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Hello everyone, new here. I was hoping this would be a positive post about a great car I was going to buy, but now am not so sure. I went yesterday for a test drive of a 2017 Premier, primarily to see how it drove on the freeway for part of my commute (especially the hilly parts). It did great on the uphill drive (without using the hill mode) but on the return, downhill trip, after driving a total of 10 miles, we heard a warning chime, immediately followed by motor power cutting off, a yellow check engine light coming on and the now, as I have learned, the infamous "shift to park" message appearing. As we were going downhill, we continued to coast slower and slower and the power steering seemed to be off (as was A/C, though the windows worked). The salesman said he had never seen this happen before but not to worry, the car would go into "turtle" mode and I would be able to drive but only at 15mph. Unfortunately, that never happened. I was able to coast off the freeway at the next exit (1/2 mile from the dealer) and pull to the side. We could not turn off the car with the power button, it simply kept recycling to initializing, but nothing ever happened. We even walked a ways away and came back, but could not start the car (or get it out of park). It was a pretty scary experience and is making me question whether to buy a Volt since I wonder, if I had been going uphill when this happened, could I have gotten over to the emergency land in time + avoided getting hit in fast rush hour traffic. I know that forum posters sometimes tend to extremes, love it or hate it and post all problems, making it difficult to judge just how common a problem really is. So, I would appreciate any feedback on whether I had a lemon or whether this is a significant enough issue to wait (i.e., 2018 model year) to hope it is recognized or fixed. Thanks for any response. Really did like the Volt otherwise.
 

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Nothing like that has ever happened to me (2012 though). But i would never buy that particular volt after that experience. Find another one - that was definitely a fluke occurrence.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Update - so I called the dealer to ask why the Volt died. They told me the car had been sitting on the lot for at least 6 months and the 12V battery had died. Service told me it had just enough juice to start the car but was then drained completely so the car shut down. They said they charged the battery up and the car was fine. Does this sound like a valid reason for the car dying? (I suppose it also means that I was not driving on stored power (as the salesperson in the car told me) but was driving using the gas generator the entire time). Does the Volt have a start/stop function such that if I was coasting downhill the engine could have shut off and if the 12V battery was dead, there was no energy to restart the engine? Any feedback would be appreciated.
 

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He means the 12v battery not the big pack that powers the car. It's one of the ironies of life. The car has a very big battery pack but ultimately it depends on the small 12v.

Having said that, when you drive on either the big battery or the generator the 12v gets charged. So if the 12v was sufficiently alive to start the car -- it takes very little power since it is not cranking the engine -- I don't see why it would go dead as you were driving. That doesn't make a ton of sense unless the battery was bad, which is why steverino was suggesting a problem with a connection to the 12v.
 

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He means the 12v battery not the big pack that powers the car. It's one of the ironies of life. The car has a very big battery pack but ultimately it depends on the small 12v.

Having said that, when you drive on either the big battery or the generator the 12v gets charged. So if the 12v was sufficiently alive to start the car -- it takes very little power since it is not cranking the engine -- I don't see why it would go dead as you were driving. That doesn't make a ton of sense unless the battery was bad, which is why steverino was suggesting a problem with a connection to the 12v.
Operating the windows and radio and whatnot could have taken the small surface charge off the battery and when they left the dealership there wasn't enough left to run the car.

OP. Go drive it again. If they fixed it overnight this solution was totally probable.
 

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While the car is probably fine now, that experience will remain in your mind if you take the car, and will always affect your satisfaction with the car. You will always wonder if it will happen again. I'd move on and buy a different Volt.

Others may disagree, so each to his/her own.
 

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I would think there would be some kind of diagnostic report/recording that would pin-point what caused the failure. A volt tech should be a able to review a "run history" to source the problem.
 

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At least get the dealer to replace the 12V battery for you. Those batteries are rarely the same as new once they've been drained.
 

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Agreed. These batteries are the AGM type, which are apparently more sensitive to extended voltage drops than a traditional lead acid type from what I've observed. The AGM battery in my Goldwing, for example, states that a stabilized voltage under 12.4v means the battery needs charging. What regular type battery needs charging at that voltage? Makes me wonder what the lowest sustainable voltage before issues occur is.
 

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I'd have them replace the battery - then use the error to get them to lower the price! I'm sorry you had a bad initial experience, but the Volt is really a great car. Take the situation and use it to your advantage!
 
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