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Hey everyone. I was converted to the Volt after it became apparent the Bolt was not feasible (especially post-2016 election). I've been driving a hybrid since 2012 and proudly touted its reliability and efficiency (even if it lacked most everywhere else).

But American-made hybrid innovation was too tempting so I took the plunge into the world of Chevrolet. In 2017 I bought a used 2013 Volt, pearl color, and loved it. That is, until it died yesterday at 106,000 miles.

I get it towed to the nearest Chevy dealership (Fred Beans in Bucks). I don't trust Chevy dealerships in general, having discovered first-hand how little they know about hybrid or (God forbid) all-electric vehicles. Still, my neighborhood mechanic wasn't going to help me here. I had no choice and the result came back like a kick in the pelvis: transmission problems with possible attached module issues on top of it. They recommend full transmission replacement ($6300) and don't know if it would need a new module after that (another $3000).

Obviously this is devastating. I'm going to need a new car at these quotes. But what really gets me is the reason the technicians gave as to the issue. According to them this is a "common" problem they've seen when the battery is not regularly charged and the owner instead mostly uses gasoline.

Are you kidding me? I need to charge constantly or else my transmission will get shot? How exactly does that work? This seems like BS to me, so I'm turning to this forum to see what you all think.

Any feedback is welcome. As for me? I expect to eat a lot of crow and sulk back to the Prius ranks (175k on my last Prius, 300k+ on the car I used in my driver's test--and both still on the road unlike my Chevy).
 

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Seems odd since, with only a very minor exception, you are running full electric either way. The gas engine is just running a generator to charge the battery... I call BS on the dealer!
 

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No, running "mostly on gas" won't harm the transmission. That's definitely a line! How many cars over the past century have run 100% on gas? And how about that Volt (Sparkie) that the owner drove over 400,000 miles, 2/3 of which was on gas? Neither should driving in low or sport mode. If that type of operation harmed the vehicle they would have either put something in the manual about it (like with launch control in certain high-end vehicles where a certain number of launches voids the transmission warranty) or they wouldn't have made it something that's easy to do on a regular basis.

Do you know which state your Volt was originally sold in? Your vehicle might still be covered under warranties beyond the 8yr/100K warranty. PA and NJ are both CARB emissions states, so your vehicle is registered in a CARB state (which is necessary for these warranties to apply) AND your vehicle must have originally met CA emissions requirements (generally, sold in a CARB state when new). If so, you may have 10yr/150K warranty on a lot of emissions components, which would still cover you as your vehicle is only 6 years old with 106K miles.

Here's a copy of the 2018 Owner's Manual, which should be pretty similar to what was offered in 2013.

https://www.chevrolet.com/content/d...warranty-and-owner-assistance-information.pdf

That may only cover whatever module they think needs replacing, but if they actually troubleshoot the Voltec unit and figure out what's broken instead of just recommending "full replacement" those parts might be covered too. (Did they suggest just buying a whole new car? that would fix the problem too.) And if you can make the case that a covered control system failed and caused damage to other non-covered components then those should all be covered as well. For example if a transmission control module failed and that caused the clutches to disintegrate, the clutches should be covered additionally as "collateral damage" even if they're not listed as covered components.

Failing that, all the hybrid components, including the Voltec transmission unit, should be covered under the 8yr/100K warranty, and seeing as you're only 6K over (and still within the time limit) GM has a policy that would cover much of the warranty assistance. If you look here at GM's "Warranty Administration – Clarification of Use - Dealer Empowerment Labor Operations and Customer Enthusiasm" document:

https://testing-public.carmd.com/Tsb/Download/112513/4382164

They may cover most of the cost (looks like your "participation rate" or cost share might be 10% - 40% of the total cost of repairs) if they run the situation through their "online policy calculator."

Also don't expect the dealer (or GM corporate) to appropriately understand the specifics of the warranty or how the warranty coverage applies. Lots of people on here have had to fight for warranty coverage even when the details are spelled out clear as day in their warranty booklet.

If you want to buy a brand new Volt at a really good discount you have about 3 days to do it before the $7500 federal plug-in hybrid tax credit starts to phase out, but you may have to look in the Boston or Baltimore/DC area. I can pretty much guarantee you your trade-in value on a 2013 with over 100K miles is $7K or less even when it's in good shape.

Good luck!
 

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Some BS there. Had you drove mostly on battery they would have said that was the cause instead. As for it being common, no, not based on what we have seen posted here over the years.
 

