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My 2011 Volt now has 96,497 miles on it (35,859 EV miles). I have been happy with it and it has been reliable.

Today, I picked up my Volt from Matick Chevrolet where it had been in for service since 9/15/14 - more about why so long later. They had lowered the high-voltage battery to replace the "battery interface control module #4". They also, once again, replaced the charge cord because the strain relief, which is at the standardized connector that plugs into the vehicle, had broken again - second cord, with the orange cord design. BTW, a friend has a 2011 Volt and I noticed his charge cord had the same strain relief broken. The strain relief is less robust than the cord it is supposed to protect! But the service part replacement is the same design as the 2015 charge cord (but with the button to select a reduced charge rate on the charge cord, not on the vehicle display menu).

Back to the BICM issue - the first symptom occurred in August, on the drive home from the airport after being parked there for 12 days. When I was 1 mile from home, I got a check engine light and a reduced power message. The engine started, even though there was plenty of battery range left. Checking with OnStar, I had a code P1EA4, and they said to get it into the dealer within one day. This is documented in the thread http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread...lsion-Power-Due-to-Battery-Charge-Rebalancing

Long story short, the code and symptoms were intermittent, occurring about once every 2 weeks and 1,000 miles. The check engine light was off by the time I got to the dealer and there were no symptoms, but the code was stored as history. I brought the car in on 3 different occasions over the next month or so, with the check engine on the final time when I got to the dealer, which they observed. But it was off by the time the technician checked it.

The frustration began. The first time, I was willing to accept it might be a one-time glitch, perhaps related to being parked at the airport. But as it occurred 2 more times, with drastically reduced power (it went back to normal when the vehicle was turned off then back on), and with the warranty ticking, I was not willing to wait for a hard failure, which could potentially leave me stranded.

In the earlier thread, we even had the fix from *** on Tour. I could understand the reluctance to do a major warranty repair for an intermittent condition (I worked in the service area at Cadillac and GM Service Technology Group for over 21 years), but the purpose of warranty service is to correct a defect and make it right. Unfortunately, it took a call to my Volt advisor (thank you very much!) to get things off center with a good servicing dealer.

When I left my Volt on September 15, it took at least 3 days to decide to do anything to fix it, over and above trying to get the symptoms to occur during a test drive. Thankfully, I was given a 2015 Volt, with 6 miles on the odometer as a loaner on September 18. I turned it in today with over 1,400 miles on the odometer. Fortunately, with my driving schedule, these were miles I did not have to put on my own Volt; although I did drive my Yukon XL to Chicago on one trip, before the told me not to worry about the mileage, and I figure it cost me about $75 more in gas than if I had driven the Volt.

The first delay was that the part (the BICM) had to be ordered, then the Volt technician had to be scheduled, then they discovered they could not find the safety harness that must be used when the battery is lowered. And the repair itself is not trivial. Then the service advisor was on vacation for 2 days, so nobody had called me in his absence. But I had their Volt, so I wasn't complaining.

I'm sure the dealer was reimbursed by GM for my use of the Volt loaner vehicle. The dealer "retires" a loaner at 2,000 miles, so it will soon become the sale of another (very nice) Volt at a reduced price.

That being said, I am completely satisfied with the repair done by Matick - we will see if the code recurs, but I am very confident it will not. But there is opportunity for the dealer and GM to save money by using LEAN principles. These are based on the Toyota Production System, but GM uses them as well. Basically reducing non-value added activities so the time and effort can be put into value added work, aided by employee ideas for continual improvement.

Observations: (1) I could have been driving my Volt while they debated what to do, even though OnStar says to get it to the dealer for repair immediately, (2) the dealer could have been more proactive with GM, including warranty approval and technical assistance, especially when I gave them a printout of ***'s comments detailing the fix, complete with illustrations, (3) knowing what was imminent with the BICM, they could have checked if they had one in stock before it went to the technician - dealers can get parts quickly if they want to, (4) again, knowing what was coming, scheduling the technician in synch with parts arrival / availability, (5) having an inventory / visualization system to make sure that dealership essential tools are available when needed, and (6) having a backup for a service advisor who takes a couple days of vacation, who could have called me sooner.

