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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In cold weather (<30°), my 2017 Chevy Volt goes into "Forced Engine ON" for a few minutes while in electric mode. The engine noise is way louder than the Hold mode and I feel the vibrations trough the steering wheel and the gas pedal.

I was wondering if other 2016-2017 Volt owners experience the same noise/vibrations in cold weather.

The manual explains the conditions in which the Forced Engine On activates and what I experienced is consistent with the manual's description, minus the extreme noise and extreme vibrations.

I have experienced the engine turning on for Engine Maintenance, but the engine is as quiet as the Hold mode in all the occasions I've had the engine on.
 

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Look in the settings and change the engine assisted heated one to "deferred". I forget the exact name of the setting, but it's something like that. Then the ICE shouldn't turn on unless it's 15 degrees or so.
 

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In cold weather (<30°), my 2017 Chevy Volt goes into "Forced Engine ON" for a few minutes while in electric mode. The engine noise is way louder than the Hold mode and I feel the vibrations trough the steering wheel and the gas pedal.

I was wondering if other 2016-2017 Volt owners experience the same noise/vibrations in cold weather.

The manual explains the conditions in which the Forced Engine On activates and what I experienced is consistent with the manual's description, minus the extreme noise and extreme vibrations.

I have experienced the engine turning on for Engine Maintenance, but the engine is as quiet as the Hold mode in all the occasions I've had the engine on.
It's pretty normal. The engine is probably just at a much higher RPM so it can bring the heat up as fast as possible and then cycle back off. I have to say, I'm a bit surprised by how loud/rough it always feels. That might be just because we're used to 100% electric smooth driving so often and that this engine actually is just as smooth as other cars, but it feels like it's always running rough and that the "idle" bounces around by like 500 rpm when my old 2002 car the idle would bounce by maybe 100 rpm at most.

It also probably is because we're not used to a single tone coming from the engine. Think back to holding a steady RPM in a normal car either while in park or in a lower gear at low speeds. 3000 rpm sounds really loud, it's just you're usually not constantly at that engine speed when only going 25 mph or even stopped at a stop light...
 

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Couple of points that need to be mentioned here.

There are two temp points you can set the ICE to come is ON = 35 degrees and DEFERRED = 15 degrees

The ICE can feel JARING compared to the silky smoothness of electric operation, but it's no worse than say a Curze. The ICE will also smooth out with more miles.
 

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Couple of points that need to be mentioned here.

There are two temp points you can set the ICE to come is ON = 35 degrees and DEFERRED = 15 degrees

The ICE can feel JARING compared to the silky smoothness of electric operation, but it's no worse than say a Curze. The ICE will also smooth out with more miles.
I'm also wondering if we might not have the best oil for super cold temps. I don't want to jump TOO much into the oil game because everyone has a comment on if you need top grade stuff, change weights for summer and winter, use synth or conventional, etc.

That said, I doubt the dealer put in a 0 weight oil and my engine so far does ~80% of it's work down at 25 degrees F and below... lately around 0F to 10F. With it cycling on and off maybe that oil never stay's toasty hot and maybe it is worth buying some Mobil 1 0w30 or 0w40 synth oil for it.... sadly I'm a lease (and probably won't buy - Tesla) and get two free oil changes at the dealer... so do I care that much.... no... not really.

Curious what the standard weight oil is... maybe gain a mpg or two with better oil?
 

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The ICE definitely runs at a bit of a higher RPM in ERDTT than idling in Hold, but it has very little load (only generating a tiny amount of electricity). Also, if you're paranoid, you could check your plugs. The factory plugs on mine were bad, and I got a very VERY rough cold idle (the car would jerk roughly forward and back during slow acceleration; the pitch of the electric motors would "jiggle" a bit) because they were fouled.
 

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I'm also wondering if we might not have the best oil for super cold temps. I don't want to jump TOO much into the oil game because everyone has a comment on if you need top grade stuff, change weights for summer and winter, use synth or conventional, etc.

