Just got a call from my wife that the Volt died on the road after indicating "Engine Not Available". Fortunately, she is safely on the side of the road and OnStar and Chevy are working with her to get it to a shop and get her a loaner car. Looks like it may be the same problem. We bought it used at 8,880 miles and now have 15,300+ miles on it with no problems other than a few battery cells going out (Reduced Power) that was fixed under warranty.
Guess these new cars will need to be assembled in clean rooms like computers....since they mostly are computers now...
The sad part is, if you knew there was going to be an engine problem, you could pull over and look for a charging station somewhere so that you wouldn't be stranded. But the problem is you won't be aware of the problem until it is too late and the car is trying to start the ICE. :-(
2011 Blue Nissan Leaf SL (No QC Port)
2012 White Chevy Volt
Currently getting about 36-38 miles on the battery when fully charged and our lifetime average is around 65 mpg. We do a fair amount of driving periodically, so the gas engine gets used frequently.
Hi there, I wanted to let Volt owners know that seemingly terminal events, for the Volt, may not necessarily be as catastrophic as they appear:
On December 6, 2012 I was driving my 2012 Volt (with 12,000 odometer miles) home, in the evening, in Normal mode, on battery with about 3 miles of battery propulsion remaining available. I decided to put her into mountain mode for a few minutes to boost the battery state up to about 5 miles, so that I could get home completely on electric.
Shortly after initiating mountain-mode, I heard a warning bell, but upon examination I could not determine what that was related to. Then, moments later, another (or the same) warning bell repeated and a message appeared on the dash which read ENGINE UNAVAILABLE. I pulled into a parking lot so that I could investigate what was going on, and I noticed that the car had issued 2 messages for me to read, and were as follows: 1. Propulsion Power is Reduced and 2. Engine is Unavailable
These two messages sent shivers through my spine, since I rely heavily on this car for transportation, and I have always had the opinion that American cars are junk; but I bought this car in spite of this fact and now I thought my decision to buy an American car (the Volt) was coming back to bite-me-in-the-ask.
I drove the car home (or should I say " I limped home") on remaining battery power, and I probably barely made it back home before the battery charge was depleted, but I made it home.
Once home, I plugged the car's charger in and began charging the car. In the morning, the Volt had charged completely, and I drove to the store (about a mile away), in Full Electric Mode aka. Normal Driving Mode and then I drove back home. The only problem that I noticed was that the car's ENGINE LIGHT was illuminated. At this point, my main concern was that the gas engine might not work any longer, but I had yet to test this fear... so later, I drove the Volt (in full electric mode) for about 25 miles, or until the car got down to about 12 electric miles remaining... and at this point I pressed the mountain mode button, and (((SURPRISE))) the engine came alive and began running normally. After a few minutes, I switched back to NORMAL driving mode and I checked the battery status. After using mountain mode for those few minutes the battery charge had increased from 12 miles to 14 or 15 miles.
Now I felt a lot better, as I knew that I could use the engine to recharge the battery, as needed, still.
I also noticed that, AFTER USING THE MOUNTAIN MODE, the ENGINE warning LIGHT went out; so now the car "appeared" to have fixed itself, and was, for all intensive purposes, back to normal.
I had no further problems relating to the event which caused all of this uproar in the first place; however it has only been 36 hours since it all began, so it's too early to know if all is "completely" well.
I was really worrying that this whole scenario was going to be the beginning of a cascade of terrible disappointments, regarding my Volt. Putting this incident aside, now I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that my car will remain as reliable for the second year of ownership as it was for the first.
I still don't know what will happen if I just drive the car in "Normal" (battery only) mode until the battery dies and then the Volt automatically switches over to engine... as I have not tested this scenario yet. I'm guessing that it will be a "non" event.
As long as I can drive the car normally, I'm not going to take it to the dealership.
Thanks for reading... I just wanted other Volt owners to know that sometimes it's better to err on the side of "not taking your car to the shop". I read that one person, who had this same issue, had their car towed to the dealership and had to wait 5 weeks to get their Volt back. Do whatever you feel comfortable with. The Volt certainly is an expensive car to be TAKING MATTERS INTO YOUR OWN HANDS, but contrary to what drivers of "all" cars believe, warning lights sometimes give a completely false indication. I have a Toyota Echo which had the CHECK ENGINE light ON for 6 years, and I completely ignored that light, and took no corrective action, and during those six years the car performed flawlessly, and it still does to this day (currently at 250,000 miles).
If your Volt succumbs to this problem, you may want to either drive it home on remaining battery power and charge it back to a full charge with your charger, or if that option is unavailable, then you may wish to have the car towed home and then attempt to charge it back up to a full charge... then, afterwards, see if it will drive in Electric mode. If so, then wait until the charge gets down to 10 or 12 miles and push the MOUNTAIN MODE button to see if the engine will engage. There's a possibility that the engine "will" start and run normally, and that the Engine Warming Light will disappear, as did mine. Then, if later you have further problems, you may wish to take it to the dealership, but of course everyone is different and do what you think is best always.
Good luck and wish you never have to experience this worrisome situation!
YOu should still call Onstar (with a pen and paper in hand) and record the DTCs to see what the issue was originally. Report them back here and we can give you complete interpretatation details.
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I have to agree: a stitch in time saves nine.......
New cars tend to have occasional glitches in the first few years; promptly address them and you will have many years of service without trouble... especially for this computer on wheels.
Saving up to buy my Volt in CASH.
Don't believe any Chevy Dealership person. Know all facts before you go. Seriously.