A friend of mine and a co-worker suffered a heart attack yesterday.
He was on his lunch break when he experienced a sharp pain in his chest. He had his right index finger pointing at the center of his ribcage, like when you have a really bad heartburn, and he was sweating profusely.
I was like, dude, you need to go to the hospital, don’t just sit there. So, John rushed him to the nearest hospital, Sibley in Bethesda.
About twenty minutes later he called me, he had suffered a heart attack and they were rushing him to Suburban Hospital. He asked me to call his wife and to have her meet him at Suburban Hospital. But not to tell her that he just had a heart attack, that just might frighten the poor lady to death as she had just had a surgical procedure herself, a few days before.
He also gave me his dad’s cell phone number. He sounded calm, but this scared me to death because it sounded like he wanted me to contact his family in case he did not make it.
In humans, clogged up arteries result in a heart attack as a result of eating foods high in cholesterol. But In your Volvo, a clogged up “breather box” also known as an oil separator in the PCV System — Positive Crankcase Ventilation – will result in a major oil leak from the engine seals.
This happens because there is a dangerously high build up of crank case pressure in the PCV system due to the clogged artery — breather box — because blow-by gases cannot be expelled. The high pressure will result in an oil leak when oil seals are blown out.
The breather box gets clogged up by sludge – thick oil that looks like a gel due to contamination — oil does not wear out, it only gets contaminated with residue from wear and tear in the engine. When additives or detergent cleaners in oil wear out, oil can no longer suspend particles, such as pieces of metal and dirt. Most often, this happens when you don’t change your oil on a regular basis. Volvo’s are especially susceptible to sludged up breather boxes. This will cost you about $800 to rectify.
Typically, cars that go for long periods of time between oil changes have sludge problems. The solution was full synthetic oils, but not so fast.
The recommended oil change interval for most Volvo’s is every 7500 miles or one year, whichever comes first. But the new 2013 Volvo’s call for 10,000 miles or one year, whichever comes first. The caveat here is that, full synthetic motor oil is recommended for Volvo’s with extended oil drains. In our case , we use Castrol Edge.
Factors that contribute to oil sludge formation:
Now, according to Mike Mavrigian, editor of the Auto Service Professional magazine, ” Nobody is pointing a gun at the consumer’s forehead, forcing them to change their oil at any specific mileage or time frame. If the vehicle owner wants to follow a longer schedule, that’s their decision.”
Mike further states that, “all engines don’t necessarily operate as designed or as intended. Clearances can vary. Tolerances are not always adhered to in mass production. Fuel injectors can leak and engine management systems can experience glitches resulting in overly rich fuel mixtures. A myriad of variables can result in oil contamination.”
The only way to reduce the risk of sludged up breather box or reduce the chances of contaminated oil due to engine wear is to pay extra and have an in-between or intermediate oil change. By this, I mean that if your 2013 Volvo calls for Volvo Scheduled Service and oil change every 10,000 miles, why not get a basic oil change at 5,000 miles. For a full synthetic basic oil change, it would cost you $69.99 plus tax at our Volvo Service Center. You can spend this money up-front as opposed to facing premature wear and tear on your new engine down the road.
My friend who suffered the heart attack is okay, he is admitted to Suburban Hospital for further test because they discovery a clogged up artery in his leg. He had angioplasty and had a stent inserted to hold up the arterial wall. I hope he will have a full recovery because he is still relatively young for a heart attack, at only 40 years old.
About Volvo Engine Remote Start
Yes! Finally, after ten long years, Volvo now has this old feature known as — Volvo Engine Remote Start.
Personally, I don’t like using an ice scraper at 5 a.m. on a cold winter morning. It would be nice to push a button on the key fob with automatic defrost on before I take a hot morning shower. Imagine the ice slowly melting off the front and rear windshield and side windows, the car warming up nicely inside, the smell of freshly brewed coffee as your Volvo brews you a fresh pot — sorry people, I made that up — but, wouldn’t that be just perfect.
For those of you who live in Florida; it’s a steamy hot morning and you can feel beads of sweat start to form on your brow. You lean over the bed and snatch up your Volvo Key Fob from the night stand, you push down on that button and let out a sigh of relief. The A/C in your Volvo cuts on, and cool air begins to flow. Yes!
It easy to get this feature installed — a simple software upgrade — which by the way is only available in late model Volvo’s — 2012 and 2013 models. But Volvo engine remote start comes with a heft price tag, about $650 including tax.
The benefits of this feature asides from the convenience, is that after a heavy snow fall you might mistakenly turn on your wipers and if the wipers are frozen to the windshield you will either bend the wiper-arms or damage the motor. To prevent this type of damage from happening get the Volvo Engine Remote Start. See this video
Volvo’s Clogged Sunroof Drains Will Fail In Heavy Rains
She was pissed, and really angry with Volvo. She was literally in tears and her Volvo V50 Wagon smelled moldy.
The day after Sandy hits us, we had 6 Volvo’s in the shop, hanging out to dry.
We used heavy duty industrial size fan blowers day and night, to dry out soaking wet Volvo carpets and the foam padding beneath them. Even with all this equipment, it still takes two days to dry out a wet Volvo.
