The Bolt is one of the most affordable EVs in the market today.
Like any vehicle, its alarm may go off at random for mysterious reasons.
If your Bolt alarm keeps keeps going off, continue reading this article.
Table of Contents
Why Does My Chevrolet Bolt Alarm Keep Going Off?
A Chevrolet Bolt alarm can be triggered by the power loss alert, charge cord theft alert, key fob issues, 12V battery issues, hood/trunk/door switch issues, animals climbing on the vehicle, damaged wiring and not closing doors properly.
1. Power Loss Alert
When a Bolt is being charged and suddenly loses power or refuses to charge, an alarm can be triggered.
This alarm system is known as the “Power Loss Alert” feature which is an anti-theft measure that triggers when the Bolt, despite having a charging cord plugged in, suddenly fails to obtain power from the charging station.
Unfortunately, this feature does not distinguish between an actual theft attempt on your vehicle and simply losing power.
Here is what owners had to say on the forum ChevyBolt.org:
“If the car starts honking loudly, it’s due to the stupid (for my use cases) power loss alert. You can disable both that and cord theft alert via the menus.It is super rude to leave those enabled in public or workplace charging scenarios where unplugging finished cars is ok. It also may disturb your neighbors.”
“I’m so new, I am embarrassed to ask. (Car only has 35 miles on it.) Last evening, the power went off while my car was plugged in at 110 volts. It seemed to think it was being stolen…”
Like the Charge Cord Theft Alert system, the Power Loss Alert feature can be manually disabled.
To toggle this feature off, simply navigate through the Bolt’s center screen settings and look for the charging options.
Depending on the model year or software, the option you are looking for should be found in “energy settings.”
2. Removing the Charging Cord
Removing the charging cord without unlocking the vehicle (through the key fob) is another trigger for the Bolt’s alarm system.
This particular alarm is called the “Charge Cord Theft Alert” and is triggered when an owner removes the charging cord from his car without unlocking the vehicle first.
The alarm is pretty self-explanatory – it is meant to notify the owner of the vehicle that an attempt to remove the charging cord is occurring.
Here is an owners account from ChevyBolt.org:
“It’s about 6:30 am. It’s quiet. I’m just waking up. My car has been charging all night. First thing I want to do is go outside and unplug the charger. Don’t think to grab my keys as I don’t need access to the car interior and have no plan to operate it. Groggily I put on my flip flops, go out to the backyard and unplug the charger. As I’m carrying the charger to it’s holder –
HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK! HONK!
It won’t stop without using the keyfob which is still inside the house. I think I woke up the whole neighborhood…”
If you feel like this alarm feature is not suitable for your preferences, you can disable this feature by accessing the energy settings through your vehicle’s center screen.
3. Key Fob Issues
A faulty key fob can cause all kinds of issues, including accidentally triggering the Bolt’s alarm.
If the fob is dirty, damaged or low on battery, the alarm can be triggered at random (the most common reason is usually a flat key fob battery).
For the sake of a few dollars it’s worth replacing the battery in your fob(s), and it’s also worth spending a bit extra for a good brand of battery.
Most Bolts use a CR2032 battery, although you should double check first.
Whilst you have the fob open to change the battery, give the inside a good clean.
Dirt buildup and dust can cause issues with the electronics.
- To open your key fob, stick your prying tool into the slit or gap between the two halves of the outer casing and gently apply upward pressure to pop open the device.
- Remove the battery.
- Give the key fob a good clean to remove any dirt or fluff – a cotton swap and some rubbing alcohol should do the trick.
- Check for damage, rust or loose connection (you may need a new key fob depending on what you find)
- Be sure to insert the new battery facing the right way up.
- Assemble the outer casing of your key fob by clamping them back together.
4. Drained 12V Battery
A car battery in a weakened or drained state can result in various issues, including triggering the Bolt’s alarm system.
A simple battery health test can rule out a faulty battery as a cause of random alarms but this requires a multimeter (see guide at the end of article).
If you do not have the required tools or knowledge to check if your car’s battery is in good condition, have your vehicle checked at your local dealer or schedule a free check-up at your nearest AutoZone branch.
A healthy 12V battery should be about 12.6 to 12.8 volts while a weakened battery reads below 12 volts.
5. Loose or Bad 12V Battery Connections
Loose or bad 12V battery connections can cause a number of problems, including triggering the alarm of your Bolt.
A bad connection can be caused by dirt or gunk buildup.
