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Frequently Asked Questions on this forum

Basic information from Chevrolet:

Discontinued Chevrolet Cars, Trucks, and SUVs -- VoltageU: learn more about the Volt
Learn About My Vehicle | Chevy Owner Center -- scroll to bottom for Volt videos and manuals (see also this forum post for video titles and direct links) -- videos, news and interviews posted a few times a week, and a forum although it's got far less traffic than this one

Summary of Chevrolet Volt YouTube videos (from GM)

More advanced information, gathered by the Volt fans here on this forum:

General engineering information about the Volt

the SAE publication on the engineering of the Volt, a great view inside the technology developed for the Volt, 60 pages long!
2011 Chevrolet Volt Development Story Free Online Magazine

details on the Volt transmission, including planetary gearset and "power split" mode
Does this patent app describe the Volt transmission?

a Youtube video that explains the drivetrain in simple, easy-to-understand terms:

battery temperature ranges, when operating or parked, plugged and not
Volt thermal management system temperature band?
(see also "reduced range" post below)

details on drivetrain behavior, battery SOC thresholds, Mountain/Hold modes (see the whole first page of the thread):

regen/brake light while driving in L (Actuation) - testing data for L in Volt and Mustang downshifting. Also D or L poll on usage.
Brake Light Actuation

all about regen braking, including the behavior of the spinning leaf ball and 2011/2012 differences:
Regen recharging

use of transmission fluid to keep the motors cool under heavy load:

National Geographic "Man Made" show about the Volt pre-production factory (Warren not Hamtramck)

Volt teardown videos by Drive For Innovation:

details about the sound system, including how it saves power, size and weight:

all of the awards that the Volt won in its first year, from Motor Trend's COTY to Consumer Reports rating it #1 in Owner Satisfaction:

what do all the acronyms mean? (AER, CS, CD, MIL, RKE, SOC, TPMS, ETC!)

Questions about ordering and tracking your Volt:

Tracking Your Order, including must-read information about status codes, TPW and delivery timing

Railcar tracking via CSX and United Pacific rail lines:

What cities / states get the Volt first, or why your order hasn't moved off 1100 yet

decoding the Volt VIN

understanding how the lease numbers work, and some real-world estimates:
(the original thread with some great discussion of the issues)
(a fantastic spreadsheet developed by user highhandicapper)

explanation of the $7500 "free" loan via Ally to cover you until you get your federal tax credit:

evaluation of the extended warranty options:

Questions about chargers, wiring and the J1772 plug:

Installation manual for 120V Voltec cordset (wall mounting it)

Info tags that comes with the 110V Voltec cordset, e.g. explaining what the lights mean

Part numbers for 110V (not 220V!) chargers, including GM's, Nissan's, Clipper Creek's ... so you get an extra one
Experience with actually ordering the GM Voltec 110V charger, as of Feb 2011:
new 110V charge cord as of March 2012:

Summary of available Level 2 / 240V chargers (i.e. you don't have to buy the Voltec one from SPX!):
Data sheet for 240V Voltec/SPX charger
Installation manual for 240V Voltec charger

Wire gauges and run lengths, for planning purposes only; hire a professional electrician!

even if you run heavy gauge wiring, don't overfuse / oversize the breaker:

info on the J1772 plug and the safety mechanisms (e.g. plugging in in the rain)
more info, how it's more complicated than "an extension cord", details on the pilot signal and contactors

protecting the charge port while plugged in under freezing rain (plug can freeze to car):

Use of an extension cord while charging

Delayed charging, including behavior with time-of-use (TOU) rates:

a PDF presentation to use when faced with a condo board that won't let you install a charger, or even plug into regular outlets:

Public EV Charging Station Databases and Maps
... and smartphone apps that give you that data on the go:

for use at public charging stations, how to configure so that your Volt does NOT alarm if someone unplugs you:

a similar alarm setting, that causes the horn to "chirp" when the power goes out:

Questions about owning and operating the Volt:

First, see the excellent videos provided by Chevrolet in the first section above.

Customer "training" videos for use and operation of the Volt
plus other Volt videos linked via this site's Youtube channel

Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) checklist that gets performed at the dealer (see post #18 in particular)

Operation of the key fob, both remotely and in vehicle

All about the 12V accessory battery, including how it stays charged, and jump starting the Volt

Chevy Volt 2011-2015 12V Battery replacement FAQ

All of the possible DIC (dash) warning messages you can get, with explanation

all the sounds (beeps, chirps, chimes) that your Volt can make and what they mean:

all of the strange unintentional sounds / noises (e.g. squeaks) that you may hear:

Info on getting software (firmware) updates for your Volt:

Electric Parking Brake a) 12v b) use while moving c) auto-unlock

Sources for Volt accessories, like an extra 110V charge cord and the rear seat barrier

a trailer hitch for the Volt, although officially only for attaching a bicycle rack:

