Chevy Bolt: 9 Common Problems (Solution Guide)

The Chevy Bolt is a subcompact EV hatchback that was first sold in 2017.

It may not be as flashy or feature-packed as a Tesla, but it offers more than enough range and power at a more affordable price.

The Bolt received a significant redesign in 2022, and a slightly larger and higher riding Bolt EUV (Electric Utility Vehicle) was also added to the model range.

Despite its early sales success, the Bolt EV’s reputation took a major hit after several vehicles caught fire due to a battery defect — forcing GM to issue a widespread battery recall.

Battery fires aside, in this article we’ll take a look at some of the Chevy Bolt’s most common issues and their solutions.

1. Chevy Bolt Not Charging

When trying to charge the Chevy Bolt, an ‘Unable to Charge’ error message may pop up on the dash.

Sometimes, this can be accompanied by additional error messages on the bottom such as:

  1. Charge Cord Not Fully Inserted
  2. See Charge Station

These can provide additional clues to the actual cause of the problem. But any time you see an ‘Unable to Charge’ error, here are a couple of things you can try.

Check the Connection

The first thing you should do is make sure the connector is properly plugged in.

Apply additional force when inserting the connector and make sure you hear a click to ensure that it’s locked in place. 

It’s also possible that dirt and debris could have gotten into either that car’s charging port or the charger connector. Check and see if there’s anything you need to clean off or if there are any broken pins on your car’s charging port.

Some public charging stations use heavier cords that pull down on the charging plug — making it more difficult to make a good connection.

You can try parking closer to the charging station and lifting up the handle during the initialization process to ensure a proper connection is made. 

Another workaround is to simply wait a couple of seconds for the error to show up, then remove and reconnect the charge plug to the vehicle’s charging port.

A couple of owners have even reported that they’ve needed to reconnect the charging cable several times before the vehicle will actually start charging.

Try Another Charger

If you’re having problems charging at a public charging station, the connector itself could be worn out, so it’s a good idea to try another charging station.

Some third-party Level 2 chargers can also be set to only charge during off-peak times. If the car detects that a charger is connected but there is no electricity being supplied, it will display the same ‘Unable to Charge’ error message.

Another common workaround is to reset or power cycle the charger.

If you’re having trouble with your home charger, you can also try resetting the circuit breaker it’s connected to.

If none of these solutions are able to fix the problem, there might be a problem with the charger, the electrical circuit it’s connected to, or the car itself. 

2. Chevy Bolt Not Charging Fully

GM released a software update that put an 80% charge limit on Chevy Bolts that are still using batteries affected by the recall to prevent more battery fires.

A Chevy Bolt that’s already using the newer battery should be able to charge up to 100%. 

Several people have reported that the 80% charging limit is still in place even after getting their battery replaced. This means that the car likely has the wrong software version and needs to be sent back to the dealer for an update. 

Here are some other things you can try to make sure your Chevy Bolt charges up to full capacity.

Check the Charging Settings

Make sure the vehicle’s charging settings are set up correctly.

Chevy Bolts from 2019 have a Target Charge Level setting which allows you to pick at what percentage the battery will stop charging.

Older Chevy Bolts from 2017 to 2018 only have a Hilltop Reserve setting which limits the maximum charge to 90%.

The vehicle may also be set to only charge during off-peak hours which might not be enough time to charge the battery to its full capacity.

You can also try disabling location based charging to see if that makes any difference.

Check for Charger Issues

Aside from the in-vehicle settings, some third-party Level 2 chargers may have their own charging schedule settings. Some chargers also tend to develop issues over time and just randomly stop charging. You can try using another charger or going to a public charging station to narrow down the possible causes.

If your Chevy Bolt randomly stops charging at a DC Fast Charger, there might be a problem with the connection.

Some public charging stations use a really heavy cord that pulls down on the charging plug and causes connection issues.

Try parking closer to the charging station to relieve some of the strain on the charging connector.

Some charging networks like EVgo also have a charging limit of 60 minutes which might not be enough time to fully charge the battery if it’s starting from a really low level.

3. Chevy Bolt Unable to Fast Charge

The Chevy Bolt is primarily designed as a practical commuter and not all Chevy Bolts come with DC Fast Charge capabilities.

If the vehicle’s charge port does not have an orange flap on the bottom pins, then it won’t work with CCS connectors used in DC Fast Chargers.

That being said, most Chevy Bolts equipped with DCFC rarely ever get fast charged — except during occasional road trips. 

Some owners have random issues with fast charging, though it works pretty flawlessly for others.

