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Couple of months back, I bought a used 2013 Volt with 97000 miles and love the car as well as the wealth of info on this website.
Yesterday, after charging my car at a 240 V EVSE at a Holiday Inn, the check engine light came on.

Called up Onstar and they said code is P0534 and P1E00 and they recommend going to a dealer within 24 hrs. However, they didn't know whether this issue will be covered under warranty.

I live in downtown Houston and all the Chevrolet dealers here have very poor rating of their service departments (just look up on yelp). Also, I am a college student with limited budget. Any possibility that a local mechanic will be able to diagnose and fix the issue especially if it isn't covered by GM under warranty?

Any guidance will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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P1E00 is a generic master warning - there's something wrong in the hybrid systems - and is only set in conjunction with another code that's the actual problem.

P0534 is a low refrigerant charge for the A/C system. That's important to the car because it uses the A/C compressor to hold the battery temperature below ambient when the outside temperature gets above about 85F. Heat is one of the ways you kill a lithium battery...

If the code is correct and the only problem is a leak leading to a low charge, any mechanic that's comfortable working on it should be able to find the leak, drain and refill the system, and reset the code, I think.

Also, Welcome. Hopefully it'll be a good car for you once you have this sorted out. :)
 

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The a/c system needs special equipment to recover and recharge the system due to the POE oil used rather then PAG oil used in a normal system to help isolate the high voltage system. These 2 oils can not be mixed, most Chevy dealerships or any shops that work on hybrids should have the equipment.
The quick fix for this issue is to recover the system and if low, check for leaks with a black light and if no leak is found then just recharging the system and clearing the code. I have not come across any common leaking parts in the a/c system and its most likely not going to be covered under the voltech warranty.
 

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Several weeks ago my 2013 volt had the cel come on and I contacted onstar about the error. They indicated one of the errors was p0534 and I needed to bring the car to the dealer. The day after I got the error I was scheduled to be out of town for a week so the car was parked in the garage until today. The ac appears to be working normally but this error greatly concerns me since this would seem to indicate a "freon" leak or lack of battery cooling. The Chevy dealer here is booked up until February 15 so I guess I will have to drive my wife's Toyota until the volt is serviced. Am I correct in assuming I should not drive the car, or would it be safe to drive in "hold" mode until I can bring it in for service ?
 

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Several weeks ago my 2013 volt had the cel come on and I contacted onstar about the error. They indicated one of the errors was p0534 and I needed to bring the car to the dealer. The day after I got the error I was scheduled to be out of town for a week so the car was parked in the garage until today. The ac appears to be working normally but this error greatly concerns me since this would seem to indicate a "freon" leak or lack of battery cooling. The Chevy dealer here is booked up until February 15 so I guess I will have to drive my wife's Toyota until the volt is serviced. Am I correct in assuming I should not drive the car, or would it be safe to drive in "hold" mode until I can bring it in for service ?
The car cools the pack with coolant to the radiator under normal conditions. It's only when the ambient temperature gets over 88F that it starts using the AC to hold the battery below ambient. You *should* be fine driving it in the winter weather (though I guess Miami winter isn't that cold) even if the AC is totally dead.
 

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I finally was able to take the volt in to the dealer for the p0534 error last week. The dealer told me the evaporator was bad and it will cost $2200 to replace. I almost had a heart attack when they told me how expensive this repair was. It sounds a little fishy to me since the ac is cooling fine. They showed me the breakdown of parts and labor and they said there was 12 hours of labor and the dash had to be removed. My brother just replaced the evaporator in his 1994 Lexus himself and he said it took about an hour ( had to remove glove compartment). This was after over 260k miles. My volt has 80k miles. In the past I have replaced quite a few evaporators, but I need to verify that a five year old car would have this problem. Back in the 70s and 80s I replaced quite a few bad evaporators on gm cars, the soldering of the aluminum tubes always failed, after that I stopped buying american car's and had no more ac problems. Incidentally the volt low refrigerant error showed up in January, a few weeks after I took the car in for for the battery coolant level error that prevented the vehicle from charging. The reflashed a module to fix the coolant level error, the battery coolant was not low. In the past when an evaporator has gone bad the interior fills up with smoke (refrigerant), but this has not been the case here. Need to decide if I should keep the car or not at this point. It has been many years since I have worked on a car ac system, but I guess I need to verify the problem before I make any decision.
 

