Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

Six things to know about electric car repair

High voltage batteries in electric cars have an impact on their repairs. Safe handling of the vehicle when repairing body and paint is fundamental. It is always important to follow standardised procedures, in order to guarantee safety and efficiency when fixing a vehicle. In the case of an electric car, from the point of view of workplace security, it is even more critical to do so.

This was exposed during a recent presentation by the Centro Zaragoza (car repairing studies institute, formed by 80 per cent of Spanish insurance companies), and attended by a group of bodywork garages.  At this meeting, a series of guidelines regarding the work on this type of vehicles were explained.

The presentation by Centro Zaragoza, carried out by the engineer Miguel Ángel Castillo, regarding best practices to repair an electric car, focused mainly on the precautions bodywork and paint technicians must take when working with this type of vehicle:

  • Disconnect the electric system. This step is necessary to isolate the current from the high voltage battery in order to work safely.
  • Use the appropriate oil. These vehicles have high voltage air conditioning compressors. A quality oil must be used for these compressors, since poor quality oils can pollute the system and make it turn off.
  • Do not overheat the batteries, which cannot go above 60ºC. It is important to make sure the batteries do not go above that temperature when performing a paint job.
  • Check the voltage before starting to work on the vehicle. It is recommended to wait about 10 minutes after turning off the vehicle, before starting to work on it. In addition, it is necessary to check with the multimeter to be sure the voltage is 0.
  • Adjust connections correctly. High voltage connections must be connected according to specifications. Any loose cable could cause an  accident or even set the vehicle on fire.
  • Identify cables. Do not cut a cable without knowing what it is. The cable system might vary from one car maker to another. High voltage cables are usually orange, while blue ones carry between 36 and 42 volts.