Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

The Chevy Volt seems perfect for my needs, but I'm concerned about maintenance and repairs since it's been discontinued. Does anyone know if it's becoming progressively harder/more expensive to find mechanics or dealerships that know how to work on these cars or find replacement batteries if ever needed? In general, does the Volt being discontinued have any negative effects on owners? Sorry if this is a silly question--I'm new to all things ev, phev, and for that matter, hybrids in general. Thanks in advance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
For now you should be fine. There are plenty of Volts out on the road and just because they are out of production now doesn't mean everyone else is getting rid of them. The main dealer may eventually be less useful, though from what I have heard the dealer support for the Bolt and Volt has always been fairly bad anyways. But there will always be independent EV specialists you can go to.

As an example, Nikki - the presenter of Transport Evolved on YouTube had a ~20 year old Toyota Rav4 EV. The old chemistry batteries were going bad, but she didn't seem to have any trouble getting the individual cells worked on to bring them back to good health, and I think they even fitted a new charging socket to it in the end too, to allow for charging with a more wideley used connector. You shouldn't ever have any trouble finding somebody who can work on your car.

Replacement batteries shouldn't really be much of a concern either. I understand why people who are new to EVs always worry about this, but as long as you buy a car with a good battery, and continue to look after it yourself (Don't leave it completely fully charged or empty for any long period of time, don't let the battery overheat etc.) it should be fine for many years to come with minimal degradation.

I Suggest you browse the Volt subforum on this website, and maybe ask them for some advice on what to look out for and make sure you pick a good example of this model with a healthy battery pack. I've never personally owned one of these so can't help too much there, but hopefully I have eased some of your concerns about maintenance.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,576 Posts
Are you in USA? I ask because most members here are in UK with a few in other European countries and probably just a handful in North America. I am based in UK but also have a home in Florida.

Chevrolet left UK market which makes servicing the Volt even harder!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,576 Posts
I didn't know Toyota made EVs long ago. I wonder why they gave up doing that.
It was a compliance vehicle for the CARB states and was mainly sold in California.
 

·
I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
Joined
·
24,365 Posts
Hi All,

The Chevy Volt seems perfect for my needs, but I'm concerned about maintenance and repairs since it's been discontinued. Does anyone know if it's becoming progressively harder/more expensive to find mechanics or dealerships that know how to work on these cars ...
It was already virtually impossible to find competent dealers in 2015.

If you want the reassurance of competent and accessible dealers, Volt and Ampera are not for you. It's the precise reason (lack of dealer competency) which was why I sold mine.

If you are happy for a punt, feel free. If your car choice is influenced by having the confidence of a competent dealer nearby, pick a new car accordingly and go find a good lease deal on that make.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
For now you should be fine. There are plenty of Volts out on the road and just because they are out of production now doesn't mean everyone else is getting rid of them. The main dealer may eventually be less useful, though from what I have heard the dealer support for the Bolt and Volt has always been fairly bad anyways. But there will always be independent EV specialists you can go to.

As an example, Nikki - the presenter of Transport Evolved on YouTube had a ~20 year old Toyota Rav4 EV. The old chemistry batteries were going bad, but she didn't seem to have any trouble getting the individual cells worked on to bring them back to good health, and I think they even fitted a new charging socket to it in the end too, to allow for charging with a more wideley used connector. You shouldn't ever have any trouble finding somebody who can work on your car.

Replacement batteries shouldn't really be much of a concern either. I understand why people who are new to EVs always worry about this, but as long as you buy a car with a good battery, and continue to look after it yourself (Don't leave it completely fully charged or empty for any long period of time, don't let the battery overheat etc.) it should be fine for many years to come with minimal degradation.

I Suggest you browse the Volt subforum on this website, and maybe ask them for some advice on what to look out for and make sure you pick a good example of this model with a healthy battery pack. I've never personally owned one of these so can't help too much there, but hopefully I have eased some of your concerns about maintenance.
Thanks for the insights! That's all really helpful. I'm searching around my area for a Voltec certifed mechanic or at least one with some EV or PHEV knowledge that I can trust. I live in a fairly small city so I haven't had much luck yet.

That's great about the battery. At least it's good to know there's not much to worry about there. I'll explore the Volt subforum and see what other info I can turn up. Thanks again!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Are you in USA? I ask because most members here are in UK with a few in other European countries and probably just a handful in North America. I am based in UK but also have a home in Florida.

