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Discussion Starter #1
I see many people bragging about not having to fill up their gas tanks very often (even had one guy tell me he hadn't put gas in his car for two years). Are you guys adding fuel additives to help stabilize the fuel to help prevent breakdown or are you just leaving it alone? Even today's fuels start to degrade after around 90 days and I know from my motorcycling days, it was always common practice to put Stabil or Seafoam or something like that in our fuel tanks for long term storage.

Also - I see many people talking about the battery cooling systems. Is this not something you can top off yourself or are the vast majority of owners not willing to get their hands dirty? I don't mean that as an insult or snide remark (honest), I'm just curious why so many people are taking their cars to the dealer for a simple fluid top off.

I'm looking into the possibility of getting one of these cars and I'm just trying to figure out what I would be getting into.
 

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The gas tank is pressurized to extend the life of the fuel. The Volt has engine maintenance and fuel maintenance modes that run the engine, the first runs the engine every 6 weeks until it is good and warm (if you don't run it yourself) and the fuel maintenance mode keeps the average age of the fuel in the tank at less than 1 year. So if you didn't gas up all year and had a full tank, the engine maintenance modes would burn off some, and when the fuel maintenance mode started at the end of the year it would keep running the engine until you added enough fuel to drop the average age to less than 1 year old. I think I have the dates right.

Short story is the car is required to burn some gas, and if you don't burn any other than for maintenance modes should probably buy a regular EV (Bolt or something)

I have never seen fuel maintenance mode run, and only seen engine maintenance once or twice. There is a mode that runs the engine in sub freezing Temps as well, engine running due to temperature (erdtt)
 

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I put only about 1.7 gallons of gas in my Gen 1 Volt after the Fuel Maintenace Mode runs every year and I let it just about use up all the existing gas. In my 3.5 years with my 2013 Volt I have had 3 FMM's. I think a pure EV like the Bolt will work for my driving needs. If I need to take a longer trip I will use an ICE for this trip unless I know there are EV charging options along the route (preferably fast charging). I confimed ARI_C's finding that the minimum amount of gas from empty is 1.6 to 1.7 gallons of gas to get eveyrthing back to normal with no low fuel indication. Other than EMM's and ERDTT's (engine run due to (low) temp). I rarely use gas since, most of my commutes are withing the Volt's EV range. The only days that I may use a small amount of gas is when the temp is below 28 degrees. I set the ERDTT to 15 degress which is the lowest setting allowed.
 

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I see many people bragging about not having to fill up their gas tanks very often (even had one guy tell me he hadn't put gas in his car for two years). Are you guys adding fuel additives to help stabilize the fuel to help prevent breakdown or are you just leaving it alone? Even today's fuels start to degrade after around 90 days and I know from my motorcycling days, it was always common practice to put Stabil or Seafoam or something like that in our fuel tanks for long term storage.

Also - I see many people talking about the battery cooling systems. Is this not something you can top off yourself or are the vast majority of owners not willing to get their hands dirty? I don't mean that as an insult or snide remark (honest), I'm just curious why so many people are taking their cars to the dealer for a simple fluid top off.

I'm looking into the possibility of getting one of these cars and I'm just trying to figure out what I would be getting into.
The low fuel use is taken into account in the design of the car and it's operating systems. Most cars are still under warranty. A coolant level drop in the electrical system loops means potentially a leak to should be found and fixed, unlike letting go on your ICE, keep topping it off until the leak gets obvious or severe. So even if the owner tops it off, he should have it checked for a leak. Why mess with a system yourself that has a 8 year 100k warranty?
 

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I see many people bragging about not having to fill up their gas tanks very often (even had one guy tell me he hadn't put gas in his car for two years). Are you guys adding fuel additives to help stabilize the fuel to help prevent breakdown or are you just leaving it alone? Even today's fuels start to degrade after around 90 days and I know from my motorcycling days, it was always common practice to put Stabil or Seafoam or something like that in our fuel tanks for long term storage.
As others have said, the car manages the gas so you don't have to worry about it.

Also - I see many people talking about the battery cooling systems. Is this not something you can top off yourself or are the vast majority of owners not willing to get their hands dirty? I don't mean that as an insult or snide remark (honest), I'm just curious why so many people are taking their cars to the dealer for a simple fluid top off.
I'm not an expert, but the battery cooling system is not as simple as the normal engine cooling system we are used to, so there is a little more to it than just topping it off. This forum is just chock full of experts, someone will give you the gory details soon enough.
 

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Also - I see many people talking about the battery cooling systems. Is this not something you can top off yourself or are the vast majority of owners not willing to get their hands dirty? I don't mean that as an insult or snide remark (honest), I'm just curious why so many people are taking their cars to the dealer for a simple fluid top off.
The battery cooling system is a "closed system", but there could be leakage internal to the high voltage battery container. You would not see any coolant on your garage floor. But the leakage can become a problem if the vehicle is stored for a longer period of time creating a potential fire risk.

So the battery coolant system needs to be tested for potential leaks, before topping up the reservoir tank. This is done be a Volt technician with the appropriate equipment at the dealer. Just adding fluid could mask the problem.

VIN # B0985
 

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I'm just curious why so many people are taking their cars to the dealer for a simple fluid top off.



Because there's a tamper bracket on the cap.

I would do it because I don't like having half-full bottles of this and that lying around that I might never use. My dealer will do full fluid top-offs at no charge any time I like.
 

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Volt has an automatice mode called Fuel Maintenance Mode (FMM). FMM calculates the average of age of gas in the tank, and burns off stale gas (gas older than 1 year). If you keep a small amount of gas in the tank, you can postpone this by adding some new fuel, and bringing the average age down to less than 1 year. At some point, you either use up the old fuel, of the car will burn it. I have had a my car for close to three years now, and did not fill it up even once. I just add a few gallons at a time, and use it when required. ERDTT, EMM (Engine maintenance Mode), and emission tests (in some states) also use up some gas.

