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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2014 with about 120K miles on it. Have had some electrical demons that are going to require some pricey and time-consuming repairs involving some charging components. They're estimating $3-5K due to all the out-of-warranty labor fees.

I understand that this repair is probably comparable to the vehicle's value at this point. Thing is: the vehicle options out there aren't great. Used Volts are $20-25K. Ideally, I'd want to level up to another EV and leverage the tax credit, but most vehicles are on extensive backorder. With the market conditions being so upside-down, it seems like some of the conventional finance rules don't totally apply.

The vehicle is otherwise in good condition, a few cosmetic dings aside, and I've taken good care of it. If $5K buys me another year or two out of this vehicle until conditions improve and a new EV tax credit comes to pass, then this is worth it to me. At the same time, I understand there are no guarantees.

Mostly thinking out loud here, but I'm interested in the forum's opinions. When to cut and run?

Thanks
 

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I would definitely spend the money and get it fixed. The Gen1 Volt is unmatched in that no other car aside from the Gen2 is anything like it. My 2011 has 175,000 on it and virtually trouble free for years now. Still taking the 2011 on 1000 mile road trips without hesitation. I’m actually disappointed that GM abandoned this great system and there’s no new equivalent from any maker now.
 

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2012 Volt Premium (Cyber Gray Metallic) - Stock
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I personally would fix it, but that’s just because in my area, used Volts that are problem free, rust free and 100% accident free are nearly impossible to find. For $10k I can buy a wrecked 2015 with 140k miles, a 2014 with 100k miles, and several 2011’s and 2012’s with low mileage but electrical issues. A fellow Volt forum member drove one 2011 I looked at and he said “it switched to the ICE with 5 miles remaining” hinting towards a battery issue. If your local market is the same (can’t find a good used car no matter how many test drives you go on), then it’s time to fix the existing car.

Keep in mind though, a fix to the electrical system does not guarantee something major (such as the engine or transmission) will continue to work 6 months down the road. I’m in that camp, but knew about that risk when going down this road.
 

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If $5K buys me another year or two out of this vehicle until conditions improve and a new EV tax credit comes to pass,
The question is, when will conditions improve, and will the new EV tax credit scheme benefit you more or less than the existing scheme? From everything I've heard lately, another year or even two from now, there might still be a big auto supply crunch. The tax credit question has to do with your income, what new EV you're interested in, and how much of a credit you'd get under the as-yet unknown law - which at this point is anyone's guess. And another unknown is the inflation rate over the next few years - but we can probably be reasonably confident that a higher inflation rate means steeper than recent historical price increases on upcoming model year cars.

Although my Volt ('16) is running fine and I'm not getting rid of it, I went through a similar calculation re another old car. Too many things were starting to go wrong, to the point where I was worried about safety. When you're no longer confident in the car, paying to fix it just doesn't make sense. I decided to replace it with a 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV, which I've placed a deposit on with a dealer who has agreed to sell it to me for MSRP. In this environment, given the known quantity of the $7,500 tax credit plus an additional incentive from NY state, that's a reasonably good deal. And it's quite possible that the net amount I'm paying for it now is less than what I'd pay for a 2023 model two years from now. But even if I'm paying a bit more, at least I have the peace of mind of a new, safer car.
 

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Do you have an idea of your battery health? For me that would be question 1 before I put any money into it. If you don't know that answer, read some of the threads on the MyGreenVolt app and OBDII readers.

Regarding used Volts, I'm not a fan of buying used cars once you can afford new ones. There are too many unknowns with previous owners. I like to buy new and hold a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to everyone for sharing your viewpoints. I do agree that there are no guarantees, but I am going to proceed with the repair.

MyGreenVolt has consistently shown that my battery is good. My guessometers have been off ever since the cell balancing recall but range has been solid.
 

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I have a 2011 (#737 off the line) with 112K. Bought it in 2016 w/ 80K. It has been intermittently throwing codes and acting strangely since coming off warranty 2.5 years ago. The latest behavior is similar to that seen by the OP; randomly running on the ICE, with plenty of battery charge available. So, the battery is probably failing. But it could also be bad contactors, various computer failures, or maybe it's just a bad ground or a fragile wiring harness. Who knows?
I love/hate this car, but I've decided that I'll continue to whistle past the graveyard and just keep driving it until it won't move. It's a great car, but based on its trade-in value ($3K at best), it's not worth fixing or even paying to have diagnosed, especially considering that it's likely that the dealership would charge $400+ in order to guess at which of many $$$$ repairs to try.
Too bad GM bailed on this vehicle, rather than following through on what was a pretty successful proof-of-concept. It has so many positives, but it's not worth the cost of GM repairs and DIY repairs are pretty intimidating for all but the most technically savvy owners. (If WOPonTour was still on this forum, I might have more courage...)
I'll continue to cross my fingers and hope for the best!
Good luck to all the other out-of-warranty Gen I owners out there!
Fingers crossed...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I enjoyed this warmhearted response.

