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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There is already at least one thread on this issue but I thought that because the problem can effectively prevent the lawful use of the Chevy Volt on public roads, it deserves to be brought up again.

I have just unwillingly joined the Volt Rejection Sticker Club in MA. It appears that if the voltage of the 12 volt battery drops below a certain level, the stored data which enables the engine to pass a state inspection is lost and the vehicle cannot obtain a passing inspection sticker. The facts are similar to those of Frankill in a prior post. My situation differs in that I only ran the engine a few hours after the battery was recharged. Apparently, the engine must be run a substantial (but yet unknown) number of hours after the 12 volt battery recharge before the engine data is collected and stored in memory. Until this happens it will not be possible to pass a state inspection. My experience verifies that this is true in MA but it also appears that it is true in a number of other states, perhaps the majority of states.

I took my Volt to a local Chevy dealer for a sticker. My reasoning in using a local dealer was that if there was any problem that might prevent the issuance of a sticker, a Chevy dealer would be in the best position to service the vehicle under warranty. Although this line of reasoning might seem logical to the vast majority of people reading this, it has proven to be entirely without merit.

After waiting a half hour for the vehicle to be inspected, I was informed that the vehicle, with only 12,000 miles and still under warranty, was given a rejection sticker. The local dealership was essentially clueless as to the cause of the problem. I called OnStar but it was not until I insisted on speaking with a supervisor at the volt adviser team that I began to get some facts. According to her, she had received at least four other calls the same day from Volt owners with the same problem. All were located in the NE US but none in MA. This problem with the Volt is unquestionably widespread and needs to be immediately addressed by the manufacturer.

When I asked the dealer how they intended to remedy the situation, I was informed that I needed to drive the vehicle on gas for "a couple of days". I asked if they could be more specific. For example, how many hours or miles did I need to drive? After all, my whole point in acquiring a Volt was not to use the engine. In this regard, I think I had largely been successful as I have only purchased 8 gallons of gas in 12,000+ miles. Although I pressed for an informative response, both the dealer and the first Volt adviser team representative would only keep chanting the same phrase "a couple of days". Frustrated at their lack of knowledge (and apparent disinterest in looking into the matter), I asked to speak with a supervisor. In contrast to the dealer, the volt adviser team leader was very helpful and she took it upon herself to call a number of area dealers in an attempt to learn something about their collective experience with this issue. She called back and said that one knowledgeable dealer (unfortunately for me, he was located in another state and could not help with the sticker) I would have to drive on fuel for 100 miles before the settings became effective. We both agreed that my current dealer had a rather unimpressive command of the facts relating to this issue. Another dealer said it would need to be driven 150 miles on gas. Even longer times and distances have been cited elsewhere on this forum. Shorter times have also been cited. Given the substantial disparity in these numbers, there is clearly substantial uncertainty in obtaining an inspection sticker upon initial application.

Without knowing the facts of how the information is stored, it does seem that bonaire (in a former post) has a potentially good solution in using some sort of non-volatile memory for storing this data. But that probably will not solve the sticker problem for those of us who already have Volts. One way to help mitigate the problem would be for the vehicle to announce the problem via the display so that the driver could take steps prior to applying for a sticker. It would seem that since the information is stored in memory, it would only require a software upgrade in order to provide notice. This is based on an assumption that the computer controlling the display has access to these values. If so, it would also help solve the problem of the "unknown hours" that the engine must be run before re-applying for a sticker as an error message would indicate the current state of the data.

I suppose these quirks are a part of being among the first (suckers?) to adopt new technology. The Volt is a marvel of technology and engineering and I suppose we should expect some wrinkles along the way. However, when an issue becomes so serious as to threaten the lawful use of the vehicle on public ways, GM needs to get their act together without further delay.
 

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There is already at least one thread on this issue but I thought that because the problem can effectively prevent the lawful use of the Chevy Volt on public roads, it deserves to be brought up again.

I have just unwillingly joined the Volt Rejection Sticker Club. The facts are similar to those of Frankill, including the dead battery. My situation differs in that I only ran the engine a few hours after the battery was recharged. The dealership was essentially clueless as to the problem. I called OnStar but it was not until I insisted in speaking with a supervisor that I began to get some facts. According to her, she had received at least four other calls the same day from Volt owners with the same problem. All were located in the NE US but none in MA. This problem with the Volt is unquestionably widespread and needs to be immediately addressed by the manufacturer.

