What Happens When Your EV Dash Tells You It Needs a “Check Electric Vehicle System” Repair
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What Happens When Your EV Dash Tells You It Needs a “Check Electric Vehicle System” Repair

Kia EV6 engine EV system
  • Not every Kia dealership provides repairs for the EVs they sell, so if you find a dealership that does, be happy.
  • Parts can be on backorder, causing weeks or months of waiting for repairs to be completed.
  • Dealerships that focus on customer service will provide customers with loaner vehicles to make the wait less stressful.

All drivers dread the “Christmas tree” lights on their dashboards. If you’re unfamiliar with EVs, you may not know that they don’t have “Check Engine” lights. Instead, they have dash lights informing drivers of issues with the EV system and other vital components. How do I know this? Because my 2023 Kia EV6 with 17,500 miles just alerted me with a red “Check Electric Vehicle System” warning.


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The light first appeared on Sunday as a red “Check Electrical System” notification. I worried that the 12V battery was having an issue. So after I reached my destination, I turned off the car and restarted it. The car started right up, and I didn’t see any more dashboard symbols on my Kia EV6 lighting up.

Was I in the clear? As it turns out, no.


Anxiety and the EV System of Warning Lights

On the way home from the gym, the red light reappeared, but as “Check Electric Vehicle System.” Once I got home, I checked my Kia Access app — which is supposed to tell me the vehicle’s status, even diagnostic issues. According to the app, all was fine.

Being a cautious car owner, I checked the appointment calendars at the three Kia dealerships within 25 miles of my home. If you didn’t know, most dealerships offer online appointment scheduling — which is one of the greatest gifts to car owners. I could get an appointment the following week, but that wasn’t soon enough for me.

On Monday, I called the three Kia dealerships. One said they don’t work on electric cars (which explained why I couldn’t schedule an online appointment), and the other two didn’t return my calls. Monday afternoon, my husband ended up near one of the two, so he stopped in and arranged an appointment for Wednesday.


Technicians and EV Technology

My diagnostic appointment was set for 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, but then I didn’t hear from the dealership all day. At 4 p.m., I called to get an update, and the update wasn’t good. According to the Kia EV system check, my EV6’s water pump wasn’t communicating with the lithium-ion battery. The technicians at my local Kia dealership did not know how to repair it, so they had to speak with Kia engineers — which could take days.

Fortunately, the service advisor had some good news: she could give me a free loaner vehicle — another EV6. I was ecstatic. After driving our Jeep Wrangler 4xe PHEV with the gas engine and transmission, I was elated to get behind the wheel of an EV again!

When I picked up the loaner, the service advisor told me that a lot of Kia parts were on backorder, and the Kia engineers are often slow to return calls to technicians. She also told me about a Kia hybrid that recently needed a new battery, and it took two months to get the parts to service the hybrid system. She mentioned that the hybrid driver had a loaner for the entire time. Before I drove away in the loaner EV6, she let me know that it could be days or weeks before the engineers returned the call and that the loaner was mine until my EV6 was repaired.

Thursday evening, I received an update. The engineers returned the call, and my EV6 GT-Line AWD needs a new water pump. Unfortunately, the water pump is on a “national backorder “ — which means I most likely won’t get my EV6 back for weeks or months.


Why Does an EV Need a Water Pump?

If you’re curious why an EV needs a water pump, you aren’t alone. Manufacturers install water pumps as cooling devices for the battery pack, electric motors, inverters, and converters. Some EVs have more than one water pump, and they often have their own small electric motor that is controlled by a computer.

I lucked out with my EV water pump issue. When EVs have water pump problems, they often stop working and need to be towed. Mine continued to drive normally, minus the red warning light on the dash.

Here’s hoping my EV6 gets fixed sooner rather than later!


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IMAGES: KIA

FTC: We use income-earning auto affiliate links. Learn more.

AUTHOR: 

KRISTEN BENTLEY

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