GM Volt Forum banner

12 VDC battery replacement / failure

  • Not failed / REPLACED at 3-5 yrs

    Votes: 34 24.6%
  • Not failed / REPLACED at 6-7 yrs

    Votes: 5 3.6%
  • Not failed / NOT replaced with 5 years

    Votes: 52 37.7%
  • Not failed / NOT replaced with 6 years

    Votes: 25 18.1%
  • Not failed / NOT replaced with 7 years

    Votes: 5 3.6%
  • Failed at less than 4 yrs

    Votes: 6 4.3%
  • Failed at 5 yrs

    Votes: 7 5.1%
  • Failed at 6 yrs

    Votes: 4 2.9%

  • Total voters
    138
1 - 20 of 102 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 2013 volt, purchased in october of 2012 is at or approaching its 5th birthday and i am wondering what people's latest thoughts and experience are regarding replacement of the 12VDC battery

Typically on my ICE cars i wait for them to show a sign of decreased cranking power, which is fairly easy to observe and a good early warning that battery failure is imminent. Of course the Volt battery never experiences such a load test in daily use since the HV battery cranks the motor via the hybrid drive machinery. There would seem to be no way to know if it is degraded/ near failure.

So on the one hand it would be the stupidest thing to get stuck somewhere from a sudden 12VDC battery failure, with what is really a fairly minor expense amortized over 5 years. on the other hand, the 12 VDC battery sees such little use and is well protected in the comfy environment of the rear hatch- it could last a really long time. why shouldn't this be another Voltec advantage, like never buying brake pads, rarely buying fuel, and oil changes every 2 years?

my poll asks: have you replaced your 12vdc battery proactively and/or has it failed and if so at what age?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,439 Posts
Good poll. There is a real variety of opinions out there, ranging from replace proactively every 3 years to "my last one lasted 10 years and is still going."

I have also found that the load tests performed at the auto parts stores are not strictly reliable. I have had at least 2 batteries in ICE vehicles that absolutely would not reliably start the engine, but tested OK at the store, and the car started fine after battery replacement.

I would love to find out a good way to answer this question. But in any case, always carry some kind of jump starting equipment as a backup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
I do not see a lot of battery issues on these cars but there is one major difference between most cars and the Volt. Most ICE engines, you can jump start the car and drive it to where you need to go and replace the battery. Almost all battery failures (12 volt) on the Volt requires you to replace the battery before it starts back up, no jump starting. I am sure someone has had good luck with a jump start but not the norm since the battery needs to be disconnected to reset all the modules before it will start up.
I have replaced my battery in my 2015, just turned it in because the lease is up. Removed that battery and installed it in my new to me 2013.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
878 Posts
Last year the 12 VDC battery in my 2013 Volt suddenly failed when my wife and I went to start the Volt after a brief visit in a remote mountainous region of far Northern California. The battery was right at 4 years old. The worst-case scenario. Fortunately, we were able to get cell service and AAA dispatch found a AAA tow truck returning from another remote trouble-call nearby and we were able to get him the site in about an hour. The battery was complete toast - a dead-short in a cell. Jumping wouldn't work. The Volt would boot up with the jump, but error messages would flash everywhere, preventing it from actually operating. Had to be towed 75 miles back to Redding to the Chevy dealer. Cost - $400 for the tow and $250 for the battery replacement.

I've never had a battery last more than 5 years in any vehicle and my policy prior to the Volt had always been to preemptively replace the battery at 4 years, if it made it that far. Usually, I'd get some forewarning that a battery was "tired" because of cranking problems, but unique nature of the EREV Volt doesn't provide that diagnostic clue. Wish I had paid closer attention to my time-honored "time to replace" policy with the Volt.

Bottom line -
- the Volt's 12 VDC battery may not provide any external sign of a weak battery prior to total failure.
- normal jumping techniques as described in the owner's manual may not get you back on the road.
- It is a lead-acid 12 VDC battery that will fail. If you have made it past 4 years without a failure, you are operating on borrowed time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,439 Posts
Despite the above two posts, I was under the impression that jump starting was normally an option. Didn't someone even test removing the battery, jumping the car with a portable jump starter, then driving without any battery connected at all?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
Despite the above two posts, I was under the impression that jump starting was normally an option. Didn't someone even test removing the battery, jumping the car with a portable jump starter, then driving without any battery connected at all?
Jump starting may work but you must disconnect the battery first to reset all computers or you may just get a lot of warnings on the dash and a no start. The battery is a bit of a pain to remove the terminals on the side of the road, in the rain at night with out a flash light but it can be done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,945 Posts
Car's paid off as of this month. So it's going to be time to start taking that money and pumping into replacements and improvements. New 12V is high on the list and I'm due for full coolant replacements, then separate wheels to put the snows on, then window tint (3m crystalline 70, in spring).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,720 Posts
The Volterado 50 mpg e85 tune and +20% battery enhancement is on the list.
A solar charged 14.4 volt NIMH system is still on the list but haven't worked out the battery bypass details yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,556 Posts
Car's paid off as of this month. So it's going to be time to start taking that money and pumping into replacements and improvements. New 12V is high on the list and I'm due for full coolant replacements, then separate wheels to put the snows on, then window tint (3m crystalline 70, in spring).
I can't wait to do my first oil change myself. After I paid off my volt, I went out and bought new wheels and tires so I don't have to keep swapping snows for all seasons. I should tint the windows, but my wife is mad at me for how dark the tint was on the CTS (can't see backwards at night in a dark parking lot).