That said, I doubt the dealer put in a 0 weight oil and my engine so far does ~80% of it's work down at 25 degrees F and below... lately around 0F to 10F. With it cycling on and off maybe that oil never stay's toasty hot and maybe it is worth buying some Mobil 1 0w30 or 0w40 synth oil for it.... sadly I'm a lease (and probably won't buy - Tesla) and get two free oil changes at the dealer... so do I care that much.... no... not really.

Curious what the standard weight oil is... maybe gain a mpg or two with better oil?
I agree 100%. I change ALL my vehicles to Mobil 1, my Corvettes came from the factroy with Mobil 1. Having owned THREE Volts since March 2012 I really believe that change helped SMOOTH out some of the roughness and improved fuel efficiency.
 

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I've experienced ERDTT (Settings-->Vehicle Settings-->Climate & Air Quality-->Engine Assist Heat...I have mine set to Deferred) a couple times in the last few days with temps in the teens and it is noticeable at low speeds, especially when it first kicks on because I'm not expecting it. But once it's running I don't think it's any worse than in Hold mode, or any other ICE car for that matter.

A couple of side notes...I find it odd that the Owner's Manual frequently says "If Equipped" when referring to this feature. Is there a Volt out there that does NOT have this feature? I know some owners who wish theirs did not!

And I REALLY WISH this could be disabled completely, or be user programmable for the temperature threshold. Or at least programmed so that when running in ERDTT, the engine still shuts off at a stop. Nothing worse than sitting in a Volt at a stop light in 13 degree weather and my tailpipe is smoking just as much as everyone else's while I go nowhere!
 

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Chevy has probably determined that there are way more complaints about lack of heat in extreme cold than a rough running engine. A fully counterbalanced engine would be smoother (for the fraction of time it is called upon to run) but heavier and more costly. It is a reasonable compromise. Also, I believe the Gen 1 engine-at least in my '13-was perhaps slightly smoother than my Gen 2, although noisier at higher RPM. One other thing: I believe that the engine uses hydraulic engine mounts-oil filled (?) If so, the slightly thicker oil in cold may affect vibration absorption.
No car is perfect. I still love the car.
 

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And I REALLY WISH this could be disabled completely, or be user programmable for the temperature threshold.
It can. You use a resistor to trick the outside air sensor into thinking it's warmer than it is. There is even a forum member selling a ready to use "plug and play" sensor replacement that has this mod if you don't want to do your own.
 

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Volts are supposed to have synthetic oil partially to last for the 2-year oil change interval. I believe the gen 2's require a 5w-20. My ICE (gen 1) seems to have smoothed out somewhat over time. I use Amsoil Signature series 5w-30. The engines typically run so little that it can take many miles to get one nicely broken in. I recommend new owners take their Volts on a few long road trips to get the ICE broken in. And do use top-tier synthetic oil. There is a reason!
 

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Chevy has probably determined that there are way more complaints about lack of heat in extreme cold than a rough running engine. A fully counterbalanced engine would be smoother (for the fraction of time it is called upon to run) but heavier and more costly. It is a reasonable compromise. Also, I believe the Gen 1 engine-at least in my '13-was perhaps slightly smoother than my Gen 2, although noisier at higher RPM. One other thing: I believe that the engine uses hydraulic engine mounts-oil filled (?) If so, the slightly thicker oil in cold may affect vibration absorption.
No car is perfect. I still love the car.
Four cylinder engines typically don't get balance shafts until they grow over about 2L. At 1.5L, the Volts engine shouldn't really need one.

I've noticed that the engine in my Volt, during EMM, runs a little rough for the first 30 seconds or so, then suddenly smooths out. I'm assuming this represents the transition between open loop and closed loop operation. (E.g., cat is lit, O2 sensors are hot, etc.) ERDTT is probably the same.
 

