More Chevy Bolt Fires: GM Quietly Buying Them Back

While General Motors is generally mum about this, it is purchasing back some Chevy Bolt EVs that are vulnerable to battery fires. Whether you can arm wrestle GM into buying your Bolt back depends on a number of things. We’ll try and lay out the Bolt fires situation as best as we can.

Though GM has bought back some Bolts, it is refusing to buy back others

orange Chevy Bolt on stage
The Chevrolet Bolt EV concept vehicle makes its global debut | Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet

First off, not everyone can get GM to fork over the funds for your Bolt. It handles them on what it calls “an individual basis.”. What guides their decision centers around each state’s lemon laws. Numerous posts on Reddit break down some of what is going on.

If the state the owner lives in had tough lemon laws then typically GM will buy your burnt Bolt back. But in states with weaker lemon laws or lack of enforcement GM tends to refuse to buy it. An anonymous Bolt owner told insideevs, “I initiated my buyback request in March and it took 67 days to complete the process. It entailed turning the car into a local dealer and receiving a check from GM.” 

Getting a Bolt buyback is usually not the first thing GM offers

2019 Chevy Bolt
2019 Chevy Bolt | GM

There is a recall of 50,932 Chevy Bolts made between July 2016, and September 2019. There are certain proposals put forth by GM within the recall. Bolt owners have found that insisting on a buyback is usually not offered. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. 

One part of the recall suggests taking your Bolt to dealers for them to run certain diagnostic tests. If they detect problems a service rep would replace “battery module assemblies.” There is also “advanced onboard diagnostic software” GM can install. It can detect fire risks in battery module performance. 

Earlier, GM was suggesting limiting the charging capacity to 90 percent would correct the problem. Unfortunately, it did not stop the incident of burned-up Bolts. Hyundai had similar issues with its Kona. The solution was to replace the entire battery pack. 

California and Massachusetts owners are having the best buyback luck

A silver 2022 Chevy Bolt EUV parked on a beach
2022 Chevy Bolt EUV | General Motors

According to posters on the Chevy Bolt forum, some owners relate GM swapping 2022 Bolts for earlier models “for no money out of pocket.” Some have argued that the recall notice has tanked resale values of earlier Bolts through no fault of the owner. Generally, the Bolt forums indicate that owners in California and Massachusetts have had the best luck getting buybacks. 

Those living in Illinois seem to have the most denials. It is also suggested that owners not dump their Bolts before pursuing a buyback. Some have done this only to find out later that the new owners turned around and received a buyback from GM. 

So, thoroughly exhaust your grievance with GM before attempting to sell it off cheaply. The more of you that come at GM, the more will see GM quietly purchase your Bolt back.  

RELATED: Right After GM Issues Fire Fix For Bolt Another Burns Down