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Hi all and thanks for giving advice to strangers on the interwebs. :)

So I'm going to go look at buying a 2012 base Volt (75K miles) in a couple of days and since I haven't owned a car in five years (had a 1998 VW Golf before that - I buy cars old and drive 'em into the ground), I figured I'd check in to make sure there isn't anything special I need to ask or look for. I've always bought from individuals but this time it's a dealer so I'm a bit wary.

I'm a handy person and used to do my own oil changes and brakes and other relatively minor stuff. Left the clutch and water pump replacements, etc, to paid mechanics. Never took a car to a dealer except to the parts department for that VW.

I've read about how to calculate ICE mileage vs. electric motor mileage, so I'll do that. I've read that at least one person thinks either engine/motor could probably go 200K miles anyhow.

Does the Volt "generator" engine have all the same components as a regular gas car engine? Water pump, timing belt, rods that could get thrown, etc? I'm thinking of the big-ticket items that could need replacement soon.

I figure suspension, brakes, etc are all the same considerations? Does the regen braking change anything in terms of maintenance/durability?

Anything special I should know, that I don't know that I don't know?
 

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I would make sure the battery is fully charged and then go drive it until the battery is exhausted. You should be in the mid to upper 30s on EV range.
 

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Hi all and thanks for giving advice to strangers on the interwebs. :)

So I'm going to go look at buying a 2012 base Volt (75K miles) in a couple of days and since I haven't owned a car in five years (had a 1998 VW Golf before that - I buy cars old and drive 'em into the ground), I figured I'd check in to make sure there isn't anything special I need to ask or look for. I've always bought from individuals but this time it's a dealer so I'm a bit wary.

I'm a handy person and used to do my own oil changes and brakes and other relatively minor stuff. Left the clutch and water pump replacements, etc, to paid mechanics. Never took a car to a dealer except to the parts department for that VW.

I've read about how to calculate ICE mileage vs. electric motor mileage, so I'll do that. I've read that at least one person thinks either engine/motor could probably go 200K miles anyhow.

Does the Volt "generator" engine have all the same components as a regular gas car engine? Water pump, timing belt, rods that could get thrown, etc? I'm thinking of the big-ticket items that could need replacement soon.

I figure suspension, brakes, etc are all the same considerations? Does the regen braking change anything in terms of maintenance/durability?

Anything special I should know, that I don't know that I don't know?
75K is low milage on a Volt. Volts are remarkable reliable -- even at over 250K miles. Very few problems and any issues are minor (clicking axel bolt, etc). The ICE does have all the standard stuff (Water pump, timing belt, rods) but because the computer controls the throttle, it runs at constant speeds it always warmed up correctly, etc. Check it over like normal. Other than a few oil changes, there are no service items that occurred so there is little that could have been neglected. Make sure the recalls have been performed.

The one big issue in MY12 was a bearing that could do bad creating a "buzz saw" like sound. Read up on that: https://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?103913-Bearing-failure-FAQ

With los gas prices and the virus this is a buyers market. You can negotiate hard and get a really great deal. In general, Gen 1 is considered to be more reliable than Gen 2. Safety 1 (Backup camera) is the most desirable upgrade. If you get a 2013 or newer you get Hold mode which is nice if you regularly exceed the battery limits.

Good luck!
 

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The ICE does have all the standard stuff (Water pump, timing belt, rods)
Engine has a timing chain, not belt. One less thing to worry about ;-)
 

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Other than the regular things like seeing if things work (requires knowledge of how the Volt works to familiarize you to how to check it) the single most important thing is to drive it from full battery to when the motor turns on at battery depletion. Stop the car and see how much battery it used. Should be over 10 Kw. for a normally good battery on a 2012. My 2013 with 64,000 miles is 10.3 Kw.
 

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See if there are records for replacement of the cooling system antifreeze. It should have been done by now and is kind of tricky for a do it yourself service. The condition of the 12V battery is important - it also should have been replaced. A bad battery can throw ALL kinds of weird codes. Check the EVSE very carefully (especially the plug into the wall). I have had a 2012 since new and am now at 79K miles. I am about to go in for the axle nut replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for these tips: super useful! I'm very much missing the "Like" button!

I saw a different 2012 model today, 115K miles, and well, the vibe at the dealer is just odd, of course, with hardly nobody there. The battery was totally depleted. It was at a dealer for another make of car, and they really knew nothing about the Volt, so I unloaded the meager knowledge I've gained to help them out. They plugged it in as I left.

