GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
2013 Test Drive ->Oil smell 10 minutes after I put the car in Mountain Mode to charge

Hi,

I've followed the development of the Volt for 2 years before it was release. Now my commute is changing from 9 miles (18 total) of rural roads 45mph, My wrangler averaged 22mpg. Now I'm commuting 38 miles in heavy traffic and averaging 16mpg. So I figured a Volt would be perfect for the commute.

I took a 2013 Volt with 12k miles for a test drive. Carmax didn't have the car charged, the drive battery was completly dead.
I told the sales guy I can put the car in Mountain mode to charge the battery while I check out the interior, exterior kick the tires, etc.
I got in the car and fiddled with the Bose Stereo.. I wanted to listed to my Jimmy Ray Vaughn collection during hte test drive so I plugged my ipod in.. adjusted the tone controls. Everything was going great until I smelled engine oil. I shut the car down. Started it back up in normal driving mode, told the sales guy I'll check the generator when we get back from the test drive.
My first question is: When you have 7 miles left is the overall performance degraded ? slower acceleration ?
next question: Is it nornal for a moderate (no smoke, just light motor oil smell) when the generator ramps up ? Is there a known issue with the generator leaking oil under load ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,623 Posts
Hi,

I've followed the development of the Volt for 2 years before it was release. Now my commute is changing from 9 miles (18 total) of rural roads 45mph, My wrangler averaged 22mpg. Now I'm commuting 38 miles in heavy traffic and averaging 16mpg. So I figured a Volt would be perfect for the commute.

I took a 2013 Volt with 12k miles for a test drive. Carmax didn't have the car charged, the drive battery was completly dead.
I told the sales guy I can put the car in Mountain mode to charge the battery while I check out the interior, exterior kick the tires, etc.
I got in the car and fiddled with the Bose Stereo.. I wanted to listed to my Jimmy Ray Vaughn collection during hte test drive so I plugged my ipod in.. adjusted the tone controls. Everything was going great until I smelled engine oil. I shut the car down. Started it back up in normal driving mode, told the sales guy I'll check the generator when we get back from the test drive.
My first question is: When you have 7 miles left is the overall performance degraded ? slower acceleration ?
next question: Is it nornal for a moderate (no smoke, just light motor oil smell) when the generator ramps up ? Is there a known issue with the generator leaking oil under load ?
Mountain mode is not an efficient way to add charge to the battery. The engine has to work hard to both charge the battery and move the car. Perhaps the higher temperature under that heavy load was the source of the smell.

The purpose of MM is to maintain a reserve to assist the ICE on long uphill stretches. Many also use it as a hold mode to save battery for use on local streets following a long highway run.

KNS
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,670 Posts
Could have been spilled oil during its oil change, it should burn off after a bit. The Volt has the same performance regardless of battery charge. Put it in Sport and drive it hard.
 

·
Registered
2013 Volt
Joined
·
476 Posts
Mountain mode is not an efficient way to add charge to the battery. The engine has to work hard to both charge the battery and move the car. Perhaps the higher temperature under that heavy load was the source of the smell.

The purpose of MM is to maintain a reserve to assist the ICE on long uphill stretches. Many also use it as a hold mode to save battery for use on local streets following a long highway run.

KNS
I only smell a burning scent from the exterior of the car. Never while I'm in the cabin. The burning scent only happens if I'm driving up a grade and the car's generator has been active for a while. Again, the smell is only noticed from outside the car. This scent is fairly normal from the reports that I've seen on this forum. I've had my Volt since March 2013. Over time I have noticed the scent has decreased in intensity. My car has only had one oil change since March 2013.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
It was quickest way to charge the vehicle before I went on a test drive.

I think you misunderstood what happened. I don't own a Volt...I went on a test drive and the drive battery was stone cold dead.
Mountain Mode was the fastest method to get a charge for a 12 mile test drive in ev mode. I was able to get enough charge to go on a test drive entirely in electric mode just by parking the car and letting it run in mountain mode.


I know what oil smells like. It wasn't heat. It could either be the dealership techs were clumsy when they did an oil change, in that case the oil smell should have been constant until it burnt off. This was an oil smellwhen the engine was under load.
this wasn't a heat smell... take motor oil, spill it on something hot.. that was the smell.
I didn't have an hour to wait to get a partial charge.

Mountain mode is not an efficient way to add charge to the battery. The engine has to work hard to both charge the battery and move the car. Perhaps the higher temperature under that heavy load was the source of the smell.

The purpose of MM is to maintain a reserve to assist the ICE on long uphill stretches. Many also use it as a hold mode to save battery for use on local streets following a long highway run.

KNS
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
331 Posts
Hi Jerry.

Is it possible the smell was from engine dressing CarMax may have sprayed on the engine to make it look clean? Perhaps some got on the exhaust manifold and was burning off?

