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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 2013 Volt with 53,000 miles. I'm the second owner for the last two years. Overall I have been very happy with my ownership experience, but a couple of weeks ago I had a breakdown. I did learn from the experience so I hope I can pass some useful information along.

I was in the fast lane of I-95, doing 75+mph, traveling south through a remote part of Florida (north of Vero Beach). When battery power was all used the engine did not kick in. Instead I got a message "Engine Not Available" and the head unit declared "Power Off". The CEL came on. I first tried to recover power by pushing the Power button. This did nothing (so don't even try- you just lose speed). As I was rapidly decelerating I put on the flashers and pulled through the traffic lanes to the shoulder. This was a heart stopping experience.

On the shoulder I tried everything I could think of, cycling power multiple times, moving through the gears etc. It seemed to stay on the initialization screen longer than normal and then just hangup. I let it sit for a few minutes- nothing. All the accessories worked so it wasn't related to the 12V system. The RVs and semis were zooming by inches away so I crawled out the passenger door and called Emergency Road Service. Since this was a remote area it took an HOUR AND A HALF for a tow truck to arrive. The bugs were so bad I actually took my chances and sat in the car again (in hindsight a dumb decision). The tow truck driver finally showed up and said the 50 mile distance was much further than covered by my Emergency Road Service so demanded cash before towing which I fortunately had (not sure what would've happened if I had no cash). Anyway, I later found out that if I had used the OnStar button, it would've been free and maybe quicker. As long as you are under the powertrain warranty, use the OnStar button if you breakdown. I had long ago filed that feature away with floppy disks and pagers, but it is useful if you breakdown. Another lesson, at least in Florida, always carry sunscreen and bug spray in the car.

The car was towed to Rosner Chevy in Melbourne. They were great. They gave me a loaner for the week it took to repair. The write-up says cells 65 and 66 were reading 2.96V and should be 3.5V. So they replaced Section 1 of the battery and installed Recall 18215, which coincidentally I just got the notice for yesterday. This recall is related to a software error that prevents the battery from balancing the voltage between individual cells. Not sure why it took five years to figure out there was a software error- but it seems to me that there is a good chance this was the root cause of the problem. The range seems to have improved going from 35 to 40 (I almost always run the A/C). If your car is part of this recall, take it in. Don't wait to find yourself in an extremely hazardous situation, like I did.
 

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I wonder if one thinks they may be having this problem if using MM mode would help or would it only delay the problem ?
 

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Weird that the engine wouldn't come on. There's another post on here about running ICE only.

Low miles to be having problems.

Glad it can be fixed.
 

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Agreed... Sure seems like low mileage to be having battery failures. Not what we want to hear about, but glad it was taken care of and you found a dealership that knew how to handle the problem. I've read too many posts about going to dealerships only to have them look at the car and scratch their heads...
 

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I wonder if one thinks they may be having this problem if using MM mode would help or would it only delay the problem ?
If the car disabled the main propulsion battery the engine can't start, the 12 volt doesn't start the engine. So mountain mode wouldn't work.
 

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my point was he said

When battery power was all used the engine did not kick in

so try MM to to not use up all battery power if you think you have the Recall 18215 problem or just had the fix done
 

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my point was he said

When battery power was all used the engine did not kick in

so try MM to to not use up all battery power if you think you have the Recall 18215 problem or just had the fix done
The "power off" is what I noticed, meaning the car had disabled the main battery do to a malfunction in it.
The only power he had then was the 12 volt which doesn't start the engine but will boot up the computers and operate the dash display.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for your comments. All has been well since the battery repair. However, I will admit that my confidence in the car has not been fully restored and I have been avoiding the interstate for now.

I did get that letter in the mail offering free battery monitoring for 2 years through OnStar, so that’s nice. I set that up yesterday. I did see somewhere on here that it is possible to view actual cell voltages using an OBD2 reader. If you have done this could you tell me what OBD2 hardware you used? I’d like to buy the same one so I can see the voltages for myself, now that I know the spec.

Thanks


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