Super good idea about running the whole battery down to check how much charge it's got left: thanks for that! I'll call ahead from now on. Also nice to know about the coolant system: thanks.

There were a few weird quirks, which I figure I'll ask about here:

1. The climate button (top middle left of the center console panel) always turned the radio on too as it turned on the screen to show the climate controls...and when I hit the power/volume button for the music (lower dial in the middle), the climate screen would shut down. Is this just me needing to learn the computer functions? Or is there something weird there?

2. I wanted to get the lifetime MPG to figure out how much the battery vs. ICE had been used (per other threads on this forum). So I pressed the leaf button to the right of the steering wheel (left side of the central console, above Drive Mode), and the power efficiency screen came up. Oddly, while I was driving on the highway, it said I was getting 23 mpg...?? And the lifetime was only 56 mpg. One tripometer has 37,775 miles with 674 gallons used, for that 56 mpg average. So clearly, not plugging it in hardly at all. I asked if the computer had been reset at some point, and they didn't know. Any other explanation for this? Isn't lifetime mpg a hard stat, like the odometer?

3. Is the Hold mode the option to obligate the engine to run so the battery stays at level? A friend told me about that feature, and it seems great. Hm...maybe need to consider a newer model.

4. What about the EVSE should I be looking for? Bent/damaged prongs? Cracked cable housing? Anything else?

5. Do these cars have no spare tire? There was just a flat repair kit in the back.

They had no service records from before their receipt of the car: ick. So I guess I'd have to contact Chevrolet with the VIN to see if the recalls were done. They did give it a good once over, of course, and it looks nice (I've never bought a car that has been SHAMPOOED!), and it's got new tires and brakes, but I'm a bit wary of potential deeper issues and the fact that lots of its miles are on the ICE.
 

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Figured out how to put photos in, so here they are.
That one looks like it burned a lot of gas by the lifetime mpg. This might mean it was driven a lot on gas vs. battery or the battery was exhausted a lot then gas was used. Regardless I suggest researching how to pull the individual battery cell voltages. There are smartphone applications (MyGreenVolt) that might help you do this. Of course ICBW. Codes might be stored as well and if really advanced you could go w the more advanced GDS2 reader with a short (2-day) data subscription. A friend with a device like this might be best or pay a friendly shop to help you.
 

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That one looks like it burned a lot of gas by the lifetime mpg. This might mean it was driven a lot on gas vs. battery or the battery was exhausted a lot then gas was used. Regardless I suggest researching how to pull the individual battery cell voltages. There are smartphone applications (MyGreenVolt) that might help you do this. Of course ICBW. Codes might be stored as well and if really advanced you could go w the more advanced GDS2 reader with a short (2-day) data subscription. A friend with a device like this might be best or pay a friendly shop to help you.
Given the extremely rare instance of bad cells in a Volt, this feels over the top to me. My $0.02.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks, all, for your input!

Yes, I apologize for the confusion. I have looked at two 2012 cars now. The first one had 115K, the second had 77K (the one I referred to in the title).

Here are the dash shots for that latter one:

PHOTO_20200331_160851.jpg PHOTO_20200331_160911.jpg

Both had not been charged in quite a while: the lifetime mpg is very low on both of them, and the batteries were not charged so I could not test the kW as recommended.

Neither dealer (one new car dealer, one used) knew anything about the Volt. I taught them, although I know little and I don't think they cared.

I'm learning a lot, and will keep looking, probably for a 2013 or later, given the Hold feature, which I now think I want. And I will call a day in advance and have them charge it up so I can test the battery.

Stay well, folks.
 

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Thanks, all, for your input!

Yes, I apologize for the confusion. I have looked at two 2012 cars now. The first one had 115K, the second had 77K (the one I referred to in the title).

Here are the dash shots for that latter one:

View attachment 161119 View attachment 161121

Both had not been charged in quite a while: the lifetime mpg is very low on both of them, and the batteries were not charged so I could not test the kW as recommended.

Neither dealer (one new car dealer, one used) knew anything about the Volt. I taught them, although I know little and I don't think they cared.

I'm learning a lot, and will keep looking, probably for a 2013 or later, given the Hold feature, which I now think I want. And I will call a day in advance and have them charge it up so I can test the battery.

