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Is anyone else having a problem with curbs, driveways and bumps? Within a few days, it was very clear to me that the front of the Volt is very low, and I've become super-consious about it. Even being aware of it and being extra cautious, I still scrape the bottom no matter what I try to do to prevent it. How bad is it for you, if at all?
 

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This has been mentioned a lot. The air dam in the font scrapes but it's not a big deal since the dam is made of rubber and is designed to be knocked around. I'm also assuming it can be replaced. If you're scraping metal not rubber than that's a different problem.
 

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This was discussed quite a bit when people, like Lyle, first started getting their Volts. One of the "tricks" to reduce scrape at driveways is to try to approach them at an angle rather than straight on.
 

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Yea, it may make a horrible, cringe-inducing noise, but nothing of value is being damaged really. The air dam was designed to do that.
 

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Yea, it may make a horrible, cringe-inducing noise, but nothing of value is being damaged really. The air dam was designed to do that.
Yes, but with one potential caveat. On my VW GTI...I over-shot some parking barriers, and actually got the barrier BEHIND the air dam. When reversing, it had the effect of tearing the air dam from the rear forward. I ended up having to replace it, and trimmed the lip on the new one so it wouldn't get caught on curbs or barriers.

My advice would be when pulling into parking spaces to do so very slowly and carefully. As soon as you hear any kind of scraping noise, STOP!! It would be nice to have either some audible alert when pulling in, or maybe a front camera under the front bumper to give you an up-close of what you're pulling into.
 

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I can get into the driveway by carefully driving FORWARD without scraping the front end, but BACKING out still scrapes every time ! No matter how I try to angle the car when backing out it continues to scrape. Somehow I'm not backing at the correct angle.

Steve in Boca Raton VIN#313
 

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I used to have an S-10 that I had lowered quite a bit. It would scrape everything unless I used the Angle Approaches. Basically you want 1 tire to hit the bump before the airdam then crank the wheel hard, this raises the car up on one side before the air dam hits the bump. Since you raised half the car when the other wheel hits the bump it should not scrape unless you are going really fast or its a huge speed bump. I also had A firebird in the 90's and my last car was a Lowered XB (6" clearance). the anlge approach worked on all these cars. The XB also would plow the top layer of snow whenever we had more than 6".
 

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My advice would be when pulling into parking spaces to do so very slowly and carefully. As soon as you hear any kind of scraping noise, STOP!! It would be nice to have either some audible alert when pulling in, or maybe a front camera under the front bumper to give you an up-close of what you're pulling into.
If you have the rear camera/parking assist option, there's a large rectangular button overhead. You can push it as you approach the parking spot moving forward and it will turn on the ultrasonic sensors to alert you of the curb or parking bumper.
 

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If you have the rear camera/parking assist option, there's a large rectangular button overhead. You can push it as you approach the parking spot moving forward and it will turn on the ultrasonic sensors to alert you of the curb or parking bumper.
Good to know. Didn't know that feature was part of the package.
 

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This may more properly belong to the "suggestions for GM" area, but: Couldn't the ultrasonic sensors trigger a variable-height air dam? Yes, I know, another cost-hiking detail, but Aerodynamics will only become more important moving forward; it may already be time to start considering aerodynamic surfaces which are dynamic themselves.
 

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Couldn't the ultrasonic sensors trigger a variable-height air dam?
They don't look that direction (normally). They see what's in front of the bumper, not the air dam. So while they'll help you to avoid hitting a wall, they don't even notice a curb (and thus it's really easy to park with your air dam over or on a curb).

If a retractor was fast enough, you could put sensors just BELOW the air dam, and yank it out of the way. But that would be added expense and weight to a car that's already expensive and nose heavy.

If the air dam is fast, easy, and cheap to replace then the current set up is fine. Might be better to use a material that isn't so loud when it scrapes...
 

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We use to scrap our bumper every time on our driveway until we started backing in our driveway instead of going forward up the driveway.:)
 

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The front air dam drags every day and often. It's flexible, quickly detaches from the side connectors and acts more like a stiff mud flap. I think it's generally in place when i'm driving but doesn't get really wrecked when i drag it. I'm just expecting to replace it when needed. It even drags in the guide for the car wash. The electrics on the volt seem ok with the wash and look better with the experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If you have the rear camera/parking assist option, there's a large rectangular button overhead. You can push it as you approach the parking spot moving forward and it will turn on the ultrasonic sensors to alert you of the curb or parking bumper.
Wow! I seriously did not know that! I am good at backing up and didn't think such a little car necessitated the rear camera, but I might have paid the extra in order not to scrape the front. Still, I suppose this doesn't help on those curbs that, even at an angle, I can't get out of without hitting it. Good to know it's not a valuable part of the car I'm damaging! Thanks everyone!
 

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Does anyone know what the cost will be to replace this part? My belief is that replacing anything on a car, aside from normal maintenance items, is not a cheap prospect. I wonder if those who leased will be hit with a fee, or if this is considered "normal wear and tear."

Joel
 

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This was discussed quite a bit when people, like Lyle, first started getting their Volts. One of the "tricks" to reduce scrape at driveways is to try to approach them at an angle rather than straight on.
This is not possible with a narrow driveway like mine. I have the sensors that are available in the front bumper and when I drive out of the driveway there is not only a scrape, but also brief beeping from the sensors, which evidently "see" the road as I tip down. I find, backing in and out of the driveway sometimes avoids the scraping completely. However, I am not comfortable backing out for fear of not seeing some oncoming traffic.
 

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Nearly didn't buy the car, until I actually checked it out.

I have Buick Regals galore. Kept ripping the front dam off of those. Big difference, that was a hard, inflexible plastic on most cars. The Volt clearly understood, "get the coefficient, but don't tear it off" about right. I bought the car after testing it out.

One thing I did do however is paint the front driveway dip. Our driveway curbs are something more unique to the West, basically acting like a curb drop off rather than a slope to the street. Once painted with the very smooth epoxy concrete paint, about $15, the dam now smoothly slides, rather than scrape leaving a black powder, over the curb bump.

Easy to fix. The dam is worth the extra mile and a quarter, which is a quote I think EnergyCzar put out. Winter, I'll have to figure out how to plow the slush or jump over to my Lincoln MKX during the blizzards that hit here in Colorado.
 

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GM does offer a shorter Air Dam that offers significantly more ground clearance. The current air dam that came with the car does scrape a lot. It's soft flexible rubber so it does not really harm anything. I future it will eventually wear and start to look ragged. At that point I may consider replacing it with the shorter air dam.
 

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Does anyone know what the cost will be to replace this part? My belief is that replacing anything on a car, aside from normal maintenance items, is not a cheap prospect. I wonder if those who leased will be hit with a fee, or if this is considered "normal wear and tear."
GM also has a shorter air dam that provides more ground clearance. I have had this on my Volt since day one and it really minimizes scraping. Cost is about $60 plus any cost for your dealer to install it if you don't want to do it yourself. The part number is 20993998.

There is a pretty good thread on this topic here: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?8594-Tale-of-Two-Air-Dams
 
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