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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After seeing another, "should I buy.." I decide to Create this post.

Welcome to my Guide to buying a second hand Ampera.
When I say "my" I mean I've just amalgamated a lot of information written by other users.
This guide is split into three parts.
Part1. Why you should get an Ampera\Volt. and What Ampera/Volt to get.
Part 2. Issues and problems to look out for when buying second hand.
Part 3. Charging, Drive Modes,Tips, Freebies and thankyous.

The Ampera( AKA Volt)
If you have reached this page then you are probably aware the basics of what the Ampera is.
If not its a European Version of the Chevrolet Volt. Combined there are over 100'000 cars on the roads. Its super over engineered and i'll dive into some of the Great points here.
The Battery Setup.
One off the main issue with electric cars is battery degradation caused by charging and discharging. The Ampera avoids this by having a 16KWh battery but only making 10.4Kwh avaible for use, this means the battery never fully discharges or charges(the main damage is done then) The car also doesn't have rapid charging capabilities, the other killer. NON of the 100'000+ cars about have ever shown degradation* but if it did....
The 100K Warranty.
The Ampera comes with a 100K /8year drive train warranty. Should the battery degrade below 70% GM will replace it. More details in the next post.
Drives like a butterfly
With creep mode where you can drive along at 1mph in traffic to smooth planetary gears and silent running from an electric engine cossetted in you leather seats enjoying radio 3** through your Bose speakers,driving an Ampera is a refined experience.
Stings like a 273lb/Ft Torque Bee.
Because the Ampera is an electric drive car with traction control it delivers its power instantly and perfectly, giving you 273lb*** of torque off the line. Amperas 0-30 figures are 3.1 seconds.
Repair savings.
The Ampera does not have the following components to fail:-
Turbo, Alternator, Cam belt, clutch or classic gearbox.
It also has regenerative brakes meaning discs are replaced due to old age not wear.
The hand brake is also more reliable:- Electric Brake
The £0.00 road tax.
As an electric car the Ampera attracts £0 road tax, £0 congestion charge and 5% BiK .
Fuel savings.
The Battery holds 10.6kwh, and users get 3 to 5 miles per Kwh (averaging about 4+miles/Kwh across the year)
Puch your detail to get a estimate off savings.:- Ampera Savings
(for a more detailed calculation, sure the fellow member will be willing to help)
Ampera stuff; efficiency, hold mode, battery size, opportunist charging.
Even on a long journey most of the petrol usage will be above 50 mph if low speed travel is via battery, meaning real world 45+mpg on petrol.
Long run MPG / Typical long-journey mpg figures
Euro NCAP 5 Star safety rating
1% safer to be in than a Tesla model S
Official Opel/Vauxhall Ampera 2011 safety rating results
Official Tesla Model S 2014 safety rating results
On a cold morning you can simply preheat and defrost the car from the key through a brick wall. No more walking out in the cold starting the car, and illegally leaving it running unattended as a prime target for thieves
Number 2 best looking EV
Other than teslas most EVs are a bit wierd or just plain ugly. The Ampera bucks that trend.
Granualer Power control
The ampera has 4 drive modes(see post 3) so you can have fine control over where and when you drive on Electric and Petrol. Also the MY2013/14 has a power output/consumption metre. @donald has described in fine detail how to use it to get super high mpk / mpg
Built by GMs Best hands
The Ampera is the best Vauxhall that Vauxhall didnt build, because it was built by GM in thier 'elite' HQ factory, Hamtramck.with the sort off care expected on the Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac CT6
Detroit-Hamtramck - Home

There's some Video guides from Vauxhall here:-
User Guide Video Series
Ampera; Design genius - good bits!
*No amperas or volts have shown battery degredation.
Even Sparkie, The Volt with the most miles on public record.
Volt Stats: Details for Volt #2012-07353 (sparkie)

2012 Chevy Volt Passes 300K Miles, Owner Says “No Difference In Battery Since The Day I Bought It”
"In [almost seven] years of Volt sales we have yet to replace a single battery pack under warranty" - Chevrolet spokesperson Fred Ligouri (2017, June)
40 Mile Club

**Other radio stations are availble on the DAB radio

***370Nm, thats more than a M3 BMW or Golf R

Please feel free to correct my errors. Clarify my vague points or links to threads that would be helpful to a new buyer.

