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Buying a used Chevy Volt? (full car situation posted below!)

So I’m looking at a way to make my work commute/expenses better for 2018.

I’ve been looking at '13-15 Chevy Volts and see them ranging from 11-16k anywhere from 30-50k miles.

Would definitely appreciate some insight!

Here’s my current situation:

I drive 27/mi each way to and from my office passing through downtown LA 5 days a week. Occasionally I visit sites around the county ranging from 5 to 120 miles away mostly in remote areas of LA county. My company pays me the IRS rate for all my mileage.

My current vehicle is a '15 Acura ILX 2.4 Manual. It’s sitting at 62k miles w/about $17k left for the loan.
I have a family member wanting to take over it if I should opt to get another car, so I was definitely looking at a Volt.

The Acura has the reliability, MPG (I surprisingly average about 35mpgs) and somewhat sportiness of my car is what I’ll miss, I’m worried that I’m depreciating the Acura way past whatever I’m getting reimbursed from work.

My main concerns with the Volt are:

  1. Reliability (I know they come with 10yr/150k warranties on battery)
  2. Value (it’s depreciated so much since new, could it really get that much lower??)
  3. Maintenance (unfamiliar with an electric car, American cars in general as well)

My main reasons for getting a Volt are:

  1. Saving on gas!
  2. HOV lane privileges can cut my commute by roughly 40/mins a day.
  3. Smaller loan than what I currently have

I believe the Volt is a great combination of all that I’m facing with my current commute. I understand Priuses and other hybrids may be cheaper, reliable, etc…but the sticker on the volt allows me to hit that carpool lane free and save me time. Plus, Volts come fairly loaded and I love the 2+2 setup in the back.

Anyway, definitely open to all options! Would love some feedback from the community.


I haven’t sat down and done the math… but generally speaking, it’s cheapest to keep driving the “horse” you’ve got in the stable now. Especially since yours still has a loan on it, sounds like.

I had a friend who bought a used Volt. Overall he liked the car… though it had some strange problems that stranded him more than once. Turns out even though it’s a Chevrolet product… only certain Chevrolet dealers around here could actually work on the Volt. My friend didn’t know this beforehand.

He ended up getting rid of the Volt for a Subaru after maybe a year, and took a bit of a bath on the trade in.

Just my thoughts. Good luck to you.

I drive a lot. If I had an ILX and drove as much as you, I would hate the drop off in drive quality to a Volt from an ILX. I highly recommend that you drive a car that matches your needs. Electrics and certain hybrids are great commuter cars for shorter drives. Some hybrids are pretty good highway drivers for longer hauls (think Camry or Rav4 hybrids) but I agree with @ledhed75 that it’s cheaper to drive the “horse” you rode in on.

In any event, I think a test drive in a Volt might help you make up your mind. Once you get a good feel for what you are coveting you may be less enthusiastic about the change.

what is your monthly payment now? what will new payment be? getting a loan on a used car means higher interest and unknown term. hov lane “sounds” nice. anyway to actually drive in the lane and see if it really helps your time? get a passenger and drive in lane at same time as your work commute. i have seen cars stopped in the hov lane. not a lot but it does happen

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Yeah, right now you are, but you’re on the tail end of it. That car’s value fell off a cliff the minute you drove it off the lot. Depreciation compensation can’t possibly keep up in the first few years.

Hondas/Acuras tend to stabilize significantly after that initial dropoff. So you’re talking about ditching the car right after you take the big depreciation hit. Then someone will “take over the loan” and you will, at best, start from scratch when you buy the Volt.

This is a money-losing proposition for you even though the Volt is (mostly) electric and you will save on gas.

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@Kevin_Nac Is this the vehicle that lease period was over last October according to your previous thread? Did you buy it at the residual price and if so just drive it until it is paid for . Also it is never a good idea to sell or buy vehicles with friends or relatives .


I read that the HOV stickers for single occupants in LA were no longer available. Check with the DMV to see if you can get the HOV sticker. Much of the depreciation should be done on the Volt. When they were first released, Chevrolet wanted to lease them in case they had unforeseen problems. Look for off lease Volts if you have not done so already. They will likely be lower mileage cars too. You can get an idea of the reliability by looking at the True Cost to Own. They will have estimated maintenance and repair costs for all three years you are interested in. The costs are for work done at the dealer, and should be considered the top end of what you would pay.

