I love(d?) my Chevy Volt

When Volts are available, here will be the place to talk about how to Detail, Maintain and Customize your Volt. Other good topics are charging (solar or otherwise) smartphone app usage, etc.
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Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:47 pm

I love(d?) my Chevy Volt

Postby SCUABJeffL » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:48 pm

I love(d?) my Chevy Volt. In 2012 I moved from Las Vegas to Pahrump. With a 130 mile commute 6 days a week, it quickly become evident that I would need a more fuel economical vehicle to make this move financially feasible. After a long look, I settled on a 2011 Chevrolet Volt that I discovered used at a California Hertz Sales location. Eager to join the electric car age, I flew to LA and picked up my new little beauty. It was love at first drive. I loved that instant torque and smooth ride. I named her Joule. Joule and I made my long commute so much more affordable and with all the bells and whistles too. Joule and I began racking up the miles. Initially only charging on 110 at home and making the whole trip on a single charge. Eventually they installed charging stations at work and we were able to charge up and only have to handle 65 miles on a full charge. People at work began to take notice and start asking about my Joule. I sang her graces and even inspired two co-workers to buy their own Volts.

It’s amazing how fast the miles added up. We began to approach the post-powertrain years. I thought, “We’ll be ok, 100,000 is just a number, she’s only had a couple major health problems.” Around 98,000 I noticed that the old girl wasn’t getting around like she used to. Her fuel economy, running on gas w/ no charge, dropped 25% over the course of a couple months. I observed this for another thousand miles or so and then got my first “Propulsion Power is Reduced” message while driving on flat ground. This began to happen a few times a day. I made a service appointment, but they didn’t have an opening with their Volt tech for 2 weeks. By the time of our appointment we had rolled the odometer past 100k. They were unable to find anything wrong and the only diagnosis they had was to recharge my A/C. Even though I was doubtful that this was going to have any affect I shelled out a few hundred to give it a try, anything for my baby and these are the professionals right? It didn’t work. Continued to get “Propulsion Reduced” messages. It was annoying, but didn’t ultimately impede my day to day. But I always worried that there was something more wrong with her.

Early 2017 after getting back from tour, I went out to discover that she wouldn’t take a charge anymore. And my worst fears came true, “I’m sorry sir, but we’re gonna have to replace your entire battery system!” At this point I had to decide if I could keep her. Four thousand dollars is a lot of money. But I reasoned that she’d be a brand new car, we could continue driving down the road together for another hundred thousand miles. So, for the first time in 41 years of life, I borrowed money from my parents to bring her back to life. I got back behind that wheel and discovered a car that was…still having the same problems it’d been having for the past two years. But according to every service visit, there was nothing wrong. Nothing wrong, even though my fuel economy was still reduced. Nothing wrong, even though the fastest I can drive up the grade on the 15 south out of Primm is 40mph(nothing unsafe about that). Nothing wrong, even though you can hear her poor fuel injected heart struggle and putter in a way that it never used to. We continued to drive, ignoring the problems that everyone claimed didn’t exist.

This Christmas I had an idea, I was going home for Christmas and wouldn’t need Joule for a few days. Let’s take her to the service center across town and get a second opinion. On the drive there we got our “Propulsion Reduced” message. Even though I don’t like to see her suffer, I was glad that the symptoms were there for others to see. I returned after Christmas, Nick informs that they were unable to re-create the problem. And that as far as they can tell, everything is fine. So, once again I go back to my normal routine. After one trip, as I’m heading home from work. I get a new even scarier message, “Engine Unavailable, service soon”! I realize by the lack of vibration that the only reason I am still driving is because I have a small amount of charge left and am running on only the electric engine. Luckily I was only a few miles from home. I get her home and see that I can’t even select mountain mode. I restart her and am able to select mountain mode to get the ICE running, it turns on, but is surging and backing off. I realize something is very wrong, so I call the service center and tell them I’m bringing her back. I charge overnight and am able to drive to the service center while the battery is charged. I drop her off on Friday morning and then I just wait to hear the news. Saturday afternoon rolls around and I’m still waiting. I call and leave a voicemail. I get a voicemail in return. “Her transmission has slipped in a big way, I have a quote for you.” After trying for several hours, I finally get Nick on the phone.
$7200 to replace her transmission.

RIP Joule

If anyone from GM is reading this and can explain to me how these two catastrophic failures have happened, I’d appreciate it. I have praised this car to everyone I know since I bought it. I don’t know if I can continue to do so.

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Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:26 pm

Re: I love(d?) my Chevy Volt

Postby leppard3 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:20 pm

Nice story but either I'm reading it wrong or there are some flaws in the story. From the start of the story I am getting the impression you were making the 130 mile round trip on a single charge, in a 2011 (or any Volt for that matter) that is IMPOSSIBLE on battery alone. Maybe you meant you were doing the 130 miles on battery THEN gas once the battery depleted. I can't tell
As for passing the 100,000 mile waranty, if I were having the problems you mentioned BEFORE the 100,000 miles, I would make sure the nearest GM dealership had it documented that there are problems, it's not your fault the Volt tech was not available for a couple weeks.
As for the transmission, Volt's don"t have a transmission in the same sense that a normal gas powered car has, so I'm not sure what they were actually quoting you????
Hopefully I am just not understanding your wording, and I'm sorry you are having problems with your Volt. I also have a 2011 and aside from 2 minor problems it has been and continues to be one of the best cars I have ever owned.

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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:24 am

Re: I love(d?) my Chevy Volt

Postby Stapidonut » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:17 pm

Your story is very good. I like it very much. It is very helpful to me.

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