1,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Buying an Ampera is a bit different to a normal car, you dont have to check if the alternator wearing out(there isnt one) However there are other things to consider.

Top 11 things to consider on a used Ampera.

The Ampera comes with 3 warantys
(The original owners lifetime warranty wont transfer so that can be ignored.)
The 3 year whole car manufacturer warranty expires 3 year after the registration date.
The 6 year corrision warrenty Expires 6 years after the registration date.
The Battery and electronics warranty expires either 8 years after registration or 100K miles(whichever is first)
To keep this valid requires that the car be services at a select set of Vauxhall garages every year or every 20K miles(whichever comes first). Vauxhall have been known to give some leeway on this but its on a case by case basis.(usually max of six weeks or 5K miles max and maybe some VAUXHALL approved garages not on the list)Please check with Vauxhall in writing if there are any doubts.

This warranty or lack off completely changes things, as a battery replacement(although unheard of) could cost 8K including fitting.**

Vauxhall Lifetime Warranty Ts & Cs.
[3 year warranty discussion Here]
[8 Year warranty discussion Here]
Check MOT milage here (usally matchs service warranty)

Few Official Service/Repair Centres
There are a total off 30 centres that can service Amperas and Volts. Other Vauxhalls dealers do not have the experts so wont touch them. There was a pickup and return service but wither a garage stands by this is hit and miss. Check where your local garage is and make sure getting it there is viable at least once a year.
[Garage list(CLICK AMPERA DOWN THE LEFT SIDE)] -http://www.vauxhall.co.uk/tools/vauxhall-locate-dealer.html
[Forum List and Discussion ] - Service Centres and Collect and Return

Manufacturer date and versions.
The ampera was a slow seller so most cars are Manufacturer Year 2012(MY2012) the rest are MY2013 and apparently a few rare MY2014s exist. Therefore the Registration date cant be trusted to align with the MY date. you can find the MY date by checking the 10th digit on the VIN, You can find the VIN by popping the Registration [Here|BMW Insured Warranty and Roadside Assistance.]
E=2014(rare, prob all held by vauxhall)
MY = Model year and for GM runs from I believe August the previous year to July of the MY so 2012 Amperas were made from midway through 2011 to 2012 and the MY2013 started in 2012. I think it is a marketing ploy.
Confusing it is!
- @Spiny
The 2013 was revamped with many of the issues below fixed. It has a kWh meter to show power output and an armrest in the back between the seats. The 2014 has [the option of?] Black trim as well as red or white.?[2014 Chevy Volt Gets A Few Revisions: RPO Central ] all three versions come in three trims Positive,Electron,Earth(very rare), the Volt comes in a single trim
Positiv, Electron, Volt - what are the differences?
Except the Earth, there isn't much difference between the trims.

Gear Bearings
Fixed under 8 year warranty(See thread page 5,Thanks @donald )
A rare few cars suffer from worn bearings. Data points to damage during bearing instalation at the factory.
However failures happen under 50K miles (most under 20K) suggesting unlikely to happen after warrenty expirey.
Discussion Whining wheels / brakes - turned out to be gearbox bearing ...
GM-Volt FAQ Bearing failure FAQ
Non Warranty [£200 to 2000 +**]

Charge port Door and Assay.
Fixed under 3 year warranty.
The charge port door can stick in winter due to the seal gathering grime and the spring on the door being too weak to open it. Try to be there on first opening as once opened the problem can go away for a bit .Also try at least 10 times.
The replacement Assey. has a much stronger spring.
MY14 has a push release door.
Non warranty cost[over £400]

12 Volt battery
Replaced under 3 year warranty.
The battery supplied with the MY2012 can suddenly degrade, spawning loads off errors and leaving you with a car needing a flatbed.
This is usually preceded by errors and weird intermittent issues.
The original battery was a ACDelco 47P7YR
Replacement process and Photo here Ampera 12V Battery Replacement Process
The reason is likely due to cars sitting before being registered although i've been advised it was a tranche of bad batteries.
Discussion [Here]
Non warranty cost[£75 to £120+ fitting]

Charge cable
replaced under 3year/8year ?? warrenty with black leads.
Some "granny" 3pin orange cables that came with the MY12 has been known to be unreliable after high amount of use.
The replacement usally has all black cables OR a black cable from the 3 pin to the "block" but orange to the car plug.
Voltec Charger failed .. and a grumble.
Non warrenty cost[£220+???]

replaced under 3 year/6 year corrosion warranty.(depends on dealer)
Alloys have been known to bubble and rust on some cars . Seems to be a manufacturing defect but not admitted by Vauxhall.
[Related Discussion here] Alloy Wheel Help Needed
Non Warranty cost[?]