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I finally was able to take the volt in to the dealer for the p0534 error last week. The dealer told me the evaporator was bad and it will cost $2200 to replace. I almost had a heart attack when they told me how expensive this repair was. It sounds a little fishy to me since the ac is cooling fine. They showed me the breakdown of parts and labor and they said there was 12 hours of labor and the dash had to be removed. My brother just replaced the evaporator in his 1994 Lexus himself and he said it took about an hour ( had to remove glove compartment). This was after over 260k miles. My volt has 80k miles. In the past I have replaced quite a few evaporators, but I need to verify that a five year old car would have this problem. Back in the 70s and 80s I replaced quite a few bad evaporators on gm cars, the soldering of the aluminum tubes always failed, after that I stopped buying american car's and had no more ac problems. Incidentally the volt low refrigerant error showed up in January, a few weeks after I took the car in for for the battery coolant level error that prevented the vehicle from charging. The reflashed a module to fix the coolant level error, the battery coolant was not low. In the past when an evaporator has gone bad the interior fills up with smoke (refrigerant), but this has not been the case here. Need to decide if I should keep the car or not at this point. It has been many years since I have worked on a car ac system, but I guess I need to verify the problem before I make any decision.
Based on the fact that you have used the A/C and that it worked for you, I would look for dealers an hour or two away from you that have good reviews and schedule an appointment for a second opinion. Coincidences DO occur, but, it still is smelly that the problem arose after the dealer worked on the car (I hate being so cynical!). Don't you think that potentially saving $2,200 is worth a long drive?

I'm not sure that using Hold would be any more useful in keeping the battery cool. Electricity is going to flow into and out of the battery in Hold mode. That's the nature of the on-board generator. Yes, on long trips, the ICE is partially connected to the drive system to achieve greater efficiency, but, it still is generating electricity, too, and the battery is simultaneously supplying energy to the drive motor to propel the car. I don't think that under normal driving, say 65 mph, and on relatively flat terrain, the battery temperature will get dangerously high.

Good lick.
 

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Based on the fact that you have used the A/C and that it worked for you, I would look for dealers an hour or two away from you that have good reviews and schedule an appointment for a second opinion. Coincidences DO occur, but, it still is smelly that the problem arose after the dealer worked on the car (I hate being so cynical!). Don't you think that potentially saving $2,200 is worth a long drive?

I'm not sure that using Hold would be any more useful in keeping the battery cool. Electricity is going to flow into and out of the battery in Hold mode. That's the nature of the on-board generator. Yes, on long trips, the ICE is partially connected to the drive system to achieve greater efficiency, but, it still is generating electricity, too, and the battery is simultaneously supplying energy to the drive motor to propel the car. I don't think that under normal driving, say 65 mph, and on relatively flat terrain, the battery temperature will get dangerously high.

Good lick.
Thanks. I was thinking the same thing. I drove the car from work today and it was about 85 degrees out and the ac was ice cold. Does not seem likely the evaporator is bad. I would think that after over 3 weeks with cel on if it were leaking the system would not be cooling. Another interesting thing has been happening since I took the car in for the recalls and reprogram for the battery coolant level error. The car takes about an hour longer to charge (level 2) and the range has gone from 38 to 44 miles, actual miles. I have heard that once modules are reprogrammed it can take some time for the system to relearn driving style, but this does not appear to be the case. I am concerned that the battery is being overcharged now. I guess I will try another dealer.
 

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Thanks. I was thinking the same thing. I drove the car from work today and it was about 85 degrees out and the ac was ice cold. Does not seem likely the evaporator is bad. I would think that after over 3 weeks with cel on if it were leaking the system would not be cooling. Another interesting thing has been happening since I took the car in for the recalls and reprogram for the battery coolant level error. The car takes about an hour longer to charge (level 2) and the range has gone from 38 to 44 miles, actual miles. I have heard that once modules are reprogrammed it can take some time for the system to relearn driving style, but this does not appear to be the case. I am concerned that the battery is being overcharged now. I guess I will try another dealer.
I can't think of a way for the dealer to mess with the software to cause the battery to be overcharged...not in any way, shape or form. All code is written and issued by GM and the interface also created by GM to work with GM code. Your increase in range is due either to a software update or warmer weather, or both.

You might want to invest in an OBD2 scanner and free software to monitor the battery temperature (as well as other data). I bought this scanner:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075R62FTH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

and use this software:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.MyGreenVolt&hl=en_US

Have the trouble codes been erased from memory only to return, indicating that there is truly a problem?
 

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I can't think of a way for the dealer to mess with the software to cause the battery to be overcharged...not in any way, shape or form. All code is written and issued by GM and the interface also created by GM to work with GM code. Your increase in range is due either to a software update or warmer weather, or both.

