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Should OP get a Bolt, or keep looking

  • Get a Bolt noob.

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Discussion Starter #1
I have been looking at getting a Chevy Bolt since I first heard about them in 2017. Back then they were too expensive but recently I found a used 2017 model for a reasonable price with low mileage. I currently drive a 2007 Jeep Wrangler and considering the repair and maintenance costs I'm going to get a new vehicle no matter what. I've been thinking about the Chevy Bolt again since my commute is purely highway and I no longer live in the mountains. I just wanted to get some opinions of other people on the forms about the reliability and general upkeep costs of bolts, as well as a few general questions.

So to put it in perspective I bought my Jeep in September 2017. Over the last three years I've paid off about half the loan and paid almost an equal amount and repairs. So far all the general maintenance and breakdowns that I've fixed and other parts that I've had to throw the vehicle due to various issues has totaled nearly $8000. It was a great vehicle while I lived in Colorado but now that I live in a more urban area and don't have the opportunity to go offering is often I've begun considering to switch. Especially considering that I get 16 to the gallon.

So the general question about bolt ownership. What is the general maintenance cost per year, and what are the common failures. Also has anyone had any unexpected expensive repairs pop up. Also has anyone had luck taking it to a normal mechanic or is it almost exclusively a Chevrolet dealership item.

General question can the included charger run anything over 12 A. If not would I be able to buy an aftermarket charger to run it potentially 15 A off a 120 V system.
Also can anyone explain to me the key past system. I test drove a bolt today and saw that as an option, and as an IT guy for my day job I thought it was a password manager at first. Clearly it is something different but I don't know what it is used for.

Any help is greatly appreciated, and I will be making a decision sometime next week. I'm personally hoping to get a bolt but just want to make sure it's not an idiotic decision.
 

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I have been driving my Bolt for 3 years now, by far the best car I have ever owned.

I drove 130 mi daily for commuting to Thornton,CO and the range of the Bolt, even in winter, is more than adequate for my needs. Thanks to COVID, my commute is now down a flight of stairs and about once every two months to my office in Thornton so miles dropped dramatically a year ago. So far, my maintenance costs are $800 for the entire time I owned the Bolt. $700 was for tire replacement, the rest went for wiper blades and cabin air filter. My fuel costs for the 2500 miles per month went from ~$150 for gas in a hybrid, to ~$50 for charging the Bolt.

The cord that comes with the Bolt is limited to 12A. On a 120V outlet, that means 1.44kW or ~50-60 miles of range overnight. For some, that is adequate. For me when I was commuting daily, no where near enough. If you have access to a 240V outlet, or are willing to spend $300-500 to hire someone to install one in your garage, your charging options are:
  • Use the OEM cord with an adapter to plug into a 240V outlet. This doubles the charge rate to ~2.88kW, and will cost $30-50 one time to buy or build an adapter.
  • Buy a Level 2 Charging cord or wall mounted unit. This ranges from 16A (3.84kW) to 32A (7.68kW) and will cost $200-600 one time for the charging unit.
Key Pass is a bluetooth connection from your smart phone to the car. If you are out of BT range, OnStar provides a cellular data connection option. With KP, you can lock\unlock, remote start, and get state of charge\range readings remotely. I am not entirely clear on OnStar programs for used Bolts, new ones come with 5 years of free basic coverage with Key Pass included.
 

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2021 LT Nightshade Grey
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You can browse the forums for what people have had repaired. There certainly are some, but for the most part what I’ve read is people doing little to no repairs since they bought the car. The first real scheduled maintenance is basically 5-7 years into owning the car. The brakes are likely to outlive the car.

I compare buying cars like this to cell phones. It’s a technology purchase more than a car. Some people have issues with their phone, but most of us don’t (when buying a decent one). There are very few serviceable parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
How many miles @cgfgsks201 do you need to drive in a day? Do you live where there's extreme winters, wasn't clear if it was still in CO.
I commute 22 highway miles to work, and 22 back. I definitely needed 4 wheel when I still lived in Colorado, but so far over the last couple of years of being in North Carolina I have needed 4 wheel mabey 6 times. And one of them was my own fault for getting a bit to far into the mud. I wouldn't consider the winters here to be extreme, and when the big snow rolled through recently "2 inches lol" my neighbor got stuck on the road with his old sedan, so none of us could go to work.

I am able to avoid driving in harsh conditions for the most part these days, since about %75 of my Jobe can be done remotely. But you never know when someone will need a power supply swapped, or need some general laptop repair, so being able to go into the office is still very useful.

Thanks for the reply, and sorry it took so long I posted this before bed last night.
 

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What @ARob said + based on your additional information about commute the bolt seems like a perfect choice if you want to save money on repairs and fuel costs.