Door buttons
Affects ???
fixed under 3 year warranty.
The 4 door buttons that allow you to unlock the car without taking the key out are known to play up or stop working. Does not effect unlocking and opening the car(you just have get out the key like "normal" cars)
"Ampera engineer who was aware that there are two thin prongs in the button which can become brittle."
Discussion here >>Door Locking/unlocking
Non Warranty Cost[125 front, 300 back, 1000 if loom?? ]

Steering lock errors
Fixed under 3 year /8 year warranty (Vauxhall seem unsure)
Various suggestions what causes this but may be related to the 12v battery issue or the Door button issue.
Discussion [Steering column lock fault]
Non Warranty cost [up to £650??]

Defiantly under 3 year, maybe under Vauxhalls Ad Hoc under "Known but not admitted issue" also under 10 year Mitchelins warranty (see link below) ?

Its seems some early(MY2012) cars were fitted with a batch of OE Michillen(ending DOT..... X11X WW11 where ww is a week number printed on the tyre) tyres that degrade due to age not use.
Looks like it effected 2013 as well.

Discussion/Pictures /Michelin contact [Factory fitted Michelins falling apart]
Non Warranty cost [Cost off a full set off Tyres, £250+?]

Other factors

ICE Milage /Battery Mileage vs Real Mileage.

Both the Amperas electric drive and ICE engine seem to be rock hard. But the engine isnt covered by the 100K warranty and has more moving parts, so a car with electric miles is preferred over one with ICE miles. The car shows the lifetime MPG which will allow you to work out the split. (centre console>energy>liftime???)


Your usage.
How you intend to use the Ampera will effect your running cost
The ampera does about 30-50 miles on a full charge. If your daily drive is 15 miles both way thats on electric both ways.
if you can charge at work, or when your out as well as home. then 30 miles both ways is also electric both ways.
Anything up to 120 miles daily can be viable. If your you are doing more than that it may be more expensive than an ICE.

Dealers NEVER charge them
Almost every dealer, without fail, doesnt charge the Ampera for a test drive. Even if you ask. So make double and triple check. Then as soon as you get to the dealer ask to check yourself. If its not charged ask to turn it on, switch to mountain mode. that will start charging the battery. then ask to get a cup off coffee while it charges, it takes ~15 minutes to add ~15 miles off charge (if the dealer moans point out they promised to charge it, and that's what they are doing) driving it in mountain mode will decrease the amount the amount off power going to the battery so give you less time on electric.

Fake adverts.
There has been a few fake adverts around. Two using photos off my car alone.
If you see an advert below 8k be suspicious (4k has been seen) and post on the forum, we can usually identify fakes.

Minor issue
4 seater.Want 3 seats in back... how about 4...legal solution found
Test drive one, that massive pillar/air bag causes a blind spot at 45-60 deg. Make sure you're comfortable with this.
Like all EVs It's silent . You might run some one over :p be aware.
Parcel Shelf -(aka trampoline / Teatowel ) after market parcel shelf
Poor headlights - Ok, found out why the headlights are pants...
Finally !!! The ULTIMATE headlight system upgrade, pictures included !!!
Futuristic start/stop sounds Startup/shutdown sounds - deactivate?
Rear Reflectors Moisture rear reflectors have moisture in them permanently

petrol engine runs unnecessarily

software needs an update to fix an issue where the petrol engine runs unnecessarily
"Unintentional engine running" recall notice
The hatchback struts
Effects[MY12, MY13]
Some have been known to wear.
Tail gate struts

Both should have been fixed under Recalls, Simply supply the VIN to one of the listed Service centres and they will advise if the car is effected and if it needs doing for FREE.

**A thread with the maths of the economics of replacing the battery - (EG effectively never) [When to have your Ampera battery replaced]

**Due to the rarity of this issue and the fact its never been done out off warranty, the price is purely speculation, The job is simple enough to cost 200(inc labour and parts) but a Vauxhall tech has comment it would cost 2000 in one instance. We have ZERO real datapoints to confirm either way.

