Chevy Volt “Not Able to Charge” Message. How to Fix it?

The Chevy Volt is a popular plug-in hybrid vehicle that has been on the market since 2010. One of the main selling points of the Volt is its ability to run on electric power for short distances, before switching to a gasoline engine for longer trips.

However, some Volt owners have reported a problem where their car displays a “Not Able to Charge” message when they try to charge the battery.

In this article, we will explore some of the common causes of this issue and provide potential solutions to help Volt owners get their cars charging again.

What are the Causes of the “Not Able to Charge” Message in a Chevy Volt?

There are several potential causes of this issue that owners should be aware of.

1. Faulty Charging Cable

One possible cause of this message in a Chevy Volt is a faulty charging station or charging cord. In some cases, the charging station may not be providing enough power to the car’s battery, or the cord may be damaged or not properly plugged in.

This can result in the car not being able to charge, and the “Not Able to Charge” message appearing on the dashboard.

Another possible issue with the charging station or cord is a problem with the electrical connection between the car and the station.

If the connection is loose or not secure, the charging process may be interrupted, and the car may not charge fully, resulting in the message.

It is important to note that not all charging stations are compatible with the Chevy Volt, so it is crucial to ensure that the charging station being used is specifically designed for the Volt.

Additionally, some third-party charging cords may not be fully compatible with the Volt, which can also cause issues with charging.

Solution
  1. Check the charging station: Make sure that the charging station is providing enough power to the car’s battery and that it is compatible with the Chevy Volt. Consult the vehicle manual or a professional mechanic to determine the appropriate charging station for your vehicle.
  2. Inspect the charging cord: Check the charging cord for any visible signs of damage, such as frayed wires or cracks in the insulation. If there is damage, replace the charging cord with a new one that is compatible with the Chevy Volt.
  3. Ensure a secure connection: Make sure that the charging cord is properly plugged into both the charging station and the car’s charge port. Check for any loose connections or obstructions that could be preventing a secure connection.
  4. Avoid third-party charging cords: Use only charging cords that are specifically designed for the Chevy Volt to avoid compatibility issues.

Important: EV battery replacement can cost $1000s. To avoid high-voltage battery replacement, there are some things you can do. Read this article to find out the 10 best ways to maximize EV battery life and save tons of money!

2. Snow, Ice, or Dirt Obstructing the Connectors

Snow, ice, or dirt obstructing the connectors in the charge port can also cause the “Not Able to Charge” message in a Chevy Volt.

In winter or in areas with a lot of precipitation, snow or ice can build up in the connectors, preventing them from making proper contact.

Similarly, dirt or debris can accumulate and obstruct the connectors, preventing the charge port from making a good connection with the charging cable.

When the charge port cannot establish a proper connection with the charging cable, it may trigger the message on the dashboard.

In some cases, the obstruction can be so severe that it can damage the charging cable or the charging port. It is important to keep the charging port clean and free from any obstructions to prevent any damage or charging issues.

Solution
  1. Clear the connectors: The first step to solving this problem is to clear any snow, ice, or dirt from the connectors. Use a soft-bristled brush or a cloth to remove any debris from the connectors.
  2. Use de-icing solution: If there is ice buildup on the connectors, use a de-icing solution to melt the ice. You can make your own solution by mixing one part water and two parts rubbing alcohol.
  3. Clean the charge port: Use a clean cloth to wipe the charge port and remove any dirt or debris. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage the connectors.
  4. Park the car indoors: If possible, park the Chevy Volt in a garage or under a carport to prevent snow or ice buildup on the connectors.
  5. Use a charging station with a protective cover: Some charging stations come with a protective cover that can prevent snow, ice, or dirt from obstructing the connectors. Consider using a charging station with this feature if you live in an area with heavy precipitation.

Also read: Chevy Volt Battery: Warranty, Replacement Cost, Lifespan, etc.

3. A Plug Latch not Fully Seated

The plug latch is responsible for securely holding the charging connector in place while the battery is being charged. If the plug latch does not fully seat, it can cause the charging connector to become loose, leading to an intermittent or no charging situation.

When the charging connector is not securely connected to the vehicle, the charging system may not be able to establish a proper connection with the battery, leading to the “not able to charge” message on the dashboard.

This message is a warning that the vehicle is unable to receive power from the charging station and that the charging process has been interrupted.

Solution

Ensure that the charging connector is fully inserted into the charging port on the vehicle. If it is not fully inserted, push it in until you hear a click or feel it lock into place.

Finally, double-check that the plug latch is fully engaged by gently tugging on the charging cable. If it is securely attached, the latch should not release, and the cable should not disconnect.

If the issue persists, there may be an underlying problem with the charging port or the charging cable, and a qualified technician should be consulted for further diagnosis and repair.

4. Battery Issues

The Chevy Volt’s battery is one of the most critical components of the vehicle. It’s responsible for powering the electric motor and providing energy to the various systems in the car.

