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Hello.
We are considering purchase of a Volt 2013 so that we have more range than our in town EV gives us. We like dispersed camping options in National Forest areas, but they often come with rough roads (washboard then serious pot holes/rocks. I've read on forums about the very low rubber air dam. But I can't find any other information about clearance of more essential parts.

What is your experience on rough roads? And/or related to clearance other than the air dam? Is the air dam used for anything other than increasing mileage? (one post suggested that it is a channel for cooling air)

Also, we live in Tucson. Any issues with heat?

Thank you!
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The key to rough roads is to stay off those that specify Jeep or high clearance vehicle. Most forest service roads will be fine as long as you pay attention.
 

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The front air dam is flexible rubber. Even if it scrapes the car will not be damaged but it will make a scraping noise. If this bothers you and you are doing this rough road all the time, you can remove the dam by removing its screws. Even so, the Volt sits 6" above the ground compared to 8" for the Bolt.
 

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I've never scraped the air dam or bottomed out on pothole filled Illinois, but steep ramps and driveways to cause the flexible air dam to scrape. I did have 18" wheels on my Volt and while they looked great, I've purchased 3 additional rims to replace bent ones then later had a few welded from getting cracked from hitting those potholes. I gave up and returned to 17" custom wheels with more rubber. It doesn't look as cool, but I have yet to need to replace a rim (knock on wood).

My recommendation, buy the volt, drive it, don't worry about the scraping noises coming from up front. And don't take if off-roading...
 

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My GPS messed me up in the mountains and I ended up on a dirt road. I'm amazed at what the volt can do off road. I ended up bottoming out and getting the car stuck, but the whole front end tore off pretty much. That air dam underneath scrapes on everything anyway. The road I was on was a 4x4 only road!
 

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The only trouble I had was with snow. In 8-9” of snow, the airdam becomes a plow. And when you try to back out it is worse because the airdam doesn’t flex well in that direction.
 

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I bought the shorter front dam for my 14 shortly after I bought the car used last year. The original was mangled from likely contacting driveway drop-offs. Search the forum and you will find the part number. The replacement only took about 20 minutes. I have not had any interference problems with the new dam as it is still pristine.
We didn't get any really deep snow here last winter to comment on although the car got around really good in the snow we had. The car does sit pretty low and was not designed to be a Range Rover. I would not want to go off road with mine...street car only.
 

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Despited owning two Jeeps, a Dodge 3500 4x4 truck, a GMC 4x4... we took our 2015 Volt on a wild drive from Central Texas up into Navajo lands in Utah. OnStar routing took us through the Twilight Zone and we ended up on dirt roads where the only other human beings we saw, were Navajo folks driving in pickups.

My 2012 and 2015 Volts have exceeded my expectations on nasty roads (we have had them on our ranches, and I've actually driven them on a grass runway having ruts.)

The Utah trip proved to me, the generation 1 Volt is much tougher than I ever expected. I had a video of this "trip in the Twilight Zone" on YouTube, but YouTube pulled it off because I had the songs, "Drove my Chevy to The Levy, But The Levy Was Dry" and "Take It Easy (EV)" on the soundtrack. That video showed the wild dirt/gravel roads we drove on for several hundred miles when OnStar routing went bezerk.

I might try and post that video on Ipernity (located in Europe) where they allow music used for non-commercial videos.
 

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@HOPEFUL,
I feel like you took the words right out of my mouth. I've had a 2016 Volt for a couple of years. I had the identical concerns you have before I bought it (in SD); I live in Tucson and I routinely use many forest service roads. I proceeded to buy the car and now I drive it all over AZ. I've only scraped (concerning noise) once or twice. In a rain-saturated muddy meadow north of PHX one winter it performed surprisingly well. I suggest that you will be satisfied with the clearance (definitely not worse than most other non-4WD cars).

I've studied adding larger tires to assist with clearance, but in the end was convinced (through reading and speaking with mechanics) not to add more than 1" to the diameter.

P.S. - My experience is that the Volt seems to love the heat.
 
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