1,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)

The term "charger" is in general use for the unit the cars are plugged into. All except for the DC Rapids are not strictly chargers just fancy mains sockets.

EVSE: Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment
Type 1 (J1772) Plug / Socket: Used by cars like the Ampera and Leaf
Type 2 (Menekes)Plug / Socket : Used by some cars and all socketed chargers in the UK(will eventull become the standard)
CCS: Combined Charging System )DC rapid charge system
CHAdeMO :Japanese standard DC charging system

Granny charger: term for an EVSE with a 3pin (in the UK) plug on one end, a control box in the cable and a suitable plug for the car on the other.

Home Charge point: type of EVSE usually wall mounted, known as a Wallbox or Charger (its not). Available in tethered with a cable and plug suitable for the EV or as a socket, bring your own cable.
Normally 3.6 or 7kW

Fast Charger, a public/work place EVSE with a Type 2 socket, often seen as a post. 3.6,7,11 and 22kW posts are about.11 and greater are 3 phase Fast chargers.

Rapid Charger, these are DC and charge the battery directly and quickly. the common standards are CHAdeMO and CCS

Charging The Ampera
The Ampera is a Type 1 car, it comes with a Granny charger in the boot. This has a 3pin UK plug with a Type 1 plug on the other end. Depending on the model / year the charge current can be set to 6 or 10 amps on the EVSE or in the car with 6amps the default. This is fine for overnight charging providing your electrics are upto the task. See various threads.

A Type 1 to Type 2 cable can be used to connect the Ampera to a public "Fast charger" or a socketed wallbox "Home charger". With this setup the charge is 14.5amps. Charge time is much reduced compared to the Granny lead.

A tethered home unit would need a cable with a type 1 plug for the Ampera. There are pros and cons on tethered or socketed units - see many threads!

The Ampera CAN NOT use Rapid chargers as it has no CHAdeMO or CCS socket nor the electronics to support them.

6amp(granny charger): 7.2+hrs
10amp(granny charger): 4.3+hrs
3.5Kw(wall box): 3.5+hrs

Drive Modes

The Ampera has 4 drive modes.

This is both a Electric and Petrol Mode, its the default when you turn on the car.
The mode drive in electric until the battery is dead then switches to petrol, the switch over is nearly invisible, if you are driving over 60 mph you wont notice it unless you are watching.

Sport mode moves the throttle 100% to halfway up the throttle depth, Otherwise its like the Normal in all other ways, In Electric its is amazingly nippy. In Petrol there is a slight delay(like a petrol car) before it reacts but the response is otherwise quite nippy. Pulling out into traffic and across roundabouts feels a lot safer. The previous owner to my Ampera obviously lived in Sport mode as it really effects your Miles per Kilowatt Hour.

Mountain mode is a hybrid mode.If the battery is above 30%(10-18 miles) it uses battery until it gets to 30% then swaps to petrol.
If the battery is below 30% it runs the engine at higher revs and absorbs the extra power to charge the battery to 30%. (this isnt efficient but would allow you to drive into zero emission zone without plugging in. )
Apparently as it knows there is battery reserve once the battery is at 30% the engine tends to run less aggressively than Hold*?
Mountain mode is designed to make sure the Ampera (which is an non-turbo 1.4l engine) does not struggle up very steep hills.
Due to the auto swap to petrol and the less aggressive engine, Mountain is my preferred mode for long distance journeys.

Hold is a Petrol Only mode. It holds whatever charge you have in the battery, pushing regen into a 400kw reserve to drive the car.
Handy for holding battery in a longer drive if you have less than 30% charge or have more than one slow section ahead.

