hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
51,123 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Chevrolet Volt Owner Comments

problem #15

Aug 142019


  • 146,000 miles


The car will shut itself off with very little time to get to the side of the road if that is even a possibility. When switching from battery power to the gas motor. Randomly. The car will die at any speed. First message is low propulsion power. Next message engine not available, service soon. Less than 4 minutes from 1st message to total shut down. Least amount of time between messages and shut down is 15 seconds. Car will decelerate (on highway where vehicles behind have no warning... no brake lights that car is rapidly losing speed). Never know when it will happen. Usually car will restart and run terrible.. after 20 minutes or so. After restart car runs bad low power. Check engine light is on. After 10 more minutes of driving. It straightens out. Usually. Dealership unable to find problem. Assorted codes in computer. Very dangerous when driving. Especially when it happens and it is 15 seconds to complete shut down. I have opened a case with Chevrolet. No response as of yet. They were supposed to call within 2 days. I will upload an attempt at restart as it is the only one I have where I was safely in a parking lot when it happened. Usually I am not. And many roads in my area do not have a shoulder.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #14

Jul 082019


  • 96,000 miles
Volt loses power when switching from battery to gas. Has now occurred four times. Each time Volt is traveling on highway 65+mph. Volt depletes battery charge and immediately upon transition to gas will lose all power. Cannot accelerate. Steering wheel loses power steering. Volt will decelerate until 0 mph. Very dangerous. In each instance driver is forced to get to shoulder or off freeway in Volt which is rapidly losing speed. Occurred on highway without shoulder last time. Almost caused a serious accident.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #13

Feb 172019


  • 72,400 miles
Vehicle dies suddenly while moving, although under full electric charge. Could not restart. Chevy said was software problem and made fix Dec 2018. Just happened again yesterday 2/17. Others reported on Volt blog site. Said wait 5-10 minutes and then restart, which I did and that worked. Concern that loss of power is sudden and without warning. Died in middle of intersection this time but fortunately no cross traffic. This is serious problem -- apparently others have had same issue. Reporting to local Chevy dealer at this time.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #12

Nov 102018


  • 147,000 miles


11/10/2018 while driving about 45mph heading school the car totally shut down for not reason, and would not restart. The ev mode shut down and the gas engine did not start. Police recommend to get it towed to safe location. Onstar records, multiple shut down of computer modules.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #11

Feb 282017

Volt 4-cyl

  • 48,014 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Volt. While driving 70 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning and completely lost power. The vehicle was towed. In addition, the check engine indicator illuminated without warning. The vehicle was diagnosed, but the dealer could not duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 48,014.

- Saint Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #10

May 312016


  • 85,500 miles
I have owned the vehicle for 4.5 years. In the last two months the error message "propulsion power reduced" has happened and the vehicle has gone into lip mode. All three times the message occurred when the vehicle was started, battery depleted, and gas engine running. Drivabilty was an issue as the car was in limp mode and would not accelerate properly. My car was taken to the dealer, twice. I was told by jay townsend, district manager aftersales Chevrolet, that this is normal operation and he pointed to a bulletin. He said there is no fix, but that going into limp mode spontaneously was a " vehicle characteristic ". it is illogical that an error message popping up is normal "vehicle characteristics" and that going into limp mode is normal. This is a big problem that GM seems willing to accept. Obviously some parameters being broken is setting off the warning message, but GM doesn't want to address this. Instead they are stating it is normal operation. Someone is going to be hurt because of sudden reduction of power and GM's deliberate denial to fix the problem. I don't want this to be me or my family.

- Whitmore Lake, MI, USA

problem #9

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 #8

Apr 302015


  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Volt. While driving 60 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician diagnosed that there was a cylinder misfire. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 42,000.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #7

Nov 142014

Volt 4-cyl

  • 31,006 miles
Driving using cruise control during commute at 60mph. Simultaneously experienced drastic power loss and check engine light. Onstar diagnostics reported an electrical propulsion system malfunction. Attempted to navigate to a safe parking area but eventually lost all propulsion and ended up in a traffic lane. Significant impact to control especially in highway traffic that nearly resulted in a collision.

- San Marcos, TX, USA

problem #6

May 092014

Volt 4-cyl

  • 18,000 miles
When I turned on the vehicle the touchpad showed no A/C. I started to drive the vehicle and approximately 5 miles the heater came on and blew hot air, then after awhile the A/C came on. After accelerating from a stop when I reached approximately 45 mph the vehicle lost power and the steering wheel locked up. I could not control the vehicle. Then the vehicle jolted and the power returned. This has happened prior and was taken into Chevy dealership for repair. Loosing power and steering capability is not safe.

- Dha, CA, USA

problem #5

Feb 032014

Volt 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles


While I was driving home my car would surge then lose power. I pressed the onstar button and a vehicle test was conducted. I was told the transmission needed attention. Also, the vehicle lost power while driving and I had to pull off the road. I was on a rural road so no one else was affected. Had I been on the interstate this could have affected others and myself in a negative way. I took the vehicle in and jessup auto in catherdral city, ca kept it several days and corrected the issue. The main issue is losing power while driving.

- Dhs, CA, USA

problem #4

Mar 072014

Volt 4-cyl

  • 5,640 miles
Car was being driven on an interstate highway at the speed limit, approximately 30 miles from home. As the drive battery's charge ends, the vehicle should start the internal combustion engine to take over propulsion from the battery. Did not happen. What did happen was a mil illumination, and several messages on the drivers display about the "propulsion system not available" or words to that effect.(spouse was driving car, not submitter.)the driver was immediately forced to negotiate through several lanes of very busy interstate traffic to get to the road shoulder all while dealing with what was eventually a complete loss of drive power. Dead by the side of the road, several attempts were made to start the internal combustion engine.no success.roadside assistance notified.I head towards location to offer help (1 hour away from home) and arrive before tow does. Manage to start internal combustion engine this time, and cripple car 7 miles into dealership, where mechanic pulls dtc's P0ac4, P1E00, C12fe and updates vehicle software with GM tsb pic5803C-"charge incomplete-charge interrupted and mil with dtcs P0D3E or P0D3F with P1E00" fixing problem.my main complaint with GM on this issue is that this software update was released 6/7/2013 and I had just had this vehicle in dealership for another software update 3 months ago-12/2/13.why didn't GM provide the pic5803C update at the same time as that one, avoiding a dangerous engine failure that occurred in traffic at highway speeds"contact with GM only reveals that software patches are applied if a failure occurs-like ours-and not proactively.I believe this to be a potentially negligent policy in light of the dangerous event that happened to us.updates like these should be pushed to the consumer as a recall or whenever a Volt is at a dealer for any service.can GM learn anything from their ignition switch debacle" I hope so...

- Lakeway, TX, USA

problem #3

Jan 212014


  • 5,492 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Volt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, the check engine warning light illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 5,492.

- Wayford City, ND, 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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