really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
26,652 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2012 Chevrolet Volt electrical problems

electrical problem

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2012 Chevrolet Volt Owner Comments

problem #20

Jan 072017


  • 52,700 miles


Without warning the illuminated instrument panel goes black. Usually it happens during start up after the car has set for a few hours. The problem resolves itself after driving for several miles, or, if the car is shut off and restarted. Numerous complaints about the issue are stated in the Chevy Volt forum online. The problem appears to be occurring in first generation Volts.

- Danvers, MA, USA

problem #19

Sep 102016


  • miles
The display that shows gas gauge, mph, etc. Has gone blank. It is a hazard. There needs to be a recall on this.

- Decatur, GA, USA

problem #18

Jun 012016


  • 28,000 miles
I charge my 2012 Chevy Volt with the 120V charging unit supplied by the manufacturer. I use the charger in a dedicated circuit of 20 amps. However I have noticed that there may be a deficiency in the gauge of the wire used. The wire from the charging unit to the car becomes quite warm. However, the short cord from the charging unit to the wall plug becomes dangerously hot. So hot that part of the plug has melted and left burn marks on the wall socket. Even the wall is very warm indicating that the wiring in the wall is hot as well. I am concerned about a possible fire hazard at this point. Would you please investigate? I have attached a photo of the charging unit plugged into the wall showing the scorch marks from overheating. During this time, the car is stationary in the garage.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #17

May 252016


  • 67,000 miles


The Volt was purchased in November of 2012: In / around June of 2013 a warning light came on and it was taken into the local dealer (where it was purchased) it was found to have a leaking coolant system for the primary electric battery (lithium ion battery). They could not find the leak so they refiled the system and included a fluorescent dye and returned it to me (the amount of coolant was ~7 liters). 12 months later (plus or minus a few weeks) in 2014, the same light came on, it was again serviced (they claimed to have fixed the leak) and it was returned to me (~7 liters coolant). 12 months later (plus or minus a few weeks) in 2015 again the light came on, this time a substantial part of the coolant system was replaced around the lithium ion batteries (claimed to have found a few leaky connections). The vehicle was again returned to me (~all knew coolant). 12 months later (plus or minus a few weeks) in now 2016 the same light has come on yet again and it will be returned to the dealer for repair yet again. Leading to the warning light the car's fan runs longer and longer while charging (its trying to cool during charging) and the ac stops working / blowing cold. The light usually come on shortly after starting. Attempts are currently being made to contact a Chevrolet Volt / electric car advisor to work with the Chevrolet zone manager on fixing / repair this vehicle. This is not only an obvious manufacturing defect, which the dealer clearly can not repair. But also, a major safety concern, if they warning light failed and the battery of this car overheated it would likely cause an intense fire (its a large lithium ion battery). Furthermore, they coolant being released by this vehicle is a substance monitored by the epa. This is again a genuine manufacturing safety defect and needs to be resolved or the vehicle declared a lemon.

- Hoover, AL, USA

problem #16

Jan 192016


  • 44,000 miles
The car shut off completely while I was driving 65 mph on the freeway and had to be towed into the dealer for repair. It was determined by the dealer that an underhood fuse shorted out and burned into the vehicle battery charging system causing the car to shut down while driving. A major safety hazard as this could have caused an fire.

- Eastvale, CA, USA

problem #15

Nov 042015


  • 35,000 miles
The vehicle continuously stalls out at any speed the only way to get power back is by putting the car in low gear and then back into drive.

- Interlachen, FL, USA

problem #14

Oct 012013


  • miles


We have been having multiple onging issues with the high voltage charging system in my Volt. It has been in 7 times for this issue since 10/1/13. When I call Chevy they claim they are unaware of any issues with my car as the problem has not been paid under a warranty claim. Yet the dealer has never charged me as they claim that Chevy is paying for the repairs as part of an ongoing warranty extension. What is happening is this allows Chevy to claim that they have zero knowledge of charging system issues and creates no paperwork trail to follow. My neighbor who also owns a Volt is going through the same problems with the same paperwork issue. I think Chevy is covering up the issue of problems with the high voltage charging system by doing this. For example 10/1/13 is listed as miscellaneous ses lamp on, body electrical 10/22/13 ses lamp on 9/2/14 I/P warning lamp 9/8/14 body electrical 2/21/15 is listed as a drivability problem. Car was dead high voltage charging system issue 5/18/15 ses lamp on 7/22/15 ses lamp on 8/19/15 body electrical each one was paid for under warranty claims by Chevy/the dealer yet they claim to have zero record of most of these service visits. I have spoken with three people from Chevy who say these excessive problems with my high voltage charging system is not a problem as they see

