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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,

I'm eyeing 2014 Volts currently coming off lease, but need some advice about effective test drives:

  • How can I test efficiency/behavior in battery-depleted conditions? The obvious answer is to deplete the battery, but most dealers keep the battery fully charged which would seem to require an approx 30mi test drive just to deplete it before I could test behavior with an empty battery. Are there any shortcuts?
  • Do you have any general input about things I should be on the lookout for given 2014MY and 25k-50k on the odometer?

Thanks!
 

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I'd pop it into hold to test the engine immediately if that's what you want.

Check the lifetime efficiency to see how much engine has been used (also if the trip meter hasn't been reset, will show total gas burned)
Generally >100MPG is a mostly electric use, anything <40 is pure gas.
Check the brakes visually - are they scored or rusted over? (would mean they were probably never serviced, or they were serviced inappropriately as they aren't really supposed to rust)
Check that the heater works (without using engine), a small number of 2014s had issues with it.

Other than that, not much to say about 2014s. The most reliable year, IMO. And lucky for me, cause that's the one I bought :)
2013s had a ton of HVAC issues. Not serious ones, but just annoying.
 

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Depleted battery (never "empty") performance has not been a problem, because then, you are using the engine except when starting from rest. (and possibly max acceleration?) Drive the car and if it's quiet, steers straight, no clicks or thumps in the suspension then, with a Certified contract or at least buying from a dealer, you're OK. Finding a good dealer can be tricky, but use this forum to find one. If the car is good, you may only need oil changes and tire rotation.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Depleted battery (never "empty") performance has not been a problem...
Thanks for your advice! By the way, "has not been a problem" is part of what I'd like to test. Clarification question: you mention certified "contract". I understand CPO includes a very modestly increased warranty...is there any other dealer obligation included?
 

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Can you elaborate? I bought a used 2013 six weeks ago. So far it has been perfect but I like to be proactive.

Thanks.
It comes up a lot. Search for no heat and you'll come across many, many threads.
2013 was an especially bad year (first of the mid-cycle refresh tradition continues, it seems, or perhaps coincidence)
Most fixed by 2014, though the rare few had it as well.

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread...-when-running-on-electric&highlight=2013+heat
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?275657-2013-Volt-Heater-Issues&highlight=2013+heat
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread...nything-I-should-aware-of&highlight=2013+heat
(there are lots more)
 

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I just had my '13 in the shop for heater service but I believe it was more related to the recent coolant flush service I had done in which a filter was plugged, as well as the heater coolant control valve wasn't operating. My understanding is that some of the early '13 builds can benefit from a programming flash to improve EV heater operation. I don't believe the A/C system has been an issue on the '13's though. The heater in some cars just doesn't appear to be as efficient as traditionally gas powered cars which the software update supposedly fixes.
 

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As previously mentioned, running in Hold will be very similar to being in CS mode. If the engine starts immediately upon going into Hold (it will not produce much power until it warms up) and sounds OK, you should be good. When I was looking at Volts, I found the opposite generally to be true, the dealers never had them charged! Make them plug the car's EVSE into an outlet and into the car, and verify it works. If you open the bonnet with the car on, the engine will start. This will allow you to listen to it run. Be sure the coolant levels are correct. Inspect the brake reservoir and master cylinder area for any leaks. Brake parts are VERY expensive, and only covered by the btb warranty. And yes, be sure the electric heater works! Then in hold, make sure the car transitions to engine heat (the heat symbol in the climate display will go off after the engine warms up). Most problems have been with the electric heater however.

My friend and I both bought off-lease 2013's and neither one has had any heater issues. Mine is an early build, July 2012. Seems the faulty k-10 heater units were early 2013 builds. As previously stated, most 2014's were fine. If the heater works OK at 50k miles, it's probably going to keep working. Happy hunting!
 

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How can I test efficiency/behavior in battery-depleted conditions? The obvious answer is to deplete the battery, but most dealers keep the battery fully charged which would seem to require an approx 30mi test drive just to deplete it before I could test behavior with an empty battery. Are there any shortcuts?
Oh if only they kept them so well... Use the Drive Mode button to highlight "HOLD" when you want to test the gas engine. It's a very close mimic to what the car will behave like when the charge is depleted.

Do you have any general input about things I should be on the lookout for given 2014MY and 25k-50k on the odometer?
The seats tend to be a little polarizing, moreso than many car seats, and many that hate the Gen 1 seats like Gen 2 and vice versa. Check the lifetime MPG (leaf button, Energy Info screen) -- MPGs below 75 will have more like "typical car" wear on the engine. 100 and above will indicate that less than half the miles were with the engine turning and it's basically new.

Everything else I can think of at this point is usual used-car stuff and isn't specific to the Volt at all.
 

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I think the number one thing I would look for that is unique to the Volt is to test the cabin heater function in EV mode.

To do that, ideally it would be during cool weather or at least early in the morning. I would put an OBD2 reader on it and note the engine coolant temperature. Then turn the HVAC on to comfort mode, and the temperature setting as high as it will go. Fan on medium speed or higher. Within a couple of minutes I would want to feel hot air blowing and not see any rise in the engine coolant temperature. This may be more important on a 2013, but it is worth checking anyway.

If the battery is depleted when you start this test, hopefully the engine will not start to run during this time, because that will cloud the results. Keep it parked so it is less likely to run the engine.

When driving, put the drive mode into "hold" to test how it would function after battery depletion.

Be aware that the brakes work a little differently on the Volt than an ICE car. Many people complain about them being grabby or odd feeling. I find that if you apply force to the pedal smoothly and gradually, they work and feel very normal. Quickly varying the brake force, or pumping the brake pedal can make it feel odd (possibly because it would be quickly switching between regen and friction). In other words, don't be too alarmed if the brakes seem a little grabby to you at first.

Everything else I would check would be common to any standard car: can I get a comfortable seating position? Accident damage, odd noises, odd feeling while driving, tire tread? Verify all features operate, etc.
 
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