Stay well, folks.
I hope you get a good one. Test driving it a lot is probably best along with attempting to charge it some in any way possible before buying. You can take that troublesome Volt off their hands! Remember, "Oil is going to be $15 a barrel soon...99 cents a gallon" could be a good mantra during negotiations. I got a smokin deal on a used 2014 at a dealer when oil was last low in early 2016. They were legitimately scared of having it on their lot and barely understood the car. I also had the early Leaf reputation helping me out back then.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks! Well, one private seller was unwilling to let me drive the car for 30 miles, so there's that. I'll work on getting my game on, I used to be a hard bargainer but I've softened a lot. You thinking one can shave thousands off a price?
 

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From a dealer, yes, I think you could get closer to a thousand in today's market -- if there is that much to give. They know what it will get at auction so you'll never get below that.

Like vidsal's experience, I expect they want a Volt gone before it depreciates down to zero on them in this market.
 

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Thanks, all, for your input!

Both had not been charged in quite a while: the lifetime mpg is very low on both of them, and the batteries were not charged so I could not test the kW as recommended.
This one at 77K looks as if it hasn't had a full charge in most of it's life, but with the kWh being fairly high, it has seen some charging. All of those numbers for gas miles, EV miles, and kWh used will reset to 0 once it's been fully charged. I know the gas miles at 1272 is the limit of that reading which has been discussed in a few topics on here as a limitation based on kilometers and the computational limit. It's suspected but never been confirmed that the EV miles will also "max out" at 1272 but so far to my knowledge no one has accomplished enough partial charges to confirm that. What is however concerning is that it went only 84 miles and used 154 kWh which makes me wonder how much sitting it did while powered on. That's not a bad thing, just wasteful use of battery power.

I personally went with the '13 in part due to hold mode which I'll admit I rarely use, but more because the added safety of the front camera which I don't believe was available in the '11 or '12 which is for forward collision alert and lane departure alert. They also increased the battery capacity slightly (38 miles vs. 35). Since the prices are negligible between the two years or really any Gen 1, maybe broaden your search. Aside from price, there really isn't a whole lot that differed between the various versions of the Gen 1 other than an option or two that changed or added.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for this additional insight on that power screen. I had wondered what the kW, etc, meant, and you gave me an idea. I only have so much time to research and read, alas.

Do the cars tend to come with two charging cables by default, or just the level 1 cable?

I will look for 2013-2015. It's getting harder to shop, even though open lot small outfits are eager to sell something. One large Chevy dealer wants to sell me one sight unseen and with no warranty. It might be the best one around, though, by mileage, just 43000 miles. I might just go for it, if they show me a lifetime mpg screen. Frankly, that might not even matter: ICE or electric use, with low mileage, so what?

Hm...should I trust the reputation, satisfied owners, low mileage, and 172-point check? Hm...
 

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If the car came with a 110 EVSE, it might still be there. No 220 systems came with the cars. If the car still has one, you might want to inspect it carefully - plugging it into the wall is an absolute must. It could have a bad plug. It should light up and settle down with a green light (there are variations of the factory EVSE - the last one I had actually had three green lights). The car should light the dash indicator, beep, and then turn steady green on the dash). A working EVSE is worth at least $160, factory EVSE much more.
I guess the hold feature is nice, but shouldn't be a deal breaker. Condition, condition, condition - that is what is important.
 

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IMO hold shouldn't be a deal breaker as iandjay stated. There are differences between the 11-12 and the 13-15. The earlier models included capability to play DVD video when parked, as well as a hard drive for "recording" broadcast radio (think similar to DVR) where you could pause and resume as well as store your own music rather than using a USB drive. On the other hand, the later models had a few extra minor options, including paint colors, heated cloth seats, etc, ever so slightly larger battery capacity, but lost the DVD/DVR ability of the earlier version.

Overall, look for the color/interior you want, the price you want to pay, and then finally perhaps the year and option availability. I'm more than happy with my '13, although it wasn't the color I wanted (Black in Central CA with brutal summers!) and to be honest, was the color I LEAST wanted, but the price was right and had all the options I wanted, plus extra. Remember, this is going to be your car for however long you keep it and you shouldn't settle unless your willing to make those concessions. I looked for the better part of a year (10 months) before I found mine and actually broadened my search to the LA area (100 miles away) and even looked as far as Vegas and SF.
 
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