2011 Chevrolet Volt: Air Dam, Display Issues Fixed By Dealers

The first 2011 Chevy Volt was delivered in December 2010, and GM’s rollout of this engineering achievement has seemed quite smooth thus far.

Still, after six months, early adopters have found a couple of small problems with the vehicle, and Chevrolet has moved aggressively to correct them.

The first problem quietly being addressed by General Motors is the design of the front air dam on the 2011 Volt.  This flexible air dam is actually composed of three interlocking segments and the original design provides only about 4 inches of actual road clearance.

2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with charging station visible; photo by George Parrott

2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with charging station visible; photo by George Parrott

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Clearly this improves the overall airflow under the car, but with such little road clearance, this original design scrapes on speed bumps and drags on even the slightest of inclines.

With continued scraping, the air dam segments separate, which leads to flapping noises at freeway speeds.

GM now offers a modified front air dam with greater clearance to any owner who finds that the original, extremely low design does not fit their driving circumstances.

Volt owners can contact their local Chevrolet dealer and simply ask for this modification. It will take about a week for the new air dam to arrive, and about 30 minutes to install at the dealership.

The second technical issue, reported by a small number of Volt adopters, is the blanking out of the main display, followed by a return to normal functioning in a brief time.

2011 Chevrolet Volt 5dr HB Instrument Cluster

2011 Chevrolet Volt 5dr HB Instrument Cluster

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Losing the speed, battery level, and fuel level displays, as well as other central vehicle functions, is a potentially serious problem with the electronics.

On this issue, Volt drivers who have experienced this problem are asked to bring their car in for assessment by their Chevrolet dealer.

The company will provide owners with a free loaner car for the period their vehicle is at the dealer.

Typically, the electronics in the original driver display unit are replaced to fix the problem. This is fully covered under the vehicle warranty, of course.


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Comments (8)
  1. Good thing GM has 100 years of experience designing cars. Apparently before the Volt, US roads never had any inclines, and apparently GM's test facility doesn't have either speed bumps or inclines. Nothing like testing in a make believe driving environment.

  2. Ramon: I'm curious. You're a frequent commenter on this site, which we appreciate. But your posts have been almost entirely negative. You seem to be angry about a lot of things relating to green cars, California, national and state government, and many other topics. What gives?

  3. My Prius front dam occasionally rubs too. Must be a common fuel-efficiency tradeoff.

  4. Ramon,
    I would suggest that GM did as much or more "real world testing" of the Volt as has EVER been done for any new model. GM had a fleet of pre-production, but complete platform engineered, vehicles driving for thousands of miles all around the U.S. for something like 6 or 8 months to fully shake-out the final details for the Volt. I have not been a big "GM fan" ever and my last and only GM new car purchase was over 40 years ago, and it was a huge disappointment. We have owned Lexus, BMW, Infiniti, Acura, and Audi over the last 15 years, all new when acquired, and the Volt is at that level of "sorted out" in my estimation.

  5. My Volt front air dam rubs on everything, including the raised parking "stop" at my home parking space. Despite daily rubbing since January, it has apparently not broken apart. Seems to be flexible enough to resist most damage. Surprisingly, the Volt's air dam is slightly lower than our BMW Z4! So far, I have not had any display blackouts.

    BTW, the GM guys promised me a tour of their R&D facility that they just opened up in Torrance. That should be interesting.

  6. Glad to hear that it is flexible enough to survive daily rubbing without damage.

  7. That's what she said.

    I have/had scraping issues on my CRZ, and STi (lip not air dam) Mostly due to the long front overhangs. My Fit had few issues, and even my lowered '99 civic back in the day scraped less.

  8. First of all, after owning a Leaf for a year and now a used Volt. I love my Volt and would never go back to a Leaf (or any other hybrid) I have heard that the dealer would replace the front air dam (mine in ragged from inclines here in the mountains) I also heard that they would replace the Level 1 charger with one with a heavier cord. I stopped at the dealer today and they said they had not heard of either item being replaced by GM. They told me there was nothing they could do until I got a letter from GM telling me to take my car to the dealer and get these items replaced. Has anyone else ran into this. Sounds to me like the dealer doesn't want to deal with Volt customers. Too bad, its such a great car with only a couple minor problems.

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