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #13

Jun 242015

Volt 4-cyl

  • 22,292 miles
When the vehicle would come to a stop, the parking brake would engage by itself. The only way to disengage it was to turn the vehicle off and on again. The second time I did this, the vehicle failed to shift out of park, and the vehicle was disabled in the middle of a roadway. The cause was a faulty charging port sending out a false proximity signal to the car's computer, making it think it was charging...updated 08/27/15

- Oostburg, WI, USA

problem #12

Mar 022015

Volt 4-cyl

  • miles
The Florida department of health (doh), bureau of epidemiology received a report of carbon monoxide (co) poisoning associated with a 2012 Chevrolet Volt. As a part of routine surveillance for reportable conditions, doh followed up on this report to investigate. On March 2, 2015, three people went to an emergency department (ed) for co poisoning. A 40 year old male parked his 2012 Chevrolet Volt in the garage to charge (plugged into the outlet) and accidentally left the car running overnight. In the morning, he noticed the car was running and had switched to gasoline use. He and his two children complained of headache, weakness, chest pain, palpitation, and dizziness. Carboxyhemoglobin (cohb) levels were >15% for all three individuals. On March 12, 2015, several news media outlets reported that GM is recalling all 2011-2013 Chevrolet Volts (about 64,000) to install updates to prevent co poisoning when the driver forgets to shut off the vehicle.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #11

Mar 042015


  • 46,000 miles
The vehicle information center (drivers display) goes out. Speed, warnings, fuel level, turn signal indication are not available and potential safety problem.

- Beaver, PA, USA

problem #10

Sep 252014


  • 14,750 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Volt hybrid. The contact stated the engine started independently without warning. The contact was alerted of the problem and found that the garage had become filled with exhaust. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 14,750.

- Gallatin, TN, USA

problem #9

Sep 102012


  • 8,000 miles
Driving on busy freeway when I accidentally bumped the start button on my Volt. The car shut off at 65 mph and when I realized what I had done I immediately pushed the button again which put the car in maintenance. Mode, leaving my wife and I to navigate to the right burm through several lanes of heavy high speed traffic, with no power. You have to have your foot on and depress the brake to restart. I managed to get to the burm safely. Others may not be so lucky. I reported this on the Volt website phone number and never heard anything. Do to GM's recent ignition switch recalls and resulting deaths. I feel it necessary to report this. I hope this letter my save lives. I lived through the Ford pinto cover up. I sold the car a few months ago.

- Zanesville, OH, USA

problem #8

Feb 062014


  • 109,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Volt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the check engine and service high Volt system warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the battery needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 109,000.

- Miami , FL, USA

problem #7

Jun 012013

Volt 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
Driving in mountains and hit rumble strip on highway and electric power steering went out. After stopping, power steering returned to normal. Fortunately, I was on a straight stretch of road and could control the car. Took it to dealer and they could find no reason for the failure. The problem has not recurred in the six months since.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #6

Sep 282013


  • 32,000 miles
The charging cord melted the electrical outlet in my garage while charging the car with the 110 Volt charging kit that was sold with the car. The incident nearly started a house fire if we had not discovered the problem - a melted electrical outlet was smoldering and there was the smell of burning plastic/electrical components when we entered the garage. I have contacted the dealer (woodward motors in andover, MA), and General Motors. The dealer said they could not do anything and referred me to General Motors. General Motors said they could not do anything unless I produced the license of the electrician who wired my house that was built in 1982 (I bought the house in 2007 and have no idea who built or wired my house). I understand that GM knows this is a problem and has replaced some of the 110 Volt charging cords shipped with the Volt. Not clear how to resolve this issue - I have an electric car that I now have to fuel with gasoline...

- Andover, MA, USA

problem #5

Sep 012012

Volt 4-cyl

  • 18,000 miles
The standard charge cord unit supplied with the vehicle by the dealer has failed twice, and I believe it poses a fire risk. The first occurrence was 9/1/12 at approx. 18,000 miles. Corrosion was noted on the plug. The dealership technician blamed rust from a recent rainstorm and replaced the charge cord unit. The second occurrence was yesterday at 32,350 miles. The car suddenly stopped charging. On inspection the charge unit and cord were extremely hot, hot enough to have potentially caused a burn or an electrical fire in my garage. Over the past 2-3 months, I have noted gradual onset of corrosion on the outlet and the charger plug. (of note, there has been no rain here in las vegas for several months). The dealership replaced the charge cord unit today. I commented to the service technician that I believe there is a problem using solely the 110 Volt charger in a regular household outlet. Dealership personnel implied that the Volt is supposed to be charged on a dedicated circuit breaker with no other use. However, this information does not appear anywhere in the owners manual, nor in the charge cord unit manual I received today, nor have I been told this at the time of purchase, nor at the time of the initial charge cable recall in early 2012, nor on 9/1/12. The only printed information about charging is that the Volt can be plugged into a regular household outlet (owners manual 1-20), and that it is recommended to leave it plugged in temperatures over 90 degrees F. to preserve battery life (owner's manual 9-44). On review of websites and blogs, I note that other Volt owners have had a similar problem.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #4

