emailjillianne
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:18 pm

Is anyone else experiencing brake issues [failure]?

Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:35 pm

In short, we had a 2015 Chevy Spark EV with 3 brake failures. We just purchased a 2016 Chevy Spark EV a month ago and the brakes went out again. So this is 4 brake failures for us in a Chevy Spark EV. The tow truck who picked up our vehicle said he's towed a number of Spark EVs with the same issue. So beginning to wonder if this isn't a much larger issue but people haven't been posting online. Granted, the cars are only sold in 3 states so there aren't a great number of these cars on the road.

MBPdx
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:10 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Is anyone else experiencing brake issues [failure]?

Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:57 pm

I found 7 other failures on the NHTSA's website. Please be sure to report yours!

Also, I found this terrifying video of brake failure of a Spark - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8oDB66k-48 - you can tell the brakes are depressed because the brake lights are on until impact. Note that GM told the driver it was due to her driving.

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 977
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca, California

Re: Is anyone else experiencing brake issues [failure]?

Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:09 pm

MBPdx wrote:I found 7 other failures on the NHTSA's website. Please be sure to report yours!

Also, I found this terrifying video of brake failure of a Spark - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8oDB66k-48 - you can tell the brakes are depressed because the brake lights are on until impact. Note that GM told the driver it was due to her driving.
Judging by the white area below the rear bumper, it looks like this was a standard ICE Chevy Spark and not an EV. Regardless, this is scary!

MBPdx
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:10 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Is anyone else experiencing brake issues [failure]?

Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:32 pm

Yeah, it's most definitely an ICE Spark, and I found reports of their brakes failing too.

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 977
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca, California

Re: Is anyone else experiencing brake issues [failure]?

Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:03 pm

MBPdx wrote:Yeah, it's most definitely an ICE Spark, and I found reports of their brakes failing too.
Where can I find these reports?

CCIE
Posts: 174
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:47 am
Location: CT

Re: Is anyone else experiencing brake issues [failure]?

Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:40 pm

emailjillianne wrote:In short, we had a 2015 Chevy Spark EV with 3 brake failures. We just purchased a 2016 Chevy Spark EV a month ago and the brakes went out again. So this is 4 brake failures for us in a Chevy Spark EV. The tow truck who picked up our vehicle said he's towed a number of Spark EVs with the same issue. So beginning to wonder if this isn't a much larger issue but people haven't been posting online. Granted, the cars are only sold in 3 states so there aren't a great number of these cars on the road.
Can you give us any more details on the brake failures? Any dash lights? Are you able to "push through" the electronic portion of the brake pedal travel until the hydraulic friction brakes engage? What does the dealer say the cause is?

The electronic portion of the Spark EV (and Volt) braking system can behave oddly sometimes. Especially in low traction situations. And, customer add-on accessories (cell phone chargers, GPS units, HIDs, radar detectors, or anything else connected to the electrical system) have been known to cause interference/errors on the CAN bus that impact the brake computer. However, in all cases when that's been reported, the driver is still able to "push-through" the electronic portion of the brake pedal travel to engage the friction brakes. But, it does take some extra effort to do so. Failure of both channels of the hydraulic friction brakes is almost unheard of in any modern car.

I'd be amazed if I met a tow truck driver who knew the difference between a Spark and a Spark EV. The braking systems in each are completely different.

Since this problem followed you to a second car, I'm betting you have something plugged in that's causing CAN bus interference. Do you have anything connected that you moved from the old car to this one?
2018 Tesla M3 LR RWD
2015 Spark EV 2LT with DCFC (traded-in 8/2018)
2012 Volt

NORTON
Posts: 1230
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 5:52 am
Location: KC,MO

Re: Is anyone else experiencing brake issues [failure]?

Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:39 am

Can a Spark EV be put into N and turned off at speed?
This would allow the driver to experience No power steering and No power brakes.
No ABS or TC either, but it would be an opportunity to feel what the brakes feel like in the fail safe / 'push through' mode.

