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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love my Volt but last night I gave it a much needed pressure wash just before I drove home. I forgot to plug it in which is unusual for me. The temperature was about 5 degrees below freezing and this morning my car was totally dead. I had to use the actual key to open the door. Interior lights did not come on, nothing. I live 130 miles / 200+ km from the dealership and I don't know what to do. Luckily the temperature will go up to +1, if that helps. I have put one of those cigarette lighter battery charges in the socket because that is all I have. I cannot open the trunk to get in to the battery, but haven't tried going through the back seat yet. Does anyone have any ideas? I am going out shortly to see if there is any charge on the battery, but I am really nervous when I have car issues. I depend on it so much and just have visions of large repair bills. HELP!
 

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You don't need to get to the back of the car at all. The cigarette lighter charger will not work because the power outlets get disconnected when the car is turned off.

You can use the key to open the door. Pull the manual hood release. There are jump start terminals in the FRONT of the car under the hood on the drivers side. You will see a large negative terminal. The positive terminal screw is under a black plastic cover. It is labeled. (It's inside a little plastic box.) Simply connect another car to it or use a charger to charge the 12 volt battery. The car should start normally once it has a bit of charge in it.

It's also a good idea to open the manual and read the jump starting instructions before you panic.
 

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Your 12V battery died. No big deal really.

There are jump points under the hood, jump start it and you should be all set. The negative terminal is in plain sight, the positive terminal is under a plastic cover and looks more like a bolt than a terminal. See your owners manual for specifics.

You might have many error codes when you jump start, but they're typically a result of the dead 12V battery and nothing more.
 

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Cigarette lighter battery charger likely won't do any good, those ports get de-energized. (You won't get any charge in or out that way unless the car is on, or for a short while after the car is powered off)

The car has access ports for jump starting the vehicle in the front under the hood (see section 10-68 in the manual). Note that these are for jumpstarting the volt, not another vehicle.
The hatch can be opened manually from inside by opening an access cover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thank you thank you so much for the quick response. So what happens though? I wash the car and today the whole car is dead? Nothing worked, I mean totally dead. Interior lights did not work, nothing. So those are on the 12V? Why would it even need the 12V to be working to start if it should be able to go under electric power? Or does the 12V run circuitry that the car needs to get started?

Yes now I remember about what is under the hood and yes should have checked the manual. I panicked because my wife needed to get to work and was under pressure. I am glad that the car is smart enough to disconnect the cigarette lighter in case I leave something plugged in. I will have a look at the manual now and repost after I am able to jump it. Thanks!
 

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The other question is. If the 12 volt became discharged, why?

Bill
People get dead batteries all the time, usually because a light gets left on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The only thing I did different yesterday was to wash the car. I may have left interior lights on too though. I don't remember if those switches were in the on positions. I am trying to get a jump now. Will let you know.
Thanks again so much.
Brian in Keewatin, Ontario, Canada
 

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Stay warm.
 

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It is a big deal.
If your 12V battery totally discharged in those temps the battery could have froze to the point of splitting the case.
Either way, your battery just took the biggest hit of its, now, short life.

Don't jump start it. Find, beg, borrow, steal a battery charger and walk away for a few hours and see if your frozen battery can come back to life. And try to figure out if any interior lights were left on to discharge it. I thought this car was smart enough not to allow the battery to discharge to that point.

Your best case scenario is the battery died an unexplainable death and a new (warranty) one will get you back on the road.

Good luck!
 

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It is a big deal.
If your 12V battery totally discharged in those temps the battery could have froze to the point of splitting the case.
Either way, your battery just took the biggest hit of its, now, short life.

Don't jump start it. Find, beg, borrow, steal a battery charger and walk away for a few hours and see if your frozen battery can come back to life. And try to figure out if any interior lights were left on to discharge it. I thought this car was smart enough not to allow the battery to discharge to that point.

Your best case scenario is the battery died an unexplainable death and a new (warranty) one will get you back on the road.

Good luck!
It was 5 degrees below freezing (23 degrees F). The battery's not likely to split open at that temperature.

A jump start will be a good first step.
 

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Oh.... That's a funny way of saying a temp....

OP, WTH are you saying in your foreign canuck dialect?

Freezing temp in F or C ? jk....
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks again. Just got it boosted for 5 seconds and the car started. I have now been able to open he charging port and have it plugged in. I also left the hood up so that it would be forced to run the generator for a while. I may go and buy myself one of those portable jump starters since I am in a weak moment right now :)
 

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Yes a jump start will be a good first step, because all you need is 12v to boot up the system. There is not the high amperage needed like we think about with a ICE. So its not really a jump start in that sense.

After it boots up, leave it on and the traction battery will charge the 12v battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Sorry, had no choice but to try a jump start but I do understand the potential problem with that. I will look at either getting a battery charger or one one those jump starting portable units from Canadian Tire.
 

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But your battery was not supposed to discharge in the first place.
Are you going to just overlook that and spend the money for a workaround?
My dealer gives me a Volt loaner when I drop it off for service.
 

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Glad to here it worked. There may indeed be a shutdown program that keeps the 12v from completely discharging. I don't know the Amps that would be needed to reboot the system but I can't imagine you would need a very large booster, despit what the salesman tells you.
 

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But your battery was not supposed to discharge in the first place.
Are you going to just overlook that and spend the money for a workaround?
My dealer gives me a Volt loaner when I drop it off for service.
...but his dealer is 130 miles away, likely in Winnipeg. I'd want to have some way to deal with any future occurrence as well. This one sounds like something was left on, which we all do from time to time.
 
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