While the most impressive thing about EVs should be their energy efficiency, sometimes the most talked about part of EV ownership is the cost of a potential battery replacement. For the Chevrolet Bolt, the discussion around battery replacement has been heated in more ways than one.
We’re here to provide a realistic view of the cost to replace a Chevy Bolt Battery and the times when it may—or may not—be necessary.
In today’s blog post, we’ll discuss Chevrolet Bolt battery replacement costs, warranty coverage, battery health indicators, and battery considerations for buying a used Chevy Bolt:
First up, we’ll dive into the timeline and service department costs for a Bolt’s EV battery replacement:
Note: the low-voltage 12v battery replacement in the Bolt isn’t the main focus of our discussion, but we’ve included info about it near the end of the article.
How Long Does it Take to Replace a Chevrolet Bolt’s Battery Pack?
For an uncomplicated battery swap due to cell failures or degradation, a Chevy Bolt battery replacement timeline should only span about 4.5 hours, according to GM. However, monitored charging at the dealership means you likely won’t be getting the Bolt back until the next business day. Most warranty battery replacements fall into the uncomplicated category (as do most battery replacements in general).
If your Bolt needs a battery replacement due to damage to the pack and other components of the high voltage system, the replacement will likely take longer. Damage assessment can take a few minutes to a few hours. Replacement parts, such as the battery, wiring harnesses, coolant, connectors, and so on, often need to be ordered before the repair can begin. A full working day (about 8 hours) and sometimes more than 2 days may be necessary to complete the repair.
Currently, GM dealership service departments charge around $150-$200 per hour for work on EVs. This rate varies by around $50 depending on your state and dealership, and the price can also include a basic body work cost of around $50-$60 per hour. With these rates, an uncomplicated, 4.5 hour swap may cost around $675-900 in labor. A Bolt battery replacement with damage to the old battery and surrounding system may start at $1,200 for 8 hours of labor and very quickly go past $2,400 for labor.
How Much Does a Chevy Bolt Battery Replacement Cost?
While some of the original batteries for the Bolt EV were 60 kWh packs, the newer generation is a 66-kWh pack (which most Bolt EVs and all Bolt EUVs will have after the 2021 recall). Based on average EV battery pricing at $153 per kWh, a fast estimate for a Bolt’s replacement battery would come in at about $10,100.
However, we’ve seen a few repair invoices for the Bolt that put the current price for replacement battery packs at about $16,000-$17,100. This price was just for the pack, not for labor and the additional components. We’re not sure why the Bolt’s pack is so expensive, but since GM is no longer going to produce a Bolt using the current battery design, that number is not likely to come down.
We’d estimate that the lowest out-of-pocket cost for an uncomplicated battery pack replacement on the Chevy Bolt would be from $16,775-$17,775 ($16,000-17,000 for the battery, $100-200 for related parts, and $675 for the HV-certified labor).
That’s a lot. The good news is that most of the Bolt battery packs out there have a long warranty coverage remaining (more on warranty coverage later).
Can You Replace a Chevy Bolt Battery Yourself?
Even if you could find a Chevy Bolt battery replacement pack (new or refurbished), we wouldn’t recommend going DIY. No matter how handy you are at home auto repair, attempting to DIY a high-voltage battery replacement on the Chevy Bolt is dangerous. Mechanics at the dealership have to be HV-certified to do any work on those systems. Unless you have the credentials, it’s best to stay clear.
Hazards of working on a high-voltage battery include:
- Electrocution injury or death
- Combustion (explosion) and fire
- Toxic chemical exposure
In most cases, it’s better to find someone who is HV certified to work on your EV, whether that’s at a dealership or with an independent auto shop. Insurance and component warranties will likely not be honored in the event of damage or injury if your insurance company or the manufacturer find out you were doing DIY high voltage work at the time.
How Do I Know if My Bolt’s Battery Needs to Be Replaced?
There are several situations where you may be able to determine that a Bolt’s pack has failed or is likely to fail in the near future. However, all of these scenarios typically require a visit to the dealership to diagnose and repair them properly.
Let’s start with recalls:
Your Bolt has a Recall Associated with its VIN
This recall is old news for Bolt owners; old, but not over. For many Bolt EVs manufactured between 2017 and 2021, GM has issued a recall that requires replacing the battery pack entirely. If your Bolt is part of the recall, you’ll need to get your Bolt on your dealership’s list so they can complete the swap when they get a new (or refurbished) pack in stock.