I know when I bought my Volt new, I drove it about 500 miles before I even heard the engine turn on, and when it did, there was definitely a "new engine smell" for some time before it eventually dissipated.

If the battery is under about 13-14 miles of estimated range and you engage Mountain Mode, the acceleration will be reduced (at least in my 2011) until the battery buffer is filled, or you switch to Normal Mode. The Volt will have full acceleration under battery only power, and it actually accelerates slightly faster when the battery is depleted, due to some of the torque from the engine helping to propel the car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
CarlS.. that's it! Engine dressing and some oil spill, that makes sense

The car I took for a test drive only had 12k miles. What you said CarlS makes sense.
It could be some oil spilled during the oil change mixed with engine dressing..that's the added smell

I'm heading there on saturday again, hopefully I'm getting an extended test drive.
I asked them to fully charge the car before the test drive.

The car actually looks like it's in great shape in/out. only cosmetic issue is a door ding on the drivers side. I think the old heat gun / upside down blast of canned compressed air trick can pop it out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,782 Posts
Since Volt doesn't run the engine often, regular road oil/slime/stuff can accumulate on the engine. Mine would smell if it hadn't run for a month. The detail spray/degreaser could cause a similar smell but more like burning kerosene.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,424 Posts
Its normal, the engine runs so infrequently, crap can get on the exhaust that will be burned off only when the ICE is finally run
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Burning oil smell used to be common for my Volt that is driven 97% electric. It happened every time the engine runs for more than a few minutes after nearly a month of all electric. Dealership said they can't find any leaks. No drips on garage floor either. Not so much lately so maybe the crud is all burned off now.

And a sloppy oil change as mentioned above can make for lots of smell and visible smoke leaving the engine compartment! On mine, the lube tech spilled oil around the fill hole and it ran down onto the exhaust manifold just below.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
766 Posts
Other folks have explained most of the behavior. The only thing I would add is mountain mode runs the engine at pretty high power and as a result generates a lot of heat. Normally with the car moving this isn't a problem but with the car stationary the engine compartment is going to get very hot. I bet if you were to climb into a conventional ICE vehicle with an automatic transmission, start it, put your foot firmly on the brake pedal, put it in drive and then give it 50% throttle after a short time you would be smelling burning oil.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,606 Posts
A 2013 Volt with only 12k miles sitting on a dealer’s lot may not have had an oil change. Check the driver’s display for the oil life indicator. Owner Manual says oil change minimum is once ever two years, and if this Volt was mostly driven as an electric car, an oil change may not have yet been needed (although the dealer should be asked for one as part of a used car sale). Engaging Mountain Mode while parked will charge the battery up to the MM-maintained level, then shut off the ICE automatically because the car is not moving. I’ve tested this out a few times in my 2012 Volt without noticing any strain on the engine (it’s recharging, not also providing propulsion power). MM-recharging takes about 15 minutes while parked, and I’ve read nothing to indicate it takes any longer when the car is moving under moderate to light load (where dual needs might require higher power). If the road test must take place before the MM-recharging is completed, just drive in MM until the remaining part of the 15 minutes is up, then switch to Normal. The odometer reading divided by the lifetime MPG shown on the center usage screen will tell you the lifetime gas used. If the dealer can tell you the total ev miles, as well as the total miles, you can calculate the total gas miles, the MPGcs (mpg when using gas), and the ev miles/total miles = ev driving % of the previous owner.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,454 Posts
Hi,
..
I...
I told the sales guy I can put the car in Mountain mode to charge the battery while I check out the interior, exterior kick the tires, etc.
....Everything was going great until I smelled engine oil. ...
When you have 7 miles left is the overall performance degraded ? slower acceleration ?
next question: Is it nornal for a moderate (no smoke, just light motor oil smell) when the generator ramps up .

? Is there a known issue with the generator leaking oil under load ?
3 questions but lots of answers.
the others are correct, mountain mode is a little inefficient in all cases, a lot in some, but it is the fastest way to get a demonstration charge.
you should not use mountain mode to charge when stationary, it is intended for the car to be moving. that full throttle operation will heat up the exhaust system something fierce, parts of it can glow red (1400 degrees) under some circumstances, that heat gets up into the heat shields and eventually, without air flow under the car and around the engine, can degrade some nearby materials.,
in general, mountain mode is intended to be selected at the start of a drive, before the charge has dropped below 4 bars.. it works and is ok to use it lower in a charge, but give it 20 minutes to build up a charge.

many volts have had little sustained use of the generator engine, so several minutes of high power operation will create lots of smells as accumulated road grime, or even in some cases factory production oil, can create "burning oil" smells. most new volts have these smells through a few dozen of the first generator operation cycles.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top