The terminals may have come loose from driving and vibrations etc.
Make sure the engine is off before doing any work on the battery.
- Inspect the battery and look for any signs of damage, dirt build-up, rust, or corrosion.
- Disconnect the battery and loosen the nuts on the clamps using a wrench
- Remove the negative clamp, marked with a “-” first
- Clean the terminals with a toothbrush dipped in a mix of baking soda and water, rinse with distilled water and dry with a cloth.
- Re-connect the battery, ensuring tight connections
6. Faulty Door Switch
On a Bolt, a malfunctioning door switch can trick the computer into thinking that the door is open when it shouldn’t be or when the alarm is armed, hence triggering the car’s built-in alarm system.
Door switches are a common point of failure as they are subject to wear and tear due to the doors being continually opened/closed/slammed etc.
The door latches and door switches can get dirty too which can cause issues, so the first thing you should do is give all door latches a good clean and spray some WD-40 on the latch and work it in to see if that helps.
Also check the wiring leading from the body into the door for any signs of damage, it should be in a flexible hose on the hinge side of the door.
If you suspect the alarm is linked to the door switch, ask your dealer to run a diagnostic test to try and pinpoint the fault.
7. Faulty Hood Sensor
A faulty hood sensor can cause unwanted alarms on the Chevy Bolt.
The sensor is designed to detect whether the hood is open or shut and it is an important part of the car’s alarm system – if it is broken, loose or dirty it can send false readings to the car’s computer thus triggering the alarm.
- Pop the hood and locate the hood switch.
- Check for any obvious damage, rust or loose connections.
- Give the hood switch a clean too (use contact cleaner), as dirt and grime can cause issues.
If you’re mechanically inclined you can buy a replacement hood switch online and fit it yourself or the easiest option is to have your dealer take a look.
8. Hatch is the Last Door to Close
On reddit.com/r/BoltEV, one ’23 Bolt owner reported that the alarm would trigger in the following situation:
“Every time I walk away from the car and the hatch is the last door to have been closed, when the Bolt locks itself, it also sets the alarm off.”
This could be an anomaly but thought it was worth mentioning.
9. Damaged Wiring
Damaged electrical wiring can cause a wide range of problems, it can often be tricky to pinpoint too and you may need to have an auto electrician run some diagnostic tests.
10. Animals Climbing On The Vehicle
If your alarm has been set off in the middle of the night, it may have been by an animal climbing on the car.
Have a look for footprints on the hood and the roof.
11. Not Closing Doors, Hood or Trunk Properly
Sometimes a false alarm can be caused simply by not shutting a door properly, including the hood and trunk.
Check for Recalls or TSBs
By entering your car’s VIN number on Chevrolet’s recall page or the NTHSA’s Safety Issues & Recalls page you can determine whether or not there is a TSB or recall for your vehicle and if there is you’ll want to get it addressed.
A recall is issued by a vehicle manufacturer for issues that are safety-related, while a TSB covers components that may be malfunctioning but don’t compromise the safety of the vehicle.
Disconnect the Battery
Sometimes mysterious alarm problems can disappear with a simple reboot, there are no guarantees here but it’s worth a try.
Disconnect the battery for 20 seconds and this resets many of the electronics in the vehicle.
Check For Warning Messages
When the alarm occurs can you see any lights or warning messages on the instrument panel?
This can give a clue as to what’s causing the alarm e.g. ‘Hood Ajar’.
Take it to a Chevrolet Dealership
If needed, take your Chevrolet to the dealership.
Tell them you are NOT paying for a check on what the problem might be.
Ask them if they will check it for free.
Most dealerships and other places do quick/initial diagnosis for no money as they plan to make money for the repair of your vehicle.
If your unit is still under warranty then they should fix and resolve the issue for free.
Hot to Test the 12V Battery
How to Test the Battery:
- Before testing, remove the surface charge from the battery, this allows for an accurate reading.
- Simply turn on the headlights for 2 minutes then turn off.
- Set the multimeter dial to the ’20 Volts’ setting.
- Make sure the car is turned OFF.
The multimeter will have a red probe and a black probe.
- The red probe is for making contact with the positive terminal.
- The black probe is for making contact with the negative terminal.
Measure across the battery terminals.
- The meter should display a reading, if the battery is fully charged the voltage should be between 12.2 and 12.6 volts.
- Anything under 12V and the battery should be charged or replaced.