A 1000 character message to send to Ebay sellers to clarify the issues mentioned(Ebay has a 1000 character restriction)
Apologies I have quite a few questions.
1)Service history,can you please supply the date,mileage and agent of all the services please.
2)Do you know, has the charge door Assay been changed under warranty. Does it stick on opening?
3)Has the 12V battery been changed?If you are unaware, whats the make and model of the battery? the battery is located in the rear off the car, under the boot floor.
4)What charge cables does it come with.What colour is the lead from the 3 pin plug to the EVSE box on the 3 pin charge cable.
5)Can you add close up shots off the alloys please.
6)can you supply the DOT codes on all tyres please.
7)Please provide close up photos off any tyres with DOT codes ending 11.
8)using the twist dial to the right off the wheel can you switch the central display to mileage count B and provide the mileage and gallons used please.
9)using the "leaf"button to the left off the steering wheel can you switch the central display to Energy info,and advise of lifetime MPG please
Thanks links holder
Most of the info isn't my work.... Will update later to list.
lots o thanks including @donald and @Spiny

From The networkQ warranty
All Vauxhall Ampera models have the benefit of a manufacturer 8 year/100,000 mile warranty on the below components, These components are therefore excluded from the Network Q warranty: - High Voltage Wiring - Voltec Control Modules - E-Compressor - Traction Power Inverter Module (TPIM) - Accessory Power Module (APM) - Volter On-Board Charger - Brake Modulator Assembly - Electric drive unit assembly and internal components, including the auxiliary fluid pump, auxiliary pump controller and 3-phase cables.
you can check the oil quality. There is a controller down to your right hand side on the dashboard which when twisted toggles through a number of the cars details. One menu shows the oil quality as a percentage.


118 Posts
I've not seen all these 'issues' in one place so this is a brilliant idea!

A couple more worthy of mention are:
OE Michillen tyres - Plenty of threads to link to for this
Odd 'Parcel Shelf' setup - I'm in the process of building myself a decent replacement which i'll document on here in due course.
Poor headlights - Personally, I don't find this and issue as my last daily was an old VW campervan haha


118 Posts
In regards to the large A pillar, I agree it is obstructive, but on the other hand I like to consider how strong this setup is. Can anyone link to crash test reports etc? With 8 air-bags it must be a fairly safe car I'd assume?


180 Posts
I just called Bellingers and they said the Alloys are covered only on the first 3yrs!
Has anyone replaced them after that period and if so how?
Mine are badly pitted, so I was looking refurb them

1,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
re Alloys, yep seen conflicting info.
I'll try and get links in today so you can take discussions to appropriate threads.
Guys if you know longer and more detaild thread to the one I add please point me in the best direction.

Premium Member
416 Posts
Is it worth adding the condensation in rear reflectors and the clunking parking brake?

1,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sure, if you can dig out the best threads, I believe they are minor issues? (please advise if not!)
I'll be a bit busy til after after Sunday

1,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·

1,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Got this today
ervice Request No : [REDACTED]
Date : 27.01.2017


I write with reference to your Vauxhall Ampera [REDACTED]

Following our telephone conversation yesterday I can confirm that your warranty will not be affected when you have your vehicle service, as you have 6 weeks from your service due date to have it carried out.

If you need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us by return e-mail or calling us on 0800 026 0034 quoting your service request number above

Kind Regards,

Sarah Goodrum

Vauxhall Customer Service Advisor

As this very likely applies to me only and the plate number is a previous private plate. ive redacted some info. BUT looks like 6 weeks is thier maximum stretch.

4,638 Posts
@Marli can I suggest renaming your "Usage" & "Cons" sections, maybe calling these "Owner Advice", or "Useful Tips" maybe? Some of the items mentioned so far, like parcel shelf & lights in "Cons" aren't necessarily critical items when it comes to buying, just something to be aware of & that can be fixed (to some degree) later.

There's a ton of useful hints & tips around, so for such a section I'd like to offer these 4 links:
Free - Ampera Tailgate Rubber Stop Substitute Info
Free - Ampera Radiator Protective Grille Plans & Guide
Free - Ampera Cloth Parcel-shelf Replacement Clip
Free - Ampera Tailgate Safety Strut

1,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well the second post is a bit negative, and that's the intention, I'm currently working on making the first post a positive.. "Yay this all the amazing points about why you SHOULD get an Ampera" . But as most people come to this forum fairly aware and in the process off looking for one , I thought I'd focus on the second post. The usage bit is a very rough. I'm struggling to write both a concise but also detailed section. So if anyone wants to have a go please feel free. Also I may move it to the first post as it's not really a negative... In fact as you can fill it with petrol whenever you want its The biggest positive of this car.
Also a list of thing the engine doesnt have(so won't fail) !

1,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Anyone got any stats on Gear bearing failures?

1,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
No, GM did modify the MY2013 and the failure rate "seems" reduced. However as the above post shows numbers are hard to come by as it's pretty rare.
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