Some 2012-2013 Chevy Volts Need Battery Cooling System Fix


According to GM, some Chevrolet Volts produced in 2012 and 2013 did not receive the correct amount of coolant in their drive batteries, or RESS – which stands for Rechargeable Energy Storage System .

No Formal Recall Has Been Announced, By Repair Is Fairly Basic...And Free Of Charge

No Formal Recall Has Been Announced, By Repair Is Fairly Basic…And Free Of Charge

During the extended range Chevy’s first 12 months of operation, the cooling system in the Volt’s 16 kWh battery clears out remnant air, which then causes the coolant level (if initially filled incorrectly) to drop below the minimum level.

At this point, some Volt owners may (or may not) get the dreaded “Service High Voltage Charging System” warning, at which point the car will switch to standard petrol mode until the diagnostic code is troubleshot by Mr. Goodwrench and the system reset.

To find out if your Volt is affected, you can call 800-222-1020 to check out your VIN in association to Service Campaign # 14114…or just pop by your local Chevy dealer.

The repair (which is of course free) is fairly simple.

Once/if GM has determined your level is low, they will do a cooling system pressure test to make sure the coolant hasn’t leaked via some other problem, then fill the system with coolant, purge excess air out of the system before ‘topping it off’ to the proper level.

The Car Connection also notes further actions that could be taken by GM if the coolant issue is not the problem:

“Should a leak be found, the dealer will recommend repairs. If the vehicle is still under warranty, the repair will be covered. If the vehicle is out of warranty, the repair cost will be the responsibility of the customer. After proper repairs have been made to the system, it will be filled, pressure tested, purged and topped off.”

No formal recall is being announced by the company.

Category: Chevrolet

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14 responses to "Some 2012-2013 Chevy Volts Need Battery Cooling System Fix"
  1. Mark says:

    Ummm….GM didn’t put the right amount of coolant in, and now the owners have to pay if they are outside of their warranty period??? Sure sounds like their mistake to me! Should be a voluntary recall at no charge!

    1. kdawg says:

      Owners could have to pay for a leak if found, not the topping off of the coolant. The leak would have nothing to do w/how much coolant was added originally.

    2. QCO says:

      There can’t be many, if any, 2012/2013 units outside warranty as of today.

      Have coolant leaks been an issue for owners of the Volt? (Other than vehicle damage)

      1. lewl says:

        So, related question.
        ‘Battery warranty’ is 8 years.
        Is ‘battery coolant’ a battery, power train, or other component?

  2. GeorgeS says:

    Yep this happened to mine but I think the dealer skipped the pressure test as it was not called out on the reciept. (spelling error Anon!!)

    What the article didn’t say is that you can check your own level. The tank is in the front of the engine compartment. If it is low then you know it’s going to happen soon and to go to the dealer or top it off yourself…….although 2nd year volts and up have a tamper proof lid on the tank.

    1. David Murray says:

      Good to know.. I’ll check mine today.

    2. vdiv says:

      Adding the anti-tamper bracket as part of the tunnel structure enhancement still bugs me. GM should allow the dealers to remove it upon request once the vehicle is out of warranty.

      The RAV4 EV also has a similar plastic device on the coolant reservoir cap.

      1. scottf200 says:

        I thought they added the sensor at that time too? The anti-tamper bracket is just easy to bend out of the way if someone really wants to access it. My 2011 had this. I could just look at the fluid level before and after they added more and did the pressure check. No big deal. — Scott 44K miles 33K grid battery filled miles.

    3. pjwood says:

      Check level when cold/hot?

  3. Anon says:

    Nearly 20 million recalls. I can see why they’d not want to formally add this in to their ever growing total for this year…

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Recalls are for safety issues.

      But since you have an open GM hater, I am sure you just like to whine about anything related to GM.

  4. no comment says:

    this warning does not cause the Volt to automatically operate in charge sustaining mode; all that the warning means is that you can’t recharge the battery from an EVSE. the vehicle otherwise operates normally, but since you can’t recharge the battery, you will eventually run low on stored charge and then the Volt switches to charge sustaining mode as usual. you can then operate the Volt in charge sustaining mode, so there is no risk that you would be stranded with a non-operating vehicle as a result of this warning.

  5. MTN Ranger says:

    This is a non-issue. Owners should be checking their coolant levels periodically anyway. It’s not that hard.

  6. Chris says:

    MY2012 and already experienced this after about 12 months. Called OnStar about the code and told I could still drive. Scheduled service with dealer and found low coolant and did a pressure test. Cost: free under warranty. Definitely annoying, but good thing we have the engine as a backup.