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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone out there know how to disable Park and free-up steering in preparation for towing a Bolt EV that has a dead 12 volt battery or, in my case, no 12 volt battery? Thinking I'd DIY a new battery installation, I acquired the correct replacement battery, installed it and upon completing the final step, attaching the negative lead to the battery, the horn alarm goes off until I disconnect the lead. I'm now suspecting there's software issues and I can no longer avoid the dealer. Now, how to tow a dead Bolt.
 

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The rollback driver will just haul it up on the tilt bed, doesn't need the wheels to rotate to do that.
Unless you want to hurt your tire threads in that one spot. Tires are going to be drag, the Bolt Michelin tires have softer rubber for better grip that your average tire. Depending where the car is and how much it will have to be drag to get it into the rollback, you may get wobbling tires.
 

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Tires are going to be drag, the Bolt Michelin tires have softer rubber for better grip that your average tire.
I think that's the opposite. They are harder to get better range. My experience with the OEM tires is that they have significantly worse grip than the average all-season tire.
 

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With the battery connected and the horn blaring, keeping the driver's door open, are you able to shift into neutral? Also make sure the parking brake is disengaged. Then disconnect the 12V.

You have to do this with the driver door already open because the act of opening the driver door shifts into Park automatically. Alternatively, enter and exit through the passenger door.
 

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Well... I would think that if you are able to shift into N with 12 V battery still connected, disconnecting it may "lock" the car in Neutral.

The process - get inside, shift to N, open the door. It will shift to P and apply the brake, override it by shifting to N again and releasing the parking brake. Open the hood (ensure it will roll - rock it). Disconnect the battery. See what happens.
No power, not shifts, no parking brake.
 

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I towed my Bolt 2-3 miles after running the Traction Battery to empty. (Nothing to do with the 12V battery.) I just put it in neutral and we towed it with a nylon strap (like seat belt strapping) with no surprises - for a while. After a couple miles we were going over some rolling hills 1/4 mile from my final destination, and the strap broke while pulling the Bolt up one of the hills. At the time, I thought the hill was just too steep for the strap. But since then, I've read that the Bolt will automatically apply the parking brake on a steep hill if you're not in D or L. So now I'm thinking the strap broke because the parking brake engaged. In my case, the car would not roll after the strap broke. At the time, it didn't occur to me to check the parking brake. ;^(

I don't believe this applies to the OP's case, because he won't have the 12V battery connected. But maybe something to think about...
 

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...after running the Traction Battery to empty. (Nothing to do with the 12V battery.)
I have always wondered about how the car behaves with an empty traction battery. You can still turn the car on and move the gear selector into neutral?

I almost ran my traction battery down once and I wasn't sure what the car would/wouldn't do if it happened.
 

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I towed my Bolt 2-3 miles after running the Traction Battery to empty. (Nothing to do with the 12V battery.) I just put it in neutral and we towed it with a nylon strap (like seat belt strapping) with no surprises - for a while. After a couple miles we were going over some rolling hills 1/4 mile from my final destination, and the strap broke while pulling the Bolt up one of the hills. At the time, I thought the hill was just too steep for the strap. But since then, I've read that the Bolt will automatically apply the parking brake on a steep hill if you're not in D or L. So now I'm thinking the strap broke because the parking brake engaged. In my case, the car would not roll after the strap broke. At the time, it didn't occur to me to check the parking brake. ;^(

I don't believe this applies to the OP's case, because he won't have the 12V battery connected. But maybe something to think about...
Not sure if it would have let you put it in drive with the traction battery discharged that much, but if it did you could have charged it while towing it, that would also have helped to keep the strap tight. On the other hand, if it was refusing to turn on the high voltage to the motor drive, then the lubrication pump wasn't running in the transaxle and towing it with the front wheels on the ground could damage it, though I doubt a few miles would hurt much.
 

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I have always wondered about how the car behaves with an empty traction battery. You can still turn the car on and move the gear selector into neutral?

I almost ran my traction battery down once and I wasn't sure what the car would/wouldn't do if it happened.
Not sure about Bolt as I never ran it completely empty that it would stop moving. But I did it in 500e.
First symptoms were lower power and slowing down. Could not maintain 40 mph, then 35, and so on until it would quit below 25 mph.
I had to pull over. I could shift to P.
Then I think, when my wife was towing me, it shifted to N.
Somehow at some point it must have shifted to P. It realised it was rolling? Initially it was moving smoothly and then at about above 5 or 10 mph I heard some clunking. I just thought it was the pavement or old front suspension.
Turned out to be the car's attempt to shift into P.
I could not shift to D or R. N was still selectable. I was hoping to put into D on the downhill to regen, but refused.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the insights. So I haven't tried to connect the negative lead to the battery and while the alarm blares try to get it into neutral, straighten the wheels I suppose, the brake is already off and then disconnect battery in preparation for towing. Do I have that right? And do you know why the alarm is set off? And the driver door just needs to not be shut before disconnect, right?
 

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Thanks for the insights. So I haven't tried to connect the negative lead to the battery and while the alarm blares try to get it into neutral, straighten the wheels I suppose, the brake is already off and then disconnect battery in preparation for towing. Do I have that right? And do you know why the alarm is set off? And the driver door just needs to not be shut before disconnect, right?
As mentioned above, there may be several reasons for the alarm. Security alarm, charge interrupted, charge cord theft alarm, battery thermal runaway, etc.

And you can close the driver door, but you just can't open it after shifting into neutral. In the owner's manual, it's referred to as car wash mode. The idea is that you go to the car wash, open the door, then shift to neutral, then leave the car (and shut the door) for the Bolt to go through one of those automatic car wash conveyers unattended.
 

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Did you try cycling the remote locks after replacing the battery? Maybe it is just the alarm going off and will quit and everything will be fine if you cycle the locks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Actually, I liked the door- lock recycling theory and when I went to test it out, the car powered up w/o a blaring alarm. It's looking like I'll be able now to drive to the dealer to check things out and placate the gods.
 

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...placate the gods.
You could also try vulgar language. That has been shown to be effective as well. ;)
 
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