Volt-themed accessories, like shirts, hats, posters, and the Larry Edsall book:

miles of electric range and cold weather concerns:
Cold Weather Tips PDF from Chevy:

what happens when you run out of gas (1-4 more miles of limp mode):

guide for tow truck drivers to use when hooking up to tow a Volt; print and keep in car!

resetting the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) after rotating the tires, without the $50 tool:

guide on how to use the air compressor / fix-a-flat kit that comes with the Volt (PDF, print and keep with compressor):

possible spare tire solution, using a Cadillac CTS spare:

exact Volt wheel dimensions, useful if you are looking to replace the wheels:

lifting and jacking your Volt:

scenarios under which the Volt will autonomously start the gas engine:

how to prevent the gas engine from coming on when popping the hood (e.g. for show-and-tell events):

Low Traction / ABS behavior and that "my brakes are failing" feeling when going over bumps while braking:

an 8-foot-long piece of lumber (e.g. 2x4, 2x6) WILL fit completely inside the Volt:

how to open the trunk hatch mechanically from the inside:

how to remove the seat headrests, e.g. for putting on a seat cover:

how to replace a front turn signal bulb:

What's the black box behind the mirror, attached to windshield?

Rearview mirror problems? Dimmer not working, blocked by overhead stuff, can't see everything? You're doing it wrong:

Why does the radio come on when I use the climate controls / navigation system?

compatibility of advanced audio disc formats with sound system (e.g. SACD, DVD-Audio, dts, Dolby Digital):

playlist (m3u pls) and workaround for the music sort order bug when listing MP3 files:

Extended Warranty information - mainly GM has three levels of service plans. Their brand name is GMPP (GM Protection Plan)

all of the manuals that come with your Volt (all model years), in PDF form:

Helm service manual for model year 2011 Volts:
Helm service manual for model year 2012 Volts:

maintenance schedule for 2011 Volts:

Track your Volt's performance against the community at
Discussion about it in a forum thread here:

Differences between 2011 and 2012 model year Volts:

Changes for the 2013 model year Volts:

Changes for the 2014 model year Volts:

Resetting your Volt's OnStar connection because the web and smartphone status updates are failing:

Cautions about getting the software updates on the model year 2011 Volts:

and finally, the threads most personally exciting to me ... the DashDAQ / Torque / ElmScan / OBD2 threads!

Driving-in-L-mode / Anyone-else-driving-their-Volt-in-Low-Gear / Do-you-drive-in-Low-or-Standard-Drive / Safety-rear-lights-for-Low-gear-throttle-lift

Financial cost, benefits, comparisons, questions:

Noob questions on the 7500 rebate

Got something to add?

If you have something to add to the FAQ, send me a PM (not an email, please) here and include the URL of the POST that has the interesting info. Post URLs can be found in the post "number" in the upper right corner of each post in a thread, so find the particular post that has the useful info and get the post URL from the upper right corner of that post. I will eventually add it to the FAQ, although it may take me a whole month! I'm pretty busy :)

Want to help? Link to this FAQ in your forum sig!

It is pretty hard to find this FAQ. There is no link to it in the menu bar(s) at the top of the page (the two FAQ links you see go to ... less useful FAQs). We've asked the admins about improving this, but I guess we're not getting their attention. In the meantime, what helps is if you put a link to this FAQ in your sig. Your "sig" is the customized signature block that appears at the bottom of your comments in a forum thread (e.g. scroll down and see mine below). You can create/edit this block in your account profile here and link to this FAQ. This is also useful for answering common questions, because you can simply reply "see the FAQ in my sig below" :)

Background on this FAQ:

As a service to the community, I have created this FAQ for this forum, with copious links to all of the answers and resources that have been generated in the posts here. You may note that there is already a "FAQ" (linked in the top menubar above) but it really only answers the most basic questions for newbies. There's another "FAQ" (linked in the second menubar above) but that's for the forum engine, e.g. how to manage your profile etc.

I joined this forum in July 2010 (after the pricing announcement and my own Volt order) and was very active from then through December 2010 when I took delivery on my Volt. During those 6 months I had found that a lot of my activity here was pointing people to other posts that already answered their questions. However I was finding it harder and harder to locate these reference posts, and so I decided to put together this FAQ. I'm much less active here now but I do check in once or twice a month.


· Administrator
549 Posts
Thanks Chris its a great idea and a generous offer.

Sometimes when I see new people asking the same thing asked a dozen times before I feel glad because it shows the site is successfully attracting more and more new people. But on the other hand it might get tiring for forum regulars to keep answering the same questions. This will only become more pervasive as the cars roll out and traffic grows.

FAQ is great idea.

· Registered
1,329 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
OK, Lyle, I'll get started! Again, I will be editing the post above, and at some point you can move it to a better sub-forum, make it sticky, copy into the static FAQ page, whatever. I'm just going to get going on gathering the data.

