Phongsiri Nirachornkul bought his used Chevrolet Bolt EV on November 23 in Fort Worth, Texas. Soon after he started driving it back to his home in Dallas, the fresh Bolt owner started to listen to a clunking sound coming from the rear. Looking for a solution, he contacted InsideEVs. Little did he know that he was actually helping us warn other owners that are probably intrigued by that noise as if they were the only ones. Sadly, they’re not.
A simple search for “Chevrolet bolt rear suspension noise” on Google reveals multiple links on Reddit, forums, and videos related to the matter. The clunking starts at a few thousand miles and gets worse with time. Initially, people thought it was restricted to the 2017 Bolt EV, but there are cases involving all year models.
According to a thread at MyChevyBolt.com, the issue is caused by a broken weld placed inside the torsion beam. When it flexes, the metal part moves inside it and makes the clunking.
Although this does not seem to be a safety issue – which would demand a recall – it bothers drivers. For the ones that still have the car under warranty, the solution would be to replace the rear suspension on Chevrolet’s account. The problem is that many are being told to pay for the repair. Nirachornkul would have done it if he was not discussing the matter with GM. But we’ll get there.
Soon after picking up his car at the Frank Kent Cadillac dealer and hearing the noise, he tried to get the dealership to fix it. After inspecting it on December 3, the dealer said it fixed the issue, which would be the front sway bar not being properly screwed.
Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield had a similar problem with her car. Apparently, GM released a technical service bulletin that recommended replacing that component. Predictably, that did not solve the problem for her nor Nirachornkul.
As you can see, the Bolt apparently has two chronic issues with its suspension: the front sway bar and the torsion beam. If you are hearing a clunking noise in your Bolt, make sure you check where the noise is coming from. As we already said, Nirachornkul knew from the start it was on the rear.
After Frank Kent Cadillac said the car was repaired – and it still made the clunking noise – Nirachornkul got in touch with GM. At first, the carmaker took the dealership’s word for the situation. That was when he decided to have a second opinion.
On his website Blink Drive, Nirachornkul said that he then looked for help in Dallas. The Friendly Chevrolet dealer told him he would need to replace the torsion beam, which would cost him $2,834.
With the budget from Friendly Chevrolet, the Bolt owner called GM again and was informed that replacing the torsion beam is a repair considered as “part of the car’s drivetrain.” Since his Bolt is covered until April 2022, he will not have to pay a penny. But what about the other owners with the same issue?
In a Facebook group, Nirachornkul learned that at least four Chevy Bolt EVs in Brazil are affected by the noise. That’s a significant amount of cars among the 27 that are followed in Brazil by that group.
Val, a ChevyBolt.org member, asked for help in the thread. He said he represented Bolt owners in Ukraine and Poland that would be having the same problem. His plead for help was to get spare torsion beams.
Apart from him and Nirachornkul, the issue was also reported at that website by the users Crabby Ermine, Brant Schutte, XJ12, sjdprods (who made one of the videos embedded here), MDBolt, M232, Terps1980, MYCL, stangbat, Lin19687, Bolted On, Rondi (a Brazilian Bolt owner who may be among the four cases reported on Facebook), Michael Boyce, jasvan78, and Devin.
We have contacted GM to learn if there is any technical service bulletin about the torsion beam, but it is on winter break. We’ll update this article as soon as we hear from the company, which has taken care of Nirachornkul and promised to repair his car after the holidays. The other affected owners should rightfully expect the same sort of treatment.