GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm close to pulling the trigger on a new Volt but I have some questions about maintenance. When I buy a vehicle I hold on to it for a long time. If I buy the Volt I won't be planning on selling it or trading it in on a new model; I'll plan to keep it for the duration.

My question is regarding maintenance. I currently have a 2000 Dodge Durango and a great mechanic who works out of his house. He's taken care of any problem I've had with my truck. If I get the Volt, I expect that I'll have to take it to the dealership for everything. Besides the fact that the dealership will charge a lot more than my current mechanic for labor, I just plain don't trust dealerships. I don't trust the quality of their work, and I don't trust that when they tell me something needs to be fixed, it really does.

My understanding is that electric motors require a lot less maintenance than ICE motors, and I'll probably only be using gas maybe 5 times a year. I was wondering if current Volt owners, especially those who have had their Volt for several years, could chime in with how much maintenance they've had to have done at the dealership. I know Volts haven't been out for a real long time, so there's no real longevity data, but my Durango is 16 years old and running great. I expect many more years out of it. My wife's Honda Civic is 19 years old and running great (with repairs, of course, but no major engine or transmission issues). If it doesn't look like I'll be able to get similar longevity out of the Volt, I may opt for something else.

Basically, I'm wondering about the total cost of ownership, and whether it's going to cost me more over the long run than just buying a dependable gas burner.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,980 Posts
80k+ miles, 5.5 years. For maintenance I have spent a total of $35 so far. It was on an oil change at year 4 (the Volt can go 2 years between changes).

I do my own tire rotations and fluid checks. You can do your own oil changes if you want. My brakes are still in great condition. My dealer swapped out my tires at 30k for free, but I'll need to be replacing the current tires in the next 10k miles or so.

So that's it. $36 in almost 6 years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,661 Posts
The electric portion of the Volt only requires you to monitor and maintain the batteries TMS coolant loop (it's separate from the ICE's).

The ICE still requires annual OIL changes regardless of hours/miles and at some point you'd need to change/flush the coolant. Unless you use the ICE a lot (say 50% of your miles driven) I'd guess the air filter, spark plugs and brakes will last a VERY LONG time.

And of course there will be tire rotations and wiper blades to look after. Basic oil/filter and tire rotation at a GM dealer is $39. For me my typical annual costs are typically less than $15 because my dealer kicks in $25 on every purchase or service. It's part of their new car sales package. They deposit $500 into an account and draw from that until exhausted.
 

·
Registered
2017 Volt Premiere
Joined
·
383 Posts
I keep cars for a long time as well. I traded in a 2000 Insight for the Volt.

Except for tires and window washer fluid, the mechanical parts of the Volt see much less wear and tear as compared to an ICE car. The cost for brake pads and rotors, oil changes, transmission issues, ect. should be much less than what you are accustomed to.

The parts of the Volt that get the most work are electric.

There an impolite phrase used in electronic engineering: infant mortality. The failure rate of an electronic part is highest in the initial period of use and afterwards is much lower. It's a reasonable assumption that the warranty will cover the Volt through the infant mortality phase and then you will have a long period of low cost reliable transportation.

In the past, I would offer a caveat that battery degradation would be major concern after 8 years or so based on my experience with other hybrids, but so far it appears that GM designed the battery maintenance side of things really well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
488 Posts
I was an early adopter purchasing spring of 2012. I can tell you that GM treated me like royalty then, and still do today. Every issue that required repair cost me $0 and I was made top priority, provided a loaner etc. My total out of pocket in 4 1/2 years maybe $100 for a couple oil changes and a light bulb replacement. Some expense for tires. All my previous Fords, Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Volvo would have set me back big $$ for brakes by 85,000 miles. My Volt at 85 K the brake pads are hardly worn a bit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,439 Posts
Not such a big concern with the Volt because scheduled maintenance is quite rare compared to an ICE car, and any repairs you might need will be covered by warranty, at least for many years, so you would use the dealership for that, but would not pay for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,774 Posts
The only thing that bugs me about owning a newer car is having to take it in at least every 5 years to change out the coolant. It used to be that you could just open the drain, then refill and you were good to go. Now it seems that the coolant systems on new cars are so complicated (especially on a Volt with 3 of them) that they must be done by the dealer who has the special equipment to get all the air out of the system. It is more expensive now to change the coolants, but it is only once every 5 years instead of every year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,359 Posts
For comparison
18 years ownership - 1997 Jeep Cherokee, 150k miles, in excellent condition overall (I've really maintained this vehicle... it's been a love affair).