Common complaints about the Chevy Bolt’s fast charging include:

  • Slow fast charging
  • Fast charge randomly stopping
  • Inability to fast charge

If you are encountering issues with fast charging, here are some things you can try to fix it.

Check the Cable 

The charging plugs found in some public charging stations can be severely worn out after years of use. Some also use heavier cords that pull down on the charging handle which can cause connection issues.

A lot of Chevy Bolt owners have found that parking a little closer to the charging station relieves some strain from the plug and ensures that fast charging works as intended.

It’s also a good idea to lift up the charging handle a bit during the startup phase to make sure there are no communication issues between the car and the charging station.

Check the Car’s Charge Port

Several Chevy Bolt owners have reported that one of the bottom pins on their car’s charge port has broken off which prevents them from using the CCS connector that DC fast chargers use.

When this happens, Level 2 charging plugs can still be used to top up the battery. But fixing the broken pin requires replacing the entire charge port at the dealer.

If you’re unable to charge your Chevy Bolt because the metal latch on the top of the car’s charging port is in the locked position, you can try disconnecting the 12-volt battery for a minute or two.

This usually resets the latch into the correct position. Some have also been able to move it out of the way by using a flat-head screwdriver to move the locking pin behind the latch to the left.

Try Another Charging Station

There are times when the charging station itself has compatibility or electrical issues that prevent it from charging the Chevy Bolt properly.

You can try calling up the charging station’s support number to see if there’s anything they can do. They can also reset or power cycle the charging station remotely to clear out any bugs or glitches that may be occurring.

If this doesn’t work, you can try another charging station or use a different charging network altogether. Many Bolt owners have reported that they routinely encounter issues with one provider, but have consistently great experiences with others.

Some charging stations also don’t have enough juice to max out the Chevy Bolt’s 55 kW fast charging capabilities.

Although in reality, most owners see a max charging rate of around 45 kW before the battery management system starts to taper it down even when connected to higher voltage charging stations.

Lower powered charging stations can usually only provide up to 35 kW for a short period of time.

Precondition the Battery 

To get the most out of the Chevy Bolt’s fast charging capabilities, the battery has to be at its ideal temperature which is said to start at around 77 °F or 25 °C.

If it’s too cold or too hot, you won’t get the best charging speeds — and sometimes, it won’t allow you to charge at all.

If the car is parked and unplugged when the weather is cold, charging speeds will be pretty slow if you try to use a DC fast charger soon after.

It’s better if you drive around to let the battery heat up a bit before trying to top it up at a fast-charging station to get the most out of your charging session.

It’s also a good idea to check the battery coolant levels to make sure the battery’s cooling system is working properly.

4. Chevy Bolt Won’t Start

Some Chevy Bolt owners have encountered issues when trying to turn on and drive away their vehicle. 

It might look like it’s completely dead and bricked, but sometimes, there might be an error on the dash letting you know what the problem is and how to fix it. Others have had trouble shifting into gear or getting the car to move.

Here are some common fixes that Bolt EV owners have reported for these types of problems.

Connect the Car to a Charger

If the weather is cold, you might get an error on the dash “Battery Too Cold, Plug in to Warm”. 

In these cases, you just need to connect it to any type of charger so the battery management system can warm up the batteries.

This can also give a discharged battery the extra energy it needs to get the car to turn on.

Related: How Long Does the Chevy Bolt Last? (Complete Guide)

Place the Key Fob in the Center Console

The Chevy Bolt won’t turn on if it can’t detect the key fob. This could be caused by a dying battery in the fob or signal interference.

If this is the cause of your issue, you can get it to start by opening the storage bin on the center console and placing the key fob in the slot on the bottom. 

Check the 12 Volt Battery

Another common cause for a dead Chevy Bolt is a defective or weak 12-volt battery. 

You can give it the extra juice it needs by giving it a jumpstart just like you would in an ICE vehicle. You can either use jump cables or a jump pack to get it to boot up.

You can also try disconnecting the 12-volt battery for a few minutes and hooking it back again to force the car’s computers to reboot.

You’ll need a 10mm wrench to disconnect the black negative lead from the battery under the hood. It’s better if you place the key fob far away when you do this so the car can’t detect it. 

5. Chevy Bolt Not Recognizing Key Fob

If you’re having problems unlocking your Chevy Bolt and it seems like the Key Fob is not working, here are a couple of things you can try out.

Use the Physical Key

You can unlock a Chevy Bolt even if the key fob is not working by using the physical key.

You can pull out the physical key from the key fob by pushing the silver button on the side.

Insert the key into the hole on the underside of the door handle, then remove the plastic cover to reveal the keyhole so you can unlock the doors.

