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What level of drop over time is reasonable vs something that should be looked at?
1 year difference:
IMG_20151009_133947.jpg 20161128_161816v2.jpg
 

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What level of drop over time is reasonable vs something that should be looked at?
1 year difference:
I find about that amount of loss (1/4-1/2") annually is about normal for most Volts. Some don't budge though
In cold weather the battery heater will often "flash off" some coolant and create some gassing and since it's under very low pressure (5psi max usually less) there is also some gradual evaporative loss. I suspect if you pressure test it to 5psi it will likely hold fine. (a bit of a PITA though due to the threaded to bayonet adapters involved lol)

If you are at all concerned about it a small leak being inside the battery enclosure, you could always pull the inspection plug (covered with a foil dum dum patch at the back RH (passenger side) corner of the "T") raise the front a bit (drive up on some 2x4s) and look for coolant to drip out
WOT
 

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Thanks,
I'll continue to monitor it through spring and check the inspection plug if it continues to drop.
I didn't think it was very worrisome, but figured I'd add some illustration for future users to go by if it is indeed normal.
 

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Thanks for the last few comments. I have also noticed exactly this in the last 2 years, so finally decided to add a small top-up to the 'new' level (previously at 'old') as a precautionary measure against the low-level issues.

So I make it around 5mm~6mm for 2 years, in mine. I see possibly 1mm drop in the summer and 2mm in the winter, pointing to exactly WOTs opinion of a little evaporation and a little from the battery heater. Not sure where the evaporated stuff goes, but it seems to find its way out! That probably works out at less than 1 cc per month, so I can't imagine there will be anything at all in the battery bund cavity to find, even if that much had leaked out directly from the battery.

I imagine, though it is just a guess, that actually a lot of the month-on-month variations are changes to the physical volume of the battery, which will change slightly in the weather as it is a great big block of metallic components, rather than heating or cooling of the coolant itself causing coolant volume changes?
 

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FYI this was my level as of last week before bringing it to the dealer for other issues.
While in, I mentioned it looked a bit low and asked them if it was something to be concerned with.
They decided to test for leaks (found none) and topped it up per a bulletin on low coolant level.
So if yours looks like mine after 3 years, it could just be normal evaporative loss.

Reference pictures - 6months (first one I shot) and 3 years (2.5 after first picture)

Approx 1cm per year or so?
 

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If the Volt is off, can I empty the reservoirs and refill with fresh Dex-Cool without tripping any vehicle alerts?
If so, one could easily do this a few times to cycle out the old with new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
If the Volt is off, can I empty the reservoirs and refill with fresh Dex-Cool without tripping any vehicle alerts?
If so, one could easily do this a few times to cycle out the old with new.
Some have suctioned out some coolant, added new, ran the car to circulate, suctioned out more, added more, ran the car to circulate, rinse and repeat. Basically "changing" the coolant by continually diluting it with new coolant over time.

I have no idea of the pro's and cons of this versus a complete coolant change at the dealer. Certainly the cost would be less. One concern would be introducing air bubbles into the system.
 
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My two cents-Had the "service high energy system" warning a few months ago. Took it to dealer with odometer just @ 98K miles. They reset the system after checking. I don't know if they had to refill, reset or what. Car has been running ok. Never did check the levels till today and found battery coolant level just above the bottle seam. I am due back to dealer for service @ 102k miles and in the meantime I added a piece of painters tape date dated today at the current level. I'll be keeping an eye on it till my next service since I am now out of powertrain warranty.
 

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Anyone know approximately how low the battery coolant has to be to trigger codes?
I haven't exactly been on top of monthly checks, and I don't have a pic from brand new, so not sure how far/fast it's dropping, but in Oct my coolant level was about 1/4 up the black sticker, now it's in line with the bottom of the sticker.
So I am going on a short trip of just a few hours and usually when I really check my fluids..I know I know I should do more. But having a 2014 I also noticed my battery coolants are above the seam and below the bottom of the sticker about in the middle. And I too don't know if that is how it came when delivered some 53k miles ago as a 2014 in October. So I will have to monitor too but I did want to know the exact same question you asked when does it trigger? Seems Stteverino suggested below the seem which is good. I am up to the dealer soon anyway for a yearly inspection and will have them check it hopefully without a 100buck bill!
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I did want to know the exact same question you asked when does it trigger? Seems Stteverino suggested below the seem which is good.
Somewhere about a quarter tank or so I believe.