Chevrolet left UK market which makes servicing the Volt even harder!
Thanks, that's good to know! I am in the US. Getting the Volt serviced here might be slightly easier than in the UK, but from what I've found it can still be very difficult to find a shop that knows how to work on the car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
It was already virtually impossible to find competent dealers in 2015.

If you want the reassurance of competent and accessible dealers, Volt and Ampera are not for you. It's the precise reason (lack of dealer competency) which was why I sold mine.

If you are happy for a punt, feel free. If your car choice is influenced by having the confidence of a competent dealer nearby, pick a new car accordingly and go find a good lease deal on that make.
Thanks, that's really helpful. I'm in the process of looking for a mechanic in my area that knows how to service the Volt. No luck so far and if I can't find someone I trust I think it'll be time to start looking at other options.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
360 Posts
It was already virtually impossible to find competent dealers in 2015.

If you want the reassurance of competent and accessible dealers, Volt and Ampera are not for you. It's the precise reason (lack of dealer competency) which was why I sold mine.

If you are happy for a punt, feel free. If your car choice is influenced by having the confidence of a competent dealer nearby, pick a new car accordingly and go find a good lease deal on that make.
Even you admit you sold your Ampera way to early. Perversely the Volt in the UK has better support imho. Plus it rarely goes wrong. 99k miles on ours and just replaced the left front abs sensor cable myself. Cost £15 online, took a few hours. That and a replacement driveshaft CV unit in 2018 are all that have gone wrong except wear items of tyres and rear discs and pads. With the gearbox bearing replaced in 2015 under the Voltec warranty there is bugger all left to go wrong.

I would have an old Volt / Ampera over any ice if the same age, 8 years old now, any day.
 

·
I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
Joined
·
24,365 Posts
Thanks, that's really helpful. I'm in the process of looking for a mechanic in my area that knows how to service the Volt. No luck so far and if I can't find someone I trust I think it'll be time to start looking at other options.
In the States, yes, it should be considerably easier, but that still doesn't mean 'easy enough'! Good luck, and yes I think you need to build up confidence that there are at least two service mechanics you can trust in the area.

I posted my sad story which finalised my decision somewhere else here I can't find, but the thrust of it was; I had a wheelbearing replacement to be done, it was booked in, all good, day before message saying 'the Ampera' technician was not in and couldn't do the job. 'Eh?' I say to Vauhall booking line, 'It's got nothing to do with HV, it is a bog standard Astra bearing'. 'Yeah, but we have a rule, only an Ampera technician can work on them'. 'OK', says I, 'where's the nearest one who can do the job?'..... they go do the search and come back 'we have no technicians within 100 miles of you who can do the job'. 'OK', I reply, 'if none tomorrow, when is one available'. 'No', they say, 'there are no other dealers available with service technicians for Ampera in 100 miles'.

After a fair bit of loud voice into the 'phone (TBH), I put the car up for sale.

I had just lost £5k or so on an EV that went wrong with no backup support, once bitten twice shy and all that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
360 Posts
In the States, yes, it should be considerably easier, but that still doesn't mean 'easy enough'! Good luck, and yes I think you need to build up confidence that there are at least two service mechanics you can trust in the area.

I posted my sad story which finalised my decision somewhere else here I can't find, but the thrust of it was; I had a wheelbearing replacement to be done, it was booked in, all good, day before message saying 'the Ampera' technician was not in and couldn't do the job. 'Eh?' I say to Vauhall booking line, 'It's got nothing to do with HV, it is a bog standard Astra bearing'.

After a fair bit of loud voice into the 'phone (TBH), I put the car up for sale.

I had just lost £5k or so on an EV that went wrong with no backup support, once bitten twice shy and all that.
lol you do strike me as a bit highly strung Donald. We were were quoted about £900 for localish Ampera / Volt dealer to replace a driveshaft as the CV joint isn’t Astra and unique to the Volt and no pattern CV joint is made by anyone. So I imported a pattern whole driveshaft unit via eBay and had a local Indy fit it for £60 Labour. Cost under £200 in total.

Why didn’t you do this rather than lose £5k in depreciation?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
906 Posts
I didn't know Toyota made EVs long ago. I wonder why they gave up doing that.
They also made one with a ~40kWh Tesla battery and drive motor, also for CARB compliance. Rare vehicle but apparently quite a decent one.
 

·
I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
Joined
·
24,365 Posts
lol you do strike me as a bit highly strung Donald. We were were quoted about £900 for localish Ampera / Volt dealer to replace a driveshaft as the CV joint isn’t Astra and unique to the Volt and no pattern CV joint is made by anyone. So I imported a pattern whole driveshaft unit via eBay and had a local Indy fit it for £60 Labour. Cost under £200 in total.