As to coolant level, GM does not want end users to top it up. Most Volts have a clamp on the cap that prevents people from opening it. The reason GM did this is because, in ideal situations - being a closed loop - the coolant level should not go down at all. However, if there is a leak, or if the system has air bubbles, it may need to be topped up but GM wants to inspect and make sure there are no leaks, and all the air is bled, before topping up.
 

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1. The car takes care of using up old fuel automatically.
2. The battery coolant is a special kind and needs extra maintenance checking to make sure there are no internal leaks among other things. Not something that a mere mortal should attempt.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the info everyone, I didn't know about those different engine modes or the closed fluid systems. I generally work on my own cars (to the extent that my tools, skills, and garage space allow) and that was why I asking why people didn't do it themselves. I've been looking at pure EV cars and the main reason I keep coming back to the Volt is because I like the idea of not having to worry about a dead battery. Where I live now and in the past, it was not unusual to have power outages that lasted anywhere from hours up to a week in the most severe circumstance. If I had something like a Leaf (or whatever), I'd be kind of screwed unless I could limp it to an outside charging point that had not lost power along with everyone else. The pure EV cars that I'm finding used are also significantly cheaper than the Volt, but I've been doing enough reading on them to sort of understand why. My old Kia dealer that I used to work at has one now for like $7K, but it's a 2011 with 52K miles on it and no warranty remaining - not a risk I'm willing to take. I've found a few other ones around the $10K range that are newer, but it still goes back to my issue with not having power (as likely or unlikely as that event is to occur). One of my local Chevy dealers has a 2013 Volt with around 43K miles on it for $13K and I almost went by to check it out today - I'm still on the fence as I currently drive a Fiat 500 that I'm already getting 36-38mpg around town in and in the 40's on the highway. I only commute a few miles to work and school right now (born again college student in my 40's). As it is, I only gas up about once a month and I only do one or two oil changes a year due to the service interval on the car. I figure I probably wouldn't save a ton of money switching to an EV and any money I saved in gas would probably be replaced by an increase in my electrical bill.
 

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It's a sign - I come out of work tonight at 1030pm and try to start my Fiat - dead. Got it jump started and the computer was flipping the heck out for about five minutes before settling back down again. Only problem I've had with it thus far and it's still the original battery (so it's at least four years old). I think my car was seeking revenge on me for considering trading it ;)
 

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It's a sign - I come out of work tonight at 1030pm and try to start my Fiat - dead. Got it jump started and the computer was flipping the heck out for about five minutes before settling back down again. Only problem I've had with it thus far and it's still the original battery (so it's at least four years old). I think my car was seeking revenge on me for considering trading it ;)
She heard you. lol
Seriously, don't test drive the 2013 Volt unless you are prepared to buy it 'cause you will find a world of difference in drive/ride quality. As fun as driving the Fiat 500 is - my house sharer owns a 2015 with the cloth top - the Volt is a waaaay better ride.
 

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And because too many owners take their cars to the "kid staffed" fast oil change joints and I can guarantee they would not know the fluid in that tank is not the same as the radiator fluid and "top it off" for you.

This really is no big deal. The only time it becomes a problem is when the wrong fluid is added or if there is a leak.
 

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I see many people bragging about not having to fill up their gas tanks very often (even had one guy tell me he hadn't put gas in his car for two years).
I don't know how that is possible, to go 2 years without putting in gasoline, unless the person kept the gas tank empty. I probably go to the most extreme lengths of any Volt owner in minimizing gasoline usage. When the average of gas hits one year, the Volt goes into fuel maintenance mode. After 24 hours, the car will run the engine until 1 of two things happens. Either fresh gas is added, diluting the fuel or the tank goes empty. Even empty, the Volt will still prompt the fuel maintenance message every time it is started. Also, with an empty tank, the Volt will be permanently in reduced propulsion mode.

I do not do that. What I do is let the tank run empty, then add the minimum to turn off fuel maintenance. This varies from 1.2 - 1.5 gallons. This then lets me drive 318 days before the next fuel maintenance event. I state 318 days, because 3 years in a row it has been exactly 318 days, even with varying amounts added on an empty tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
She heard you. lol
Seriously, don't test drive the 2013 Volt unless you are prepared to buy it 'cause you will find a world of difference in drive/ride quality. As fun as driving the Fiat 500 is - my house sharer owns a 2015 with the cloth top - the Volt is a waaaay better ride.
The only real issue I have with my Fiat is power - even if they could up the base engine by 10 - 15hp it would make *such* a difference. As it is anymore, I drive with it in "sport" mode and that livens it up a bit, but not much. It's been an awesome car and I'm really on the fence whether or not I want to part with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I don't know how that is possible, to go 2 years without putting in gasoline, unless the person kept the gas tank empty. I probably go to the most extreme lengths of any Volt owner in minimizing gasoline usage. When the average of gas hits one year, the Volt goes into fuel maintenance mode. After 24 hours, the car will run the engine until 1 of two things happens. Either fresh gas is added, diluting the fuel or the tank goes empty. Even empty, the Volt will still prompt the fuel maintenance message every time it is started. Also, with an empty tank, the Volt will be permanently in reduced propulsion mode.

I do not do that. What I do is let the tank run empty, then add the minimum to turn off fuel maintenance. This varies from 1.2 - 1.5 gallons. This then lets me drive 318 days before the next fuel maintenance event. I state 318 days, because 3 years in a row it has been exactly 318 days, even with varying amounts added on an empty tank.
Not sure, maybe they were over exaggerating or bending the truth a bit. That was why I was asking about it because that seemed excessive.
 
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