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Bricked MyLink

8758 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  canehdian
Yesterday evening I got into my car to a completely black MyLink/infotainment screen on my ’17 Volt. No graphics, no sound, no signs of light. I tried resetting with a quick power down of the Volt before I left the parking lot and also by pressing and quickly hanging up the OnStar button (I’ve heard that can sometimes force a reboot). I even turned off the Volt and opened the door for about 15 seconds before again restarting it and no change. I was also already late for a dinner appointment and couldn’t afford to waste any more time so I drove off.

While I was on my way I thought I’d give OnStar a call in the slim hopes that they might be able to remotely reboot the system—they can get error codes after all. I’m pretty sure rebooting the MyLink/infotainment remotely is not possible after talking to the OnStar infotainment tech (that’s probably a good thing for security reasons), but the initial advisors thought it might so it was worth a shot and it was worthwhile to get this documented.

After about five minutes of driving Mylink/the infotainment screen changed to what I’d describe as a maintenance mode. It’s as if it has no software, but the basic firmware on the unit’s hardware and is awaiting the real software to make it functional. The words on the key info. on the screen is “Status: Waiting For Update Media” and “ Copying 0/100”. My amateur diagnosis: as the kids would say it’s bricked. In my experience that’s something that only ever happens after messing with things, but this happened completely on its own. I have not been to the dealership in the last five months (and they didn’t touch the infotainment then) nor have I done any mucking around with the car on my own. How MyLink went from working perfectly fine on my drive into work, to working itself into an inexplicable non-functional state by the evening is an X-Files worthy mystery to me.

Now the OnStar infotainment tech let me know he has received at least a handful of calls from owners of ’17 vehicles (he didn’t mention a particular model) in the past week or so with a similar problem. This is disconcerting—is there some Y2K17 bug I haven’t heard about? He also said in some cases it could potential resolve itself after leaving it for an hour-and-half. It was parked for over double that length for a celebratory dinner with friends and unfortunately and unsurprisingly it didn’t resolve itself.

But luckily, or at least so I thought, I had a scheduled appointment first thing in the morning at my dealer for the first maintenance on the car—the car has been into service for a couple check engine light’s within it’s first couple weeks, but this is its first scheduled maintenance. Car life lesson #167: when it comes to dealer service always assume the worst and you’ll only walk away in a small cloud of expletives moderately disappointed. I’m told that GM Canada in its infinite wisdom has subcontracted maintenance and service on its infotainment systems to York Electronics and it requires at least 24 hours notice to get them to a dealer for service. Plus naturally like anyone skilled and in-demand York only works Monday-Friday! Hopefully it works differently for you all down south 49th.

With infotainment being a key part of a modern car like the Volt’s functionality (it controls the charging schedule, navigation, radio, connectivity, enabling some safety features, back-up camera, etc.) I’m incredulous that a dealer’s service department doesn’t have the software and capability to service one. Let’s say your MyLink goes pear-snapped while you’re out to dinner on a Friday, with the way things are even in a major city in Canada you’re probably looking at a Tuesday repair at the earliest. Hopefully you don’t have an important business trip or meetings, let alone out of town weekend plans because otherwise you’re tackling them in a pretty gimped vehicle. If this is GM’s policy going forward I’m reconsidering buying another one of its vehicles and recommending them, because I can only foresee infotainment being more and more integral to the experience as it takes control of more and more of what we consider critical functions in our cars. Thankfully in the second generation Volt’s case GM was smart enough to go with physical climate controls and leave them out of the infotainment system unlike some other manufactures, but not being able to access something as basic as a radio or even a clock is not making for a pleasant driving experience.

As for my current situation: my dealer finally called me about three hours before closing and left me with the option of leaving the car with them so they could try and book an appointment with York for early next week. I’ve got weekend plans, piles of work at the office awaiting me next week and was not offered a courtesy car, so I opted to take it back instead and let the bricked MyLink be future The Fresh Young Balki B’s problem. The Volt can still get me from point A to point B, which is a car’s core purpose.

I also was able to get ahold of my Volt Customer Care Ambassador who let me know that he has heard that in some cases York has visited a customer’s home or workplace and fixed the vehicle’s infotainment system, without visiting the dealer and he would explore that option. Given the timing nothing will be sorted out until Monday, but this remote repair situation seems much more reasonable and logical if a dealer isn’t doing any of the servicing on the vehicle anyway.

Anyway I just wanted to share the story and see if anyone else has encountered a similar issue with a second generation Volt and happened upon a solution. Who am I kidding? I’m here to vent my frustrations.:mad:
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Just to follow-up with a bit more context.

I’ve had this car for about half a year now and while it’s been a little buggy, it’s been pretty reliable. Occasionally it doesn’t recognise all the songs on my thumb drive or it will take five-ten minutes to completely load them (I'm an album listener and I've a sizeable collection). Most frustrating is that it sometimes shows a song or album on the thumb drive and will simply refuse to play it despite it being listed and me trying in vein to select it multiple times. It’s almost as if it’s being a music snob and sassily saying “Oh, that’s what you want to play right now? Are you sure? Yeah…umm…no, I’m not feeling that. Try something else.” Now I find CarPlay to be a little more reliable, it too has had some bugs but I’m not sure if the blame falls more on Apple or GM. Sometimes the playback of a Podcast will stop abruptly and the screen will flash causing me to have to reselect it and hit play again to resume—thankfully it continues where it left off.

