GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Hi all,

I used this forum extensively in the last few days, because my Volt died while I was on the road last Sunday. It's always good to share knowledge and I found this forum very useful, so here is my story:

I live in Florida and have a 2012 Chevy Volt Premium, which I bought in 2016 when it had exactly 40000 miles on the clock. The 12V battery died five months ago, which I was able to identify and service myself. It cost me an afternoon and about $150. The battery was readily available at Advance Auto Parts.
Around the same time, I decided to do an oil change, despite the oil life estimator still predicting more than 80% (don't remember the exact number). I think an oil change every ~3 years is surely fair and square. I've been wondering why my oil life estimation runs so much slower than the ones in two co-workers Volts. Mine is a 2012, while one co-worker has a 2013 and the other has a 2014 and they were told by their cars to change the oil. I haven't been so far... I guess the algorithm was changed in the later models, but I don't know for sure.
Anyway, all in all, I spent about ~200 bucks in maintenance and otherwise enjoyed the fairly cheap and comfortable ride, doing more than 42000 miles, more than 80% of those battery-powered while going back and forth to work.

Two to three weeks ago, I noticed that the charge time estimate was pretty far off, predicting much longer charging times than what needed. Before, it was always relatively precise.
Four days ago, I was doing some driving to the store when my battery was about to be depleted. I expected the engine to kick in, but instead, the display showed "LOW fuel" and the car slowly came to a halt at the side of a busy highway. I turned it off and on again, and was greeted by the infamous "Initializing... Wait to shift" message, followed by the Check Engine light coming on and otherwise - nothing. I could shift it in gear and back, but the battery was down and the engine wouldn't come on. I called a friend, who brought five gallons of gas and some tools. I put the fuel in the tank, but that didn't do anything. Then, I disconnected the battery for a couple of minutes and tried some of the routines I found on the internet, turning the car on with the break pedal, then holding the start button for five seconds without the gas pedal, door open, start again, etc. After about two hours I gave in and got the car towed to a Chevrolet dealership (Vann Gannaway in Lake County).

The dealership called me back Monday in the afternoon and told me that battery cell 10 in section 3 was down and the module it was in needed to be changed out. The car is under warranty until Jan 2020, so I lucked out big time!
They ordered the battery module, but Chevrolet was not able to provide the single module, so they replaced the entire drive motor battery! The whole job was covered my the warranty and I was told that everything is covered till I reach the end of the 8 years/100000 miles warranty period, which gives me about six months for extensive testing. According to the odometer, they tested the car for about 10 miles. When I picked up the car, I noticed that the estimated electric range was oddly high, around 50 miles, and the Low gear would not behave any different than the Drive gear, and the break was not working well. I turned the car off and on again and drove a little more and then everything started feeling normal again. At home, I opened the hood and the gas engine kicked in normally. So far, I am cautiously optimistic that I lucked out and got a new whole battery pack at the best possible time. However, I think the original battery should not have failed after only 82k miles, so it seems fair and square. I will keep you guys posted about what's happening, if anything unusual happens in the next while. I had already started looking for a different car, but since I like the Volt so much and the whole battery was replaced, I've decided to wait and see if it is fixed and reliable again. If nothing bad happens, I can foresee keeping it.

Text of the service report:
"(1) Owner states car rab fine til batteries ran down, gas engine did not kick in, SES light came on, now vehicle won't start, CAP-0194 RESIS-30/Ohm Volt 340.08 volts. Inspected vehicle for DTC's found code P0AFA in system check all battery cell, battery cell 10 is at 3.11 and average of all cells is 3.51. Section 3, gathered appropriate info. Section 3 not available, shipped whole battery, replaced entire drive motor battery, refilled with coolant, reprogrammed HPCM, test drove now working as designed
CDYN24845639; CBYN24846445 warr codes..
(2) Perform GM multi-point vehicle inspection"

PS: Service at the dealership: My mechanic/technician (Dave) was very friendly, responsive and answered all my questions patiently. The service seems to have gotten carried out thoroughly and quickly. I also received a loaner car (2019 Malibu). I would recommend the dealership for its service.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,347 Posts
Sounds like you got lucky! You ended up with the 2015 battery which is the largest capacity of all the Gen 1's due to a better cell chemistry. Oh, and the oil life monitor was indeed changed. Your 2012 goes by engine running time only, whereas the later models also keep track of the 2 years and adjust the percentage accordingly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hi JuneBug,

thank you for your reply, also about the oil life time estimator!

Do you know if my new battery is brand-new for sure, or does GM rebuild battery packs from reconditioned, previously used modules? Theoretically, since they only warrant for the remaining warranty period, they could rectify many cases by reusing packs they pulled from cars like mine, where only a section needs to be replaced.

And speaking of warranty, I wonder what those warranty codes (CDYN24845639; CBYN24846445) mean.

