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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all - I've been lurking for a while but this is my first post, so apologies in advance if I've made any etiquette faux pas here.

I have had my 2013 Volt for about 6 weeks now, and while I am loving the performance and the gas mileage, I have a problem that I can't seem to get over -- my backup sensor is far too sensitive.

When I shift into reverse, 95 times out of 100 loud beeping will start -- no matter the conditions behind me. At first, I thought the sensors might be registering cracks in asphalt, bumps in the space behind me, cars beside me, etc., but I've since learned that I can be in a completely deserted, completely flat, completely smooth parking lot and as soon as I shift into reverse, the alarm will start to beep. The beeps might be close together or a little more relaxed - or they might start and stop and then start again.. Other times, it won't beep at all.

The beeping is so incessant and annoying that I often hit the park-assist button above the rear-view mirror to get the sound to stop. Of course, then I don't have any protection against someone or something suddenly jumping behind the car... which is kind of the point.

So here's my question to you all -- is this normal behavior? Or does it sound like there's something wrong with the system in my vehicle?

Help, please!
Ken
 

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Are you sure it's the rear sensors? The front sensors are one tone, the rear a different lower tone. If you pulled up close to someone, the front ones will usually trigger on them as you start to back up.

My sensors are completely predictable (though there was one occasion when the front ones locked on at the botom of my driveway with a constant tone - really annoyed me, but seems to have been a glitch. I don't love having them sound as I start out of my garage, but they are consistent and predictable, not like what you're describing. Aside from that one glitch, I've never had them go off without an object (and they had an object there - they just stayed on after the object was gone.)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply! It's definitely the rear. In fact, when I'm backing out of my garage, they'll both go kind of crazy. Once I've gotten out of the garage, then the front will go silent and the rear will keep going. The driveway is one of the more predictable places... but only in that it *always* goes off even though there's nothing there but the change in color and slope where the driveway asphalt meets the edge of the street. Once I'm completely out on the main street, the alarm will go silent.

Sounds like I should take it in for a checkup? Any idea if this is something the local dealer will be able to diagnose?
 

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It does sound like something you should have the dealer look at. Not an issue I've seen before - no idea how easy it'll be to diagnose. At this point, all I can say is it isn't normal. (Defective sensor? loose sensor shifting in the bumper? loose connection somewhere?) This is what warranties are for. :)
 

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I agree. The same thing happens to me when I back up into the garage. It also did it on the demo I drove when I was backing it up into the carport with where the dealer had the charger. I've had several cars with back up sensors. This one scares me because it it so sensitive that I tend to ignore it.

Ferg
 

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As mentioned already, this is not normal. Mine starts slow beeps about 8 feet away from an object and goes steady tone at about 1 foot. I occasionally get a single beep when there's nothing there, but it's rare. It seems to have a hard time deciding if it's going to beep or not for parking curbs because it goes from nothing to urgent beeps instantly when the curb is about 2 feet away.
 

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You haven't given enough information for me to know whether it is normal or not. The back sensor (lower beeps) no doubt always alert in the garage, because they sense the garage doorway or trash can or whatever is near the rear bumper. It doesn't have to be directly behind the bumper; it can be off to the side and the sensors will still detect it. The triangular icon on your backup screen tells you where the obstacle is. Out in the driveway, are there fences or trees nearby? Is there a slope to the driveway, or is the road higher than the driveway? Even something as low as a curb can trigger the parking sensor. What does the icon on your screen indicate it is detecting?
 

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Mine does this too. Empty parking lot, it gets concerned about something down to the left somewhere.
 

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The rear parking sensors also detect objects to the left and right of the rear bumper. The door frame of your garage is to the left or right of the bumper... Therefore it will always trigger the sensor to let you know you are within a foot of a solid object. (Your garage door frame.)
 

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Mine does it too sometimes. Kind of embarrassing with people in the car. I'm in the middle of my driveway with nothing around and it beeps like there is an elephant 5 inches from my rear bumper.

Other times it works fine. Not sure what that's about, I just figured it was some sluggish software issue like backup camera playing when I'm driving forward for 15 seconds after shifting from reverse to drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks, guys, for all the responses.

I did a little more research and spent a little more time "testing" this issue and I'm coming to the conclusion that my problem *is* the front parking sensors after all. Steve-o's post made me spend a little more time looking at the camera screen and I quickly realized that there was no warning popping up to go along with the mind-numbing beeping. The beeping does seem to be happening when something (as insignificant as a pop can) in front of or along side the car is present as I back up.

