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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a 2013 Chevy Volt. We love it. However the check engine light came on recently. We took it in to the Chevy dealer and they gave us the bad news that there are signs of "engine and cylinder head internal damage/leak". During testing they found there is "excessive white smoke from the exhaust on start up, engine runs rough, and there is rust pitting on cam shaft." The mechanic said this is a common problem with this generation of Volts, likely caused by the original owners not changing the oil frequently enough and/or not using synthetic oil. So the question is is there anything we can do about it to keep it running as long as possible? Should we try an engine flush? Change the oil more frequently? Is there any way to know if we have a few months or a few years left? Given high gas prices and the high price of used cars, we'd really prefer to keep driving this great vehicle, but also don't want it to fail on us. (The relevant check engine code was P2181-00).
 

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All that code indicates is that your thermostat is stuck, which should be a pretty easy fix. P2181 Cooling System Performance - WOT???

How long have you had the car? Have you been using synthetic oil since you owned it?
I'm assuming that the dealer just opened the oil filler cap and looked in and saw pitting. What do you see in there? I wouldn't just assume the dealer is telling the truth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We've only had the car for a year. And yes we've been using synthetic oil during that time. The dealer also saw signs of white smoke when the gas engine starts up. When we open the oil cap we see some corrosion too.
 

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If the engine cooling thermostat is stuck open then very frequently your never getting it up to normal operating temperature, which would be with the coolant in 180-220 Fahrenheit range. An engine running colder than that passes a lot of moisture into the crankcase. when it’s not running with all that moisture in the crankcase then you get that foaming whitish looking oil. Fix everything, change the oil, then run it on the freeway for an hour or so. See if it runs smoothly and if you get the expected 33-37 mpg on gas. Might be nothing wrong except a bit of surface corrosion on non functional surfaces. Hope for the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks folks. This is all really helpful. We'll get working on addressing the thermostat problem and I'll keep you posted. Is the coolant leak seal that boaze recommended a good idea too?
 

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Thanks folks. This is all really helpful. We'll get working on addressing the thermostat problem and I'll keep you posted. Is the coolant leak seal that boaze recommended a good idea too?
I would first determine if it is indeed leaking coolant internally. Check your coolant levels before and after your road test. Also a bad internal coolant leak will raise the oil pan level. So check the oil level before and after a road test as well. If it is indeed leaking coolant into the engine, then yes try the sealant described. And hope for the best.
 

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We have a 2013 Chevy Volt. We love it. However the check engine light came on recently. We took it in to the Chevy dealer and they gave us the bad news that there are signs of "engine and cylinder head internal damage/leak". During testing they found there is "excessive white smoke from the exhaust on start up, engine runs rough, and there is rust pitting on cam shaft." The mechanic said this is a common problem with this generation of Volts, likely caused by the original owners not changing the oil frequently enough and/or not using synthetic oil. So the question is is there anything we can do about it to keep it running as long as possible? Should we try an engine flush? Change the oil more frequently? Is there any way to know if we have a few months or a few years left? Given high gas prices and the high price of used cars, we'd really prefer to keep driving this great vehicle, but also don't want it to fail on us. (The relevant check engine code was P2181-00).
White smoke in the exhaust is a sign of coolant leaking into the cylinders, usually caused by a leaking cylinder head gasket. Leaking gaskets can also allow coolant to leak into the oil sump. Check coolant level to see if it drops, and oil level to see if it rises. Look on dipstick for signs of water or coolant in the oil. Probably best to find a good third-party mechanic that is good with engines.

Good Luck,

GSP
 

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This is likely a "normal" (in scope) engine problem, and quite repairable. Take it to a good engine mechanic, and let him advise. Skip the dealer.

In my crystal ball, I see a head gasket job in your future, and a thermostat. But it is hard to say for sure via the forum.

I would imagine it very worthwhile to get it done, and to continue running the car for a while.

Good luck!
 

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[QUOTE="velaeber, post: 5084514, member: 314677"
We have a 2013 Chevy Volt. We love it. However the check engine light came on recently. We took it in to the Chevy dealer and they gave us the bad news that there are signs of "engine and cylinder head internal damage/leak". During testing they found there is "excessive white smoke from the exhaust on start up, engine runs rough, and there is rust pitting on cam shaft." The mechanic said this is a common problem with this generation of Volts, likely caused by the original owners not changing the oil frequently enough and/or not using synthetic oil. So the question is is there anything we can do about it to keep it running as long as possible? Should we try an engine flush? Change the oil more frequently? Is there any way to know if we have a few months or a few years left? Given high gas prices and the high price of used cars, we'd really prefer to keep driving this great vehicle, but also don't want it to fail on us. (The relevant check engine code was P2181-00).
[/QUOTE]
I think they are setting you up. Did they even fix the check engine light. Run. Take it to a place with a good reputation.
 
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