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I've had a reoccurring issue with my Volt. A few weeks ago I went to start my car after work and the "Initalizing, wait to shift" message popped up on the dash, followed by the engine trying to start up. After 5-10 seconds, the engine will stop trying to start and the car will be in "accessory mode" and had to be towed to the nearest dealer. They fixed it the first time saying they had to replace the "engine computer" (I believe?).

Well two days later, Christmas day no less, the car does the same thing. Right before I finalized the tow truck, the car started normally with a check engine light, and I drove it to the dealer near my house. The dealer now told me the 12V battery needed replacing as it wasn't putting out. They are going to replace the battery and try to read the codes when the car is able to start, hopefully.

Does that seem like something the battery would cause or is there something else at play? I had a bad habit of leaving the fob in the car for extended periods of time :( so was wondering if that would cause the battery to drain enough to cause the problems I mentioned.
 

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Sounds like there’s something wrong with starting the engine but unlike a normal car, it wouldn’t be tied to the 12V battery in majority of cases.
 

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Today's 12 volt car batteries should last at least 5 years. Our 2003 Jetta TDI (Diesel) wagon had the original battery for 9 years, and our 2010 Prius still has the original 12 volt battery since new and was purchased in May 2009 with now over 160,000 miles.
 

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Today's 12 volt car batteries should last at least 5 years. Our 2003 Jetta TDI (Diesel) wagon had the original battery for 9 years, and our 2010 Prius still has the original 12 volt battery since new and was purchased in May 2009 with now over 160,000 miles.
The OP lives in Maple Shade, NJ, which gets substantially colder in winter than Seaside, OR. Battery life is shorter in colder weather (although batteries should still last longer than 2 years).
 

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Today's 12 volt car batteries should last at least 5 years.
I agree with that statement, but it has also been my experience that "strange computer/control glitches" on the Volt can frequently be caused by the 12v battery. Maybe the battery itself is a bum one, maybe the connections weren't tight, whatever.

Someone should have hooked it up to a battery tester to see what results you got.
 

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I agree with that statement, but it has also been my experience that "strange computer/control glitches" on the Volt can frequently be caused by the 12v battery. Maybe the battery itself is a bum one, maybe the connections weren't tight, whatever.

Someone should have hooked it up to a battery tester to see what results you got.
I agree. The 12v battery is AGM and it seems that many Gen 1 and Gen 2 have had the battery go bad after a year or so. I have 2 2013s. One of them the battery was replaced after a year. The other is still going strong.
 

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Usually if you see initializing wait to shift for an extended period, the boss computer is having trouble talking to one of its minions over the CANBus.

That can be a problem with a module, a loose connection, or something jamming the network itself. This is where the codes that go with that Check Engine light would be really helpful - they'll tell you exactly what the car had trouble with, and the shop manual even has established troubleshooting procedures for each code to identify the root cause.

Is there anything plugged in to the OBDII port? We have some experience with older or knock off OBDII scanners forcing the network onto older protocols that can't handle the traffic and causing problems.
 
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