Why didn’t you do this rather than lose £5k in depreciation?
I didn't lose £5k on the Ampera, the loss was on something else.

I was content with the sale at the then-market price. OK, if I had waited another 6 months I might have got another grand or so for it, but had ordered a BEV at the time.

The problem in my mind was that the market price then was still a huge chunk of money and the car still needed to cover another 100k miles to 'pay back' that value over the next 10 years. All I needed was some big ticket item, like the charger (£2~£3k) or the battery (£5k) or whatever, and then suddenly the pay back is not 100k miles but 130k or 150k, etc.. Yes, there was a fair chance it'd deliver and I'd be happy, but I did not want to have that stress on everything else I have to deal with.

Highly strung, yes, but for external reasons. I am not a highly strung person, just one being strung out by others always trying to take advantage of me (and largely succeeding, it seems!). Another extra stress and worry was not necessary merely to save a few £k but risk a lot more.

Do I pay a bit more and have no worries, or save a little bit and have big worries? Take your pick. I have resolved never to own another car if it makes sense and I can avoid it, I just feel at this point in life I don't need to have that stress. The things are just too complex now to worry about them while out of warranty.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
360 Posts
I didn't lose £5k on the Ampera, the loss was on something else.

I was content with the sale at the then-market price. OK, if I had waited another 6 months I might have got another grand or so for it, but had ordered a BEV at the time.

The problem in my mind was that the market price then was still a huge chunk of money and the car still needed to cover another 100k miles to 'pay back' that value over the next 10 years. All I needed was some big ticket item, like the charger (£2~£3k) or the battery (£5k) or whatever, and then suddenly the pay back is not 100k miles but 130k or 150k, etc.. Yes, there was a fair chance it'd deliver and I'd be happy, but I did not want to have that stress on everything else I have to deal with.

Highly strung, yes, but for external reasons. I am not a highly strung person, just one being strung out by others always trying to take advantage of me (and largely succeeding, it seems!). Another extra stress and worry was not necessary merely to save a few £k but risk a lot more.

Do I pay a bit more and have no worries, or save a little bit and have big worries? Take your pick. I have resolved never to own another car if it makes sense and I can avoid it, I just feel at this point in life I don't need to have that stress. The things are just too complex now to worry about them while out of warranty.
We took the risk and looked to have "won". Paid £17k for the Volt 2 years old with 14k miles on the clock. Voltec warrenty expires either in 750 miles @ 100k or May 2020 , it will be past 100k by the end of Feb. Loan is cleared in October and the car then owes us nothing. All in all including all Volt dealer servicing up to 80k miles and repairs, it will be under £2k come October, and the Volt have saved us a minimum of £200 pcm on Petrol costs as apart from high summer the full EV range is used every day for my wifes commute, and her charging at work has been free daily since 2014. Strategic decisions like buying a spare set of alloys for winter tyres in 2014 have served us well over 86k miles. But reliability has been supreme. Still have the same 10.4kwh of battery range as the day we collected it too.

For memory we so far we have spent on,

1 x 2nd hand set 17" Vauxhall Antara wheels from Ebay
4 x Nokian 17" winter tyres (wont make another winter sadly, replace in winter 2020/21)
4 x 17" Goodyear efficient grip (plus the original 4 factory fitted)
1 x Dreaded gearbox bearing replacement (free under Voltec warranty)
Handful of Volt dealer services 14k to 80k miles (4 I think, including the big one with the battery cooling fluid)
Rear pads off ebay self fitted
Rear discs off ebay self fitted
1 x 5m Type 1/ Type 2 Nissan Leaf charging cable off ebay
Set of superbright Phillips headlight bulbs, replacing still working stock bulbs , then replaced by ;
Set of HIDs4U headlight bulbs
1 x new front driveshaft and washer imported off ebay, fitted by local indy for £60
1 x new Windscreen £75 Autoglass fitted last week.
1 x ABS Wheel speed cable (self fitted this weekend)
5 x MOT , never failed, no advisories, sailed through, just 5 x test fees 2015-2019.

Will need come April 2020 , and oil and filter change on the engine, either myself or local indy, 4 x new summer tyres. Another set of Goodyear 17" efficientgrips as they are under £100 online and last ages.

and it's still worth £6k+ of the £17k we paid for it. So an amazingly cheap car to run over 6 years and 86k miles and will get super cheap from October as we will just have running costs, will be fully owned, and we will keep it until it is written off / uneconomical to repair, which could easily be another 6 years, or more, as mileage will drop to 2nd / spare car now, so under 10k miles p/a, 90%+ on leccy.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,576 Posts
The OP is in USA and with Bolt still on sale there I am sure there are plenty of Chevrolet garages who will continue to provide servicing and support for the Volt.