The problem, of course, is that there's almost never a time when there's nothing in front of me when I'm backing up. When there's nothing in front of me -- I tend to drive *forward.* Alas.

Thanks for the suggestions!
 

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My biggest gripe is the Volt beeping on the forward sensors when I'm backing up. That's just silly.
 

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My biggest gripe is the Volt beeping on the forward sensors when I'm backing up. That's just silly.
I'm finding the front sensor to be a case of over-mothering for urban driving. It chirps when going around corners and a car is parked off to the side and it chirps early when cars are in front going the same speed. I can just imagine how annoying this thing would be on the LIE or 128 around Boston where traffic travels at 60 mph, with a half car length space in front.
 

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My biggest gripe is the Volt beeping on the forward sensors when I'm backing up. That's just silly.
Agreed. I put my car in reverse and everything starts squawking, front and back. The back seems to pick up shadows and often, absolutely nothing at all. My habit is to reach up and turn it off. I do find it useful for parallel parking and pulling into tight parking spaces, but backing up is just an exercise in "crying wolf."
 

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I'm finding the front sensor to be a case of over-mothering for urban driving. It chirps when going around corners and a car is parked off to the side and it chirps early when cars are in front going the same speed. I can just imagine how annoying this thing would be on the LIE or 128 around Boston where traffic travels at 60 mph, with a half car length space in front.
Are you referring to the forward collision alert or the parking/backup sensor? They are two different things and the FCA can have it its sensitivity adjusted by using the knob to the left of the steering wheel.
 

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My biggest gripe is the Volt beeping on the forward sensors when I'm backing up. That's just silly.
One additional point is that when backing up, the front sensors have the higher pitched, more annoying beeps to alert on objects that hardly ever matter, and the rear sensors have the lower pitched, easier to ignore beeps to alert on objects that you should almost always pay attention to. That's an unfortunate design decision.
 

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its actually a beautiful design... truth be that MANY of the accidents while BACKING are collisions with the FRONT of the car..

people tend to just look back while backing, not realizing theyve turned their wheel so sharp they just side swiped the car next to them with the nose of their own car!!..

I do have an occasional misstep with the FCA.. as driving in traffic with it sometimes can set it off.. I tend to turn it off in these situations as I dont want to get used to ignoring it and then not have it do its job when its really needed..

-Christopher
 

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its actually a beautiful design... truth be that MANY of the accidents while BACKING are collisions with the FRONT of the car..
And I expect no change in that with the front sensors alerting on the front wall of the garage or the car parked in front of you while you are backing up most of the time. Since the front sensors go ballistic every time you put the car in reverse, people tend to ignore them. The comment about crying "wolf" hit it right on the head. The meaningless high pitched beeping every time the car goes into reverse becomes like the back-up beeps in large trucks. All it tells the driver is that the car is in reverse now.
 

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Both sets of sensors are activated when the car is taken out of Park, either going forward or reverse until the car is going about 5mph where they disable themselves again until the car is put in Reverse or put back in Park and taken out of Park.

It is by design.

One thing that can cause excessive beeping is dirt. If the sensors are fully covered in dirt, ( doesn't have to be all that heavy ) they can beep erratically.

The concept is to warn you no matter what of your surroundings. A front wall, a side garbage can, a kid on a tricycle, a pet and so on.

If the beeps force you to look around no matter what, that is a good thing. My Caddy has the same system and there are times that ignoring the beeping would have been trouble. Some Type "A" people need to chill a little when it comes to beeps that only last for less than about 30 seconds of time when exiting a space.

As soon as I hear the beeps, I become extra alert vs. getting annoyed. Treat it purely as a reminder to be very alert when moving your vehicle out of a space be it a garage, in a parking lot, in a driveway etc.

Remember, you cannot see all four corners and front and rear at the same time like the sensors can.

Rather than ignore it, learn to trust it.
 

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Here is my suggestion to GM: Since it is not physically possible to hit an obstacle directly in front of the car while it is in reverse, the sensors should only alert on objects to the side of the front bumper, and then only when the steering wheel is turned so that the front end is swinging toward the object, not away from it. The sensors are just being too dumb. The system should use more inputs from the car to determine which way the car is going. All the sensors for car direction and steering are already there (the navigation system uses these to determine which way the car is facing, even when in reverse). They should be used to provide more meaningful feedback from the parking sensors.

Having the parking sensors cry wolf all the time isn't making me more aware of my surroundings than I already am.
 
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