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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There was another thread kind of like this but it didn't seem to go anywhere and seemed rather old, from 2012. I had just returned from a 3-week trip where I had left the car plugged in in the same outlet I'd been using for the 6 years I've been quite happily driving my Volt.

I threw my bag in the trunk and hopped in. I found it was taking a bit longer than usual to turn on, but the display came on. The battery was full, but there was something different in that the usual battery level graphic in the main dash wasn't there and then I saw the error: "Service Battery Charging System". I also noticed I couldn't shift into gear, and also that my steering column was frozen. I tried turning the car off, then turning it back on. Then several other errors started popping up:

- Change Engine Oil Soon (that was already there before I left for the trip, going to handle it asap)
- Service Battery Charging System
- Service StabiliTrak
- Service Power Steering
- Service Brake Assist

I tried turning off the center display, but now that won't turn on. I gave up and got out of the car, and went to get my bag back out of the hatchback, but now the hatchback won't open even with my fob right next to it. All kinds of other weird issues. Generally seems like console buttons/physical controls are unresponsive now.

It seems like something of a software issue. Surely all those systems didn't just blow out while sitting in my garage for 3 weeks, nor some crazy power surge when I turned the car on again after 3 weeks. I have a roommate and he didn't report any weird electrical stuff at my house like blackouts or power surges/tripped fuses. I remember there was something you could do to 'reboot' a volt. An OnStar rep actually helped me do that once when my Volt for all intents and purposes was bricked at an intersection. Some combination of getting out of the car, getting back in, and pushing and holding certain buttons/pedals.

I also see some discussions here about the hard reset, which would involve disconnecting the battery. I can try that too, I guess. But was thinking I should try that soft reboot thing that rep helped me with once.
 

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It sounds like your 12 volt battery has failed. You should be able to jump start the car using the terminals under the hood. Then open the hatch and check out the 12 volt battery.
 

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Even though your Volt was plugged in while you were away the 12V battery was not being charged the whole time. Once the 2012 Volt completed charging the traction battery no further charging was also being performed for the 12V. At 6 years I would expect that the 12V battery is bad and no longer capable of holding a charge.
 

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Yup, lots of weird messages can be an indicator of a low or failing 12V battery.
 

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Yup, lots of weird messages can be an indicator of a low or failing 12V battery.
Seems pretty strange that GM wouldn't detect various characteristics of the 12v battery and display appropriate messages. Surely they have the tech so why would they let this 'computer on wheels' not have a proper UI for this instead of wonky things happening.

Other car manufacturers handle this better.
 

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They (using their computers) want to drive my car, but they can't figure out when the 12V battery is bad and alert me to the fact (yeah I know, when it is bad, the computers may go brain dead, and not be able to report, but we are really talking about giving a warning, something like hey the 12V bat. may need replacing soon)?
 

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I'd be happy with a voltage read out on the display that would activate when the door was opened and before the car was turned on (no point then), then I wouldn't need a separate voltage reader plugged into the 12V outlet.
 

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Same here Spyder.

The onboard computers, like all computers run flaky when power supply voltages get too low.
Back in the day I did a CPU board design with a low voltage reset cutoff on the controller board that prevented that.

I will replace my 12 V AGM when the maximum expected life cycle of 6 years is reached. If I ever have a problem where I accidentally drain the 12V down severely, I will shorten this time because severely draining the 12V battery is really hard on it.

I guess I find all the trouble and confusion over this topic pretty interesting. Seems like this is an area that needs some improvement.
 

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Remember the Volt will shut down all the systems it can after 3 days of sitting -including onstar .

No 12 volt battery charging for 2012 while plugged in and NOT charging unless you play games with having the charger cord come on for a short time each day.

This via external timer or playing with the time of day charging setting.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So I've been trying to jump my Volt this afternoon -- I'm pretty sure I've got it right, as I've jumped cars a lot and have been following the instructions I've found for the 2012 model.

How long do I need to sit there jumping the car? I sat and revved my donor car for about 15 minutes, and it seems there's some improvement, but the power button is totally unresponsive, and I notice I can't depress the brake pedal very far either, so not sure if that's the reason I can't start the car. Should I try to force the brake pedal down?

I can't use the remote to lock/unlock the car, thankfully it's already unlocked. The hatchback won't open for me still.

Sometimes the car alarm weakly goes on, but then I'd press the unlock button my key fob and it goes off, so there still seems to be some kind of response to the remote. I'm just letting them sit there in my driveway jumping for a bit and I'll give it a go later. There isn't some software hook that requires me to detach the jumper cables before starting, right?
 

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Where are you connecting to the Volt? (typically 2 choices, under the hood or directly on the battery)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Under the hood. I’m tempted to try directly onto the battery in the hatchback area. Ive removed the panel anticipating a battery change, but thought I’d also hook up a volt meter as a sanity check.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Multimeter read about 20 volts! Is that right? These would be the terminals right on the battery under the cargo area.

Seems like I should try to do the hard reset.
 

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That's not right. With car unplugged and hatch up, cargo floor off, disconnect the negative cable. measure voltage. Should be between 12.3V and 12.6V. If it's in this area reconnect negative cable and try to start. It shouldn't be near 20V, even if the main battery was trying to charge the 12V. Doesn't sound good but give it a go.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
My meter's probably wonky. I plugged it into a fresh 9V Energizer battery and it showed 20 V as well, though that may hint that 12V car battery may be around 9-10V as well, which may be bad. Tried the car battery on my functioning car I just did a long road trip with and it hit 30V.

It's an analog meter, and it just so happens there's a youtube video on its usage (same model) and I'm definitely reading the right rows.

I do have a plug-in battery charger that does seem to support AGM (it has indicators for AGM), so I'll see if it'll charge it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Okay, I've got my battery plugged into the charger, which recognizes it as an AGM battery at less than 25% of charge, so it's more than likely drained. It's been plugged in for a few minutes and still seems to think the it's chargeable (there's an indicator for a battery that is unchargeable). I wonder if I left a lamp on or something before I took off. I'll see where things are later tonight and in the morning.
 

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AGM's apparently don't like being discharged too much. Even if the charger seems to charge up the battery, I wouldn't trust its longevity at this point. If it's the original in a 2012 I would be seriously looking where I could get a new one and looking out for sales flyers.
 
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