: How can I tell if my battery is going bad ?



mocnarf
10-23-2012, 03:52 PM
How can I tell if my battery is going bad ?

It used to charge to 40 miles estimate. Now it only charges to 30 mile estimate.

My drive to work 3 miles now uses 1.4 KW

Am I starting to have a battery issue ?

fotomoto
10-23-2012, 03:55 PM
Where are you located?

Jedi2155
10-23-2012, 04:07 PM
Do you have the heater on? Is it really hot or cold outside?

holland_patrick
10-23-2012, 04:15 PM
He is from Seattle, WA

It's getting colder then.. highs in the 50's and lowwes in the 30's

CarZin
10-23-2012, 04:25 PM
I think we need to have a sticky at the top of the owner page. I suspect a lot of people that bought during the warm months are going to be worrying unless they know this is normal.

You are going to see ranges in the upper 20s and low 30s when it gets cold. A lot of reasons for this. I'll let others explain. its normal. When the climate warms back up, you will be back into the 40s.

No worries :)

hamchief
10-23-2012, 04:25 PM
This will be my 3rd winter with my Volt. I can already see a reduction in electric miles of 3 or 4. This is without using the heater. In 70-80 weather I get 40, last winter when it was well below freezing I was getting 30 or 31.

CarZin
10-23-2012, 04:38 PM
How many miles do you have, hamchief?

ClarksonCote
10-23-2012, 04:41 PM
How can I tell if my battery is going bad ?

It used to charge to 40 miles estimate. Now it only charges to 30 mile estimate.

My drive to work 3 miles now uses 1.4 KW

Am I starting to have a battery issue ?

How to tell if your battery is going bad: Inspect your vehicle, and see if it is a Chevrolet Volt or a Leaf. If it is a Chevrolet Volt, your battery is fine. If it is a Leaf, it may be going bad. ;)

Kidding aside, the range estimate and actual differences are likely because of temperature changes. You'll have less range in the winter, more in the summer. It's not only due to heater use, but also the battery heating itself, as well as the decreasing ability to extract energy from batteries at lower temperatures.

The more extreme the climate shifts from winter/summer, the more pronounced the range difference will be. Averaged over a whole year, most people report the average range exceeding EPA estimates, though winter range can decrease into the mid-high 20's in some places.

ClarksonCote
10-23-2012, 04:43 PM
How many miles do you have, hamchief?

To be clear, I think hamchief was saying that his Volt is already seeing reductions this calendar month from the change in temperature, not from any lifetime battery health standpoint. (Correct me if I'm wrong though, Hamchief)

JDan
10-23-2012, 05:09 PM
It helps a bit if you precondition your cabin before unplugging.

BAZINGA
10-23-2012, 05:14 PM
We had some really cool mornings (mid 30's) and I used an additional .5 kwh going to work following the exact same route. My daily battery range dropped from mid 40's to 40/39 miles and I was careful about how much heat I used. I can see it dropping into the high 20's this winter.

I doubt there is nothing wrong with your car other then temps causing you to use more juice to heat the cabin.

Kevin from Canada
10-23-2012, 05:15 PM
I'm 2 hrs. north in Vancouver and the last 10 days has seen our endless summer with temps close to 70f change to our typical cool & rainy season. Temps now 40f to start and 50f on a good day. After 5 weeks of Volt ownership, I too have seen the 10 mile drop in range. Heat, defog, wipers. my ~43 has dropped to about ~33 miles now. So instead of using no gas.. I now have to say I use virtually no gas.
To date ~2000km's and 2.03 litres of gas burned. I think about 1/2 a gallon.

Had to drive the wife's car yesterday, forgot how noisy and now annoying the sound of the engine is

RMett
10-23-2012, 05:19 PM
The way I plan to do it is to look at how many kWh is displayed after the engine comes on after one full charge (and no partial charges) under the same conditions: ambient temperature and cabin settings. This is the maximum kWh output by the battery. I have not been able to tell so far whether or not there has been any battery degradation in nearly a year (13000 electric miles) of owning the car.

mocnarf
10-23-2012, 06:25 PM
The reason I am concerned is that the decrease in mileage range has come on quite suddenly. The vehicle is kept in a garage in which temperature never goes below 60'F.