Edit: I looked up the cost estimates and the Volt R&M costs are both lower than for the Prius forthe 2014 model year the costs are for the next five years. I’d say reliability is outstanding.

Yeah, there’s some uncertainty in a Volt. Also, needing a very reliable car for work is a HUGE plus for me and that peace of mind of my Acura would definitely help.

So first off, yes the Volt and single occupancy is still eligible as long as the car has a certain letter in the VIN for Los Angeles. To those questioning the time saved, the initial 14 miles of my 27 commute is literally stop and go traffic. My option is to roll and minimize using the clutch, or drive through the ghetto.

On the rare occasion I have a co-worker to carpool with, I breeze by that 11mph average traffic and easily save at least 20 minutes. On the way back, it’s about the same.

Yes I did purchase it.

My dad wanted to buy it out for himself back in Oct. but we were both traveling so it was tough to coordinate and I ended up getting the loan myself. The reason its come up again is because my insurance policy is running out end of January and well, he’s still asking when am I going to pass it over to him.

I’m just worried that with the crazy mileage I’ll be racking up on my vehicle, it’ll depreciate the ILX’s value much lower than my current loan.

I assumed that grabbing a Volt around 13-14k, post-taxes and interest would help bridge the gap from the 17k, as well as save money and time in the present.

Selling a vehicle you have to buy a used vehicle is not a reasonable thought. The used Volt could cost you a fortune in repairs and putting miles on your present vehicle is no different than putting miles on a another vehicle.

The vehicle you want to sell might not even qualify for a 100 % loan and it will have a higher rate. I seriously doubt you can save any money by this plan but just do what you want.

If the OPs father takes over the loan payments, no money is lost.

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It’s important to remember that while you may be saving money on gas… you may end up paying more for the privilege of doing so (interest, hassle, repairs, etc.). So overall it doesn’t do you any good.

But we all have our own “calculators”.

+1 correct. I’m not losing any money. Obviously I wouldn’t sell it and get a Volt, I’d be in the negative. It’s simply someone just taking over it.

The value is already lower than your current loan. It was lower than your current loan 30 seconds after you bought it. It will continue to get closer to the value of the loan as time goes forward, and will exceed the value of the loan at some point fairly close to the end of your loan payments.

Of course you are. You put a down payment on the loan for the ILX. You’re going to be putting another down payment on the loan for the Volt - a down payment you wouldn’t have to put down if you kept the ILX. The person taking over the loan is the one coming out ahead, because he gets a nice, new-ish ILX and some other guy (you) took the bulk of the depreciation hit for him.

Put another way, yes you are selling the ILX. You’re selling it for the price of whatever you still owe on the loan.

If the person checks it is very possible at 17000.00 they will be paying more than it’s worth.

I’m going from where I sit now. I understand years before when i got the car with down payment and everything I’m in in the negative.

But it’s a clean slate when it’s transferred over.

Down payment… my loan amount is still less than what i would have owed on the Acura. The point is it’s clean slate. I wanted to factor everything in 2018 and if a Volt comes with a smaller loan, better efficiency of time and potentially money (repairs, maintenance, which is why I asked cause it’s unknown to me) then why not?

I understand where you’re coming With taking the hit from the Acura, but why not let it benefit my dad. It was the reason why I opted for it. He gets a good deal, I potentially benefit as well.

I know that, but at the rate I drive, it depreciate much much faster with my commute and work.
My dad drives about 10 miles round trip to work and can barely put 1000 miles/month on it.

The financial factors are personal, and really don’t seem to be playing into your decision making. And, while the Acura is fun to drive, nothing is fun to drive on LA Freeways at 14 mph, stop and go with a clutch. That’s just a symphony of frustrations. In your world, with your needs, a fun car is really an indulgence that your Dad might have time for, but it sounds like for you a boring, economical, automatic shift car with carpool rights is the ticket. The Volt gets you past the range limits of affordable all electric cars.

A lot of responders here don’t live with and fight against the traffic of urban California, and they just don’t have that vital piece of knowledge to help make the decision. I live near San Francisco and try to drive only between 10 am and 2:30 pm, before 6 am or after about 7:30 pm. Otherwise, I use a motor scooter that can go on freeways, and I split lanes everywhere. That works if you’re up for it.

Good luck with your decision.