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I recently changed my transmission fluid aka "electric drive unit fluid" with Dextron VI and was surprised by the condition, figured I'd share as a warning to others. Car is a 2016 Volt (makes fluid about 4 years old) with 73k miles, can't speak to previous owner's driving habits but the car was in great condition so don't think it was flogged. Seemed like a very proactive fluid change to me.

Anyhow, fluid was pitch black and had a hint of a burnt smell, I'm no expert but I was relieved to be changing the fluid given the condition. Fortunately there were absolutely no metal filings on the drain plug which I guess indicates good Voltec engineering by speed matching before engaging clutches. If you're interested in a long life for your Volt I would highly recommend this simple $30 (DIY) fluid change! The hardest part was removing the undercarriage aero panel. Watched YouTube videos to learn the procedure during the job so it took me about 2.5hrs from start to finish.

For reference, my only other two experiences with transmission fluid are: 2010 Honda Accord at 100k which was slightly worse than this, and a 2009 Hyundai Sonata at 100k (always had aggressive 1st gear engagement starting from 0mph) which had practically self destructed with significant metal filings and powerful burnt odor.

Pictures show the old fluid in a shallow container and the old black/new red fluid mixing as it runs out of the full level hole.
 

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I recently changed my transmission fluid aka "electric drive unit fluid" with Dextron VI and was surprised by the condition, figured I'd share as a warning to others. Car is a 2016 Volt (makes fluid about 4 years old) with 73k miles, can't speak to previous owner's driving habits but the car was in great condition so don't think it was flogged. Seemed like a very proactive fluid change to me.

Anyhow, fluid was pitch black and had a hint of a burnt smell, I'm no expert but I was relieved to be changing the fluid given the condition. Fortunately there were absolutely no metal filings on the drain plug which I guess indicates good Voltec engineering by speed matching before engaging clutches. If you're interested in a long life for your Volt I would highly recommend this simple $30 (DIY) fluid change! The hardest part was removing the undercarriage aero panel. Watched YouTube videos to learn the procedure during the job so it took me about 2.5hrs from start to finish.

For reference, my only other two experiences with transmission fluid are: 2010 Honda Accord at 100k which was slightly worse than this, and a 2009 Hyundai Sonata at 100k (always had aggressive 1st gear engagement starting from 0mph) which had practically self destructed with significant metal filings and powerful burnt odor.

Pictures show the old fluid in a shallow container and the old black/new red fluid mixing as it runs out of the full level hole.
Any tips on how to do this? I assume you just locate a drain plug and open it up but if it is more complex than that, let us know. <Battery> Coolant change, for example, is a big deal and requires specialized vacuum equipment.

My 2016 was one of the first of the G2 volts off the line back in 2015 ( and a front runner for many of the early G2 issues) and thus my 5 year maintenance cycle is probable one of the first.

I took the car in to the dealer and they did:
1 ) engine coolant flush
2) brake fluid change
3) transmission fluid change
4) oil change ( just because it was due)

Total bill was just over $700. CDN

Of interesting note is that they did not change the battery coolant system fluid, even though it’s listed as part of the 5 year items. I questioned the tech on this and he said he tested the fluid, pressure tested the system and just topped it off, no need to change the fluid because it does not see the same extreme temperatures and wear and tear as the engine coolant. When I asked how much it costs to change it anyway they said it’s a 2 visit process and $414. Did some research on the forum for G1 cars and saw similar posts and comments.
 

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Any tips on how to do this? I assume you just locate a drain plug and open it up but if it is more complex than that, let us know. <Battery> Coolant change, for example, is a big deal and requires specialized vacuum equipment.
Simply put the following in the search box of Youtube:
chevrolet volt transmission fluid

There are numerous "how to" videos to step you through it.
 

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There was another recent thread on dirty trans fluid, and one response indicated this is due to a coating GM puts on the inside of the trans case (see post #9 Dirty trans fluid). I can't vouch for the accuracy of that one way or the other. I plan to do my '17 trans fluid around 40-45k per the severe service maint schedule for peace of mind.
 

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2016 Volt Premier, delivered Oct/15
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Getting mine changed today along with the other fluids as part of the 5 year maintenance process.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There was another recent thread on dirty trans fluid, and one response indicated this is due to a coating GM puts on the inside of the trans case (see post #9 Dirty trans fluid). I can't vouch for the accuracy of that one way or the other. I plan to do my '17 trans fluid around 40-45k per the severe service maint schedule for peace of mind.
Wow great info thanks. There was also a copied Facebook post in the thread from a Volt technician saying it was completely normal: Dirty trans fluid

I guess I'm satisfied since there was no particulate in the fluid that I could see. Still don't regret changing it! And in response to @shringlee no tips, very easy: drain, fill with the same volume, shift the car around for 5 minutes with the ICE running, then top off to the fill level plug.
 

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Just did my 2017 at 88K. Fluid was black but didn’t smell burnt. I did not use the level check port because I couldn’t find a reference to the fluid temp needed. Used the measure and replace method. Couldn’t really find a good Gen 2 video or method but here is what I did.

2017 Volt Electric Drive Unit Fluid Change
  1. Drive front end up on ramps
  2. Remove drivers side belly pan
  3. Position catch pan
  4. Remove fill cap in engine bay. Cover hole with clean cloth
  5. Remove 11 mm tapered bolt from bottom of EDU
  6. Drain until stopped
  7. Jack up rear end on both sides until level
  8. Continue draining until stopped
  9. Lower driver’s side rear end part way
  10. Continue draining
  11. Lower rear end completely
  12. Replace tapered drain plug (I reused old one. Supposedly single use but couldn’t find one)
  13. Mark exact position of fluid on new 4 quart container
  14. Pour entire 4 quart container into fill port
  15. Fill empty container with used fluid to mark
  16. Measure remaining drained fluid (mine was 850 mL)
  17. Add same amount through fill port in engine bay
  18. Replace fill cap
  19. Replace belly pan
  20. Start engine with hood up and cycle through gears a few times.
 
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