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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Today my new Volt had yet another problem! I was returning home this morning and started hearing louder road noise. I didn't think anything of it, until I noticed the readout on the dash... 0 PSI in my left rear tire! I was close to a traffic light and parking lot, so I safely made my way into the parking lot. At first I thought it was a mistake, that perhaps my latest warranty repair (replacing the door lock receiver) was acting up again. However, after toggling to the tire pressure screen, the rest of the tires were reading the correct levels, and l got out and saw that the tire was completely flat.

I got the tire inflator out of the car and tried to fill the tire with just air first. The tire didn't inflate at all, so I knew I had a bigger leak. I shut it off after about 30 seconds and then got the sealant canister out and warmed it up for 10 minutes inside the car. I read the directions and hooked it up. The inflator seemed to be working for about 2 minutes, but then it started smoking and the sealant was leaking from the BODY of the inflator, not the hose connections. I turned it off and called OnStar. The tow truck came after about 90 minutes. It was really cold out, about 8 degrees F. I wonder if that cold temperature was too much for the tire inflator, causing it to fail? Even though it failed, though, if the inflator worked the way that it should, my tire was ruptured badly enough it probably wouldn't have been driveable anyway.

Has anybody else had a problem with their tire inflator, or am I one of the first?

The tow truck came. I had to instruct him about using the tow hook. He removed the toe hook cover in the bumper, but ripped it completely off. (I think it is supposed to remain attached once it is pried open.) He didn't seem to be familiar with the Volt at all. I was towed to a dealer, and they confirmed that my tire was toast. They replaced it, and I paid about $200 total just for the one new tire plus installation. A new tire inflator kit was ordered...I think that the kit should be a covered warranty item...the inflator should not have failed the way that it did.

This is the 3rd issue I've had with this new car which was purchased right before Thanksgiving. Good grief!!!
 

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Ouch! Sorry to hear the bad luck with the tire, door lock receiver and tow hook. My tire inflator/gel pump is in a landfill somewhere after I purchased a full size spare wheel with matching chrome rim (B grade ebay Volt rim). That pump is a joke. I drive 600 mile round trips and can't afford to be stranded on the turnpike like a sitting duck mucking about with that cheap chinese junk that costs more than the price of a full spare when you add up the costs after a flat (gooped TPS, labor, etc).
 

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Had the tire inflator performed perfectly, it would not have been able to inflate a tire that was beyond repair. The sealant will only help repair a small leak. But it shouldn't have failed either.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, that is my point. It should not have failed. I followed the directions exactly.

One detail I left out was the other fun experience I had when I tried to disconnect the hose from the tire. I waited until I thought there would be no pressure, but as soon as I removed the hose from the tire, the sealant squirted all over the place, including onto my car and wheel and back window! Fortunately, I was able to wipe it off quickly, so I don't think it damaged the paint at all. When I got my car back after the tire replacement I cleaned it off more thoroughly. However, taking care of that initial mess was not very much fun in 8 degree F. coldness!!
 

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The goop came out of the rectangular air compressor, not the canister or fill hose?

That would mean the goop was flowing backwards into the air pressure hose, as if the tire valve was providing more resistance than the air compressor!

Perhaps you thought you had the hose fully screwed on and compressing (opening) the valve stem,but did not.

In that case the goop had nowhere to go except backwards into the compressor. Hence the smoking, etc. That the goop sprayed out the hose after removing from the valve stem also leads me to believe the goop was not going through the tire valve, it was all backed up and pressurized in the hose instead. Think of taking a nozzle off the end of a pressurized water hose. The water sprays everywhere. Take an open nozzle off, it does not spray water everywhere.

I think the goop either was not going into the tire or the valve somehow closed. Did the dealer find goop inside the tire?
 

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These horror stories are why I always drive with the 4 corner tire pressure display right in front of me. I run 40 psi so if I see any one of those numbers start dropping into the 30's it raises my alert level. I have a full size spare in my garage ready to go at all times. Just last week after attending a party 40 miles from home I notice the left rear at 37. Drove it home, 33 at home. Sure enough a nail in the tire. Swapped tires, back on the road in 10 minutes. I always keep a good un mounted spare as well, purchased from bestusedtires.com to cover for a ruined tire. Nothing bites more than $200 for a nail in a tire.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The goop came out of the rectangular air compressor, not the canister or fill hose?

That would mean the goop was flowing backwards into the air pressure hose, as if the tire valve was providing more resistance than the air compressor!

Perhaps you thought you had the hose fully screwed on and compressing (opening) the valve stem,but did not.

In that case the goop had nowhere to go except backwards into the compressor. Hence the smoking, etc. That the goop sprayed out the hose after removing from the valve stem also leads me to believe the goop was not going through the tire valve, it was all backed up and pressurized in the hose instead. Think of taking a nozzle off the end of a pressurized water hose. The water sprays everywhere. Take an open nozzle off, it does not spray water everywhere.

I think the goop either was not going into the tire or the valve somehow closed. Did the dealer find goop inside the tire?
I didn't get to talk with the dealer after the tire was replaced, so I don't know if there was goop inside the tire. I won't be able to ask them about it until tomorrow, so hopefully there will be somebody that can tell me for sure. I would be very surprised if this was due to my not tightening the connection tight enough. I spent about 15 minutes reading the directions in the manual, and when I tightened both of the hose connections I made sure that they were as tight as I could do with my fingers.