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The Volt's transmission engages whether using gas or battery. You neglected to say how many miles are on your 2013 Volt. The Volt's transmission requires the electric drive fluid to be changed every 45k miles. Was this done?

Try a different dealer obviously.
 

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Proof positive that there is no end to the creativity of Chevy dealers when trying to justify high dollar estimates of work to be done.
 

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Hey everyone. I was converted to the Volt after it became apparent the Bolt was not feasible (especially post-2016 election). I've been driving a hybrid since 2012 and proudly touted its reliability and efficiency (even if it lacked most everywhere else).

But American-made hybrid innovation was too tempting so I took the plunge into the world of Chevrolet. In 2017 I bought a used 2013 Volt, pearl color, and loved it. That is, until it died yesterday at 106,000 miles.

I get it towed to the nearest Chevy dealership (Fred Beans in Bucks). I don't trust Chevy dealerships in general, having discovered first-hand how little they know about hybrid or (God forbid) all-electric vehicles. Still, my neighborhood mechanic wasn't going to help me here. I had no choice and the result came back like a kick in the pelvis: transmission problems with possible attached module issues on top of it. They recommend full transmission replacement ($6300) and don't know if it would need a new module after that (another $3000).

Obviously this is devastating. I'm going to need a new car at these quotes. But what really gets me is the reason the technicians gave as to the issue. According to them this is a "common" problem they've seen when the battery is not regularly charged and the owner instead mostly uses gasoline.

Are you kidding me? I need to charge constantly or else my transmission will get shot? How exactly does that work? This seems like BS to me, so I'm turning to this forum to see what you all think.

Any feedback is welcome. As for me? I expect to eat a lot of crow and sulk back to the Prius ranks (175k on my last Prius, 300k+ on the car I used in my driver's test--and both still on the road unlike my Chevy).
Buy a good used motor/transmission and have it put in. They are very cheap now and you will get something with much lower mileage.
Any good mechanic can do it, and instructions how to do the HV disconnect are available online.

I bet you could get it all fixed for $1000-1500 inc labor.

The transmissions are very reliable in these cars. Mine has 133k miles and runs perfect, I did give it 3 fluid flushes in this mileage but that was probably overkill.
 

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The Volt's transmission engages whether using gas or battery. You neglected to say how many miles are on your 2013 Volt. The Volt's transmission requires the electric drive fluid to be changed every 45k miles. Was this done?

Try a different dealer obviously.
What the hell is "Electric Drive Fluid"?
 

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If this had happened pre-2016 election the dealer would have quoted a much lower price....
 

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...In 2017 I bought a used 2013 Volt, pearl color, and loved it. That is, until it died yesterday at 106,000 miles.

I get it towed to the nearest Chevy dealership (Fred Beans in Bucks). I don't trust Chevy dealerships in general, having discovered first-hand how little they know about hybrid or (God forbid) all-electric vehicles. Still, my neighborhood mechanic wasn't going to help me here. I had no choice and the result came back like a kick in the pelvis: transmission problems with possible attached module issues on top of it. They recommend full transmission replacement ($6300) and don't know if it would need a new module after that (another $3000).

Obviously this is devastating. I'm going to need a new car at these quotes. But what really gets me is the reason the technicians gave as to the issue. According to them this is a "common" problem they've seen when the battery is not regularly charged and the owner instead mostly uses gasoline.

Are you kidding me? I need to charge constantly or else my transmission will get shot? How exactly does that work? This seems like BS to me, so I'm turning to this forum to see what you all think...
Seems to me that any transmission problems caused by "using gas" would involve transmission problems caused by using the engine to propel the car. That never really happens with a Gen 1 Volt, which uses the engine to generate fuel for the motor.

ALL of the miles on the odometer of your 2013 Volt have been driven using the electric motor.

Of course, if you obtain a breakdown of ev vs gas miles, you can see how many of those odometer miles were driven while the engine was running to crank out the electric fuel.

The Gen 1 Volt is capable of full performance using only the large electric motor, even when the engine is running, so a large portion of the time when the car is moving in Extended Range Mode, the computer puts the car in one-motor configuration (stop and go driving conditions, accelerating to merge onto a freeway or to pass another car, etc.). Propulsion is provided solely by the electric motor using gas-generated electricity as fuel (GM calls this "electric like" driving). The sole function of the engine is to crank the generator.