Therefore, if there are any issues with the battery, it can lead to the “Not Able to Charge” message.

One common battery issue is a low or dead 12-volt battery. This battery is separate from the high-voltage battery used to power the electric motor and is responsible for providing power to the car’s systems, such as the lights and radio, when the car is turned off.

If the 12-volt battery is low or dead, it can prevent the car’s systems from functioning properly, which can cause the message to appear.

Another battery-related issue that can cause the “Not Able to Charge” message is a faulty high-voltage battery. The high-voltage battery is responsible for providing power to the electric motor, and if it’s not functioning correctly, the car won’t be able to charge.

This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as damage to the battery cells or a faulty charging system.

Solutions
  1. Low or dead 12-volt battery: If the 12-volt battery is low or dead, the first step is to try to jump-start it. If that doesn’t work, you may need to replace the battery. Consult the vehicle manual or a professional mechanic to determine the correct replacement battery for your Chevy Volt.
  2. Faulty high-voltage battery: If the high-voltage battery is faulty, you may need to have it diagnosed and repaired or replaced by a qualified technician. This can be an expensive repair, so it’s important to make sure that the battery is the actual problem before proceeding with any repairs.
  3. Charging system issues: If the battery is fine but the charging system is not functioning correctly, it may need to be repaired or replaced. This can involve diagnosing and fixing issues with the charging cable, charging port, or other components of the charging system. Again, it’s important to have a qualified technician diagnose and repair any charging system issues to ensure that the repair is done correctly and safely.

5. Corrosion in the Charging Port or on the Charger

Corrosion in the charging port or on the charger can cause the “unable to charge” message on a Chevy Volt because it can interfere with the flow of electricity between the charging station and the battery.

When the charging port or the charger becomes corroded, it can create a layer of oxidation on the surface, which can act as an insulator and prevent the flow of electricity. This can cause the charging system to detect a fault and trigger the “unable to charge” message on the dashboard.

In some cases, the corrosion may be visible on the surface of the charging port or the charger, but in other cases, it may be present in areas that are not easily visible.

Therefore, it is important to inspect the charging port and the charger periodically to check for any signs of corrosion or damage.

Solution
  1. Clean the charging port and charger: The first step in resolving a corrosion issue is to clean the affected areas. Use a soft cloth and a cleaning solution recommended by the vehicle manufacturer to clean the charging port and the charger. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly after cleaning.
  2. Remove corrosion: If there is visible corrosion on the charging port or the charger, use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove the corrosion. Be gentle and take care not to damage the surface. After removing the corrosion, clean the area again with a cleaning solution and dry it thoroughly.
  3. Replace the charging port or charger: If the corrosion is severe or if there is damage to the charging port or the charger, it may be necessary to replace them. Contact your local Chevy dealer or a qualified EV technician to have the parts replaced.
  4. Prevent future corrosion: To prevent future corrosion, avoid exposing the charging port or the charger to moisture or saltwater. Keep the area clean and dry, and avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage the surface. If you live in an area with a lot of salt on the roads during the winter, consider rinsing off your vehicle and the charging port and charger more frequently to remove any salt buildup.

6. Software Issues

Software issues can also cause the “Not Able to Charge” message in a Chevy Volt. The Volt’s software manages many functions of the vehicle, including the charging process.

If there is a glitch in the software, it can prevent the charging process from starting or completing. For example, if the software that manages the charging process crashes or freezes, it could prevent the car from being able to charge.

Another potential software issue is a problem with the communication between the vehicle and the charging station.

The Chevy Volt uses several different communication protocols to communicate with the charging station, and if there is an error in this communication, it can cause the charging process to fail.

For example, if the Volt is not properly communicating with the charging station’s network, it may not be able to authorize the charging session, which would prevent the car from charging.

Finally, software issues can also occur due to outdated or corrupted software. If the software that manages the charging process is not up-to-date, it may not be able to properly communicate with the charging station or manage the charging process.

Similarly, if the software has become corrupted, it may not be able to function properly, which could cause the “Not Able to Charge” message to appear.

Solution
  1. Reboot the vehicle’s software: Restarting the Volt’s software may help clear any glitches or errors that are preventing the charging process from starting or completing. You can do this by turning off the car, waiting a few minutes, and then turning it back on.
  2. Check for software updates: Make sure that the software that manages the charging process is up-to-date. You can check for updates through the vehicle’s infotainment system or by contacting your dealership.
  3. Reset the charging station: If the communication issue is between the vehicle and the charging station, try resetting the charging station. Unplug the station from the power source, wait a few minutes, and then plug it back in.
  4. Check for error messages: If the charging process fails, check for any error messages on the vehicle’s dashboard or charging station. These messages may provide more information on what the issue is.
  5. Contact customer support: If the above solutions do not work, contact Chevy’s customer support team for further assistance. They may be able to diagnose the issue remotely or schedule a service appointment to address the problem.