NHTSA closes investigation into Chevy Bolt’s fire issues

Washington, D.C. – February 20, 2022 – The U.S. government closed its investigation into fires among 2017-2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicles. The manufacturer of the vehicles, General Motors (NYSE:GM), has already recalled all of the affected vehicles, as well as 2021-2022 model-years.

Investigation conclusion  

General Motors conducted three recalls to address the reports of fires. Because of this, the regulator concluded in February 2022 that there was no need for additional recalls and closed the investigations. 

The first recall

After receiving two complaints from owners and several field reports, the government auto safety regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) initiated the investigation in October 2020. According to these complaints, a fire would develop inside the passenger cabin, underneath the seats, when the vehicle was parked.

GM was also aware of the incidents and started investigating to discover what was causing them. Based on initial findings, GM concluded fires were caused by an overheating high-voltage battery, which is located under the seat. The fires would happen when the vehicles were charged to “full or nearly full capacity.”

The manufacturer initially addressed the problem by recalling over 50,000 of the 2017-2019 model-years in November 2020 and reprogramming in a way so its high-voltage battery would only charge up to 90% of its capacity.  Later on in the recall, dealers ran diagnostics tests on the batteries to see if they needed replacing.

Subsequent recalls

As this recall was underway, both General Motors and LG, the battery producer, analyzed the data that dealers collected with the tests. They concluded that the repair offered under the last recall was insufficient and that more batteries needed to be replaced.

That prompted GM to recall all the cars included in the previous recall, as well as additional 2017-2019 model-years in July 2021.

By further analyzing the field data that was coming in from the dealers during the second recall, it eventually became apparent that there were more defective batteries.

As a result, General Motors finally recalled all of 2019-2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV vehicles to replace their high voltage batteries

Other Chevrolet recalls 

Apart from these Chevy Bolt fire issues mentioned in the summary, there were no other recent Chevy Bolt recalls. Still, other manufacturers have also faced issues with fires caused by high-voltage batteries. One such example is BMW, which had to recall some of its hybrid vehicles back in September 2020 over a similar problem.

Is your vehicle part of a recall?

This Chevy Bolt battery ire investigation did not result in any new recalls, but your car may need repairs for a different issue. To do a Chevrolet recall check and see if your vehicle is due for any of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Bojan PopicNHTSA closes investigation into Chevy Bolt’s fire issues

General Motors issues third Chevrolet Bolt recall following car fires

Warren, MI – September 9, 2021 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 52,403 2020 – 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV and 2022 Bolt EUV cars whose batteries may catch fire, increasing the risk of death or injury for the car occupants and people around them.

This recall is a result of an ongoing U.S. government investigation, which so far has resulted in three recalls, including this one, and is an expansion of a previous recall conducted in July. There have been multiple fires and at least one injury associated with this recall.

The recall concerns the “High Voltage Battery Pack” with multiple part numbers, including 24042761, 24044172 and  24044527.

Recall summary  

These Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles contain defective high-voltage LG batteries that may catch fire when they are charged to “charged to full, or very close to full, capacity.” In fact, the recall is being conducted on the back of a recent car fire in the recalled population.

The cause of the fire  is the presence of “two rare manufacturing defects in the same battery cell” but it is not clear what these defects are. 

Previous recalls and an investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which regulates vehicle safety in the U.S., opened an investigation in October after receiving two owner complaints alleging that their vehicles “caught fire under the rear seat while parked and unattended.” The investigation resulted in the first recall which was conducted in November 2020 and included over 50,000 2019, 2018 and 2017 Chevrolet Volt EVs. The cars were outfitted with “diagnostic software” and also received new battery modules. The repair, however, may have been insufficient as the same vehicles were again recalled in July of this year.


Battery fires are serious: One of the Chevrolet Bolt fires reported to NHTSA took three hours for the fire department to put out, and reportedly caused owners smoke inhalation injuries from the “thick and noxious” fumes it produced. Car battery fires pose a number of risks to vehicle occupants and people nearby, and require specialized firefighting techniques to extinguish. For tips on what to do in the event of a fire, please visit this article about battery fires in BMW hybrids.

Warning signs

Before the Chevy Bolt fire, owners may notice that the battery emits “smoke or heat” or see the battery or “ other vehicle components” melt or become damaged.

The repair

Dealers will eventually replace defective battery modules for free, but this repair is not yet available. 

Safety tips

You can do the following while waiting for the final repair: 

  • Activate the Target Charge Level (referred to as the Hilltop Reserve mode on the 2017-2018 Bolts) feature to limit the battery charge level to 90% full. If you are unable to adjust these settings yourself, visit your dealer for help.
  • Charge the vehicle after each use.
  • Do NOT deplete the battery further than 70 miles of range remaining.
  • Park the vehicle outside and away from structures after charging.
  • Do NOT charge the vehicle overnight.
  • If you own a 2017, 2018 or 2019 model-year,  visit your nearest Chevrolet dealer to get an important software update, which includes a diagnostic check on the health of the Bolt’s battery system. This service is provided free of charge.

Letters with these instructions will be sent out to owners on October 4, 2021. Owners will receive a second letter when the final repair is available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 50,000 vehicles are included in GM’s Chevrolet recall. To do a Chevrolet recall check, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors issues third Chevrolet Bolt recall following car fires