The problem is, without monthly visual check, you have no idea if the coolant has dropped 2" in the last month or not (a serious problem somewhere). The reason to do a monthly check is to see if the level is dropping quickly or not.
 

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Changing fluids interval

A little bit confused here, help!
My car is a Opel Ampera 2012, first registration 06.0214. My 8 year warranty starts from 06.2014 as my service book sais. So next week I have a service inspection for changing oil and filters at 62.000km. A friend of mine told me that they supose to tell me to make the high voltage battery coolant change at 5Year's, so last year but from service they didn't mention that. I don't have a manual for Opel Ampera where is says when I supose to change liquids. I heard about 150k miles, 5 year, my car is 2012 but start driving from 2014, so...please help!
Thank's
 

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the new smartphone onstar app now downloads a manual and under service the 5 year coolant replacement was there.
I will have to look again to see if this was battery or all three tanks .
 

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Thanks, but the idea is that my car has 4 years from registration date so is my forth service but also 6 years from factory date. My car stay in showroom two years on 0km until was sold...
 

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Thanks, but the idea is that my car has 4 years from registration date so is my forth service but also 6 years from factory date. My car stay in showroom two years on 0km until was sold...
If this were my car, I would change the fluids. Why? I don't know the history of how the car was "used" in the two years prior to my owning it. Also, I don't know the "shelf life" of the fluids. I've spent a lot of money on an excellent car and I would not gamble to save a little more money at this point. Good luck with your car. I'm sure that you are enjoying driving it 8^)
 

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Thank's "jbakerjonathan" for the advice. I will change the fluids, it's not about the money but in Romania there is only one service for Ampera and it's kind'a experimental service, had some problems with 12v battery with them. So i am a little bit worried because I understand that if it's not done right, I will get errors and problems so I don't want that. Indeed, excellent car, own it for 3 years, 50k on it with 2.5avg :).
 

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On occasion we read about a Volt owner being stranded or having other issues that require a tow or time in the shop. Sometimes low fluid levels are either the cause or a symptom. Either way, a quick 2 minute visual inspection of the fluid levels once a month is both good practice and could save you some major inconvenience on the side of the road.

Note: there is a Service Campaign #14114 (Bulletin #PI0961C) that instructs the dealer to make sure the battery coolant level is at the top of the label (see below). They are not recalling all cars to have the coolant level raised to the revised level. Instead, the level will be raised either through regular maintenance visits or if the level drops for any reason and triggers the "Service High Voltage Charging System Message". Originally, the coolant level was at the tank's join seam. The new level is higher to provide more leeway before a warning message is triggered. 2012 Service Campaign #14114, RESS Battery Coolant Level Low

  1. What if I get a steady Oil Pressure light on my dash?
    You may be low on oil or have a blockage in the oil line. Running the engine low on oil could damage it and it's not covered by the warranty. Press the OnStar Button, and ask them to run a diagnostic. They can provide error code information and tell you whether or not you should visit your dealer. You can also request the DTC numbers, and search for more information on them in our forum.
  2. Should I check my fluid levels?
    Yes, a monthly visual check is a good practice to help discover any issues early, before they turn into bigger issues that may leave you stranded and needing a tow to the nearest dealer. This is especially true for the battery coolant fluid.
  3. I have my dealer perform the maintenance inspections. Should I still check my fluid levels?
    YES! Even if you have your dealer services your car, it's a good idea to take a look yourself. Some claim their dealer never did the visual inspection and left them stranded as a result. And dealers can make mistakes. Buyer beware.
  4. How long will it take to inspect the fluid levels?
    You can make a visual inspection in a few minutes or less. It's easy. A flashlight may help for some.
  5. What should I check?
    Facing the open hood and working clockwise: Brake Fluid, Windshield Washer Fluid, Electronics Coolant, Battery Coolant, Engine Oil, and Engine Coolant. Refer to your owners manual for details, but here is a quick visual guide:
    View attachment 55321
  6. What are the correct fluid levels?
    Here is a visual guide to 1 Brake Fluid, 2 Electonics Coolant, 3 Battery Coolant, 4 Engine Coolant
    View attachment 55329 View attachment 55337 View attachment 55345 View attachment 55353

