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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone else had a problem with the drive mode button responding intermittently when pressed?

Sometimes I need to press the drive mode button three or four times for the drive mode menu to open, and then further press the button several times for it to change to the desired mode. The button seems fine when the car is first powered on, but then will start acting up 20 minutes or so into the drive.

I've had the car to the dealer and they stated they could not reproduce the problem - everything looked fine to them. They claimed to have taken the car on long two test drives, although the odometer showed only 8 or 10 additional miles when the car was returned to me. They told me to come back when I had a hard failure.

I'm wondering if this could be a software glitch since the problem arises only after the car is driven for 20 minutes or so. I'm one of those people who likes to change drive mode two or three times each commute depending on the road, traffic, etc. I use hold mode for example to cool the cabin down when starting out on a hot day, or when approaching steep hill. I suppose I could have just simply worn out the button, although it feels the same as the other buttons and does not appear to be loose, stuck, or otherwise damaged.

I have a model year 2013 with 50K miles.
 

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There have been reports of people wearing out the drive mode button. It starts to get flaky, sometimes working, sometimes not. Look at the suggested "Similar Threads" at the bottom of this page.
 

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Sounds like the button hardware is failing, as it did with me and several others. I hope you are still under warranty - seems not, if you are already at 50K miles. See the threads starting here and here.
 

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That's the only thing that has ever broken on my Volt. Fortunately, you can buy the parts pretty cheaply on EBay, and it is an easy replacement. :)
 

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Sorry I can't help with your Drive Mode Button problem. I rarely use mine. I am curious about

I use hold mode for example to cool the cabin down when starting out on a hot day, or when approaching steep hill.
I don't understand the advantage of these practices. Could you enlighten me?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sure,

I have a roundtrip commute of over 80 miles without the opportunity to charge at work. So a portion of my daily commute is always in gas mode. Through experience, I have found that if I am going to use gas anyway, I might as well use it for battery intensive activities such as to cool the cabin quickly with the A/C when starting home on a hot afternoon, and when going up a steep incline. These two alone area real drag on the battery if done in electric mode. I've tried it all ways and found that through selected use of hold mode as above I can extend my mpg versus simply running in electric mode until the battery has drained and then using gas for the rest. I'm averaging 52 to 56 miles per charge these days (max has been 60 miles) so what I am doing can't be all that bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's the only thing that has ever broken on my Volt. Fortunately, you can buy the parts pretty cheaply on EBay, and it is an easy replacement. :)
Saghost,

I am curious what exactly was the part that you replaced? Was it the complete center stack console or just one button in the console? Do instructions come with the parts? To me the center console appears to be plastic pieces snapped together, and I worry that in prying off the old assembly a plastic clip or something might break meaning the new parts would not be a tight fit. Change-out of plastic parts like this always seem to lead to a looser fit than the original and result in rattles, etc. Just wondering what your experience was with the change out and whether you did it yourself?

Guess I should start looking at e-bay for a console in the right color and model year.... Either that or buy one from the stealership.

Thank you for the help.
 

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Saghost,

I am curious what exactly was the part that you replaced? Was it the complete center stack console or just one button in the console? Do instructions come with the parts? To me the center console appears to be plastic pieces snapped together, and I worry that in prying off the old assembly a plastic clip or something might break meaning the new parts would not be a tight fit. Change-out of plastic parts like this always seem to lead to a looser fit than the original and result in rattles, etc. Just wondering what your experience was with the change out and whether you did it yourself?

Guess I should start looking at e-bay for a console in the right color and model year.... Either that or buy one from the stealership.

Thank you for the help.
The drive and leaf buttons are a separate switch behind the center console (for some reason, the lock/unlock buttons on the other side are not.) That's the only thing I replaced.

There are two bolts (plus the battery ground, of course,) the rest is plastic snaps - you start at the back of the piece surrounding the transmission shifter, and unclip it all the way around. Once it unclips from the center console at the bottom, you can move it aside. It is still connected by the wires to the shift indicator lights, so don't move it far unless you disconnect them.

The two bolts are at the bottom front of the console, behind where the Tx surround was. Once they are out, the whole console can be lifted away, though it won't go far because of the several groups of wires connected to it. The switch is attached to the console by a set of four locking tabs.