Even though the mileage estimate is 31 mile, I am only getting about 22 miles on a full charge driving the same route that I used to get 36 to 40 mile on a full charge. I am not doing anything different from the way I have been driving for the last 10 months. I purchased my Volt in Dec 2011.

I have over 10,000 miles on my Volt and current mileage per full charge is the lowest it has ever been. That is why I am getting concerned.

If I should not be concerned about getting only 22 miles on a full charge. Then at what point should I be concerned? Would it be 15 miles, 10 miles, 5 miles, 1 mile on a full charge?

Is there any on board diagnostics that can check battery health ? Can the dealer check battery health ?

What is the criteria used to determine whether the battery needs to be replaced ?

DonC
10-23-2012, 06:39 PM
If you're not using the heater I'd call my Volt advisor and start thinking about taking it to the dealer.

saghost
10-23-2012, 06:41 PM
The reason I am concerned is that the decrease in mileage range has come on quite suddenly. The vehicle is kept in a garage in which temperature never goes below 60'F.

Even though the mileage estimate is 31 mile, I am only getting about 22 miles on a full charge driving the same route that I used to get 36 to 40 mile on a full charge. I am not doing anything different from the way I have been driving for the last 10 months. I purchased my Volt in Dec 2011.

I have over 10,000 miles on my Volt and current mileage per full charge is the lowest it has ever been. That is why I am getting concerned.

If I should not be concerned about getting only 22 miles on a full charge. Then at what point should I be concerned? Would it be 15 miles, 10 miles, 5 miles, 1 mile on a full charge?

Is there any on board diagnostics that can check battery health ? Can the dealer check battery health ?

What is the criteria used to determine whether the battery needs to be replaced ?

The heater is a real energy hog. 22 miles on a charge is kinda surprising, though, unless it's several short trips in the cold (you pay to heat the cabin every time.) The worst I saw was 27 miles in really cold weather and straight onto the interstate at higher speeds.

If you want to see if it's HVAC related, put the car in fan only, turn "auto-defog" off, and drive the route. If you get ~90% of the original range or better, it's just the heater settings you're using. If not, there may be an issue.

GM warrants "70%" of capacity. The way I understood it, there's a couple of diagnostic data fields relating to internal resistance that the dealer looks at to decide if the battery is degraded.

If you're really losing capacity, you'd be the first we've heard of on the forum, and the way it happened suddenly as things cooled off is suspicious.

Dec of 2011 is probably a 2012, right? How much energy does it show being used when you switch to gas? ~9.5 kWh or a more would be normal...

baragona
10-23-2012, 06:42 PM
My drive to work 3 miles now uses 1.4 KW

Am I starting to have a battery issue ?

This is not an indication of a failing battery. It is an indication you are "using more energy" to drive the vehicle.

The battery is still able to hold the same charge, but if you use more energy to go the same distance, your range will drop.

As to why you are using more energy?

The list could include:

- Using the heater more (or AC in warmer climates)
- The TMS is running to heat or cool the battery to the right temperature
- Driving more freeway miles than city miles
- Tires under-inflated as the weather cooled.
- You are driving more aggressively

bonaire
10-23-2012, 07:05 PM
If you suddenly are only getting 22mi on the charge with not a lot of weather change, there's a problem. Unless, you have it on Mountain Mode - then that's expected. If you have a full charge and then go into MM - you should see something like a 22 mile estimate.

Now, if this is Normal mode, you unplug, drive and at 22 miles, cuts over to CS-mode, then I'd take it in for review by the Chevy shop. This would "sound like" a cell or cells went bad in the pack somewhere and needs to be addressed. Give it a few days to see if it repeats a few times. No matter what - the battery is under warranty.

Steverino
10-23-2012, 07:19 PM
How can I tell if my battery is going bad ?
It used to charge to 40 miles estimate. Now it only charges to 30 mile estimate.
Am I starting to have a battery issue ?

How can I tell if I'm dying? My nose never got the sniffles before, but now it's October going on November and my nose starts to run a bit on cooler days. It did not do this in August. Does this mean I'm starting to die? :-)

mocnarf
10-23-2012, 08:37 PM
The heater is a real energy hog. 22 miles on a charge is kinda surprising, though, unless it's several short trips in the cold (you pay to heat the cabin every time.) The worst I saw was 27 miles in really cold weather and straight onto the interstate at higher speeds.

