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Took my 2013 Volt to the dealer to get an oil change. They told me that at 70k miles, I needed a 3 part fuel system service: Clean the throttle body, fuel injection and add some additive. I should have come here first, but trusted the dealer....

Three days after the service, my battery runs out and my engine switches from electric to gas -- the first time since the service. Immediately, I get two warning, "Engine Not Available, Service Soon" and "Propulsion Power is Reduced". Not the sort of messages you want to see while driving 65 mph. Shortly, the engine shuts off and I'm stuck on the center median on the 5 freeway during rush hour in LA.

Got the car towed to another dealer and they said my mass air flow sensor had failed and had to be replaced. They also offer to clean my throttle body while they're there....

So some questions:

Q1: The fuel system service isn't in the service schedule of the owner's manual at all, so is it required?

Q2: 85% of my miles are electric. So my engine has only done about 12k miles. Is it premature to do the fuel system service?

Q3: Isn't the MAF sensor is connected to the throttle body? Is it possible they broke or damaged the MAF sensor when they cleaned the throttle body?

Q4: I doubt the first dealer ever drove my car using the gas engine. Otherwise, they would have seen the MAF failure. Is that true?

Conclusion. I am of the opinion that the first dealer performed an unnecessary fuel systems service on my car and then broke my MAF sensor in the process. Do I have a case?

Thanks!
 

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Why would an engine with only 12,000 miles need anything but an oil change. Your dealership (or stealership as some call them), has totally taken advantage of you. Demand full reimbursement for any expenses resulting from this. My motto with vehicles "if it ain't broke don't fix it". My Volt with 84,000 miles and maybe 22,000 on gas has had 2 oil changes. Nothing else. Runs like a top. One of the best features of the Volt is the ability to stay away from dealer service centers for long periods of time. They exist to make money for the owner.
 

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Q1. no

Q2. yes but the tech's working on the car has no idea how many miles of the 70k the engine was used for.

Q3. no, yes!!

Q4. very likely since most tech's do not understand how to run the engine with a charge on the drive motor battery.

Unlikey you will get anywhere with the first dealership but you can try.
 

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I would report the incident to Chevrolet, just to get that dealer's rip-off on the record. Maybe Chevy will exert some influence someday on weeding out such dealers. Most of the complaints on this forum seem to be related in some way to lousy dealers.
 

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It is very common for dealer service departments to offer extra maintenance services like that. They usually add very little value, especially in your case, as you noted, because your engine has not been used much. It is not really considered crooked to provide these services since whether something needs to be "cleaned" is totally subjective. These are primarily just a way to inflate a service order so that those who can afford to overpay are given ample opportunity to do that. Take a look at your dealer's list of services that are included in a 30,000 maintenance interval package, for example, and compare that list to what is in the maintenance schedule, even for an ICE car. There are plenty of extras. Just please be aware as a car owner, you have to be on guard for stuff like that at all times.
 

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I had the same/similar service recommended to me for my wife's Buick with about 25,000 miles on it. They called it a "mini tune up". I questioned it and in the end I decided to get it because they said they check for any engine and transmission specific code updates that might be available that would not normally be done unless you were in for a specific service complaint and a code was available.

Basically, they clean the throttle body with a can of stuff hooked up to the fuel rail (at least I think that is what they do) that apparently removes any varnish and/or fuel deposits - which of course there shouldn't be much of, especially with the fuel additives in gas these days.

However, after having it done, the Buick actually does run better. There were a few updates which addressed some complaints with the turbo lag and idle speeds. I feel less bad about having it done.

Having said that, the Volt is definately not in the same realm as a Buick ICE so it would not be necessary to have the work done and I doubt anyone here has ever had that work done on any Volt.

What I hate is the guilt a dealership tries to lay on you if you do not accept their advice on maintenance. They definately like to dream stuff up to make money. No doubt about that.

As far as "not in the manual", there is actually a line in the manual that suggests "dealer recommended service" may need to be performed(paraphrasing) probably to give the dealer something to fall back on.

Hopefully the dealer will get it sorted out but it is annoying when one gets taken advantage of or at least questionable work is done and one feels ripped off as a result.

I think most dealers try to do that.
 

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First of all, your throttle body should hardly ever need cleaning because it's behind the air filter. If it's dirty, you likely have other problems to deal with.
 

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Not sure about the Volt, but other GM cars have the airflow sensor right at the inlet of the throttle body, a heated coil whose resistance
changes with varying airflow. It could definitely have been damaged by a throttle body cleaning. WOT? Am I right or FOS?
 

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It was completely unnecessary service, and the knuckleheads at the service department almost certainly damaged your MAF sensor while working on the car. You should make them fix it, and complain to your Volt representative.
 
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