You might want to invest in an OBD2 scanner and free software to monitor the battery temperature (as well as other data). I bought this scanner:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075R62FTH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

and use this software:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.MyGreenVolt&hl=en_US

Have the trouble codes been erased from memory only to return, indicating that there is truly a problem?
The trouble codes went away on their own. The a/c is still cooling fine and it has been hot here in Miami in the past few days (almost 90). I am curious how the low refrigerant error code works since the error cleared on its own. I guess I will wait and see if it returns. I do have an obd2 scanner, but I have not looked into the software to read the temps, another project. By the way the miles per charge has dropped to around 40, maybe the cooler temps increased the range to above 40 in the past few months, since it feels like summer here now and the temps are in the 80s instead of 70s.
 

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Your range is dependent upon the 5 “T”s: temperature, terrain, technique, tire pressure and traffic.


Temperature - moderate, not too high, not too low results in the best range. Terrain - flat is best, not too hilly. Technique – imagine a raw egg between your foot and the go pedal and a glass full of water and trying not to spill any when braking or turning. Tire pressure – keep cold pressure inflation around 42 – 44 psi. Traffic – try to anticipate stop lights so that you don’t come to a complete stop; constant stop and go is not desirable. Rain and wet pavement also reduce range, something you probably experience every afternoon. :D
 

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Any updates?

My Volt just gave me P0534/P1E00 today. I am taking it to a dealer tomorrow.
I hope that this is not serious.

slick_guy_05 and Redvolt13
Could you guys please post an update?
 

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They found three problems:

1. Engine Coolant temperature sensor
2. AC high-pressure sensor
3. Low side charge valve

First one is covered under the voltec warranty, but the other two are not.
They charged me $600.
 

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Pathetic Customer Service. Mine did same with only 49,000 miles. Evaporator busted, and GM would not help in any way. $1,980 to replace. They wonder why Toyota is kicking their you know what. GM family for our entire lives, but that ends here. After I fix it myself, it will promptly get sold and I will buy a Prius. Just pitiful.
 

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I spent $3,500.00 on the A/C in my Toyota Sequoia when the compressor seized up at 37,000 miles. It was a well known problem.

Any help from Toyota? So sorry.

All cars break.
 

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Worked on cars my whole life. Car this costly and only 49k miles should never have a broken Evaporator. Obviously a faulty part from factory and since I live in South Florida with temps over 88 every day, car is not drivable or chargeable without possibly damaging and/or voiding Voltech battery warranty.
 

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Any updates?

My Volt just gave me P0534/P1E00 today. I am taking it to a dealer tomorrow.
I hope that this is not serious.

slick_guy_05 and Redvolt13
Could you guys please post an update?
Needless to say, I was not going to spend $2000 on replacing an evaporator on a 5 year old (now 6) car (the part costs about $135). As I mentioned before the error went away on its own, and the a/c appears to be working fine as well and it has been extremely hot here in Miami (possibly the pressures are a little higher to turn off the low refrigerant indicator). The car now has 85k miles on it and several new issues have appeared. There is now a loud click from the right front axle when I accelerate or decelerate and the navigation map just keeps spinning until I reset the radio. After resetting the radio it works fine for a week or a month, not sure why (buggy hardware/software ?). As far as the click sound is concerned, I have heard there can be an issue with the torque of the axle nuts. I checked them and they are at 185 ft-lbs (seems good). I also have a bad TPMS sensor in one of the wheels, the left front is showing -- instead of tire pressure and there is a constant yellow tire indicator on the dash and service tpms error message when I start the car. My 11 year old Toyota TPMS (with double the miles) still works fine (I had a nail in a tire recently and the light came on). Since the miles on the volt are getting up there (85k) I am looking to get a new car, probably another erev or ev, but not a used volt. Maybe a Kia Niro or Hyundai Ioniq.
 

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So now I have $20k paper weight in my driveway until I can get time to fix it.
I totally agree with you. The dealer said the volt evaporator is buried inside the dash and very difficult to access. Years ago when I was younger and worked on cars I replaced many evaporators on cars with triple the miles of the volt and they were an easy job. The old SAAB 900s were accessed from under the hood with the expansion valve and evaporator taking less than 15 minutes to remove. The Hondas and Mazdas were accessed by removing the glove compartment, and they dropped straight down. I can only say the access to the volt evaporator is a poor design, especially for a vehicle that will not operate if the a/c is broken. The design must be similar to the volvos, which required you to remove the entire dash (at least on the 850). I spent over 12 hours removing and installing the evaporator on that car. Good luck on your repair and let us know how it goes.
 
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