I guess I should check the owners manual for when coolant and transmission fluids need to be flushed. I'm at 81k now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,968 Posts
Last year the 12 VDC battery in my 2013 Volt suddenly failed when my wife and I went to start the Volt after a brief visit in a remote mountainous region of far Northern California. The battery was right at 4 years old. The worst-case scenario. Fortunately, we were able to get cell service and AAA dispatch found a AAA tow truck returning from another remote trouble-call nearby and we were able to get him the site in about an hour. The battery was complete toast - a dead-short in a cell. Jumping wouldn't work. The Volt would boot up with the jump, but error messages would flash everywhere, preventing it from actually operating. Had to be towed 75 miles back to Redding to the Chevy dealer. Cost - $400 for the tow and $250 for the battery replacement.

I've never had a battery last more than 5 years in any vehicle and my policy prior to the Volt had always been to preemptively replace the battery at 4 years, if it made it that far. Usually, I'd get some forewarning that a battery was "tired" because of cranking problems, but unique nature of the EREV Volt doesn't provide that diagnostic clue. Wish I had paid closer attention to my time-honored "time to replace" policy with the Volt.

Bottom line -
- the Volt's 12 VDC battery may not provide any external sign of a weak battery prior to total failure.
- normal jumping techniques as described in the owner's manual may not get you back on the road.
- It is a lead-acid 12 VDC battery that will fail. If you have made it past 4 years without a failure, you are operating on borrowed time.
Normal jumping wouldn't have worked in an ICE vehicle for you either. That dead cell would have prevented it.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,289 Posts
My 2013 volt, purchased in october of 2012 is at or approaching its 5th birthday and i am wondering what people's latest thoughts and experience are regarding replacement of the 12VDC battery

Typically on my ICE cars i wait for them to show a sign of decreased cranking power, which is fairly easy to observe and a good early warning that battery failure is imminent. Of course the Volt battery never experiences such a load test in daily use since the HV battery cranks the motor via the hybrid drive machinery. There would seem to be no way to know if it is degraded/ near failure.

So on the one hand it would be the stupidest thing to get stuck somewhere from a sudden 12VDC battery failure, with what is really a fairly minor expense amortized over 5 years. on the other hand, the 12 VDC battery sees such little use and is well protected in the comfy environment of the rear hatch- it could last a really long time. why shouldn't this be another Voltec advantage, like never buying brake pads, rarely buying fuel, and oil changes every 2 years?

my poll asks: have you replaced your 12vdc battery proactively and/or has it failed and if so at what age?
Dang, you purchased your Volt about the same time I did. Only difference is I purchased a leftover 2012. 53k miles and almost 5 years later, I'm still on the original 12V.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,410 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,396 Posts
Heat is a battery killer...so people living in the south are more prone to having an earlier battery failure...so location will vary answers to your poll...
http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_heat_and_harsh_loading_reduces_battery_life
I'd believe it, cue non-scientific anecdotal evidence of mine:
No one in my immediate family has ever replaced a battery short of 9-10 years.
But those are in 'dumb' ICEs. Volt's electronics may be more sensitive in that the battery still has energy and would be fine to crank an ICE, but is giving odd feedback/spikes/sags that the computer doesn't like and thus goes crazy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
878 Posts
Heat is a battery killer...so people living in the south are more prone to having an earlier battery failure...so location will vary answers to your poll...
http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_heat_and_harsh_loading_reduces_battery_life
Good point. Here in Redding, California the summers are brutally hot - almost like Phoenix even though we are at the same latitude as Columbus Ohio. Forecast for high of 112 this labor day weekend. Could be why I've never had a 12 VDC lead-acid battery last more than 4 years. Thank God for KV's HV battery active thermal management system to keep it cool and comfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
907 Posts
Lots of factors. It's really no different than other cars. But other (ICE) cars vary greatly too. A car I had in NH was exposed to engine heat... dead battery every 3 years. Two (ICE) cars I had in Houston lasted almost 10 years due to a cool battery location. My 2014 Volt battery died in TX after 1.5 years, but I jumped it (without disconnecting anything), and it has been fine for the last 2 years.

You take your chances. You drive a car, you take your chances.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
488 Posts
Both my 2011 Volt and my 2004 Volvo V70xc sit 90% of the time in a climate controlled garage. Never over 70, never under 50 in winter. The Volvo battery went 11 years before replacing. I am thinking about a proactive replacement of the Volt battery maybe a year or 2 from now. It would make sense that those with more exposure to temperature extremes would see earlier failures.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
948 Posts
I believe the Volt uses an Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) 12 volt battery. Don't these last longer than the traditional batteries used in most cars?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,886 Posts
I have two Volts, but could only vote once. The Red Volt's battery gave out after 5 years. I decided to replace the White Diamond Volt's battery at the same time, just to be safe. Ironically, the White Diamond replacement battery failed after 13 months and had to be replaced (under warranty).
 
1 - 20 of 102 Posts
Top