I think you are probably right, though, that somehow the goop didn't flow as it should have and probably created a blockage in the line, leading to the problem. I know that I hooked the hoses up correctly. They are still hooked up as they were, so if I need to prove that, I can.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
missing tow hook cover now!

So, unfortunately, when the tow driver removed the tow hook cover, he removed it COMPLETELY from the bumper. IE, ripped it out. When he snapped it back into place, it must not have fit correctly, because I noticed this morning that my tow hook cover is now missing. I saw him put it back, and showed him that he had broken it free, which he should not have done. However, I assumed it wouldn't fall out again, so I didn't pursue the issue right then.

To replace this, can I get just the tow hook cover, or do I need to replace that whole piece of bumper fascia?
Also, this was not my fault. Do I call OnStar about this, or the tow truck company, or a Chevy Volt advisor? missing tow hook cover.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I did the first step. I didn't get to the second step (inflating the tire) because the goop was leaking from the base (not the hose connections) of the tire inflator. I used the correct hoses.
 

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So, unfortunately, when the tow driver removed the tow hook cover, he removed it COMPLETELY ...
To replace this, can I get just the tow hook cover, or do I need to replace that whole piece of bumper fascia? View attachment 127233
Why would you replace the bumper fascia when the hole is in the grill insert? This should be the responsibility of the towing company for breaking/losing your cover.

BTW, I'm very happy to see that the 2nd gen cars have this option. The first gen cars have a hole in the bumper for a tow hook, but nothing behind the hole to attach the hook into. It's just a tease. When the tow truck shows up, they have to go under the air dam and connect to somewhere impossible to reach and run a real chance of smashing up the air dam with the cable.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ron in Omaha, my terminology probably isn't right, but you seem to know more than me. Is that tow hook cover able to be replaced separately, or do you have to replace the whole bumper insert? I had trouble looking online to figure out if this part is available.

I don't know who to contact first regarding this, as I received no paperwork from the towing company. I don't even have an incident number from OnStar, or at least one that was provided for me to copy down. I was simply instructed to wait for the tow truck driver. Maybe that's my first step, to call OnStar.
 

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Oh, and the towing company didn't lose the cover. He snapped it back in, but it's gone now, so it must have fallen out when I was driving.
It seems to me that the driver didn't snap it in properly. Otherwise everybody's cover would be flapping in the wind. The tether does not hold the cover in the hole, it just keeps you from losing it while removed.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Ok, visited the dealer today to get info. Found out the cause of the flat was a nail near the edge of the sidewall. They said that they would check to see if the sealant actually made it into the tire or not, but there was no note about that from the tech. So, I don't know if I will get an accurate answer on that. At this point, I think they should replace my tire inflator kit, but if they don't, I don't really care. I don't think it is very effective.

However, I asked about the tow truck driver info. They had no information or paperwork regarding the tow. I remembered the name, though, and they were able to give me the address. I went there in person to make the claim about the broken/missing tow hook cover. After doing so, I returned to the Chevrolet dealer, and they told me that the tech actually had my tow hook cover and had forgotten to give it back to me! 2 of the tabs on the back of the cover are broken, so I don't know if it would stay in place or not. However, I think the tow place will buy me a new one...it was their fault, and they should.

The part is expensive. They were saying $61 for a new one.
 

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Your story is a valuable learning experience: install the tow bolt yourself if you can while waiting for the truck driver. Or at least, remove the tow hook cover.

I would recommend you get a doughnut or full spare to mount in your Volt. The tire inflator is just for the worse case scenario when you lose two tires some how.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You are right quirkySquirt. I contacted the tow company and showed them what happened. They ordered a new cover for me. They told me that what happened (losing or breaking the tow hook cover) is not uncommon!

In 35 years I've only needed to use a spare tire a couple of times. I don't really want to have a spare tire taking up space in my trunk, so I guess my road service/insurance is good enough for me. I didn't end up using it in this case because OnStar is still free for me.
 

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Your experience with the tire inflator goop is exactly what happened to me when I blew a tire on my Volt. What happened (or happens, perhaps, since it's a common occurrence apparently) is that a little bit of the goop dries out at the hose connection point in the bottle, and that's the first bit of goop to go through the tube, and it clogs the tire valve immediately and prevents any goop from actually going into the tire. And, just as you described, upon removing the hose, it explodes everywhere. Utterly worthless. In my case, it of course happened on the first out-of-state trip I took the Volt on, and it wrecked my vacation schedule. I had to spend the night in a little rural town and wait for a new tire at Walmart the next morning - Sunday. I was lucky they had it, or I would have spent two days in that little town. I will never own a car again that has no spare. Otherwise, as others have suggested, you buy a spare wheel and tire that fits the car and carry it in the back when you need it. The "repair kits" save the car makers money, so they will continue to spread to all new cars in the future.
 

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The "repair kits" save the car makers money, so they will continue to spread to all new cars in the future.
A savings partly passed on to the consumer. They also save 40 lbs of weight being schlepped around for years, between wheel and tools, and a not-trivial amount of space.
 
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