When I asked the dealer how they intended to remedy the situation, I was informed that I needed to drive the vehicle on gas for "a couple of days". I asked if they could be more specific. For example, how many hours or miles did I need to drive? After all, my whole point in purchasing a Volt was not to use the engine. In this regard, I think I had largely been successful as I have only purchased 8 gallons of gas in 12,000+ miles. Although I pressed for an intelligent response, both the dealer and the first OnStar representative would only keep chanting the same phrase "a couple of days". Frustrated at their lack of knowledge (and apparent disinterest in looking into the matter), I asked to speak with a supervisor. In contrast to the dealer, the OnStar supervisor was very helpful and she took it upon herself to call a number of area dealers in an attempt to learn something about their collective experience with this issue. She called back and said that one knowledgeable dealer (unfortunately for me, he was located in another state and could not help with the sticker) I would have to drive on fuel for 100 miles before the settings became effective. She agreed that my current dealer had a rather unimpressive command of the facts.

Without knowing the facts of how the information is stored, it does seem that bonaire has a good solution in using some sort of non-volatile memory but that probably will not solve the sticker problem for those of us who already have Volts. One way to help mitigate the problem would be for the vehicle to announce the problem via the display so that the driver could take steps prior to applying for a sticker. It would seem that since the information is stored in memory, it would only require a software upgrade in order to provide notice. It would also help solve the problem of the "unknown hours" that the engine must be run before re-applying for a sticker as an error message would indicate the current state of the data.

I suppose these quirks are a part of being among the first (suckers?) to adopt new technology. The Volt is a marvel of technology and engineering and I suppose we should expect some wrinkles along the way. However, when an issue becomes so serious as to threaten the lawful use of the vehicle on public ways, GM needs to get their act together without further delay.
It would be the same with any car with OBDII and a dead battery. The emissions diagnostics have to to be performed by running the engine or range extender for set amount of time/situations in order to ensure all the mandated emissions equipment work. It's not going to change for the Volt.

This prevents people from clearing emissions trouble codes -by disconnecting the battery, or other means-in order to pass emissions tests.

The most you can expect is a notice provided by GM-advising you what you need to do to complete the emissions diagnostic in the shortest time possible- if you take it in for service because of a dead 12V battery.
 

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Uh can you fill in a little more for us newbies on this topic. Lets start with sticker? What an inspection sticker your not getting or what? What does battery have to do with it, etc. Thanks for taking the time to explain.
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Ah just realized the above reply. If the battery is dead and the engine has not run for a while, the ODB settings are not intact as a passed state and therefore causes one to fail their inspection?
 

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Don't emissions testing stations still have the old school shove-in-the-tailpipe meters? Are they not allowed to use those meters for newer vehicles?
 

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Why didn't you call your volt advisor. They are the technical people and they are the person assigned to help you. Did you know that.
 

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This problem isnt limited to the volt although its limited ICE run time makes it a little more unique. The problem is every vehicle takes a different amount of time and mileage to run all of the readiness monitors. I do state inspections in nh and we use an obd2 emissions test. Most cars take 70-100 miles to run all the test, but we've had some cars take longer. I remember one mazda taking over 3500 miles before all of the test were complete and it could take a sticker. On the other had I've had a few cars that I fixed the problem, cleared the code, and the car ran all the monitors on the first start up and they were able to pass emissions right away.

You can actually check the monitors yourself with the torque app and a bluetooth obd2 adapter or any generic scan tool. I use torque all the time at work so i don't have to bring the car in and hook it to the test bench just to see if it is ready.

This type of testing prevents people from cheating the system by clearing codes themselves or unhooking the battery.
 

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Switching to non-volatile memory probably won't happen... Probably would make it easier to tamper with, and introduce other possible problems. Gas-only cars run into this problem too - if you google, you'll find a number of threads on the subject for other cars also. With a gas-only car though, it's typically after the battery is replaced... also, driving those means you're using the engine, which means that the emissions system is likely to gather the necessary data relatively quickly.

It would seem that it collects information in varying conditions, so maybe simply driving it <x distance> isn't enough of an indication on whether it collected the necessary data?

http://www.dmvnv.com/emission_obd.htm
 

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This may help you - I had the same issue with a ICE vehicle a couple of years ago - The ICE vehicle wasn't driven enough for them to pass the emissions test. I was told by emissions rep to drive it a few days & then come back & have it retested. We did exactly what she said & it passed a few days later.
 

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Uh can you fill in a little more for us newbies on this topic. Lets start with sticker? What an inspection sticker your not getting or what? What does battery have to do with it, etc. Thanks for taking the time to explain.
State Emissions tests for modern cars- even the Volt- use a scanner to check for emissions codes in the car's computer. The car's computer must indicate that that emission self-diagnostics have been performed, otherwise the State Emisssions Agency will not proceed, and a car will not pass the emissions check.