Also, the Park Brake: it is a electro-mechanical system that pulls the cables to the rear calipers the way a manual Emergency Brake Lever does.
Is it just Full ON or Full OFF? Or is it modulated when pulled at speed?
What happens if it is engaged at 20 mph? I assume the rears lock up. If done at high speed this will flat spot the rear tires and you will be in for a ride! But, you will come to a stop.

I may test these ideas after the current Ice Apocalypse.
Used '14 2LT w/ DCFC. +71 K miles.
Mostly free charging! Only one LONG visit to the shop....
GM needs Modern Troubleshooting tools for Modern EV's.
3 step Trouble Tree, 2nd guess not covered by warranty and cost $800. 3rd guess fixed the problem.

SparkevBlogspot
Posts: 499
Joined: Mon May 25, 2015 12:19 pm

Re: Is anyone else experiencing brake issues [failure]?

Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:41 am

I tend to agree with CCIE. Since the problem followed the driver to the new car, it could be something the driver is doing, whether that's plugging in some equipment that's causing interference or something else entirely. I'm not saying it's wrong necessarily, but it could be something that Chevy did not think of. You can't test for everything in the universe, and they have to make some assumptions.

Something I would check is el-cheapo Chinese electronics. For example, I was tearing my hair out by handful why MY design was throwing noise all over the spectrum from time to time. Noise was so large that it could only come from my device, so I thought. Only when I went to test it at another place did that stop, and I tracked it down to some Chinese made POS near the lab bench that was causing the problem. My speculation was that thing had bad solder joint that caused it to have small electric spark (like static) when the capacitor got charged high enough, throwing intense broadband power all over the spectrum. Lesson learned.

I'm not saying this is the cause of your problem, but it is a possibility. If the POS is causing short intense energy burst at just the right timing that happen to get picked up by the wires to clobber several related CAN messages, you can have noticeable issues. That won't show up every time since the the timing relationship isn't exact.

But it could also be that the problems are with both SparkEV, and you might be the unluckiest SparkEV driver in the world. Somebody has to be the unluckiest, you might be it.

PhilPen
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:54 am
Location: Hamden, CT

Re: Is anyone else experiencing brake issues [failure]?

Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:31 pm

With all the redundancy built into modern braking systems it is hard to totally lose all braking power, some types of failure may cause the loss of power assistance making the braking require much more pedal effort, other failures may cause the loss of braking on just two wheels (depending on the design this could be both front brakes or both rear brakes or on a diagonal in some designs) this could more than double the stopping distance in some instances if both front brakes were out. However, total braking power loss normally requires the unlikely simultaneous failure of multiple components. On some car designs a disparity in the wheel diameters of > 3% between the front and rear compared to the programmed values from the factory can cause problems with ABS brakes and traction control systems. This is because if a wheel appears to be rotating too slowly (or too fast) for the vehicle speed it may be perceived by the car to be slipping when it is not. Since Spark EVs are designed to work with different wheel sizes front (22.74) and rear (23.46) if they are inappropriately rotated it may be possible to cause problems such as ABS inactivation (so they just work like non-ABSs brakes) or the ABS cutting in when it shouldn’t increasing stopping distances. Were there any trouble codes tripped during the brake failures you experienced?
2015 Spark EV 2LT electric blue with DCFC
2016 Spark EV 2LT salsa red with DCFC

nikwax
Posts: 567
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2015 3:27 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Is anyone else experiencing brake issues [failure]?

Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:29 pm

MBPdx wrote:I found 7 other failures on the NHTSA's website. Please be sure to report yours!

Also, I found this terrifying video of brake failure of a Spark - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8oDB66k-48 - you can tell the brakes are depressed because the brake lights are on until impact. Note that GM told the driver it was due to her driving.

Sorry, I call BS on this. Explain to us how post 1965 hydraulic brakes on a petrol car can experience a 100% failure? Someone would have to saw through all of the the brake lines for that to happen.


Also, this video is a Spark non-EV. Zero to do with our cars.
Last edited by nikwax on Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2015 Spark EV 1LT DCFC
BF Goodrich g-Force Super Sport A/S
ClipperCreek EVSE

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