You might read the thread on here about "how much below MSRP" because there's some amazing deals on new and also fantastic lease deals.

I was never big on leases, but if you look at your monthly vehicle cost, depreciation of your Jeep over the time that you've owned it plus repairs and maintenance, and convert that to a monthly number you might be surprised at how affordable you can lease a brand new bolt that's under warranty.

I am again hearing of under $200/month depending on regional incentives. Just saying, something to consider...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What @ARob said + based on your additional information about commute the bolt seems like a perfect choice if you want to save money on repairs and fuel costs.

You might read the thread on here about "how much below MSRP" because there's some amazing deals on new and also fantastic lease deals.

I was never big on leases, but if you look at your monthly vehicle cost, depreciation of your Jeep over the time that you've owned it plus repairs and maintenance, and convert that to a monthly number you might be surprised at how affordable you can lease a brand new bolt that's under warranty.

I am again hearing of under $200/month depending on regional incentives. Just saying, something to consider...
I will check it out. I am looking at a used 2017 model for two reasons though.

1. Lower cost of ownership, and lower operating costs.
2. I am a mad man who wants to own the car so when it finally dies, I really want to harvest the batteries and put them in the shed, and have some solar panels to charge them.

I have always been a bit of an electrical nut, and have considered switching my home to a pure solar and artery system before. But I can't justify $10,000 in batteries and a similar cost on solar. I am also still a fairly young driver so I imagine geico wouldn't be so kind on the insurance costs if I went down the lease route.

But as I said I will definitely take a look, and weigh my options.

Also to everyone else in this thread thanks for all the help, and the info. I think I will try running the 120 volt charger at first, and I believe at some point I will be running a 240 line out to the shed.

Fortunately I still have a few blanks in the breaker, and I learned a fair bit over the years from my dad. (he was an electrician for several years) I will post results when the time comes, and for now I am going to go back to lurking.
 

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With regards to charging on 120V, it might work for you, it does for many people on this forum, but rough numbers.

44 miles commute, + additional 10 miles for errands, 54/4 = 13.5 hours per day charge time.
 

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So What is the general maintenance cost per year,
Zero in four years.
and what are the common failures.
None
Also has anyone had any unexpected expensive repairs pop up.
None
Also has anyone had luck taking it to a normal mechanic or is it almost exclusively a Chevrolet dealership item.
Since it has never needed any service, how would we know?

jack vines
 

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I am new to the BOlt but owned a Chevy Volt and I was a GM mechanic.
Here is my recommendation. The bolt is a fantastic car, fast and fun to drive. Suspension is horrible and the car has very low ground clearance.
Maintenance: none or not much. tire rotations. The most of the car's electrical system and battery is covered for 100K miles or 8 years. Since the car has very few moving parts to propel the car - compared to a gasoline operated (ICE) car- not much needed to keep it going. There is no drive belts, transmission, pistons or things that need frequent oil changes. No filters other than cabin air filter.
Things that will wear out and will need replacement are tires, windshield wipers, at some point the 12 V battery. May need to top of coolant levels at some point. The electric motor and the RPM reduction gears are cooled and lubed by some type of special fluid that at some point in the future will need a flush. Your brake pads will last a long time, likely past 100K miles unless you are racing. Since most of the slowing is via regen braking brake pads are doing little work.
Most people do great with the OEM charger /EVSE that comes with the car especially if you can run it off 240 Volt it will pull 12 amp. But since this is an electric car with a hungry battery and at some point you will drive farther and may need to "refuel" ASAP, a faster charger/EVSE is good to have (IMHO). cost is $300-600 or less if you find one used. It will need a 30-50amp rated 240V connection.
The car has no spare tire. If you know how to use a "sticky string" to plug a tire, then a plug+ 12 V air compressor is advisable. I used a slime brand kit from walmart. I opted for the larger " for trucks" kit, added a pair of pliers to the kit to be able to pull the nail/screw or object out of the tire.
That is it in the nut shell.
 

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Suspension is horrible....
This made me smile.

They definitely saved some money on the suspension, especially the torsion bar rear. On the other hand, the way the suspension is constructed saves space that can be devoted to crash mitigation and greater interior space.

I am a very old track instructor and after playing with the car for a while, you can tell that you won’t be bouncing over the gaters in the Uphill Esses at VIR, or the carousel at Summit Point.

But it is still engaging and fun, and I haven’t had a moment’s second thought.

The original poster is lucky in a way because from his description of his use, he is probably somebody who could get by on the 120 volt OEM EVSE on the 12A setting. He’s right at the range you could expect to gain charging at night with that.

This would give him time to decide on what kind of 240 volt EVSE and garage setup he wants to use.
 

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where is the center of gravity, and weight distribution? how much can this car be pushed in high speed corners? possible to flip or will it slide?
 
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