May 192013

Volt 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
Owned car for 8 months. Using 110V outlet to charge electric battery. Charges fine every night. Unplugged charger today. Charging connector is black, semi melted. Outlet is black and charred. Appear to be days away from a fire. I live in a new home (less than a year old) valued at over 500K. Huge electric car fan, but both wife and I are now concerned about fire in house with young kids.

- Greencastle, IN, USA

problem #3

Dec 012012

Volt 4-cyl

  • 12,500 miles
Driver had returned home, stopped car, depressed gear shifter button to put gear in park, and was electrocuted from the point of gear shifter. The vehicle was already slated to be "repurchased" by GM due to other ongoing mechanical malfunction issues. The vehicle was returned to the driver for use while the new vehicle was being built by GM for delivery to the driver. When the vehicle was at the dealership for additional malfunctioning repairs, the last time before incident (including a malfunction with the main battery component the dealer determined) the dealer's mechanic reported finding a "stiffness" or malfunction with the gear shifter. The dealer ordered and replaced a part to the gear shifter. The driver drove the vehicle without incident for about three weeks before the electrocution occurred. GM was informed of the incident immediately afterwards. GM instructed driver to call 911 to have "first responders" disconnect the power in vehicle. Fire dept refused to cut power cables in vehicle, for lack of knowledge of the systems, and fear of their safety, since the driver was no longer in danger inside of vehicle. Luckily, when incident occurred, driver was able to quickly remove their point of contact from gear shifter before the hand and arm muscles had involuntarily contracted in place permanently closing the contact and resulting in further electrocution. Driver sustained significant electrical shock injury to hand/arm including pain, shock, soreness, numbness, and tingling sensation. Since incident, GM is only willing to transfer driver to their product allocation department which acts in a legal capacity and accepts claim reports for further investigation. Driver's immediate concern is not to sue GM but to insure all reasonable efforts are made to inform other Volt dealers of incident and hopefully prevent other drivers from being electrocuted......updated 01/30/13 updated 2/4/2013

- Santa Rosa Valley, CA, USA

problem #2

Sep 202012


  • 800 miles
Was driving Volt at low speed in traffic. Attempted to switch modes (normal to sport). This is accomplished by pressing a button on the dashboard twice in quick succession. The button is located right next to the start/stop button. I accidentally pressed the start/stop button twice in quick succession, which shuts the car off. The car shut off and I was unable to restart it until I came to a full stop, shifted the car to park, and pressed the brake. The resulted in a small traffic backup behind me. However, this the design and placement of these buttons is very poor. I believe the start/stop button has been designed to shutoff the car relatively easily in light of the recent and public "sudden acceleration" problems by other manufacturers. However, accidentally switching off the car is also an undesirable consequence. Had this event happened at higher speeds (on the highway) it could be quite dangerous.

- Cambridge, MA, USA

problem #1

Aug 172012

Volt 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
There is an apparent design flaw in the Chevy Volt related to an individual exiting the vehicle without powering down the systems which could result in co poisoning or death and possible fire hazards in the right situation. The Volt uses a key fob system and push button start. Key fobs are already proving to be a safety issue. With the Volt, the situation is exacerbated. Since the car is virtually silent, it is very easy for a person to forget to turn off the car, and when they exit, the lack of any engine noise will often not give them the cues necessary to realize their mistake. When the individual leaves the car powered on, the battery will drain. When the battery is sufficiently drained, an engine will turn on and charge the batteries. This is significant, because this will likely happen sometime after a person has parked their car. The result will be a garage filling with co fumes. The Volt will continue to run the engine, in cycles, until there is no more gas in the tank. While there have already been deaths associated with non-electric vehicles equipped with key fobs and co poisoning as the result of the driver forgetting to turn the car, this is going to be much more common in electric hybrid vehicles. In an unscientific poll conducted on GM-Volt.com, of 100 respondents, 30% admitted to forgetting to turn their vehicle off. One user on the site forgot to turn the vehicle off, and entered the garage sometime later to find it filled with fumes. There needs to be passive (horn signals upon exit) or active (well engineered auto shutoff) systems put in place to prevent a tragedy.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

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