV inspection, illustrating what to look for.