Electric scooters require regular maintenance to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride without technical problems and malfunctions. Knowing exactly what to look for will minimize the time required for proper upkeep. Below, are the issues found to matter the most based on my own experience with electric scooters for the past three years.
Electric scooters should have a quick check-up performed every 2-4 weeks and a thorough maintenance done at least once a year. Check-up only takes 5-10 minutes and should be performed on a regular basis. It involves measuring tire pressure, checking for loose nuts and bolts, and loose steering column. Annual maintenance is more time-consuming because it may involve partial disassembly of the scooter. It is best performed by a specialized service shop, but can also be completed by anyone with some experience in DIY mechanics.
Both, regular check-up and annual maintenance, have a direct impact on rider’s safety and trouble-free riding. For this reason, the value of a regular maintenance of an electric scooter should never be underestimated.
Do electric scooters require maintenance?
Much like other micromobility devices, electric scooters require regular maintenance in an attempt to extend their lifespan and provide for a safe riding. Fortunately, maintaining an e-scooter is not difficult, nor exceedingly time-consuming. Once performed a few times, it becomes a quick and pain-free process that requires only limited skills.
How do you maintain an electric scooter?
Maintaining an e-scooter involves quick, but regular, assessments of the general state of the scooter. As well as, a more thorough evaluation of the mechanical parts and electronics.
How often should you maintain an electric scooter?
Quick check-up should be performed on a regular basis every 2-4 weeks, depending on the frequency of use. A more thorough maintenance is best done annually or semi-annually.
Putting it in another perspective, I try to do a quick check-up of my M365s every 100 km (max) and a more complete maintenance check with service every 1,000 km.
Check-up (performed every 2-4 weeks)
The exact time frame at which your e-scooter needs a check-up will depend on the model and the frequency with which it is being used. Check the manual for manufacturer’s recommended time intervals for a check-up.
I use my Xiaomi M365 three or four times a week (about 200 km per month) and got into a habit of doing a check-up every other weekend. This arrangement makes it easier for me to remember it.
Here’s what I do:
|Steering column||Move it back and forth a few times, look for any slack. Turn the steering handle left and right a few times – does it steer smoothly? Or do you feel resistance at some points? Listen for any sounds that it may be making. In more cases than not, hearing a new sound during movement may indicate that something is out of line with the steering mechanism.|
|Headlight||Turn it on, make sure that it is working properly. If you are using a custom-mounted headlight, make sure that it is in the right position. Third-party headlights mounted on a scooter tend to displace during riding. When this happens, the beam of light may limit your field of vision or point directly at approaching pedestrians and vehicles, and ultimately blind them.|
|Brake light||Apply the brake and check the rear light to ensure that it is working properly. Depending on the e-scooter model that you have, you may need to turn on the scooter first. Otherwise, the brake light may not engage.|
|Brakes||We’ve already checked the brake light, now it’s time to check that the brakes are functioning well. Begin with visually inspecting the brake disc, brake pads and the brake line. Next, spin the wheel which you want to check. Apply the brake, the wheel should stop immediately. Spin it again and listen for any sounds being made. Make sure that there is no rubbing. As the wheel is spinning take a closer look at the brake disc. It should be moving in a straight and uniform motion. If you notice it swaying sideways, it may require replacement.|
|Tires||Visually inspect the tires, look for any thread damage or objects embedded in the tire. Check tire pressure, connect an air pump, more often than not, the tires will be slightly under-inflated and will require air. Additionally, I like to stand on the deck of the scooter and observe the tires from that perspective while with a weight load.|
Maintenance (performed at least once a year)
Before starting maintenance check of your e-scooter, it is a good idea to set aside about an hour to an hour and a half for the job. You will need some basic tools, such as screwdrivers, a set of hex tools, pliers, etc.
|Inspect the wheels||Flip the scooter over and have a good look at the wheels. Grab each wheel with your hand and try to move it sideways. Is there any slack? Next, spin both wheels, one at a time, and observe their movement. Are they rotating in uniform motion or swaying sideways? Do the axles rotate smoothly? Do you hear any clicks? If so, it is possible that the bearings need replacing.|
|Remove the wheels||Inspect the metal rims, look for any dents or cracks. Finally, dust off excess residue from around the axles and apply some lubricant. Put the wheels back in place. Ensure that both wheels are tightened securely to the frame.|
|Open the battery compartment||Look for any signs of damage involving the battery or the wires. Does the insulation on some of the wires appear to be melting? Is there any dust inside the battery compartment? Are there any signs of water seeping in? If so, you may need to replace the gasket protecting the battery compartment against dust and water.|
|Check the frame||Visually inspect the frame for any cracks or bents, especially around areas where two or more parts of the frame are connecting.|
|Brake pads||Brake pads will get worn out over time. This is not a question of “if”, but “when”. Depending on the type of an e-scooter that you have, you may be able to remove the brake pads without dismantling the brake caliper. In other cases, the brake caliper may need to be removed first in order to be able to take out the brake pads and visually inspect them.|
|Folding mechanism||If your electric scooter is equipped with a folding steering column, it is time to check for any wear and tear involving the bolts that make up the folding apparatus. This is also a good time to clean the inside of the folding mechanism. With time, dust particles and metal scrapings tend to accumulate inside of it.|
|Charging port||Visually inspect the charging port. Look for any dust particles and remove them. If you see residue resembling small crystals inside the port, it may be a sign of damaged charging port that needs to be replaced. Charging ports often get damaged insidiously by water seeping in over a period of time, ultimately causing erosion which may lead to malfunction of the electrical components.|
|Battery health||Open a mobile app that connects with your electric scooter. Go to the battery section and look for any cells that have voltage considerably lower than the rest (in most apps they will be marked in red). Large voltage differences between cells usually suggest that your e-scooter battery is slowly dying. It will hold less charge and may eventually need to be replaced if there are too many bad cells.|
How long do electric scooter tires last?
Most electric scooter tires are made of durable rubber material. However, their strength and durability can’t even be compared with that of automobile tires.
The lifespan of an electric scooter tire largely depends on the type of surface that you are riding on the most. Rocks, rough and uneven concrete tend to damage the tires more quickly.
Riding on a smooth asphalt or concrete surface is likely to result in the least amount of damage to the tires.
Xiaomi M365: Proper Tire Pressure
|Rider’s Weight||Front Tire||Rear Tire|
|50-70 kg||35-40 psi (2.41-2.76 bar)||40-50 psi (2.76-3.45 bar)|
|70-90 kg||40-45 psi (2.76-3.10 bar)||45-55 psi (3.10-3.79 bar)|
|90-100 kg||45-50 psi (3.10-3.45 bar)||50-60 psi (3.45-4.14 bar)|
|>100 kg||50-55 psi (3.45-4.14 bar)||60-65 psi (4.14-4.48 bar)|
Please note that according to the manufacturer, the Xiaomi M365 has not been rated for persons weighing more than 100 kg.
When inflating tires on the M365 expect to lose 3-7 psi during the process of detaching the air pump from the valve located on the tire. Since this is a rather expected occurrence, I usually tend to over-inflate the tires by about 5 psi, which is about the amount that the tire will lose as I remove the air pump from the valve.
Download the free Checkup, Maintenance and Tire Pressure handout (PDF)