Place the Key in the Center Console

If the key fob isn’t being recognized, you won’t be able to turn on the car. 

You can force it to turn on by placing the key fob in the slot on the bottom of the storage area on the center console.

This should resolve issues that are caused by dead batteries or signal interference.

Replace the Key Fob Battery

If you want to access the key fob’s battery, you need to remove the physical key and pry open the key fob’s plastic housing using a screwdriver or a similar tool.

This should allow you to replace the key fob’s coin battery for a fresh one.

6. Chevy Bolt Not Allowed to Park

Some parking garages have prohibited Chevy Bolts from parking in their spaces due to the possibility of a battery fire.

Due to the widely reported battery recall, GM has advised owners to avoid parking their Chevy Bolts outside and at least 50 feet away from other vehicles to avoid damaging other people’s property.

There’s nothing much you can really do aside from talking to the management or the owner. You can also simply look for somewhere else to park your Chevy Bolt.

However, it’s worth noting that the chances of a Bolt spontaneously catching on fire are quite low.

Only 16 cars out of over 140,000 Bolts sold so far have caught on fire.

A lot of owners just accept the possible risks and park their cars indoors anyway. 

7. Chevy Bolt Won’t Turn Off

Some Chevy Bolt owners have also reported having trouble turning off the vehicle. 

It might not respond when you hit the power button, or it will turn off then immediately turn back on again.

Put the Key Fob Away

Several Chevy Bolt owners have reported that they’ve fixed the ‘turning off’ issue by simply placing the key fob at least 30 feet away from the vehicle, then pushing the power button to turn off the vehicle. 

Take Your Foot Off The Brake

A couple of owners have also successfully turned off their Bolt EV after several failed attempts by simply taking their foot off the brake while they push the power button. 

Reboot the Chevy Bolt’s Computer

Software glitches can cause random odd behaviors in the Chevy Bolt. You can try rebooting the car’s computer to try and clear out any bugs.

To reboot the Chevy Bolt, hold down the ‘Home’ and ‘Fast Forward’ buttons on the center console at the same time for about 10 seconds. 

If this doesn’t work, you can try disconnecting the negative lead from the battery terminal from the 12-volt battery under the hood for around 10 minutes.

It’s better if you place the key fob farther away so the vehicle can’t detect it.

You also want to unplug it from the charger while doing this.

Disconnecting the 12-volt battery should force the car’s computer systems to turn off and come back on again once you reconnect the battery lead.

You can also try replacing the 12-volt battery in case it’s already dead.

8. Chevy Bolt Won’t Unlock

If you can’t unlock your Bolt EV due to problems with the key fob, here are a couple of things you can try.

Use the Physical Key

If the key fob is not unlocking your Chevy Bolt automatically, you can use the physical key that’s hidden inside the fob itself.

  1. Push down the silver button on the side of the fob and pull out the key. 
  2. There should be a small hole on the underside of the driver-side door handle that you can place the key in. 
  3. Pull it outwards to remove the plastic cover to reveal the actual keyhole.
  4. Use your key to unlock the vehicle.

Replace the Key Fob Battery

If you can’t unlock your Chevy Bolt using the key fob, its battery might need to replaced.

Take out the key as described above and pry open the key fob housing using a screwdriver.

Once it’s open, you can simply replace the key fob’s coin battery for a new one.

Use the myChevrolet App

You can also use the myChevrolet app on your phone to lock, unlock and even start the car remotely. 

This is a quick and easy solution in case you accidentally leave the key fob inside the vehicle for some reason.

9. Chevy Bolt Keeps Beeping

Normally, the Chevy Bolt beeps and honk the horn quickly three times if you:

  1. Exit the vehicle 
  2. Leave the key fob inside
  3. Close the door

This is a regular feature on the Chevy Bolt. It should only occur when the driver door is closed. But sometimes it will still beep even when the passenger doors are closed.

You can turn this off by going into the vehicle settings and turning off the ‘Remote Left in Vehicle Alert’. 

The Chevy Bolt has lots of different chimes and beeps that could indicate or warn for any number of things.

If you suddenly discover a strange beeping noise that you can’t figure out, you can take it to the dealership and have them check if there’s any codes being thrown. 

Issues with random beeps and chimes can also be caused by defective sensors and computer modules. And it’s best to take it to a dealer who can quickly narrow the problem down to the root cause.

Sources

https://www.caranddriver.com/chevrolet/bolt-euv

https://electrek.co/2020/11/13/gm-recall-chevy-bolt-evs-potential-fire-risk/

https://www.cars.com/articles/gm-announces-fix-for-chevrolet-bolt-ev-battery-problems-441536/