Under certain conditions when the engine is running (such as when cruising smoothly down the road >35+ mph), the computer recognizes an opportunity to increase overall efficiency, and clutches the generator motor to the ring gear. In split-power configuration, torque from the engine is fed to the wheels via the generator motor’s connection to the ring gear. A "direct connection" from engine to (generator motor to) transmission has been made.

There’s really no way I know to estimate the proportion of the "gas" miles included in the miles on the odometer that were driven with the engine providing some of the propulsion torque (which seems to me to be the only configuration under which the transmission could be affected by running a Gen 1 Volt on gas), and the proportion of the miles that were electric-only miles where the engine was running merely to generate the fuel.

I suspect your transmission problems have a source other than the engine, and the amount of that estimate almost sounds like the price of a new used Volt.
 

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Seems to me that any transmission problems caused by "using gas" would involve transmission problems caused by using the engine to propel the car. That never really happens with a Gen 1 Volt, which uses the engine to generate fuel for the motor.<snip>
That's not true, it happens the majority of the time when you're in CS mode, unless all you do is floor it and slam on the breaks over and over, climb a very steep grade the entire time, or are in stop 'n' go city traffic (low speeds). But it's sorta irrelevant how much it happens for this thread, since a load on the load is a load on the engine, whether it's the load of MGA or the load of providing mechanical torque to the wheels; if the ICE is running, it's seeing a load. And it seems the dealer is saying just running non-electric long-term is a problem, which mechanically I can't see why that could possibly be, and I don't buy their explanation. Sparkie is certainly is a good example here...
 

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I'm pretty sure the transmission has no modules in it. The TCM is inside the inverter and controls the pump and clutch functions and monitors the range, speed and position sensors, ignoring the drive motors for a moment. My research led me to believe the more robust '16 ELR transmission could be swapped in directly, but I don't know if that would yield anything more than a durability improvement. All of the performance enhancements are due to different software, even though the inverters share the same hardware part number.
 

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I was converted to the Volt after it became apparent the Bolt was not feasible (especially post-2016 election).
That wasn't apparent to me - I must have missed that memo.
Oh wait! They want to bring back the coal industry.

In 2017 I bought a used 2013 Volt, pearl color, and loved it. That is, until it died yesterday at 106,000 miles.

I get it towed to the nearest Chevy dealership. I don't trust Chevy dealerships in general, having discovered first-hand how little they know about hybrid or (God forbid) all-electric vehicles. ... the result came back like a kick in the pelvis: transmission problems with possible attached module issues on top of it. They recommend full transmission replacement ($6300) and don't know if it would need a new module after that (another $3000).
Big time BS going on here. The signal I'm getting is that they really don't want to service Volts.

Get another opinion. From a dealer with a technician trained on working on Volts. Not all dealers have such techs.

Does the dealer you went to sell Volts / Bolts?
 

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The Volt's transmission engages whether using gas or battery. You neglected to say how many miles are on your 2013 Volt. The Volt's transmission requires the electric drive fluid to be changed every 45k miles. Was this done?
Try a different dealer obviously.
I'm not sure where you heard 45K miles for the transmission fluid change, the maintenance schedule shows that at 97K mi/156K km. (seems an odd number for a service interval, just under the 100K Voltec expiration?)
 

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I'm not sure where you heard 45K miles for the transmission fluid change, the maintenance schedule shows that at 97K mi/156K km. (seems an odd number for a service interval, just under the 100K Voltec expiration?)
For normal service conditions, as shown on page 328 of the 2017 Volt Owner's Manual, the service interval for the Electric Drive Fluid is 150k miles. I was reading from the table on page 330 of the 2017 Volt Owner's Manual. For severe service 45k miles is the service interval for the Electric Drive Fluid.
 

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For normal service conditions, as shown on page 328 of the 2017 Volt Owner's Manual, the service interval for the Electric Drive Fluid is 150k miles. I was reading from the table on page 330 of the 2017 Volt Owner's Manual. For severe service 45k miles is the service interval for the Electric Drive Fluid.
Do you consider your driving severe? I'm not sure what constitutes severe driving in the Volt, taxi use or the constant high temps of a southern summer? For most of us I expect the standard service intervals should be sufficient, even for those running on more gas than electric.

Gen1 Volts also have 45K as a severe service interval, but 97K for 'normal' use - this thread is about a 2013, not a 2017.
 
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