The switches appear to be the same for all Gen I model years. I actually bought a console that didn't match my car for ~$90, because it was a lot cheaper than the ones that did, and I only needed the switch. At least for the early model years, you need to consider whether it has navigation as well as the color (not sure if pre 203 and post 2013 are the same - pretty sure both groups are internally the same.)

I've read that people have been successful in convincing sellers to pull the switch out of a center console and sell it separately - I didn't try.

This thread has a few pictures and some discussion about the replacement:

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?178434-Drive-Mode-Button

If it'll help, I have the replacement console floating around and can add pictures of the back of it with the connectors - I thought the thread had some, but I'm not seeing any.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Saghost

Thank you very muh for the detailed post. This will certainly help if I take it upon myself to install a new switch.

Actually, the switch seems to have been working OK the last two days. Instead of pressing the button directly in I have tried swiping my thumb over the button with only light push inwards and it seems to be responding. Coulld be it is on its last legs before it gives up the ghost for good. I do find it strange though that when it was acting up before, it would do so only after 20 minutes or so into the drive. When the car was first powered on in the morning or afternoon for the commute the button would work just fine when depressed, for about the first 20 minutes.

Oh well. I will keep my eyes out for a new console on ebay. Not seeing much there at the moment.

Thank again,
Iain
 

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I just took my console apart yesterday for the same reason. The switch is removable. You can disassemble the switch and the momentary contact as well. Everything is clipped together. The momentary switch has 4 very small clips on all the corners. I used some contact cleaner and a swab to clean the contacts. The switch has never worked better. If you are up to it, it's possible to fix yourself.
 

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I just took my console apart yesterday for the same reason. The switch is removable. You can disassemble the switch and the momentary contact as well. Everything is clipped together. The momentary switch has 4 very small clips on all the corners. I used some contact cleaner and a swab to clean the contacts. The switch has never worked better. If you are up to it, it's possible to fix yourself.
Much better solution than replacing things if you don't have to. Nice work.

I had to do something similar with window switches on an '85 Firebird, but that was a milk spill and what a mess that was.
 

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Take a small screwdriver and carefully pry just the drive mode button off (yes, leave the console alone). You will see the small white actual button underneath in the bottom right corner. In park, take a pencil or similar object and verify the actual button works ok. If it doesn't, you'll need to replace. If it does, as I suspect most will, just take two or three tiny pieces of electrical tape layered on top of each other on the back of the drive mode "cap" that you pulled off placed right at the crosshatch (the spot where the back of the cap engages the button). That is literally all it took to fix mine. I suspect things just get loose enough to not fully engage the actual button over time.
 

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Model 2013 and my button started to fail at about 46k. Unfortunately I hadn't had the time to bring the car in to the dealer and now I sit at 65k with a mostly useless mode button that will cost $600 to fix because the entire panel needs to be replaced (per the repair center at the dealer).
I've suffered through this with mild frustration until I drove up the Sherman grade in the Sierra's on 395 and had the propulsion reduced from the gasoline engine (another bad day for the button to have failed so I couldn't switch to "mountain" mode) where it became terrifyingly dangerous! Doing 50 up that hill was a bit scary and I'm not sure why Chevy hasn't issued a recall as this seems to be a persistent problem with the Volt. Should be a dial and NOT a push button going forward.
 

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Yes. I have the same issue. When car is first turned on, drive mode button works. After a short time, it only works intermittently. Then after a longer period the button ceases to work.
 

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Take a small screwdriver and carefully pry just the drive mode button off (yes, leave the console alone). You will see the small white actual button underneath in the bottom right corner. In park, take a pencil or similar object and verify the actual button works ok. If it doesn't, you'll need to replace. If it does, as I suspect most will, just take two or three tiny pieces of electrical tape layered on top of each other on the back of the drive mode "cap" that you pulled off placed right at the crosshatch (the spot where the back of the cap engages the button). That is literally all it took to fix mine. I suspect things just get loose enough to not fully engage the actual button over time.
yes, thanks for the link. I did just that. Prised off the mode button with a small screwdriver -a small knife might be easier - checked that the small round white button worked - carefully.
Then looked to see the flimsy plastic square column in the corner, ans cut two really small squares of cloth tape , and placed one on top of the other , re-inserted the cover, and voila . Total time of repair. about 3 minutes. thanks again ampedupnj
 
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