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I'm new to this forum but I've owned my 2012 Volt for almost 4 years now. It's been a fantastic car, one that I've thoroughly enjoyed. Some time ago, I received the dreaded "Service High Voltage Charging System" warning message. I did some research and took it in, aware that it was probably caused by low battery coolant (at least, that's the conclusion me and my dad arrived at). I took it in and asked how much the cost would be and the local dealership informed me that it would be a 150 charge or somewhere around that range. At the time, I wasn't driving my Volt as much. I have a company vehicle I'm permitted to use for personal driving and while I adore my Volt, I figured I may as well put less miles on it.

Finally, I decided to take it in about three weeks ago to get an oil change and get that silly software update. The dealership called and send it was now a 1200 dollar repair (well, including taxes and the oil change). They said they had received a faulty update from GM and bricked the HPCM (Hybrid Powetrain Control Module). My car is well out of warranty. Multiple case are opened with GM and it's been an absolute nightmare, with my car still not fixed after three weeks.

I really don't know who to reach out to or what to do about this situation. I work in field service for medical equipment, so I'm accustomed to when things go less than expected or software not working properly. The dealership told me that GM's software updates for these older volts only work about a third of the time. But either way, I know that if I went to a hospital or a lab and attempted to update their software and proceeded to brick their machine, I'd be out of a job and we'd be at the beginning stages of some litigation if I attempted to charge them for our own mistake/damage/whatever you want to call it.

I don't know how accurate my assessment of this situation and the issues my Volt is experiencing is. I wanted to know if anyone else had any issues, suggestions or anything someone more familiar with this issue can inform me about.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I am new to this forum but I've owned my 2012 Chevy Volt for going on 4 years now. It's been a wonderful car and I've enjoyed it thoroughly.

A while ago, I received the dreaded "Service High Voltage Charging System" error, much to my chagrin. It seemed that this was caused by a low battery coolant based on some investigation that me and my father did (who is much better with cars than I am). It seemed that I needed a software update to reset the error so I could charge my car. I took it into my local Chevy dealer and they confirmed our suspicions and said it would be like 130 bucks for the update. I put it off. For months. I could still drive my car but I was hardly driving it anyway. I have a company vehicle that I'm permitted to use for personal usage, so why put miles on my Volt?

Well, I finally took it in 3 weeks ago on a Saturday to get an oil change and update the software. I get a call from the dealer. It's a 1200 dollar repair. The software update they acquired from GM was faulty and bricked the HPCM (Hybrid Powertrain Control Module). Now, I'm no mechanic, but I'm a field service engineer. I repair complex, high precision medical equipment. And sometimes, things go wrong. It happens. But I don't charge our customers for our mistakes or our software defects. That's an issue we resolve for them, free of charge.

I'm definitely out of warranty. I understand that. But, I brought my car in for service and it was functioning, albeit missing a desire functionality, but I could still drive it. Now it is not driving. At all.

The dealership said that GM has had a regular issue with this update and with a success rate in only a third of cars the update is applied to. The dealership and GM are going back and forth, taking weeks to resolve this issue. Multiples cases are open with GM and no one really has a solution. And, they still want to charge me for an issue I didn't have until I brought my car in for service.

I don't really know what to do. Maybe there's nothing, but I'd like to hear some advice or opinions on this issue, especially from other first gen Volt owners who have encountered this issue. Maybe I'm completely out of my depth, but I've been unable to find anyone else who has had this happen to their Volt. Any thoughts?
 

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Call your local TV station. Any of them will do. It's amazing how fast things get fixed when a local TV station gets involved. Yes, you'll burn your bridges with that dealership but the reality is you don't want to go back there anyway.
 

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Did you confirm the $150 price before having them work on the car?

Regardless, the car's software was damaged during the repair. That should not be on you. If the dealership is claiming it's GM's fault, then they need to have GM make you while again. That should not come out of your pocket. On the other hand, if the dealer messed up, that's on them, not you.

I don't suppose you have any of their claims in writing?
 

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If you authorized the work after they diagosed the problem and than performed a faulty repair, then the dealer and or GM are responsible. You did nothing wrong.

Have you called and spoken to the dealers Service Manager and or the General Manager yet? That would be my first action. Give them a chance to right their wrong.

Good Luck.
 

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The dealer's story smells fishy to me. If the procedure they performed for you usually fails and results in a much more expensive repair bill, wouldn't they have told you that up front? If not, why not?

I think I read on this forum long ago (probably from a former member named "wopontour") that it is possible to brick these modules if you do the update wrong, and it is therefore important for the technician to follow the procedure precisely. If the dealership made a mistake, I don't think you should have to pay extra to fix their mistake. Unfortunately, it might be hard/impossible to force them to take responsibility, but the advice others have posted above sound like a reasonable approach.
 

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They said they had received a faulty update from GM and bricked the HPCM (Hybrid Powetrain Control Module). My car is well out of warranty. Multiple case are opened with GM and it's been an absolute nightmare, with my car still not fixed after three weeks.
Your Volt was operating normally prior to the service dept. visit. Following work performed on your Volt is is now undriveable whether the service departments fault or GMs, via the software they pushed, they broke it and should be rectifying this to your satisfaction IMHO.
 

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I always live by the '90's computer rule, if it's not causing a problem, don't update.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the advice. I figured I wasn't wrong on the assumption they're responsible and glad to hear I'm not out of my mind.