The main issue in UK is Ampera dealers keeping HV qualified staff, so hopefully once Vauxhall sell the Corsa-e it will get easier/better too - or am I being too optimistic?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
Hi All,

The Chevy Volt seems perfect for my needs, but I'm concerned about maintenance and repairs since it's been discontinued. Does anyone know if it's becoming progressively harder/more expensive to find mechanics or dealerships that know how to work on these cars or find replacement batteries if ever needed? In general, does the Volt being discontinued have any negative effects on owners? Sorry if this is a silly question--I'm new to all things ev, phev, and for that matter, hybrids in general. Thanks in advance.
Hi -
My Chevy dealer has been ok about working on my 2013 Volt. I have not yet sensed any sort of reduction in the number of certified technicians, perhaps because they are after all still selling the Bolt. I err on the side of caution and bring it in more or less regularly.

There is somewhat of an issue with my Volt, relating to the battery - it has what is known as the "Propulsion Power Reduced" issue, though I've learned to live it more or less by trying not to trigger it.

There has also been some degradation of EV-only range, though not a massive amount. I seem to be down to about 9.8 kWh expended per trip before it switches over to gasoline. I don't remember what it had when I got it with about 38k miles on it. Maybe about 10.9 or 11? I now have about 63k miles on it.

Note that I am in Arizona, as was the previous owner, and the heat can be harder on batteries here. Yes, the Volt has liquid cooling, but it is early battery tech and I am not surprised or having a fit over the moderate loss of range. Still, I've been a bit underwhelmed about one or two things when discussing the battery with the dealer (it would take too long to explain here). I'm also disappointed not to have transparency from GM as to how much to replace a pack in a few years (don't they want me to drive it 500k miles?) It shouldn't be more than $150-$200/kWh, no? So, between the lines, I'm not sure that GM wants to be supporting these things forever, but perhaps that is because they are clear they are going for BEV in the future, not PHEV. I am too. I'll be trading it soon for a BEV, I'm just biding my time a bit.

I am not sure which state you are in, but this could I suppose have some impact on long-term ability to get support. I am guessing California and some other areas might have good support, though I haven't really looked around on this point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
I didn't know Toyota made EVs long ago. I wonder why they gave up doing that.
It's kind of a trick question or answer. Toyota made two iterations of the RAV4 EV One from about 2000-2003 or so, one (with a Tesla powertrain if I recall) around 2012-2014. Both were made in extremely limited numbers (maybe 2000-3000 in each case, but I could be a bit off high or low) and in various ways Toyota communicated between the lines that it did not want to be in the BEV business but was, in effect, participating in a deliberately limited way under protest.

Some information here about both generations, subject to the vagaries of wikipedia.

Some record of the vehicles can be seen here (scroll to p. 2 for some of them)

In my view, it is not so much a matter of understanding why they gave up as understanding how they were just following the same tired automaker pattern of going through the motions so they could be let out of making more EVs until some later date. It is not surprising they were able to find batteries for the oldest model as that is known for needing after-market scrappy enthusiast support. I chose not to buy the newer model on the used market in the US for a few reasons including that there is no DCFC and I confirmed with an owner (who gave me a test ride and who some time later got a Tesla Model S) that Toyota was not that into supporting them.

[addendum]: It's been awhile since I revisited this topic, but reading through the wikipedia link about the gen1 variant, I was reminded of some things.

1. At one point I was at a meeting in California when, if I recall correctly, one of the folks there mentioned that they had made a remark from the audience at a presentation of a high ranking Toyota executive and questioned why Toyota was not allowing the vehicles to be sold. From then on (or thereabouts) they were in fact sold. The wikipedia link mentions a total of 328 which met that criteria. I'm not sure if any RAV4 EVs went to the crusher (as did the EV1s), but some did not.

2. This ties in to my other point - if we look at the years from about 2003 to about 2009, when there were not really any EVs for sale, those RAV4s that were on the road were just about the only decent automaker-issued used EVs one could buy in the US. There were no large-automaker issued BEVs for sale new (that I'm aware). There were perhaps a few other used ones (such as the odd Ranger EV or S-10 EV?). So, it was of some importance that this seemingly small victory was gained to communicate to Toyota that we would appreciate it if they actually allowed some of the vehicles to be sold.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top