If you own a 2017 Chevy Volt you are no-doubt pleased with your car. In fact, it really is a great car and one of the better values in the automotive world. General Motors customer service is, on the other hand, no 2017 Volt. It has been aware for quite a while about a defect in its car but it has yet to issue a recall for the problem. The problem is generally referred to as a “Shift to Park” issue. After you power off your car, you’ll get an alert on your dashboard that looks like this:
The car will effectively not turn off. You’ll be unable to lock the car and the lights will stay on for a few minutes. Worse yet, it is intermittent although it generally gets worse over time. For some drivers, jiggling the shift handle just the right way could get it to recognize the car was indeed in park. Others report that if can squeeze the shifter button and release it a few times and it will trigger. And you might try just turning the car on and off (depressing the power button) until the message goes away. One enterprising YouTuber showed a fix that involved moving the shifter to low and back to Park.
This “shift to park” seems like a signature issue of the Generation 2 Volt models, like the bad bearing cage or the hung bluetooth connection were for some Gen 1’s. If GM has issued a technical service bulletin on it, it has kept it off the Internet because we’ve not been able to find it. Moreover, despite the fact that there are a number of shift-to-park complaints filed with the NHTSA, the agency has not compelled GM to issue a recall. Apparently the fix for this problem is to replace the shifter assembly. However, the defect may well be in the shifter assembly itself.
Some Volt owners report that there are two service bulletins out for this issue. One requires the drive motor unit (transmission) to be replaced and the other is just a software update for the power inverter module. The technician will know which one is the issue depending on the DTCs set if any. Ultimately, if you are experiencing the problem, you must bring the car to a Chevy dealer and tell them that you have a “shift-to-park” issue. In most cases, the part will need to be ordered, so it may take a week or so before they can replace the shifter. You might want to call in advance to see if they have the part in stock.
While GM has kept this defect on the hush-hush, the service techs pretty much know what to do. If you have about 10 minutes or so, you might want to submit a complaint with the NHTSA so that this federal watchdog agency might force GM to recall the 2nd Gen Volts.