One year ownership - 2013 Gen 1 Volt Premiere package, Purchase used, 40k miles, also a love affair.

In the past year I've drive the Jeep a LOT less than I ever did but regular maintenance has required,
  • 3 oil changes
  • Radiator Coolant flush and refill
  • Front brake pads (and I always do the front rotors too just because, well, it's a Jeep)
  • Spark Plugs, Rotor, Cap (wires were fine)
  • Serpentine belt
  • Engine Air Filter
  • Chassis lube
  • Drain and refill transfer case
approx 550 gallons of fuel

In the same period the Volt has required
  • A new set of tires
  • Windshield wipers
  • A set of batteries for the keyfob
  • Cabin air filter (it came without one)
and approx 70-80 gallons of fuel (mostly due to several long highway trips)

Full Disclosure:
The Volt also had a few warranty repair items repaired at no cost to me.
  • Rear tail-light leaking and filling w/water.
  • Bad Drivers side axle and C/V joint assembly.
  • And a strange brake issue at least partially my fault that I'm not going to get into now.
and additionally,
The OHM-RIDE anti-incandescent project... but that was completely voluntary on my part.

So given the items in question and the amount of time before I have to do things like tires and so forth again, you can see how the maintenance costs of the Volt are significantly lower. Also, aside from the actual drivetrain/regen braking parts of the car, the rest of it is basically just another modern car so most reasonably up-to-date mechanics should be able to do the maintenance work on brakes, alignments, suspension, and so forth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
... Also, aside from the actual drivetrain/regen braking parts of the car, the rest of it is basically just another modern car so most reasonably up-to-date mechanics should be able to do the maintenance work on brakes, alignments, suspension, and so forth.
This is how you should be looking at it. It's mostly a car, just like all the other cars out there. The difference is in the battery, electric motors, and "transmission", which have had a few issues, but are very reliable. I replaced my 18 year old Malibu with a 2017 Volt, and I expect this car to last me at least 10 years. In the first 5 months, no dollars spent, other than the one fill-up after the long drive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
478 Posts
Leave aside tires and wipers, they are wear items on any car, and should be about the same.

Oil: Based on engine runtime. I have 12k miles on my Volt, my long commute runs the engine every day, and I still have 4000 miles until my first oil change is due.

Brakes: Long, long time. Because the great majority of braking is done by electric regeneration, the brakes get very little use.

Alignments: Depends on the nature of your roads and driving. Probably a wash either way.

Battery: Don't worry about it. The Volt only uses a part of the actual battery capacity, and is very conservative in thermal management and state of charge management. It will open up more of the battery capacity if the battery degrades. Plus it has a 10yr/100k mile warranty (150k miles in California).

Drivetrain: Also covered by the 100k mile warranty (150k in Cali). So all the expensive stuff has a REALLY long warranty.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,945 Posts
Battery: Don't worry about it. The Volt only uses a part of the actual battery capacity, and is very conservative in thermal management and state of charge management. It will open up more of the battery capacity if the battery degrades. Plus it has a 10yr/100k mile warranty (150k miles in California).
Accessory battery: Special AGM because it's inside the cabin with you, not out in front with a firewall between you and it. It's .... challenging ... to tell when this battery is about to fail because normal cars have these things start the engine and when it gets weak, you'll hear it quickly in how fast the engine gets spun before starting. In Volts, this battery just boots the computers which turn on the main High Voltage battery which starts the engine if needed. So when it gets weak, it usually shows in electronic systems getting "funky". Weird glitches. It's also very hard to test the accessory battery health in a Volt because the reliable testing (at rest voltage check, C-rating checks) take HOURS, and quick checks (specific gravity, short term voltage, load tests) don't measure in ways that Volts use power from that battery. Either get a booster pack you trust so you won't be stranded or resign yourself to replacing the $150 battery on a schedule. (Conservative life for these is 3 years, typical life is 5 years. After that... well, you're buying a battery or a booster and then maybe a battery. Your pick.)
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top