    For the windshield washer fluid, open the cap and if the tube is empty, top it off.
    For the engine oil, see our engine oil FAQ: Oil Change FAQ
  7. TIP - Markings: Use the side of a black Sharpie marker to carefully mark the fill arrows and fill lines like the pictures above (clean & wipe the surface fist). This will make it easier to see if the fluid levels are correct.
  8. TIP - Records: Keep a notebook and note the date and your fluid levels each month. This will make it easier to see if the fluid levels are changing. See downloadable inspection sheet (PDF) below.
  9. TIP - Closing the hood: Drop the hood from about 8 inches to close it. NEVER press the hood closed (it dents).
  10. What if my battery coolant level has dropped?
    A fluid level that has dropped since your last inspection could be an early warning of a bigger problem. This is especially true for the battery coolant fluid. Make an appointment with your dealer to determine why the battery coolant has dropped. It could be a normal drop due to trapped air finally being "burped" out, or it could be something more serious like a leak in the sealed battery compartment. If you have a leak inside the battery, you don't want to just continually fill it, as you could flood the inside of the battery. If you notice that it is low and you add more, only to find it goes down again, go to a dealer. Do not continually add coolant.
  11. What if the battery coolant level gets too low?
    If allowed to go too low, a sensor in the battery coolant tank will cause a "Service High Voltage Charging System" message to display. The car may no longer take a charge. The dealer should inspect the coolant system to determine if there is a leak in the radiator, coolant line, inside the closed battery, etc.
  12. What if the fluid level in my brake, engine, electronics, or engine oil have dropped?
    Fluid levels for these can be topped off as needed (refer to manual for fluid specs, cautions). Significant drops may indicate a more serious issue and a visit to the dealer may be needed.
  13. To top-off, do I need to buy Dex-Cool concentrate and deionized water and mix them them?
    No, there is no need to get a jug of Dex-Cool concentrate and a jug of deionized water and mix them yourself. You can buy a gallon/3.78L premixed (a pre-diluted "50/50 Premix") at almost any auto supply store, Walmart, etc. It should say it conforms to GM's Dex-Cool standard. This coolant is used in three coolant tanks: Electronics, Battery, and Engine.
  14. What about "topping off" using plain tap water, deionized water, or distilled water?
    NO! Want to kill your Volt? The Electronics, Battery, and Engine coolant systems require a 50/50 mixture of Dex-Cool and deionized water. The deionized water/Dex-Cool mixture ensures high-voltage isolation and to prevent the internal corrosion of cooling system components. In contrast, tap water has reactive minerals and impurities the will plate the inside of the cooling system, reduce it's efficiency and can corrode components. Distilled and deionized water alone (without Dex-Cool) are acidic and very corrosive.
  15. Are deionized water and distilled water the same thing?
    No, see Purified water - Wikipedia In addition to purity, deionized water has low-conductivity (aka de-ionized) Why? High Voltage! Not only can one get sparking and current drains through the water to ground, dissolved salts exposed to a voltage potential do bad things like plating out on some things, dissolving others.
  16. What about using regular antifreeze solutions?
    NO! NEVER add regular green anti-freeze to the Electronics, Battery, and Engine coolant tanks!
Related posts:
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2012 "Service High Voltage Charging System &quot...

Deionized Water, Distilled Water,and Water
Is there anyway to reset the maintenance message at home? I topped of my coolant level which was low probably from a hot summer and never being topped sonce 2017
 

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Chevy Volt 2013, 250k km still 13,8kWh battery for 70-75km. driving 53km to work daily
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What codes? P1FFF?
Somebody can reset the DTC via universal code readers, someone has the codes "uneraseable".
In the second case you will need to re-flash HPCM2 unit.
 
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