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Hello, new member here. I searched for similar issues but did not see anything. Please feel free to point me in the right direction if I missed another topic.

We have a 2012 Chevy Volt. Recently, we left the dome light on over the weekend, which ran down the 12V battery. After jumping the car, it seemed like we were in good shape until we noticed some other electrical issues. Most concerningly, the white backup lights no longer come on when the car is in reverse. The brake lights, backup camera, and other features still work.

The dealership indicated that there is an issue with the OnStar system, somehow connected to the backup lights, and that it will be a $750 repair! We have not had OnStar service in years, do not intend to reactivate it, and don't care if it works. But we need a car that can be safely driven and pass inspection. We are considering using a non-Chevy mechanic to see if they can find a simpler solution but first wanted to see if others had encountered a similar issue.

Thank you!
 

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The dealership indicated that there is an issue with the OnStar system, somehow connected to the backup lights, and that it will be a $750 repair!
I'm not buying it. OnStar is not needed for backup lights to work. Burned out bulb? shorted wire? Fuse? Sure, but not OnStar.
 

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I'm not buying it. OnStar is not needed for backup lights to work. Burned out bulb? shorted wire? Fuse? Sure, but not OnStar.


Not to mention the Volt's BCM is smart enough to automatically shut off the dome lamp(s) after 10min in order to prevent AGM discharge. Unless the OP's AGM was already flat to begin with I suppose...
 

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A year or more ago, the "compass heading" in the driver’s display of my 2012 Volt disappeared. One posting I located in this forum indicated the compass heading may be related to the OnStar circuits and associated fuses (sounded reasonable, i.e., related to GPS and navigation data available to OnStar, and the timing might have been when my OnStar subscription had expired and the free basic accounts hadn’t yet been offered, so I had not noticed any loss of access to OnStar).

There is a fuse usage identified as "OnStar " for fuse F9 in the 2012 Volt instrument panel fuse box located on the left side end of the panel by the steering wheel (a fuse puller is located in the engine compartment fuse block). I pulled this fuse, it appeared to be in working order, and put it back in. The compass display did not immediately return, so I also pulled a second fuse and put it back in... can’t remember which... it might have been fuse F8, right next to F9, because the manual indicates there is no fuse in that location and perhaps I did see one there.

It worked... pulling those fuses and putting them back in must have removed some contact corrosion, and the compass heading in my driver’s display returned...

Perhaps examining the fuses for the applicable circuits (my manual says fuse F7 in the fuse block on the right side end of the instrument panel contains the fuse for Map Lights/Courtesy Lights/Back – up Lamp) will help restore functionality in this 2012 Volt, too...
 

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The OnStar cellular modem has its own backup battery. This battery is there to ensure that the Volt can dial emergency services if the vehicle detects that there has been a collision (on the chance that the 12V battery or wiring was damaged in the collision.) If the 12V battery is fully discharged, over time, the OnStar cellular backup battery may fail. The OnStar modem and backup battery are a sealed unit. You would have to replace the modem, hence the high price quoted by the dealer. How long was your Volt without a working 12V battery?
 

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funny that having a WORKING 12 Volt battery is OK but a 11.9 Volt battery needs to be replaced :)
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I would charge up and make sure the battery is ok then do a temp disconnect to reset the car systems
This with the Volt OFF.
 

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When my 12V died, it created all kinds of strange issues, threw codes, etc. It all cleared up in a few days. Also, if the battery is just on its last legs and not discharging properly, it will cause strange issues. Is it a new battery? If not, might be worth trying a solid brand new one to see if it solves problems. I'm also a firm believer in second opinions.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for the advice. We tried the light bulbs and fuses with no effect, then the 12V battery completely failed. When I tried to turn the car on, I got a bunch of warning lights and the taillights started flashing. The car would not shut off, and eventually the battery died. Trickle charging for a day did nothing. After replacing the battery, the backup lights are now working, but we still have other issues (compass doesn't work, cannot set the charging start time). We'll give it some time to see if it resolves before getting a second opinion about the OnStar.

The battery location is such a huge design fail. First of all, the battery is dead, so you cannot open the hatch from the outside. There is no easily accessible manual release on the inside. You have to lower the seats, crawl in the back, pop off a small plastic cover, and jam your car key into the hole. Once the hatchback is up, you have to clear out the charger and pump, remove four bolts with deep metric sockets, pull off the whole floor of the hatchback area, and then you can get to the battery. Great planning there, Chevy.
 

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The battery location is such a huge design fail. First of all, the battery is dead, so you cannot open the hatch from the outside. There is no easily accessible manual release on the inside. You have to lower the seats, crawl in the back, pop off a small plastic cover, and jam your car key into the hole. Once the hatchback is up, you have to clear out the charger and pump, remove four bolts with deep metric sockets, pull off the whole floor of the hatchback area, and then you can get to the battery. Great planning there, Chevy.
My Bolt has the 12V battery under the front hood. Now, if only I can find where they moved the gas engine ... :)
 

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The battery location is such a huge design fail. First of all, the battery is dead, so you cannot open the hatch from the outside. There is no easily accessible manual release on the inside. You have to lower the seats, crawl in the back, pop off a small plastic cover, and jam your car key into the hole. Once the hatchback is up, you have to clear out the charger and pump, remove four bolts with deep metric sockets, pull off the whole floor of the hatchback area, and then you can get to the battery. Great planning there, Chevy.
Seems to me you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble by attaching jumper cables on the front terminals from a good battery and then used the button on the hatch to open it normally. Or am I missing something here? As for a bad design, if my RAV4 is locked and the battery is dead, I can't unlock the rear cargo door. There is no key hole--the only way to unlock it is with the power locks. Same problem if the power lock actuator in the door fails. A lot of vehicles are made like this now. At least Chevy gives you an access panel--Toyota doesn't even do that!
 
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