Jason, making those threads sticky isn't a solution because I'm talking about very specific questions ("has anyone seen the installation manual for the Voltec 240V charger?") and those are often buried deep within very, very long threads. For one, lots of great things have been posted in the "Tracking Your Volt Order" thread, but it's now 51 pages long and just pointing someone to that whole thread isn't going to be very helpful. I'm a fan of sticky threads for attracting new users to the most common discussion topics (e.g. order tracking) but in this case it's less useful.

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354 Posts
If you are going to act as Moderator for this new thread it may be good to make a thread/sub-thread for others to post candidate topics for your review for you to add to your thread. I don't know, this may add a flood of duplicates/trivial items and be too big a job for you to review them all. Maybe later after things settle down.

· Registered
1,329 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Lyle -

I think this is pretty much ready to go. I've been gradually editing it all week and it now has the top posts that I really wanted quick access too. So I guess you can now move this thread someplace more conspicuous, or take a snapshot of it and paste it into the FAQ page on the menubar, or whatever :) If moving the thread, it's up to you whether to preserve these comments, or just cut them off and lock down this thread. I suppose it would make the most sense in the Newcomers thread, as a sticky thread.

Wherever this post ends up, I'll continue to tweak it for a couple more weeks -- or longer if I find myself still here after I get my Volt! And I'll link to it in my sig so that people become aware of it.

- Chris

· Super Moderator
6,370 Posts

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Your links are excellent. The need is for an easier way to link to your page. Perhaps a link at the top of the main and forum FAQ pages would be a good start.

What to call the link?

Hot Topics
Topics of Interest
Topics you must read
Quick Start Link
More FAQ

You get the idea!

· Registered
466 Posts
The need is for an easier way to link to your page.
Mark is right. This is a GREAT page, but it is very hard to find.

Lyle: can this be posted on the existing "FAQ" page that is listed at the top of every page? I mean the "FAQ" that appears in this bar at the top:

New Posts Private Messages FAQ Calendar Community Forum Actions Quick Links

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1,329 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hear hear :)

I'm now catching up with what I've missed over the last 10 days and will update this FAQ accordingly.

Lyle, if you want to replace one of the FAQ links above, I could edit this FAQ to cover whatever material was in the FAQ being replaced.

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1,329 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Good idea! It wasn't in the FAQ but is now. I just searched the forum for posts that I remember seeing and collected them in the FAQ. One of these days I'll collate all that info into one post and link to that instead.

· Registered
537 Posts
Thanks for putting these FAQs together

Much easier to find needed info in them, than wading through messages.

I saved it as a favorite in the browser to make finding it easier...seems like it should be linked to under the "FAQS" on the main gm-volt page.

I see frequently that some people have this notion of "future proofing" their charger installation by using 8 or 10 gauge wire and by installing 40 amp breakers or larger. Under normal circumstances this would work ok. But of course doing this defeats the purpose of having a breaker which is purposely sized just over required load size to protect from shorts, etc. This mistaken notion has been corrected in the forums but this correction should be posted prominently in the charger FAQ so that someone hopefully does not end up burning down their house because they wanted to "future proof" their EV Charger installation.

Also for the charger FAQ... The voltec charger does not have an accomodation for someone who wants to run the wire from the top. This is done to provide protection from water getting into the charger I suppose. Since my charger is inside my garage this was not as much a concern for me, and entering the charger from the bottom was not the ideal solution for me, nor were the rear ports because I have block walls in my garage. My solution was to mount the charger to a wooden block, with a slot cut from the top of the block down to one of the rear ports. I filled the area where the wire enters the block with gray putty to protect from any "stray moisture."

Also the charger manual posted was not specific about the number of conductors required. I had thought since there are control electronics in the unit that it might require a neutral conductor for 120v electronics. This is not the case. Noting that a 12-2 conductor with ground is all that is required might be helpful.

Thanks again for putting the FAQs together, greatly appreciated

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks to the admins for moving this thread to the Newcomers sub-forum and making it sticky!

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Here is a link (apologize if it is posted elsewhere) to my favorite explanation of how the Volt's engine, battery and electric motors drive the wheels in different modes:

Its a silent video and is a very simple clear explanation (at least to me).

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1,329 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for that video and the PMs to me suggesting other FAQ additions. I've updated the FAQ.

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
FYI, I have been checking in here to apply FAQ updates, but only once a month or so. A couple days ago I updated the FAQ with a better link to leasing info, following queries from a friend who was picking up his Volt.

Please continue to send me a PM if you have something to suggest. I probably won't reply right away, but should get it updated in a couple weeks. And I hope to become more active here for the next 6 weeks or so as I get a bit more time. The last 4^H5^H6 months have been craaazeeeee ....

Also, a PM here is better than emailing me (if you figure out my email address). By keeping the feedback here as PMs, I can drop in here and edit the FAQ anytime, without having to go dig up the emails.
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