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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a 2013 Volt with 115k miles. Love the car. Runs great, charging every night. I have tried searching for this random issue we are starting to have:
When close to depleting the battery, say the last 3-5 miles, the car will kick over to CS mode. After several minutes, it will randomly switch back to battery mode with say 1-3 miles. The kwh used will continue to accumulate. It will then switch back to CS mode and run normally. After the last GM reprogramming we get 9.4 to 9.9 kwh per charge (Loved the 44-48 miles we used to get at approx 10.3 to 10.5 kwh before the reprogramming, but that's a different story). Yesterday for the first time it switched back to battery TWO times. The car still switched back to CS and drove normally until we returned home. We are original owners and our car still has the original 12v battery. MyGreenVolt app shows good balancing on the battery (approx 12mv spread). We are in So Cal.
My questions:
Has this been discussed in posts previously and I am not searching correctly?
Could this be one of the odd things that Volts do when the 12v battery is beginning to fail?
Is this a precursor to main traction battery issues that people are starting to experience?
 

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My 2011 was doing this. I too had the original 12V battery. After changing the battery ( I installed a new Napa battery) problem seems to go away. However these cars being 10 years old we have to assume the HV battery to be somewhat degraded and compromised. I do not like to run the battery down to its bottom unless I know I can charge immediately. If no charging is available like on a road trip, I use mountain mode to keep that 4 bars in it overnight.
 

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I would change the 12v battery but I would also consider never letting the main battery get below 2 bars. One or two of the cells in the main traction battery is probably going bad. If you let the voltage in that bad cell(s) drop below an acceptable level, the computer will trip a code and your car will become a brick.
 

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Owners of older Volts would benefit from having an OBDII scanner and utilizing a third-party app such as MyGreenVolt that will allow observing the maximum and minimum voltage levels of the battery. Purchasing an add-on to the app will allow observation of the voltage levels of each cell within the battery. Knowing that a particular cell consistently has a voltage lower than ~3.5 mV would provide a warning of a battery cell going bad. Doing that observation on a periodic basis provides peace-of-mind, at least it does for me. I record my readings, allowing me to track the data over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Caronjeff, Danno, jbakerjonathan

Thank you all for your responses. This is the first thing the car has done as far as odd behavior since we purchased it. I felt that it might be the 12V battery as we are at 8+ years of ownership. I will probably replace the battery soon. As I indicated in my original post, we do have the MyGreenVolt app and a OBDII scanner. Cells are always in an approx 9 - 16mv range, so I think the battery is really healthy. Range has been consistent so I think we are good. It truly feels that unless we have some mechanical failure, this car will easily go 200k miles. Thanks again for all the input!
 

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2012 Volt Premium (Cyber Gray Metallic) - Stock
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My 2012 started doing this and within 6 months the HV battery failed. Just want to make sure you’re adequately prepared (blanket, towel, flashlight and hand warmers) if it does strand you like mine did on a bitter cold, below freezing day.

First time it did this I didn’t think much but until it stranded me, I thought it was never going to lead to a battery failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My 2012 started doing this and within 6 months the HV battery failed. Just want to make sure you’re adequately prepared (blanket, towel, flashlight and hand warmers) if it does strand you like mine did on a bitter cold, below freezing day.

First time it did this I didn’t think much but until it stranded me, I thought it was never going to lead to a battery failure.
clublife.peoria,
Thanks for your response. When you 2012 started doing what our car has done:
What year did this happen to you?
Were you monitoring the battery with an OBDII scanner at the time?
Do you know what the mv spread was?
Were you getting any other types of signs that gave you any indication that your battery was going?
 

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My 2012 has some battery degradation and does this whenever it's on the highway below ~50 degrees. The cells appear to be very even every time I check. My 2013 has weak cells and never switches to gas, no matter what the temperature.
 

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2012 Volt Premium (Cyber Gray Metallic) - Stock
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clublife.peoria,
Thanks for your response. When you 2012 started doing what our car has done:
What year did this happen to you?
Were you monitoring the battery with an OBDII scanner at the time?
Do you know what the mv spread was?
Were you getting any other types of signs that gave you any indication that your battery was going?
1. Early 2021, throughout the winter until it failed completely at 76k miles.
2. I bought the car used in August 2020 and didn’t think about doing any battery monitoring (maybe the previous owner did, who knows)
3. See #2 above. No idea.
4. Car was giving me occasional PPR warnings from 66,500 miles onwards to almost daily PPR warnings in December/January. Then daily PPR’s in February. I did rack up 10k+ miles commuting to work in the 3 months, so this might’ve taken longer if I didn’t drive as many miles.
4a. Car was a daily commuter and charged daily. It kept switching to gas even with 5-10 miles of range and over 25 degrees.
4b. I do remember a battery temperature warning a few times and the engine revving to the moon while pulling into a gas station, plus the GOM kept dropping from 5-10 miles to 0 all the time when parked (even for an hour).

Hope this helps - I ended up installing a GM Reman through the dealer for $9,500.

Happy Thanksgiving!
 

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2012 Volt Premium (Cyber Gray Metallic) - Stock
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Also, Mountain Mode did not seem to help on my battery. When it went from 2-4 bars to 0 and kicked on the ICE, it didn’t matter if you used MM or not. Both cases the ICE would kick on post startup even if you used Mountain Mode before.

Battery failed late February 2020 and at that point, car had a CEL and was dead in the water.
 

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I have seen many people report this problem. I have a 2012 that has some battery degradation and it does this when the weather is cool/cold. I live in Austin, so it isn't cold enough to trigger for the ERDTT (forgot the acronym). This only started doing this after the battery rebalancing recall. I think the issue is that the battery can't produce enough amps when the weather is cool and so the engine comes on. Never does this when the outside temperature is warm. My battery is balanced well according to Mygreenvolt. My early 2012 has 155k miles. I don't think it indicates a battery failure, just battery degradation. I'm not worried about it, though I don't like it.
 

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2012 Volt Premium (Cyber Gray Metallic) - Stock
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I have seen many people report this problem. I have a 2012 that has some battery degradation and it does this when the weather is cool/cold. I live in Austin, so it isn't cold enough to trigger for the ERDTT (forgot the acronym). This only started doing this after the battery rebalancing recall. I think the issue is that the battery can't produce enough amps when the weather is cool and so the engine comes on. Never does this when the outside temperature is warm. My battery is balanced well according to Mygreenvolt. My early 2012 has 155k miles. I don't think it indicates a battery failure, just battery degradation. I'm not worried about it, though I don't like it.
I had this behavior all the time until I had the battery failure (and now have the new P1.7 chemistry pack which doesn’t do this at all). Even if it’s 28 degrees out and I drive for 30+ miles, it stays in battery mode until the GOM shows 0 miles left.

I don’t want to sound alarmist but I also thought this was 100% OK until the car left me in freezing cold miles south of a small airport waiting hours for a tow. If I had to do it again, I would have taken it to the dealer the first time it showed signs of battery failure, which was the engine reviving to the moon under slow driving conditions and 5-10 miles of battery left.
 
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