Chevy Volt: Real World Damage

Voltdamage1’s Chevrolet Volt has had a rough few months. First, it was Chilly the rat, and now, our Volt was involved in an accident that crumpled the hood and deployed both driver airbags — the knee airbag and the one in the steering wheel.

The driver was a little banged up in the incident. Though every car owner hopes it never happens, we knew an accident would be a possibility, as it is every time anyone gets behind the wheel. The upside is we get to answer the kinds of questions that a potential Volt buyer might have — specifically, how much does it cost to repair body damage on a plug-in car?

The preliminary estimate was for more than $10,500. In addition to the hood, bumper, grille and at least one headlight, the radiator and various heat exchangers will be replaced. The airbags and seat belt pretensioner account for more than $1,100 in parts alone. Adding insult to injury, a police cruiser pushed the disabled Volt off the road (the battery pack automatically decouples in a collision), so we’re paying for some rear-bumper repairs, too.

We'll let you know how long it takes to get the Volt back into driving shape. In the meantime, keep an eye on and our Twitter feed, @CarsComGreen, for reports on the Volt and our ongoing experience with the Nissan Leaf.



Just hope the driver is doing okay.

Amuro Ray

Wow. That repair cost alone is large enuf to buy either a 11 or 12 Nissan Versa (with negotiation).

How will that affect insurance premium?

Will u be able to find out how "complicated" the repair will be (need to make sure that the battery is connected and functioning well again, not to mention all the telematics that maybe damage but not included in the original est by the repair shop)?

Thanks, C. He or she should be just fine. More shaken up than banged up.

Ken L.

Wow, I hope everyone was ok, but definitely props to for sharing this and everthing else that's involved with owning a plug in hybrid/electric. I look forward to future updates. Thanks.


Glad to hear the driver is okay.

I would be interested to know not just how expensive the repairs are, but how much MORE expensive they are than a comparable non-PHEV.

Sounds like you guys are covering all the possible bases on ownership experience on this one! :)


Glad the driver is ok... feel free to avoid this kind of research in the future!

That is our plan exactly. Think it'd be better to compare it to a Chevy Malibu or something like a Prius in terms of the difference?

Yes, we agree completely.


@Amuro ray

on cheap guy is going to buy nissan versa after driving $40k car.

That hurts. I glad the driver ok but sucks to one of the first to crash the Volt.


I have been an auto insurance claims adjuster for 14 years, and I have found that the repair costs on hybrids are about the same as non-hybrids. Parts are parts no matter the drivetrain. The only minor difference I have experienced is the need to disconnect the battery pack prior to any welding, but the cost is generally less than $200. Most modern cars need to go to the dealer post-repair to have any fault codes cleared from the electrical system anyhow, and hybrids are no different. Glad to hear the driver is OK, cars are easy to fix or replace...people, not so much!


We need a federal regulation of how much damage 30mph collision should cost. Then you'll see return of unpainted bumpers, standard head lights, etc. In pursuing their design goals manufacturers completely disregard how much it cost to repair their creations. We need to fix that.

Mark of Excellence

Dream on. You can't predict the damage that will happen when a 4,000 pound vehicle traveling 44 feet per second (30 mph) hits another vehicle, particularly a smaller one. 30 mph accidents are not routine but severe. I would guess the volt pictured above was not traveling anywhere near 30 when it hit the other vehicle or object.


I'd say staying with another GM product would make the comparison most apples to apples. I'm assuming someone has already done a Malibu to Prius comparison in the past since those cars have been around so long, so you should be able to get a three way comparison pretty easily.

Ken L.

I'm a bit surprised Tony is advocating for bigger government, especially since it has nothing to do with safety.


"(the battery pack automatically decouples in a collision)" Does that mean it comes off the car???


Since no else asked. Was said driver texting while driving?


I had a similar crash in my BMW 323ci and the final bill was almost $11,000 in repairs. At the time, the car was 2 years old and all 6 airbags deployed costing about half of that. Cars are just expensive to fix in general I guess no matter if it's gas vs. hybrid.


@ Tony,
We need less government in our lives and I'll take good style over a black bumper anyday. This is what insurance is for.


"Tony is advocating for bigger government"

I don't think so. I didn't say lets hire more government people. I think, we have an agency, DOT or something. There are people there already.

OK. I was semi-joking but seriously, when a 5mph rear collision costs $3000 - this is a problem. And nobody will take care of it unless we ask our lovely government to intervene.

Amuro Ray

I've to second Tony's comment about bumper collision and expensive repair cost. This is especially the case for those no-frill...well, I take it back...more expensive "special fuel saving" packages on Ford & GM (and whoever has those). They have those special mechanical flaps that closes at a certain speed in the front / bumper. Boy, I bet that those will be costly to repair.


Hmm, front end crumpled in higher up but bumper damage only cosmetic. I am guessing the driver was not paying attention and rear ended a pickup or SUV?


Repairs cost more because we have safer cars.

Crumple zones and air bags instead of being thrown into the steering wheel.

I'll take it in the wallet to pay for repairing a car over an extended hospital stay, with associated bills, on going care, and injuries that could affect me for the rest of my life.

Jordan L

As far as I'm concderned the more expensive the better. Insurance picks up the tab anyway. Get the car written off and onward into something new . As a mechanic I'v had to repair more than my fair share of electrical problems on vehicles from the body shop. Sometimes its damage from the accident sometimes damage from the body shop. Electrical systems on modern cars are very complex,I would not want to own this car after its been repaired.

Amuro Ray

Hey, DT, whatever happened to this update? It's been over a month now...'s still in the shop. We'll have a full report when we get it back. Hopefully by the end of the month.

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