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This afternoon my wife & daughter were out shopping here near Tampa--outside temp 'only' 93* today with real feel 108. They returned to the car, unlocked but did not remote start, & placed their packages in the hatch before sitting in the car & closing the doors. My wife tried to start the car & got the message others have gotten about the key fob not being recognized. They tried again to start the car &got the message again & could read enough before it disappeared to put the key fob in the center console. Then the doors LOCKED while the windows were up & they still couldn't start the car. I got a frantic call and was 15 minutes away so I raced out of the house with my jump starter (to either jump it or break the window or both). I was about to call them when I was halfway there to tell them to call 911 when they call me & said it finally started. When I got back home I did a search for the issue & it seems to be a lot more common for such a potentially serious & possibly life threatening issue than it should be, though with every similar issue I've read, no one was ever locked IN the car.
 

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I tried to lock myself in my 2011 car without success:
1. Got in, started up, rolled down the window.
2. Powered off, open the driver's door to shut down the car.
3. With my arm out the window holding the fob, I locked the doors.
4. Still with arm holding the fob out the window, I pressed the brake and the power button. No fob detected message displays, car won't start.
5. I press the unlock door button on the center console, all doors unlock. I also repeated 1-4 and tried the driver's side handle to unlock the door, that works too.
 

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With the car locked, can't you press the unlock button on on the center console of a g1, not sure where it is on a g2.

Alternatively, if you pull on the door handle twice, the first pull unlocks, the second opens the door.

Finally, I think there is a TSB on this that might need some software update, but the first thing to try is see if you can repeat it. If you can, try putting the fob just above the center console to see if you can start the car. If it does start, then it's probably the fob battery wearing out and a new battery might fix it.
 

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What year is your Volt? On the Gen II Volt, if the power door lock/unlock buttons do not work, you can unlock, then open the door by pulling on the mechanical door lever handle twice. You can open any of the Volt's four doors this way, from inside the vehicle, anytime you need to unless the child door safety lock is engaged on one or both rear doors.

2017 Volt Owner's Manual, page 39: To lock or unlock the doors from inside the vehicle:

(3rd bullet) - Pull an interior door handle to unlock the door. Pull the door handle again to unlatch (open) the door.

It sounds like you have a bad 12V battery or other electrical problem. The key fob does not have to be present inside the car to unlock the doors from inside the vehicle. The key fob is only needed to unlock the doors from outside the vehicle, be able to manually open the hatch and to start the vehicle.
 

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Like I said, the doors locked themselves without them doing anything but trying to start the car. On occasion, Ive left my key fob in the car & it wouldn't lock & I've also gotten in the car & closed the doors in my car garage without the fob in my hand & the door would not lock. This was entirely different--and I'm not happy, so unhappy that I'll be filing a complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission if they handle car issues &/or any agency that will take it. There are way too many 'what if's' that could have quickly lead to disaster.
 

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Supposedly my 2017 has had all the updates. Hmm. Unlock button didn't work, door pull didn't work. Like I said-they were locked in.
 

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Sorry, I thought I had included the year--2017. Bought it in January & it had all the updates as of that time & the 1 time I brought the car in for service (actually twice--2nd flat tires within 1 week) they did some kind of repair for recent recall notice. My wife was in the driver's seat & my daughter was in front passenger seat. Both tried to open the door with the pull handle as well as with the lock/unlock buttons & it would not open.
 

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I doubt there is any problem with the car. It simply doesn't behave this way. Not a big deal. When surprised people just panic. There are many solutions to the issue, some of which have been mentioned. Unfortunately human beings are hard wired to respond emotionally, which sometimes isn't the best. Rather than jumping in a car and driving I would simply have used the OnStar app to unlock the doors. But that's me. Others would do something different, and it's certainly easier when you aren't frantic.

Finally, to respond to the idea that this happens frequently, IIRC the issue of being locked in a car involves two fobs. This sound more like a fob being in a pocket or purse or a dying fob battery.
 

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Sorry, I thought I had included the year--2017. Bought it in January & it had all the updates as of that time & the 1 time I brought the car in for service (actually twice--2nd flat tires within 1 week) they did some kind of repair for recent recall notice. My wife was in the driver's seat & my daughter was in front passenger seat. Both tried to open the door with the pull handle as well as with the lock/unlock buttons & it would not open.
I believe what you are saying, if your wife and daughter only pulled their door handle once then they unlocked but did not open their door using the door handle. This is a purely mechanical linkage between the door lock mechanism, the door handle and the door latch release. Even if the Volt's 12V battery was disconnected you would be able to unlock, open the door by pulling the door handle two times.
 

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Supposedly my 2017 has had all the updates. Hmm. Unlock button didn't work, door pull didn't work. Like I said-they were locked in.
User error. The door handles are mechanical. They don't start or stop working based on whether the car is on, off. So, even if the electric unlock method doesn't work, the handles will. Try it yourself. It's a bit like saying your mechanical front door handle won't unlock with your key when your home's power goes out.
 

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Have your car's 12V tested on a dynamic load tester. Even though it should be good the 12v battery JD Powers consistently reports the number one item to be replaced in the first three years of ownership.

Static load testers don't work for modern cars.
 

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Like I said, the doors locked themselves without them doing anything but trying to start the car. On occasion, Ive left my key fob in the car & it wouldn't lock & I've also gotten in the car & closed the doors in my car garage without the fob in my hand & the door would not lock. This was entirely different--and I'm not happy, so unhappy that I'll be filing a complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission if they handle car issues &/or any agency that will take it. There are way too many 'what if's' that could have quickly lead to disaster.
The doors (normally) are set to lock automatically 8 seconds after the last door is closed. (Plus or minus not seeing a fob inside --- the "not seeing a fob" is the common factor to all of these behaviors.)
 

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Have your car's 12V tested on a dynamic load tester. Even though it should be good the 12v battery JD Powers consistently reports the number one item to be replaced in the first three years of ownership.

Static load testers don't work for modern cars.
Also, there have been one or two reports of key fob issues caused by EM interference. Apparently some parking areas can be in range of radio frequencies that garble or mask the fob's signal. Does the fob work now? If yes, try using it again wherever the car was parked when the fob could not be detected.

For what it's worth, my 12V battery is going on 6 years 3 months of use. No issues.
 

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Maybe you should name the car 'Christine'. :D

I find it odd that pulling on the interior handles didn't unlock it since it's pretty much all mechanical with no electronics involved as far as I know. If they had the fob in hand, did they try using the unlock button on the fob itself? Perhaps a long hold would have rolled the windows down unless the Gen 2 doesn't have that feature.
 

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The key fob will lower the windows if you have not disabled this within settings. To first unlock and then open the door manually you need to pull the door handle not once but twice. I believe that the driver and passenger only tried pulling their door handle once and gave up.
 

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Yeah, I think your wife and daughter need some practice operating under stress. I mean, cars have gotten door lock designs down for a while now. Observing that the nubs on the door are flush would probably lead you to try pulling on the door handle to open the door. Had they observed that the nubs went up on the first pull but the door didn't open, the next thing to do is "let me try that again..."
 
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