If you want to see if it's HVAC related, put the car in fan only, turn "auto-defog" off, and drive the route. If you get ~90% of the original range or better, it's just the heater settings you're using. If not, there may be an issue.

GM warrants "70%" of capacity. The way I understood it, there's a couple of diagnostic data fields relating to internal resistance that the dealer looks at to decide if the battery is degraded.

If you're really losing capacity, you'd be the first we've heard of on the forum, and the way it happened suddenly as things cooled off is suspicious.

Dec of 2011 is probably a 2012, right? How much energy does it show being used when you switch to gas? ~9.5 kWh or a more would be normal...

I will start keeping a chart and see what I get the next few weeks. But if I goes below 20 miles on a full charge then I think I will make an appointment with the dealer.

OhioEE
10-23-2012, 09:19 PM
I will start keeping a chart and see what I get the next few weeks. But if I goes below 20 miles on a full charge then I think I will make an appointment with the dealer.

In your efficiency screen, how many kWhs do you get before the ICE comes on?

jeffhre
10-23-2012, 09:21 PM
I will start keeping a chart and see what I get the next few weeks. But if I goes below 20 miles on a full charge then I think I will make an appointment with the dealer.

You said you are 3 miles from work, So are you driving the 22 miles each day, or is the car predicting 22 miles once you are out of the warmth of the garage?

mikeg3
10-23-2012, 09:50 PM
The 2011 Volt Owner's Manual refers to a battery capacity test that requires leaving the car with the dealer. I haven't heard of anyone using that test, but it exists. You could ask your dealer about it.

Bob G
10-23-2012, 10:16 PM
He is from Seattle, WA

It's getting colder then.. highs in the 50's and lowwes in the 30's

I'm also from the Seattle area, but I leased my Volt last February. The first few days, I was getting < 30 miles AER, but then I learned about braking gently, preferring surface streets over highways, keeping the car in the garage at night, pre-conditioning/remote start, heated seats, and avoiding 'comfort mode.' My AER immediately went up to about 32 miles, and then increased to over 40 miles when summer finally came.

MrEnergyCzar
10-23-2012, 10:33 PM
Pre-heat while plugged in before you leave...I get you use .8 KWH on that trip....

MrEnergyCzar

Cord
10-23-2012, 11:03 PM
Would he gain any information if he drove the car to zero range and recorded the kw needed for a full recharge in addition to just the kw used to get to zero.

migmon
10-24-2012, 12:01 AM
ive got the same issue. i live in woodinville, yesterday i saw 35 miles today i saw 32! crazy! i used to get 40 in the summer!

WopOnTour
10-24-2012, 02:36 AM
Hmmmm Whaddya know...with All Hallow's Eve just around the corner
Here we go!
(with all the 2012-13 Volt owners that havnt experienced the "Fall Fall" ;)
WOT

Mike-o-Matic
10-24-2012, 09:39 PM
TANSTAAFL applies: "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." The power for warming ourselves up must come from somewhere. And unfortunately, cabin air heating is rather "expensive," in terms of electrical power consumed.

Recommendation: If you have the heated seats, use them instead as much as possible and for the level of comfort you need. They use a LOT less power than cabin heating.

Perversely, this is one area where an ICE car has "sort of an advantage" over BEVs (and also EREVs still in CD mode). Because the cabin heat in an ICE vehicle is opportunistically harvested from waste heat (by which I mean, energy stored in the fuel that did not make it to the wheels). The "perverse" part of that "advantage" is that it's only possible because of the horrid inefficiencies of an ICE in converting gas into motion. We've just gotten used to it -- and during the warm months, that benefit (the heat) it goes right out the tailpipe. Ugh!

Of course, if you really DO have a failing battery pack, none of the foregoing will help much. But I did want to offer the perspective. Good luck, and please let us know how it turns out.

mikeg3
10-24-2012, 11:24 PM
From the 2011 Volt warranty booklet page 14:


Like all batteries, the amount of energy that the high voltage “propulsion” battery can store will decrease with time and miles driven. Depending on use, the battery may degrade as little as 10% to as much as 30% of capacity over the warranty period. A dealer service technician will determine if the battery energy capacity (kWh storage) is within the proper limit, given the age and mileage of the vehicle. Typical tests can take up to 24 hours.

So if you're really worried, ask your dealer about running the test. However, I don't know if it's a billable service.