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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at a used Volt and was wondering if it is better to buy one with mostly electric miles, gas, or split between the two. Is there a way to look at the computer and tell lifetime electric vs. gas useage?
 

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the center display has an energy display which shows "lifetime" gas mileage. Using this and the total odometer miles you can calculate the approximate ration of electric vs range extended miles.

charge sustaining miles'= odomenter mileage*assumed mpgCS/lifetime mpg.

I use 32 for assumed mileage CS, because most of my CS miles are either ERDTT miles or High Speed highway miles (72-74 mph) at moderate and mixed speeds most people report mpgcs to be around 38-44.

what to look for, same as any used car: maintenance records? alignment, noises on a bumpy road, cigarette smell, Mechanical Damage to the "charge cord" (EVSE), Mechanical damage to the charge port or charge port door, (same with fuel door), tire and wheel condition, crud/dirt in the 12 volt battery area, (under the hatch), evidence of driving through or standing in parked water. (look in the air filter box for water intrusion evidence and at hidden areas on the engine bay fender walls for water lines. ) there is only one common 'issue' that I have seen, and it seems to have gone away recently, and that is that the steering may feel "sticky" on center during highway drives. (this is a tiny level of force, an ounce or 2 on the wheel, and hard to notice) there are several cures for this, (easy: drive in a slow tight figure 8 in a parking lot; harder: the dealer can replace some seals; very hard: replace the steering rack) the figure 8 works for most people
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
the center display has an energy display which shows "lifetime" gas mileage. Using this and the total odometer miles you can calculate the approximate ration of electric vs range extended miles.
Should I be looking for a car that has more electric, gas, or combination mileage? Or does it matter?
 

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Should I be looking for a car that has more electric, gas, or combination mileage? Or does it matter?
Tough to answer, Many volts (ok, dozens) on volt stats are over 100,000 miles and many over 50,000 electric. none of those people have come on this forum and reported distance related wear/ failures recently... This is just a guess: Hard driving will have more effect on future maintenance costs than distance will. if that's correct, the type of miles won't matter....
 

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When I bought my used Volt, it had more gas miles than electric miles. Actually, quite a bit more gas miles. That said, I haven't encountered anything wrong mechanically even after driving it 4000+km's home. However, take a look around the forums and see what the most common problems are. Off the top of my head, here's a list of things you can look for:

1. Bearing issue - Make sure on your test drive to drive it hard and regen hard. Drive around in "Low." If you hear something like a loud circular saw or band saw winding down when you are in hard regen, it might be an indication that the bearing is going. There is a youtube video of the sound when the bearing has already failed. It's normal to hear a slight whining sound when you are close to coming to stop.

2. High pitch ringing sound - not really a problem with the car as it will still function normally, but the sound can drive owners crazy. It's basically a super high pitched sound around the 11khz range when you are accelerating or in regen. The sound is not constant, but comes and goes based on power flow from the battery. It usually comes from the rear trunk area and is attributed to the Accessory Power Module under the rear cargo floor just behind the back seats. Forum posts indicate that there is no fix and some dealers say it is normal... I have not seen a post where the APM module was replaced. Also, not everyone can hear this sound. The older you are, the less likely you will be able to hear it.

3. Backup camera - later models have poor contrast under certain lighting conditions. My 2013 exhibits this problem. Sometimes, in bright daylight, I cannot see anything displayed by the camera on the screen... it's just too dark. At night, the same thing, too dark and the contrast is low. The dealer can fix this under warranty or if it is out of warranty you will have to pay. I will have this fixed one of these days.

4. Software glitches - Personally, I have noticed some glitches with bluetooth hands free. For example, most of my phonebook entries in my phone are in the format +1-999-999-9999. My car is unable to dial these numbers - it constantly says dialing failed. Somebody in this forum noticed that if the non numeric characters are taken out so that the number is 19999999999, it will dial. I have since removed the characters and re-paired the phone, but have not called anyone yet so I can't say if that was the fix. That said, people can still call you and you can manually dial numbers no problem regardless of what is in your phonebook.

For bluetooth audio streaming, it works. However, I noticed that sometimes (when I skip to the next song), the progress indicator on the bottom counts the first 3 seconds and then resets to zero and starts again. So, for example, if you have a song that's 4 minutes in length, the progress indicator shows 0 - 4 mins to indicate the length of the song, but the progress bar will not get past 3 seconds even though the song has played past that point.

Other people have noticed that subsequent songs after the first one sound flat or out of tune. I have not noticed this in my car.

Yet others have experienced frozen or blank screens.

5. Charge door problems - some posts indicate a problem with the 2011-2013 models where the door won't open properly or at all.

With the exception of the 1st one, all of these issues are just annoyances. It will not detract from the driving experience. I think the first two are "walk away" type problems and the rest are "fix before you buy" problems.

After all that was said, the Volt is still a great car. I still find it hard to believe that this is an American car based on my previous experiences with them.
 