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I agree 100%. I change ALL my vehicles to Mobil 1, my Corvettes came from the factroy with Mobil 1. Having owned THREE Volts since March 2012 I really believe that change helped SMOOTH out some of the roughness and improved fuel efficiency.
Volts are supposed to have synthetic oil partially to last for the 2-year oil change interval. I believe the gen 2's require a 5w-20. My ICE (gen 1) seems to have smoothed out somewhat over time. I use Amsoil Signature series 5w-30. The engines typically run so little that it can take many miles to get one nicely broken in. I recommend new owners take their Volts on a few long road trips to get the ICE broken in. And do use top-tier synthetic oil. There is a reason!
My dealer said it was just good old conventional oil that it required. Nothing "special" (is synthetic oil still considered special?!). Also, they mentioned yearly oil changes, not ever two years. My oil "life" indicator in the car would also point to yearly changes since I'm already down to 80% and I got the car new with less then 200 miles on it in Aug. It has a total of 576 miles on the ICE (those ~200 miles at delivery were almost 100% ICE miles, fairly certain they drove the car down from Spokane, WA to Pasco, WA to transfer it to this dealer for some reason...)

I'll ask my dealer about putting synthetic oil in when I use Chevy's first included oil change, but I doubt they will unless the book says it's required.... Just waiting for my Model 3 :p
 

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Just wait for the day you start your car in below zero temps after letting it sit unplugged for a day. You push the start button, the standard whoosh found doesn't,come on, then you hear the engine jump into action at high idle and your battery is gray until the battery warms to operating temp - yes this is all normal. The first time it happened to me I was all worried about something broken, but a quick jump to this forum, and my fears were appeased. I think we get spoiled with how smooth and silky the EV drivetrain is that we forget what others experience every day with their ICE vehicles.
 

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Just wait for the day you start your car in below zero temps after letting it sit unplugged for a day. You push the start button, the standard whoosh found doesn't,come on, then you hear the engine jump into action at high idle and your battery is gray until the battery warms to operating temp - yes this is all normal. The first time it happened to me I was all worried about something broken, but a quick jump to this forum, and my fears were appeased. I think we get spoiled with how smooth and silky the EV drivetrain is that we forget what others experience every day with their ICE vehicles.
I don't think that happens in the Gen 2 models. It does start the engine right away to a high idle (ERDTT), but I don't think it will ever block out the battery if it's too cold.
 

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I don't think that happens in the Gen 2 models. It does start the engine right away to a high idle (ERDTT), but I don't think it will ever block out the battery if it's too cold.
Acronym Guide: What do they all mean?

FWIW This ERDTBT mode has been confirmed present on the Gen1 and is more than likely present on the Gen2 as well although it may not have been reported occurring yet here in these forums...



Above is from the Gen2 Owner's manual..

BTW: Unlike ERDTT which displays a corresponding message on the DIC indicating it is happening, it has been reported there is no message displayed for this ERDTBT mode on the Gen1...

Remember that ERDTT is strictly for creature comfort/helps to defrost whereas this ERDTBT mode happens when the Battery Pack is just too damn cold-soaked for it to provide power!;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you all for all the responses.

I was really surprised at the aggressive vibrations and sound, but I can live with it for a few minutes in order to have heated seats and heated steering wheel.

It's mostly noticeable at lower speeds. At highway speeds, it's really hard to tell when the engine kicks in at full power.
 

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I believe that oil used for the Gen 2 Volt engine is 5W20 or 0W20 synthetic oil. I plan on using Mobil One Extended Peformance Oil in 0W20 weight, the same weight as our 2010 Prius uses. So will use the 0w20 for our 2016 Volt's firsts oil change.
 

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I've experienced ERDTT (Settings-->Vehicle Settings-->Climate & Air Quality-->Engine Assist Heat...I have mine set to Deferred) a couple times in the last few days with temps in the teens and it is noticeable at low speeds, especially when it first kicks on because I'm not expecting it. But once it's running I don't think it's any worse than in Hold mode, or any other ICE car for that matter.

A couple of side notes...I find it odd that the Owner's Manual frequently says "If Equipped" when referring to this feature. Is there a Volt out there that does NOT have this feature? I know some owners who wish theirs did not!

And I REALLY WISH this could be disabled completely, or be user programmable for the temperature threshold. Or at least programmed so that when running in ERDTT, the engine still shuts off at a stop. Nothing worse than sitting in a Volt at a stop light in 13 degree weather and my tailpipe is smoking just as much as everyone else's while I go nowhere!
I saw the "If Equipped" also and thought only the Premier model had this feature, but others on this site have corrected me and told me all the models have this. Go figure.
 
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