I overwhelmingly agree with you, but I decided: oh well, new cars are so expensive, I'll just give it one shot at a repair. The first recommended replacement for my code, and cheapest, is the hybrid battery contactor assembly. The next would be the power inverter module, but the EV guy at my dealer felt it is extremely rare that replacing that module solves an issue on this car.

Beyond that, I'll just let it be weird and drive it until it quits.

I have a 2011 (#737 off the line) with 112K. Bought it in 2016 w/ 80K. It has been intermittently throwing codes and acting strangely since coming off warranty 2.5 years ago. The latest behavior is similar to that seen by the OP; randomly running on the ICE, with plenty of battery charge available. So, the battery is probably failing. But it could also be bad contactors, various computer failures, or maybe it's just a bad ground or a fragile wiring harness. Who knows?
I love/hate this car, but I've decided that I'll continue to whistle past the graveyard and just keep driving it until it won't move. It's a great car, but based on its trade-in value ($3K at best), it's not worth fixing or even paying to have diagnosed, especially considering that it's likely that the dealership would charge $400+ in order to guess at which of many $$$$ repairs to try.
Too bad GM bailed on this vehicle, rather than following through on what was a pretty successful proof-of-concept. It has so many positives, but it's not worth the cost of GM repairs and DIY repairs are pretty intimidating for all but the most technically savvy owners. (If WOPonTour was still on this forum, I might have more courage...)
I'll continue to cross my fingers and hope for the best!
Good luck to all the other out-of-warranty Gen I owners out there!
Fingers crossed...
 

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2012 Volt Premium (Cyber Gray Metallic) - Stock
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I agree with those that are concerned about resale value; however, to me a car is like a copier to a law firm (or a mop and sponge to a window washer). It just needs to work.

It costs money to buy a car, fix a car, and maintain a car. I too have had really low trade in values for my working 2012 Volt with a new HV battery and recent transmission repairs. They will only give me up to $5k to take it on trade.

With that in mind, the real cost to consider is how long you are planning on owning the car and what are the upcoming costs.

As I saw in running the numbers, another used $10k car could have its own set of problems or be worse in reliability. I could buy a new car, but would then have to get a loan (which is not desirable to me).

Sometimes it may be better to fix, sometimes it may be better to trade, and sometimes it’s best to do absolutely nothing. May the force(s) be with you…
 

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I decided to replace it with a 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV, which I've placed a deposit on with a dealer who has agreed to sell it to me for MSRP.
Before my Volt I had an old RAV4, and was recently looking at the RAV4 Prime until I saw the dealer markup. I guess it doesn't hurt to ask, but I'm also in Southern California.
 

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I'm getting to like the thins like running on the ICE in cold weather, sense mine is a 2011 I do not have the hold mode. So this is magically working to provide more heat without running down the battery so much.
 

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The question is, when will conditions improve, and will the new EV tax credit scheme benefit you more or less than the existing scheme? From everything I've heard lately, another year or even two from now, there might still be a big auto supply crunch. The tax credit question has to do with your income, what new EV you're interested in, and how much of a credit you'd get under the as-yet unknown law - which at this point is anyone's guess. And another unknown is the inflation rate over the next few years - but we can probably be reasonably confident that a higher inflation rate means steeper than recent historical price increases on upcoming model year cars.

Although my Volt ('16) is running fine and I'm not getting rid of it, I went through a similar calculation re another old car. Too many things were starting to go wrong, to the point where I was worried about safety. When you're no longer confident in the car, paying to fix it just doesn't make sense. I decided to replace it with a 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV, which I've placed a deposit on with a dealer who has agreed to sell it to me for MSRP. In this environment, given the known quantity of the $7,500 tax credit plus an additional incentive from NY state, that's a reasonably good deal. And it's quite possible that the net amount I'm paying for it now is less than what I'd pay for a 2023 model two years from now. But even if I'm paying a bit more, at least I have the peace of mind of a new, safer car.
Id never buy a toyoda
only American Company
 

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2012 Volt Premium (Cyber Gray Metallic) - Stock
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I'm getting to like the thins like running on the ICE in cold weather, sense mine is a 2011 I do not have the hold mode. So this is magically working to provide more heat without running down the battery so much.
Just be aware that ICE cycling may be followed by a bricked car shortly after, even if regularly using the Mountain mode. Not trying to scare you, but mine left me stranded in the worst place possible on a below freezing day. YMMV…
 
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