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In addition to above, try to get one with less than 50k miles. The battery warranty is 100k and should transfer to the new owner.

My usual MO for buying cars is find a one-owner with less than 50k miles and around 3 years old. Drive 3 years. Rinse, repeat. This way you get a fairly new car and let the first owner keep the depreciation. Skip it if the 'one owner' is 'rental'.

Read the CarFax carefully line-by-line. My daughter bought a Highlander that was in a roll-over accident. Didn't find out until the dealer pulled the CarFax when she traded it in. Major hit to the value.
 

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For a used 2011 I'd want to make sure the free battery tunnel reinforcement had been performed (all the other years it's OEM).
 

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Should I be looking for a car that has more electric, gas, or combination mileage? Or does it matter?
In principle, if you assume that the engine and battery degrade at similar rates, someone who expects to drive mostly electric should look for cars with lots of gas miles, and someone who expects to drive long trips should look for a Volt with mostly electric miles.

On a Volt, I'm not sure it matters much. The engine and battery are both coddled to an extent unheard of in the industry.

The battery is thermally managed to keep it in the best operating temperatures, and almost 30% of the nominal rated capacity is blocked off and never used (Lithium batteries suffer most of their wear at very high and very low states of charge - high charges at high temperatures are especially bad.)

The engine is driven straight to operating rpm by a large electric motor, the car waits for oil pressure, then injection and combustion start. After that, there's a 30 second? warmup period at 1400 rpm and half throttle before the car really pulls on the engine. The engine spends most of it's life between 1400 and 2700 rpm - and never exceeds 4500 rpm no matter what.

We recently had a couple folks with 3 years and 80k on the car post in another thread, and they still can't see any loss of electric range from new (there may be some - but if so it's small enough that it isn't obvious among the drive variables.)
 

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I bought a 2013 used Volt back in February. The car had 17000 miles on it. I bought it from a car dealer in Orlando, FL. The things I looked for on the car were clean interior free of scratches and wear (leather seats). I also looked for signs of body damage such as paint overspray in the door jams and under the hood, panels that don't fit quite properly and how the car drives. My car had front tires that were worn on the inner and outer edges. This indicated to me that they had been underinflated for quite some time, but not a dealbreaker. I also noticed that some of the cars I looked at had rust on the bolts under the rear hatch, but the one I purchased was free of rust. In addition I looked at the ICE to see if there was any significant amount of discoloration on the engine or cover, which might indicate there was some work done to the engine. As far as the electric motor goes, listen for excessive bearing noises when you drive the car. I would suggest you get an extended warrany, just in case and due to the complexity of the car. I also looked at the carfax, but I know there can be cases where things don't show up in the report. So far I have put 5000 miles on the car and it has been great. One other thing that I considered. Starting in 2013 the Volt has a mode called "HOLD" which runs the ICE and keeps the battery at the level it started with when you switched into the hold mode. That one feature is why I bought the 2013 rather than an older model. I use this feature whenever I take a trip. When driving at high speeds for extended period of time I switch to hold mode and once I am drining at slow speeds around town I swirch back to normal mode. The older models did not have this feature, so you used the battery for about 40 miles, then the gas engine starts cycling on and off (similar to the prius, except the prius is always a parallel hybrid). This is a cool feature and can let you customize your battery use.


Good luck

2013 Crystal Red
Safety pkg1 & 2, Beige leather, bose system, navigation, shiny wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm going to look at a few tomorrow....2011,12,&13...seems that they are all within a few thousand dollars of each other. Now I'm leaning towards a 2013 for the larger battery/greater range.
 

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IMO , the worse thing that could be done to a Volt is never charge the battery . If for example a dealership has a Volt on their lot for months on end without charging it . Other than that , I don't see any significant difference on how the car was used .
 

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Don't bother. Used Volts often cost the same as a new 2014 Volt. The 2014 Volt had a $4,500 price reduction as compared to a 2013 model. This makes used 2013 Volts a poor deal compared to a new 2014 Volt with a full factory warranty.
 

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Hey Sinnombre, do you see any quality differences between the 2012 & 2013 volts you own?
Very minor differences in features . No difference in quality . My daughter's 2012 seems to have a slightly larger battery capacity than my 2012 . The 2013 has the hold mode and the kw meter that I do use when I drive it .

The worse thing they did on the 2013 was making the charging default to 8 amps . If you use a 240v evse you can avoid this .

I also drove a loaner 2014 last week . It had a few quirks on it . The ICE miles were registering as EV and visa versa .
 

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FWIW, there is a 2013 at Autobahn Motors here in Belmont, CA (Northern CA) with less than 5,000 miles for only $23k. That's a great deal if you ask me.

My 2011 Volt no. 779 which was a fantastic and reliable car is on sale at FH Dailey Chevrolet for $21k and has 25,000+ miles.
 
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