Other than that, I am really happy that my Volt is back. I hope I won't find any reason to get rid of it any time soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,439 Posts
The temporary odd behavior of your low gear and brakes, and also the odd high range estimate are all consistent with the battery being at a very high charge level (no regenerative braking available), which of course is cured by driving off some of the charge, so I would not worry about those things. As for why it was at a high charge, I cannot say, but it can get that way from driving downhill for an extended period of time, or of course it may have something to do with the fact that it was a newly installed battery at that time.

Congratulations on your perfectly timed battery problem. I don't know if you got an entirely brand new battery, but if you did, your car is set to last for a very long time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,979 Posts
Not a lot of downhill driving in Lake County :)

I agree that this has worked out well for you by all appearances. Very encouraging to learn of the dealer technician's attitude and professionalism.

What I find troubling in this and similar accounts is the suddenness of the failures. It would be nice if the car had some sort of way of indicating an approaching condition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,439 Posts
Not a lot of downhill driving in Lake County :)

I agree that this has worked out well for you by all appearances. Very encouraging to learn of the dealer technician's attitude and professionalism.

What I find troubling in this and similar accounts is the suddenness of the failures. It would be nice if the car had some sort of way of indicating an approaching condition.
It would also be extremely convenient if the car had a better failure mode where it could still drive on gas engine power despite this kind of battery problem. Better yet, what if it could isolate the few bad cells and allow all the good cells to keep working.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,086 Posts
It's not uncommon for my L mode not to provide regen for the first few minutes after a full charge. I think in certain instances it charges a bit higher than typical and it cuts out the regen to prevent over charging. It always reverts back to normal within a minute or 2 of driving.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Hi Barry et al.,

thanks for the comments! Regarding the odd behavior, as you guys were saying, it went away and seems to be fine now. I think I have to wait a couple of days until I can say if everything's back to normal. After charging over night, the car was fully charged at 34 miles predicted range. This afternoon, after charging, it was at 35 miles. Before, it always went up to around 42 miles, even right before it broke down last Sunday.

I noticed one other interesting thing: the dealership filled the coolant up to a higher level than it was before (left tank in the front). Before, I had it half full (seam marker level) and now it is filled up to the middle of the black sticker. I compared it to a co-worker's Volt coolant fill level and they pretty much match. He had it recently replaced because he found out that Dexcool goes bad over time and damages whatever it is supposed to cool. I don't know if that's true or not, but he says it needs to be monitored and replaced if it gets cloudy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,979 Posts
FWIW, GM recommends a 5 year interval on the coolant. When I had all three cooling systems changed last summer I noticed the same as you, that they filled the reservoirs up higher than used to be recommended.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,347 Posts
Hi JuneBug,

thank you for your reply, also about the oil life time estimator!

Do you know if my new battery is brand-new for sure, or does GM rebuild battery packs from reconditioned, previously used modules? Theoretically, since they only warrant for the remaining warranty period, they could rectify many cases by reusing packs they pulled from cars like mine, where only a section needs to be replaced.
From what I've heard from people who have toured the battery plant in Holland, Michigan, only the battery cases and fittings are reused--all new cells are installed, so no previously used modules. I'm sure they replace those pesky temperature sensors as well. As for the battery chemistry, this is from Jaryd Carvell, a certified Volt tech:

MY 11 + 12 use P1.4 chemistry, 12-14 use P1.5 chemistry and 15+ uses P1.7 chemistry from the factory. Battery chemistry P1.4 is not compatible with P1.5/P1.7 sections or P1.5/P1.7 vehicle software.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,347 Posts
It would also be extremely convenient if the car had a better failure mode where it could still drive on gas engine power despite this kind of battery problem. Better yet, what if it could isolate the few bad cells and allow all the good cells to keep working.
I couldn't agree more, Barry! The Volt battery is comprised of 3 sections. The system should allow for one section to be bypassed when it detects a bad cell. Sure, you would lose 1/3 of your EV range, but at least the car would still be driveable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,347 Posts
FWIW, GM recommends a 5 year interval on the coolant. When I had all three cooling systems changed last summer I noticed the same as you, that they filled the reservoirs up higher than used to be recommended.
This graphic shows the proper level for all the coolant tanks:

 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
MY 11 + 12 use P1.4 chemistry, 12-14 use P1.5 chemistry and 15+ uses P1.7 chemistry from the factory. Battery chemistry P1.4 is not compatible with P1.5/P1.7 sections or P1.5/P1.7 vehicle software.[/QUOTE]

Hmm, so I'm wondering what most likely has happened in my case: have they replaced my P1.4 batteries with new P1.4 ones, or used P1.5 or P1.7 batteries and reprogrammed my 2012 Volt accordingly? Can any Volt be run with any battery variant? Since they attempted to change out only one module initially, they must stock modules of all variants, since they are not compatible with each other. Is there a way to identify what battery variant was put in the car, other than tracking the energy that is used for a full recharge?
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top