Overall up until yesterday I’d say I’ve been fairly happy with MyLink as I find it capable whilst not being overly difficult to use. This has caused me to reevaluate, and I’d now consider this level of bugginess and unreliability to push MyLink toward hot garbage status. Let me qualify that by saying the inept Entune system I came from previously is organic garbage that has sat out in the summer sun for a week. And my parents’ preposterous Sync system is the dump on a 40˚C July day with 100% relative humidity during a month-long garbage strike. So on that scale hot garbage is pretty good, but it’s still hot garbage. I think one of the underrated reasons consumers are increasingly demanding CarPlay/Android Auto is that they are much less buggy systems. Maybe it’s just me but I use my smartphone more than any other tech and it's more stable and reliable than any other tech I use. Given that cars' infotainment systems are infamous for never being upgraded having this level of bugs in a system, doesn't bode well for when I need to eventually upgrade my smartphone and the car falls increasingly on the side of yesterday's tech.

This MyLink problem and the previous check engine incidents have me worried about this car’s long term reliability. It’s under warranty now, but I’m weary of what potential repairs bill for the tech and infotainment systems would be once it lapses. These are complicated high-tech cars and much of the tech isn’t stuff I imagine you could easily replace with a third party solution or get repaired at an independent garage.
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Purchased. For tech in its nascent stages in a segment that's moving increasingly fast like electrified vehicles, I'd say leasing is safer and smarter. But lease rates on Volts in Canada are abhorrent. For a plug-in with a usable daily electric range the Volt is in a class of its own and GM knows it. With the Prius Prime beginning to arrive there's some decent competition, so maybe things are slowly beginning to change. When I purchased my car (I was coming off a lease so I had a firm date for a replacement) the Volt's lease rates were double its financing rates. Given that Bank of Canada's lending rate to financial institutions has been at a historic low asking for one of the highest rates amongst your line-up especially when 0% lease and finance rates from competitors weren't uncommon seemed a particularly evil kind of greedy.
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If I may suggest, pull the 12V battery for about a minute and reconnect. That will certainly reboot and hopefully clear any errors inside the mylink system. If it still isn't working, it's probably a trip to the dealership.
Freshcut, I may give that a try.

I was actually at the dealership earlier today for regular maintenance and I mentioned this problem and asked if it could be fixed. The dealer more or less politely said they couldn't do anything to fix it before the appointment even started. I was told GM Canada subcontracts the repair and maintenance on MyLink infotainment systems to a third party company and the dealer doesn't have the tools or training to fix issues like mine. This subcontractor requires at least 24 hours notice to book through dealers, but if I was lucky and the subcontractor happened to be by the dealership that day and had some spare time, the dealer would have my car's MyLink fixed. Otherwise, which in reality was polite shorthand for it's-not-your-lucky-day, I'd have to make another appointment. I pressed and mentioned this problem only began Thursday night and my maintence appointment was first thing Friday morning so I had no opportunity to give them a heads-up. The answer was more or less, sorry, I don't make the rules and can't change 'em I just apply 'em.

Given how integral an infotainment system is in a modern high-tech car like this, it seems moronic to the point of brilliant satire that the decision maker in charge of this at GM Canada would believe this service set-up is acceptable for customers. If I didn't live it, I'd believe it was more straight out of The Onion than reality.
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Fresh and Young
They do like to rape us here in the north. I checked the GM website fiance rate at 2.49 as opposed to lease at 3.9. I think i would swallow the extra 1.4 % on a three year lease in case this car has to many gremlins.I have put a deposit on a prime but am not bound to it because pricing and delivery have not been set yet. I like the volt but toyota reliability and more attractive lease costs may tip the scales.Either way i think leasing is the way to go or get the extended warranty on a purchase. Hate to be stuck with junk in a few years.
Eddycurrent, that rate looks like it has come down significantly since I purchased. I might be mistaken, but I recall it being a couple percentage points higher. I took that as a clear passive aggressive statement that we really don't want to lease these vehicles. I'm also not sure what the residual is/was which is a key factor in making a lease attractive/unattractive.

As for the Prime I haven't seen them up here yet. I'd be curious to test it when it comes out. The range is really disappointing and the performance sounds a little disconcerting from some of the reviews I've read. I came to the Volt from two priuses: a Gen. 2 Prius and a Prius C. The Volt drives infinitely better than either and based on my test drive of the fourth gen. Prius it bests that car significantly too. I also had a really poor experience with the Prius C, which while reliable, was really poor quality in terms of materials. Add to that an experience with the dealer towards the end of the lease that I wouldn’t wish on my worst emery and I was completely turned me off the brand. I don’t regret buying the Volt I’m just a little weary right now with these tech hick-ups. They haven’t affected performance (knock on wood) so they’re minor in the grand scheme of things.
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What were you doing prior to your MyLink screen going to an off state? I had the same problem about a week ago with the CUE system. Did your screen look like this:
View attachment 132897
That's virtually identical to what mine looks like: . The specifics differ a bit but it's in the same service maintenance mode that appears to be awaiting a software install.

As for what I did, all I did was start the vehicle. I parked my care when I came into the office in the morning. It was playing music off a USB stick before I shut it down and plugged it in to charge. When I came to get the car to go to dinner that evening the MyLink screen was completely blank. I tried to get it to reboot by turning off the car, pressing the OnStar button before quickly hanging up and shutting down the car and opening the door for about a half minute before starting again—nothing resolved it. That's when I called OnStar talked to the tech who told me others were having issues and if it didn't resolve itself after being parked for a couple hours I'd have to take it to the dealer. I've never had software go this pear-snapped with no warning and/or exceptional action by the user. It's bizarre.
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Thanks Phronesis, that's sound advice. I have nothing plugged in the ports currently.
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