But the experience driving the 2015 Volt was nice, even though I wish it had navigation, like mine. Some nice touches and features added since 2011. I prefer and hope to drive my Volt for at least 250,000 miles, and at least get to the next generation as my replacement. But so far, so good. And I don't mean to dump on Matick - given the system, I would have to give them "completely satisfied", considering the grade inflation in the system, where anything less than an A is failing.
 

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Hey! A fellow master L1 Tech, I have a few more then that even, but since it's out there. :)


I would be hard pressed, in my experiance to say anything positive about LEAN or Six Sigma. Its a micromanage scma that devolves into stepping over a dollar to save a nickel.


No thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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hahaha! I like LAME. My experiance, Lean and Six took giant steps at first, then the people selling it internally got addicted to being the hero and it turned into a cut everything..


My elevator has 9 bulb sockets, with 3 led bulbs....... After all how much light do you need? Got to be LEAN! (True story!)
 

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LEAN or not... his experience is indicative of the kind of experience many people get at dealerships. Not just Volt owners, or Chevy owners, or even GM only. I'd say 1/2 of all of my dealer service visits in my life have left something wanting. The car isn't even close to ready when they promised; the part they need is completely unavailable through GM any longer (2006 GTO); claiming seized calipers are a brake maintenance issue when the car is a year old and very low mileage); swirled clearcoat during dealer new car prep because of improper buffer usage; fixing one thing and breaking another (car went in for a clutch, came out with a leaking oil pan); etc etc. I could write pages of tales and I'm only 38!

GM if you want to increase non-warranty service revenue, you've GOT to get a control of your customer's service experience and go to bat for them, like Amazon does when there's an issue. Otherwise I'll keep trusting the local mechanic who may or may not be more skilled, but ALWAYS takes ownership of the problem and puts customer satisfaction first.
 

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Agreed. I've always felt the manufactures should own the dealerships. Franchising creates too much variance in the product experiance.
 

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I've said it before..... GM ought to consolidate all EV car service into regional service centers in major metropolitan areas. Works for Tesla, a car that has had its share of problems, but the owners remain a happy bunch when the factory takes responsibility for the problems. For service, there are great Volt dealers and there are terrible Volt dealers. Got to get rid of the bad ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For the record, I feel that Matick Chevrolet is a good Volt dealer, and the technical competence of all work on my Volt has been outstanding. They, like other dealers seem to get bogged down in the administrative details, which is probably not helped by GM's hyper vigilance over warranty expense.
 

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Hey! A fellow master L1 Tech, I have a few more then that even, but since it's out there. :)


I would be hard pressed, in my experiance to say anything positive about LEAN or Six Sigma. Its a micromanage scma that devolves into stepping over a dollar to save a nickel.


No thanks.
Off topic:
Hay guys, I'm an L1 ASE master tech as well! I currently run my own independent repair facility where I specialize in hybrid vehicle repairs. Did you know that sometime in the first quarter of 2015 ASE is releasing an L3 test for light duty hybrid and electric vehicles?!? I actually had the opportunity to be on the panel of techs and industry professionals who developed the test. It should be fun!

At any rate, I'm currently driving a Prius but I hope to have a Volt in the family soon.

I agree that dealerships could be much more efficient but unfortunately I think a lot of it comes down to the a lack of technical experience to be able to confidently diagnose a problem and recommend a repair. Especially on out of warranty vehicles. No one wants to make a wrong call. I see it on Prius all the time. I have had countless Prius in the shop that came from the dealership with a diagnosis of a failed inverter, when in fact the problem is really in the transaxle. The manufacturer provides detailed test procedures but most techs don't have the equipment (scopes, meg ohm meters, insulation testers) to preform the tests and even if they did they don't know how to use them.
 

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Quite an interesting experience (and feedback) you've got there, OP.

My local dealership is somewhere around the middle of the pro/cons of dealership service. When my car was with them for accident repairs, they were kind enough to provide a loaner (albeit ICE, whatever was on the lot), and in a couple of instances they actually said i could still drive the Volt and probably should until they can get the part in...

And that was after a couple of initial experiences with them having trouble sourcing parts from GM directly. Even they were scratching their heads on why it took so long, when typically it's an overnight process. They weren't keen on repeating the "sorry, i know it's been a week, but the part hasn't come in yet" response every time i would follow-up.

My guess is, for most dealerships, they're used to having immediate parts and tech availability, and base estimates on that. With the Volt being in limited production, and likely just as limited parts supply, it's throwing people off.
 
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