For some 2022 Bolt EVs and EUVs, GM is taking a different approach (a hotly-debated shift, but that discussion is outside the scope of this article). The battery isn’t being replaced with the recall, but software to monitor your battery’s health to check for the defect that prompted the recall is recommended. You can get the software installed at your dealership.
You can check your Bolt’s recall status at GM’s Online Recall and Warranty Center.
The Dashboard Shows A Warning
If your Bolt’s battery management software detects a problem with the battery, you’ll get an alert on your Bolt’s dashboard (GM calls this the “driver information center”). This should prompt you to call your dealership to have the battery replaced.
This message is available on Bolts that have been to the dealership for the software monitoring remedy version of the Bolt battery recall. If your Bolt hasn’t had the update through a service visit, then the warning messaging for a battery problem may be via the more obscure “Service Vehicle Soon” indicator light.
Your Bolt’s Range Has Gone Down Suddenly (Over 20%)
Like any other EV, a Bolt’s range should not dramatically reduce in a short period of time (such as a period of weeks to a month, rather than over 6 months or more). If you notice a loss of over 20% in a short time, contact your service center and get some diagnostics done. Often, this indicates that there is a problem with the battery pack itself.
Your Bolt Won’t Charge
While a failure of the Bolt to charge could be a battery temperature issue that may lead to battery replacement, it could also be an issue with the onboard charger or the DC fast charger interface. In either case, a visit to your local dealership or independent EV repair shop would be wise.
Are Chevy Bolt Battery Replacements Covered Under Warranty?
GM covers the Bolt EV (and EUV) high voltage battery and battery system components for 8 years and 100,000 miles (whichever comes first). If a part in the battery system fails due to a manufacturing defect, GM covers the cost of parts, labor, and other costs as needed. Other costs typically include rental cars (while you wait for repairs) or towing your Bolt to a local dealership.
Battery replacement due to a loss of more than 40% of battery capacity over the warranty period may also be covered by the Bolt’s battery warranty.
For batteries already replaced due to the recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has required GM to cover the replacement battery as if it were new, with a reset 8 year/100,000 mile policy.
To see the warranty coverage on your Bolt, you can sign in to your account on Chevrolet’s website (or through the app) and select your Bolt. You should see a section for Warranty, which will lead you to a list of warranties that your Bolt still has active.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace the 12V Battery in a Chevy Bolt?
Your Bolt’s 12V battery (not the HV battery pack) is responsible for running low-voltage systems like the touchscreen, windows, and windshield wipers. The Bolt uses an Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) lead-acid 12V battery, and Chevrolet recommends that you replace it every 4-5 years.
Most compatible 12V Bolt batteries cost $150-$200. To get the right replacement, check your Bolt owner’s manual to verify the specs for your model year, or match the specs on the OEM battery.
Should I Be Worried About the Batteries in a Used Chevy Bolt?
Let’s take the Bolt’s battery recall issue in perspective. When GM issued a widespread recall, they hadn’t figured out which packs were defective and where in the manufacturing line the problem was. At this point, GM says that the two main build years, 2017 and 2018, are the only ones where they have found a repeated issue (after taking apart many, many packs during the warranty replacements).
If the used Bolt you are thinking about buying had its battery replaced after the recall notice, then you may reasonably expect that Bolt to last past the 8 year/100,000 mile warranty.
The first thing to check on a used Bolt is its recall status. If it’s a 2019 or earlier model year, that recall should either be Incomplete (an open recall) or Complete. If the battery recall for that VIN is listed as Incomplete, it might be advisable to keep looking or to negotiate with the owner on price.
For years 2020-2023, you should probably verify that the owner has had the recall software installed and has driven the 6,300 mile battery monitoring requirement so that the Bolt’s range will no longer be software restricted.
In every case, asking questions about each used Chevy Bolt’s battery health and the owner’s charging habits is a good idea. And a pre-purchase inspection by your local Chevy dealer can go a long way towards giving you peace of mind during the buying process (these run about $100-$200).
Where Can I Find a Used Chevy Bolt EV (or EUV)?
If you’re spending a lot of time researching the Bolt to see if it’s a good fit for you, do you really have extra time to spend digging through listing sites that put the Bolt up next to ads for gas cars?
We think buying EVs should be as efficient as driving them.
To find a used Bolt (and get the recall story on its battery):
- Filter for the Chevrolet Bolt (and only the Bolt!)
- Pick a listing based on your budget, distance to the seller, paint color, whatever matters most to you!
- On Featured listings, click on our complementary AutoCheck report to see recall or repair info (and much more!).
- On all other listings, grab the prospective Bolt’s VIN and head to GM’s Website to check the vehicle’s recall status