The car's computer requires that the engine/range extender be operated (to perform an emissions diagnostic) every time a battery is disconnected or a scan tool is used to delete an emission code. This prevents people from cleaing emissions codes to subvert emissions requirements.

Here, the volt is like EVERY other modern car with an ICE. Disconnect the battery, a self-diagnostic has to be performed-and that involves running the range-extender through a protocol.
 

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Interesting. On a related note, where do you have the technicians put the stickers? I think a sticker over the light sensor would make the headlight sensor work incorrectly. I wouldn't want the sticker to cover up the charging light on the dashboard, either, so they will have to go way over to the right or split them up, one on the right of the light sensor/charging light and one on the left.
Having to put two stickers on the windshield is always a pain with regards to esthetics, but on a Volt it is actually a bit worse than that.
 

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This has nothing to do with the Volt, all cars since 1996 in most states are tested using OBDII, any reset will require an extended ICE drive cycle.

Put the car in mountain mode, drive it at local and highway speeds for a day and then get it checked again, I say checked as there is no test, its the car reporting that there is enough data and it meets the Federal standards.

Here is the relevant page from the Volt manual

 

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I have a few questions for you.
Was it a 2011 Volt?
Did you take the Volt to get inspected fully charged?
How much gas did you have in the tank?

Next time you take it to get inspected make sure you’re in CSM.
Let the fools at the DMV hear the ICE turn on.
Tell them you never plug it in, that’s what they want to hear.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I would not agree that the problem is the same for any vehicle. The volt is unique in that, at least for those who strive to minimize the use of fuel, the engine almost never runs. This substantially exacerbates the problem relative to conventionally fueled vehicles. In my case, my engine may not run for weeks or even months and even when it does it may only do so for minutes not hours. I think the matter needs to taken up by GM, if it hasn't already. Having driven all sorts of vehicles for more than 50 years, yesterday's rejection sticker is the first I have ever received. The fact that this happened to one of the most technically advanced vehicles on the road (and appears to be happening to quite a number of other Volt owners) is surely an indication that the unique design of the Volt requires a unique solution to the sticker problem.
 

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The fuel maintenance mode ( every 6 weeks ) and 1 tank a year burn off ( forced to prevent stale fuel ) will be more than enough data for the ready flag to be set for OBDII emissions check. ANY VEHICLE, once reset by service of the 12V battery being disconnected needs time to run, its right in the manual as to how to handle it. This isn't a GM or car issue, its an issue of reading your manual for the answer you required
 

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We've seen this before. AFAIK we've only heard about it in MA. Not sure if this is the procedures used in MA, the fact that in many states you don't need an emissions test for the Volt, the fact that in many states you don't need to test newer cars, or just the luck of the draw. Driving it on gas has seemed to "resolve" the problem.
 

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My volt had 25 mi's on it when I purchased it in a border state. I had inspection done at local garage, how come I got a sticker?
 

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Interesting. On a related note, where do you have the technicians put the stickers? I think a sticker over the light sensor would make the headlight sensor work incorrectly. I wouldn't want the sticker to cover up the charging light on the dashboard, either, so they will have to go way over to the right or split them up, one on the right of the light sensor/charging light and one on the left.
Having to put two stickers on the windshield is always a pain with regards to esthetics, but on a Volt it is actually a bit worse than that.
In nh we put the stickers below the rear view mirror mounting, just below the tint line.


And not to sound like a jerk, but this isnt gms problem at all. Bottom line is don't let your battery go dead, and if it does make sure your run the ice for a while if your inspection month is close. My volt passed the obd2 test with flying colors and it was in ev mode and not cs.
 

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The reason that the dealer can't tell you how long it takes for all sensors to be 'ready' is that it is an unknown for almost every vehicle. It could take a drive around the block, or, it could take a week. No way to tell and no way to change this behavior.

I have observed this happening in GMs, Fords and Dodges. It doesn't seem to be specific to a model or a manufacturer.

In one Dodge truck I had (2002), I took it in for a tune up including injector cleaning and a state inspection. The dummy did the injector cleaning first. I had to bring it back for the state inspection a week later because the some of the sensors went offline from the additional work. What a PITA.

Some States, like Texas, do a two-year inspection cycle. This means that a new car has two years before it's first inspection. Maybe your State should change instead of trying to change everything else.

I recommend driving in hold or MM for a few days (or don't charge it) and take it back for re-inspection.
 
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