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This question arose and was touched on in another thread, where I mentioned taking my Volt to the close-by auto repair shop that I've been taking my other/prior cars to for 10 years, without complaint. Someone responded that I should take it to a Chevy dealer, because they'd be more up-to-date on the special equipment, etc., of the Volt. I said I agreed, generally. This morning I called the auto repair shop to cancel my appointment (which was just to check the 12v battery's health), and in the course of that call, I told the scheduler that I was torn about bringing them my Volt (for the reasons referred to above, which I mentioned). He said that they had received training on repairing hybrids including the Volt, the Prius and also on the Nissan Leaf, and had recently acquired advanced testing devices for these types of cars, and were generally fully able to handle their repairs.

However. While I would take any ICE car to this repair shop and be fully confident that they could handle any needed repair, I just don't feel quite as confident about their ability to handle the Volt. But that could just be my ignorance talking. But I would love to use them, because I have always found them trustworthy and professional, and because they're two miles from my house, whereas the Chevy dealer is 20 miles away on the other side of the city.

So here's my question: do you always take your Volt to a Chevy dealer? When would you feel comfortable taking it to a (non-Chevy dealer) repair shop? And how would you go about determining whether a non-Chevy dealer repair shop was adequately equipped/trained/capable to handle the Volt?
 

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Depends on the issue.

Struts? Wheel alignment? Brakes? 12V battery? the ICE? Bulb replacement? Oil change? The Volt is a car like any other. I rotate my own wheels for example. Others have changed their own oil, etc. So an competent auto shop can service the regular "car stuff".

Main traction battery? Chevy dealer.
 

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For the 12 Volt battery, I would be glad to go to your favorite shop. Same with brakes, suspension, exhaust, etc.

But any Voltec specific maintenance or repairs need very specialized training, equipment and sometimes direct access to the GM engineers. Despite what your shop says, I don't think a local shop can do that as well as a Chevy dealer. Even the Chevy dealers are struggling with this, and they have every advantage. The Volt is flat out hard to maintain in many ways. An all-purpose hybrid training seminar is not going to cut it.
 

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I do agree that taking your Volt to a non-dealer for things like the 12 volt battery, brakes and other simple things. However there may be a trade off with price and warranty. For example the dealership can give you a nation wide warranty, most shops can not. If you replace your battery with a GM battery, you may also get towing at no charge if there is a issue. Someone that travels allot may want the nation wide warranty to cover them on a road trip. If you do not travel then your local shop may be just fine. Even the 12 volt battery can give some techs fits, if the car had a issue with the 12 volt battery and the electrical goes a little haywire, it may not be clear to the tech at the shop whats going wrong and how to fix the issue. Even after replacing the battery the car may not "start up" so experience can make up for the higher price of the dealership. If you go to a shop, make sure they are using good parts, I always recommend using OEM parts over aftermarket parts, they are designed for your car and not just a generic part that fits may other cars as well. I would also note that the dealers have a greater resource when it comes to information on the systems in the car that no shop has such as GM training, tech assist, software updates and service bulletins. Some shops have some of this information, GM has all of it. Also a good dealership (not all as seen on this website) knows when something should be covered under any of the warranty's of not. Also most dealerships will make it right if they fail at the repair/diagnosis, some shops may be not.
I do work at a dealership and I am very well trained and have experience with the cars since day one. I can not tell you haw many times I have seen a shop make a repair, not fix the issue and then tell the customer that its a dealership problem and not their problem with no refund. Not all shops are equal and not all dealerships are equal. Find a good shop/dealership and stick with them as best you can. A car with history at a shop/dealership is more likely to get help from them if something goes wrong then a car that has never been to that shop/dealership.
 

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Got a new 12V battery installed at O'Reilly - 3 year warranty. Will get new tires at NTSB (Tire Rack associate). Everything else I let the dealer do. I have a good dealer with some very smart Volt techs that I'm on a first name basis with, even though I see them rarely. They even do my oil changes.
 

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mpmoore1979 speaks the truth. Adding to that - look for a certified Volt tech at the Chevy shop. If you find a tech you like and trust go with them even if the tech changes dealerships. Dealerships really like it when a tech brings new customers to them.

VIN # B0985
 

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It's been my experience that at most dealers there's maybe one guy in the shop, or even the entire chain of shops that is a real mechanic. The rest are just parts monkeys that follow a worksheet and throw the parts is says to at cars until problem goes away, or they call a helpline and get handheld through what to do.

If that guy isn't around, you car is going to get hosed. Especially if it has anything to do with the electrical system. The local chevy dealer here now brings in someone from another dealership 100 miles away, at least they were, I haven't gone back.
 

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Anyone you would trust with a regular ICE vehicle could certainly handle testing and changing the 12 V battery. Same with tires, oil changes, etc. The Volt, for all its new technology, is still a car. Only for things specific to the drive-train would insist on taking it to a dealer.
 

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I prefer to take my 2012 Volt to the dealer, who has more experience with the new technology in the Volt, especially with items that could be covered by the Voltec warranty. But I definitely would consider others for things like tires and the 12 volt battery, although I did go to the dealer for my wiper blades since the originals lasted 4+ years.
 

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If a non-volt shop just tell them not to touch ANY fluids under the hood if you see them open the hood.
 

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I did go to the dealer for my wiper blades since the originals lasted 4+ years.
Lol, mine are about shot, but they are the best wipers I've ever personally had over the 50 years I've been messing with cars. They warned me however that that those blades are silly expensive. Did you find that to be the case (assuming they used OEM)?

As far as the topic is concerned, it all depends. "Forced" by warranty considerations, I've taken the Volt back to the dealer for everything of the little it's needed, tires excepted. However, they've proven to be very competent and charge reasonably, so that's where I go by preference now. OTOH, after Tony left, I'd never return with my rotary Mazda to the dealer. To date, I've done everything myself. If I get stuck there's a specialty shop 90 miles away. Then there's my old Ducati. The only dealers are 60 miles away in opposite directions. Valve inspection and adjustment is scheduled every 6200 miles. Dealer price is $800-$1200 and it's a fair price considering the hours of work involved. No way I would consider owning it without doing the work myself. My airplanes? OMG, is that a whole 'nother can of worms or, better said, buckets of $100 bills.
 
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