My real issue is that I'm having difficulty finding out if their excuse that "GM sent us an update and it's faulty" is valid. I've tried searching avout bricked HPCMs and have found nothing online. If anyone has any suggestions, that would be helpful.
 

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Thanks for the advice. I figured I wasn't wrong on the assumption they're responsible and glad to hear I'm not out of my mind.

My real issue is that I'm having difficulty finding out if their excuse that "GM sent us an update and it's faulty" is valid. I've tried searching avout bricked HPCMs and have found nothing online. If anyone has any suggestions, that would be helpful.
I doubt the update is faulty. If it were bad code, it wouldn't work right on any Volt.

The problem is probably how they tried to install it. Someone probably didn't follow the procedure correctly, something got disconnected at the wrong time, and as a result the code transferred to the module is corrupt. Think of copying a file from a flashdrive and pulling the drive out while it's still copying. The file wasn't bad to begin with, but it wasn't transferred right and therefore won't work right.

When I had the recall done and they updated the module, I noticed a couple of unrelated issues, and they flashed it for me again, for free just to rule it out. What I suspect is that they have corrupted the module in such a way that they are no longer able to connect to it to get it to reflash, and therefore they want to replace the physical module with a new one. This could explain that crazy high price. Either way, they're at fault.

I'd ask to speak to the service center manager, say you brought in a driving car, and after messing with it, it doesn't drive anymore. This should be simple. If I drive my car into a dealership, I expect to be able to drive it out, regardless of what the problem was. It's that simple. I've heard of zero cases of this update causing issues (my issues were unrelated, due to a cracked charge port). Computers are binary machines. If there's an error in the code, there'd be an error in every car.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That makes sense to me as well. They did mention that after the update, they were unable to access the HPCM. I imagine it is their fault and they're trying to shift blame on GM.

GM has also contacted me about the issue, but the specific information about the cause I'm receiving is murky at best.

Either way, whether the dealer is accurate about the update causing issues due to specific first gen models (which I am inclined to believe is complete bunk) or incorrectly following the procedure for flashing, it's not my fault that they've made my car undrivable. That's on them. I'm going in today to speak with the service manager.
 

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Try to get as much information as you can, preferably in writing. Once the dealership figures out that they caused the problem, they are most likely going to stop providing any further information to you that may be useful in proving your case. Any records are going to be conveniently lost, and anything said verbally will be denied.
 

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The service managers continues to say GM gave them an update and it doesn't always take. When I requested that he cover it if GM takes responsibility, he said that because the service bulletin didn't mention that the HPCM may not take the update, they are not responsible and will not cover the cost of GM's mistake and that if I went to social media or the news, he would sue for libel.
 

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The service managers continues to say GM gave them an update and it doesn't always take. When I requested that he cover it if GM takes responsibility, he said that because the service bulletin didn't mention that the HPCM may not take the update, they are not responsible and will not cover the cost of GM's mistake and that if I went to social media or the news, he would sue for libel.
Had I had a service manager tell me this I would have immediately pulled out my phone and dialed 911, reporting $40,000 (or whatever I paid for the car) in property destruction by the dealership. That service manager needs to be fired immediately. I would have then waited across the street - off the dealership property so they couldn't charge me with trespass.

Bottom line - at this point you need to get a lawyer and sue the dealership for willful property damage. Make sure the lawsuit includes the lawyer's fees.
 

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UPDATE: The vehicle is now working. The service manager called GM again and on the phone call, it was mentioned that sometimes leaving the vehicke powered off for a few days allows the update to take.

Previously, multiple attempts would not allow them to push the update. Apparently after being powered down for more than 48 hours, the service tech could reach the boot record and was also able to push the update. So, no HPCM replacement needed and the issue is resolved after over 3 weeks of waiting.
 

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UPDATE: The vehicle is now working. The service manager called GM again and on the phone call, it was mentioned that sometimes leaving the vehicke powered off for a few days allows the update to take.
Even though that is not how electronics behave, glad the issue is resolved and I would consider finding a different service dept to visit in the future!:rolleyes:
 

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I agree that it seems... unlikely. Maybe the HPCM kept the update in memory and that it keeps an electric charge that dissipates over 48 hours, which then causes loss of the data kept in temporary memory. Perhaps it reverts to backup after the equivalent of a hard reset. But that's pure speculation on my part and I doubt that's the case, although the "wait and update" recommendation came over the phone when he called GM in front of me. So who knows. Strange, either way.
 

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Glad your car is working again. I'd definitely switch to a different dealership.

I've worked with some routers and switches that behaved this way. Basically what happens is the new firmware is loaded into volatile memory and the boot firmware detects and tries to boot from the volitile memory. If the boot image on this memory is corrupt, which your's was, the system won't boot. Once the volitile memory has deleted from no power, the system firmware will boot from the old image in non-volitile memory.

So yes, this is an odd way of handling updates but it ensures you can recover from a failed update.
 

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I always live by the '90's computer rule, if it's not causing a problem, don't update.
I agree and am thinking of not doing it at least until the last minute of when it can be done which is at least a year away I recall. I hope to have a new EV bythen and let someone else deal with it. I have no issues on my 2014 and don't want any. Especially with this nonesense experience with some dealers. I reminds me of my nightmare with the port to control module cable change my dealer had to do that GM would not pay for at first. In the end they or the dealer did. I don't care who I DID NOT.
 

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I bet if they disconnected the 12v battery for some 30 minutes or so the memory would have cleared too allowing for progress. Did they ever disconnect the 12v battery I wonder?
 
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