Car bummer the first(e): Volt battery issues.
I took my 2013 Chevrolet Volt with 60824 miles in for a tire rotation on October 7th, 2016… and when they rolled it back out to me the check engine light was on with a code that translated-to “Irregularity detected in the Li-Ion battery, please service within 7 days”. I left it there. I got it back this Monday, November 21st. That is 46 days in the shop.
There were a few extenuating circumstances:
- It was a warranty repair, so I didn’t have to pay for it
- The battery-removal lift at the dealer was leaking (I think my car was the first Volt with this sort of problem that they had gotten in a while), and they wanted to repair that properly before they tried to take the battery out of my car to run diagnostics, and they told me within hours of noticing the leak that it was gonna be a while so if I wanted to pick it up and drive it somewhere else there would be no issue It ended up adding 25 days or so to the front end of the repair and I was like “enh, whatever, I have another car, I can wait three weeks”.
But still, 46 days. My confidence is shaken because… drivetrain issues at 3 years and ~60,000 miles. Drivetrain issues that took 46 days to fix. Drivetrain issues that would have taken the better part of a month to fix if the lift weren’t leaking. Will this car make it the 10 years and 200k+ miles I want from a car? Keep in mind that any drivetrain issue (including the charge door sticking) turns on the Check Engine Light, meaning it HAS to be fixed or I can’t register it on my midsummer birthday… so it’s not like I can go “Oh, whatever, I’ll just drive it until winter and then get something new when discounts are deeper” if it has problems between March and May.
Thus, I am adjusting my recommendation of the Volt from “OhGoshItsSoCoolYouShouldGetOneIfYouLikeItAfterTheTestDriveWannaBorrowMine” to “Well, I like mine, and I bought it used as it dropped the price by 60%, but it had a major drivetrain issue soon after I got it, and WOW Chevrolet dealers are hit-or-miss on whether they are able to deal with that car despite it having been out for a full generation…”
Speaking of, GM is starting it’s big push to bring the 200-mile electric car, the Bolt, onto the scene. Thus, here are a few questions to ask/check the service department of a Chevrolet Dealer should you be considering a Volt or a Bolt:
- “When is the Volt/Bolt person here?” At my Chevrolet dealership, the answer was 7:30-4:00, M-Th…. and the Volt always threw it’s weird check engine lights on Fridays. So if your dealer time-shares their volt/bolt specialist, prepare to drive with a CEL or leave it at the shop all weekend.
- “What level is the Volt/Bolt person?” There are levels (I joke “silver/gold/platinum”) of volt technicians, so if they only have a silver your repair will be delayed with lots of calls-to-the-GM-mothership to double check procedures and there is a good chance that if anything complicated needs to be done, the car will have to be flat-bedded to a different dealer with a higher-level tech.
The goal of course is to live close to the Chevrolet dealership with two or more platinum-level electrical system techs that cover all the hours of the service department. Keep in mind that a big selling point of the Tesla Model 3 (and S, and X, and Roadster) is that they basically just have a fleet of independent service shops they contract-with, so any problems are going to route the Tesla to the closest one with availability, so the ‘which one is best’ has an app for that.
Car bummer the second(e): Regular Car Reviews is getting shitty, ya’ll
I really rather enjoyed the Youtube Channel Regular Car Reviews for the past year… but the November reviews have soured me, and the latest review of the Scion iA, a small captive import (It’s a Mazda2 sedan, complete with 1.5 Skyactiv motor) that seems perfect as a first car and like the sort of thing he’d praise and laud for being honest, earnest, and inexpensive… was a heavy handed backhand that was so distasteful I cancelled my Patreon sponsorship and unsubscribed:
The crux of my “What the hell, dude?” is that he is accusing the latest generation Mazda2 in Toyota drag of killing the Toyota Yaris. It didn’t, the death of Scion just means the Scion iA is now the Toyota Yaris iA which will be a sedan next to the Vitz-based Toyota Yaris Hatchback. But he was so distraught he bedazzled a tired “eat a bag of dicks” curse with a gay joke so shitty it simultaneously made me flounce and made me a bit more sure that if he’s not full-blown homosexual, Mr. Regular has touched a dick or two in his day.
The thing is, when Mister Regular is asked why he started his own car review channel, he spouts “I was sick of seeing all these car reviews that were more about the reviewer than the car… ‘Oh, hi, here’s my 2014 C6, wanted to show it off before I have to go pick up the girls from daycare derpa-blort blort’.. that sort of thing.” And now the show is as much about Mister Regular and The Roman as it is about the cars he reviews and Mister Regular is, well, kind of lazy in that he won’t do good research anymore and kind of an ass in that he now takes cheap shot along the lines of things he thinks gets him follows and likes.
First off, Mister Regular started the review by calling the iA no fun to drive, citing it’s 100 hp engine and ~9 second 0-60 time. The Mazda 2 isn’t all-powerful, but it’s a great handling little chassis… hence Matt Farah’s timely one take of the prior generation showing it essentially to be a FWD Miata… the car that Mr. Regular reviewed to get his big break. like the Mazda2, the Miata is not powerful but great handling. All about momentum. So who gives a toss if it only has 100 HP and barely breaks a 10-second 0-60? Also, pretty much every other car reviewer lists the handling and performance of the Scion iA as a plus. It makes me wonder whether he ever left a parking lot.
Second, I want to re-iterate that it’s not killing the Toyota Yaris. At least not in any of the car-rags I could find. Go to Wikipedia, go to Toyota’s Own Website… the Yaris Hatchback is right there next to the Toyota Yaris iA… It’s the same Toyota Vitz it always has been. It has a different interior and a different engine. So the whole “IT KILL MAH MEMRIES” whinge he made about Toyota destroying the successor to an ECHO he wrecked a couple of years ago isn’t even based in any fact…
He’s become that thing he hated. This review was about how he misses his ECHO… This wasn’t about strange bedfellows in the world of tiny-car manufacturing and how it’s an echo (ha!) of the sort of thing that really trips up the Domestic Big 3 when they eventually booger up the technology sharing… it was damning a small, affordable car (like the 1980’s Plymouth Horizon he gushed about, like the 1960 Ford Falcon he restomodded) with faint praise to cram in a shitty gay joke (“Toyota, eat a dick so nasty not even a bear would want to touch it without saying ‘hey dude, pass that over with a bodygroom. At least twice.’ (Because large, hairy gay men would never (get to) be picky about the type of trade they want? Crikey, What an asshole.)
Mr. Regular is turning into what Jeremy Clarkson was at the height of his meltdown… Everything new is terrible unless it’s a hypercar or has been boosted to supercar levels of power… all the jokes are lazy and *ist and *phobic and offensive not because he actually believes any of the party-lines of those depravities… but because he thinks it makes him edgy.
I’m gonna be putting him down for a few months. He’s supposed to be going to the UK soon and I hope that makes him happier and gets him some new material… I just don’t feel like helping him pay for the trip anymore.