When the monster storm hurricane Sandy slammed onto the shores of the U.S East Coast, I expected the worst. A disaster on a epic scale, Katrina Style.
I had recently moved to Baltimore in Maryland to join my fiance as we prepare for our nuptials, so naturally I was expecting massive flooding. Mostly, I was worried about losing electric power. Having experienced living without electricity for 5 days in the winter of 2010, it was no fun. This was after an unusually heavy wet snow that caused top heavy trees to come crashing down on power lines. I had never felt so cold in my life.
In June, 2012 we suffered the effects of Derecho.
Derecho, a fast moving straight line wind storm packing severe thunderstorms blew through the Washington DC area without any prior warning. It was gone in a couple hours, but the destruction was massive. And as you can now tell – no electric power for another few days.
So, you might be thinking, what does all this have to do with me or my Volvo? It has everything to do with your Volvo’s Leaky Sunroof.
I am inferring that if you live on the U.S East Coast, think twice before you purchase a Sunroof equipped Volvo; unless off-course, you have garage to safely store your Volvo in. If you live in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, then you have nothing to worry about.
The sunroof package cost extra — about $2800 — and you will spend $$ hundreds more fixing the water leaks in the future not counting repairs to the sunroof mechanism cable that makes it open and close. In addition, the sunroof glass make crack if you use an ice scrapper to clean out the ice after a winter storm.
She was now pissed, and really angry with Volvo.
The lady who called us yesterday was well prepared because she had been through this previously. She had the sunroof drains cleaned and cleared before Sandy stormed ashore, but to no effect.
Mildew was starting to take hold, and the car smelled moldy.
She was justified in complaining that her husbands sunroof equipped Mazda parked right next to her Volvo V50 was nice and dry inside after a soaking from Super-storm Sandy. Her assumption; a more expensive superior vehicle like her Volvo should not keep having the water leaks, time and time again. After all, had she not had the sunroof drains modified (Enlarged) to prevent this very same concern.
Read my post on water leaks as a result of poorly designed Sunroof Drains here
Volvo Gear Shifter Lever Stuck:Why You Should Never Spill Soda, Coffee or Sweet Tea On The Gear Shifter
There is no use crying over spilt sweet tea or soda pop in your Volvo.
Unless off-course you spilt the Sugary drink on the automatic gear shift lever mechanism. This will cost you $700 to get it fixed. You can now start crying.
Like you, I like the convenience of having a cup holder in the center console of my car. But the sweet stuff is not only toxic to the human body, but is also toxic to the lubricant in the shifter interlock mechanism.
Diet coke is just as bad. Don’t even think it!
Last week, a sweet African lady called us when the shifter lever on on her 2002 S60 got stuck. She was unable to move the shifter to drive, she could only pull back the shifter into reverse.
The reason why the shifter was not working properly was because the shifter interlock mechanism was gummed up with a sticky substance. Someone spilled a sugary drink on the shifter mechanism. The sweet stuff slowly ran down the lever, eventually mixing up with the lubricant in the interlock mechanism. The mixture formed into a sweet sticky substance that gummed up the shifter.
This glue like substance is thicker in the morning when the temperatures are low. However, as the day warms up and temperatures start to rise, the shifter loosens up, just a little bit. This is because the sickly substance becomes less viscous and starts to flow.
What you should do today
To prevent this sticky substance from ever forming you have to do three things:
- Buy some Simple Green All-purpose Cleaner from the Volvo Parts department — $7.99
- Use Simple Green to clean the spilt sweet drink off the Shifter Mechanism.
- Even better, don’t eat or drink in your car and prevent mice and sticky substances — ewww, how gross!
As Benjamin Franklin famously said it: An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For it is better to try to avoid problems in the first place, rather than trying to fix them once they arise.
The lady on the other side of the telephone line sounded very agitated because the ignition lock cylinder on her 2008 XC90 had failed suddenly, without warning. This was a smart sounding, intelligent lady who had made all the right moves. Therefore, she could not understand why this was happening to her.
After all, hadn’t she purchased this vehicle used — at the end of a three year lease from it’s previous owner.
She went further and purchased the top of the line Volvo extended warranty –Volvo Increased Protection (VIP) — because she did not want to worry about repairs.
She had all the bases covered, she wanted peace of mind.
She had Volvo on call for Towing, she also had rental car reimbursement coverage up to $50 per day for six days on covered repairs. On top of that she had AAA.
She was agitated now because out of the blue, the ignition key would not turn. Without warning the ignition lock cylinder had failed.
I provided her with Volvo Road side service telephone number 1.800.638.6586 and I asked her to have her Vin number (vehicle serial number) handy because roadside service will ask for it – found on her insurance card or vehicle registration. But she wanted to call AAA which was okay too.
She called, once more.
“The transmission is locked up”, she said. “It’s stuck on park, the Tow Truck driver wants to know if there is a transmission override button”, she asked.
The All Wheel Drive XC90 does not have an override button.
Therefore, unless you are a Volvo Technician, you cannot disengage the transmission and put it into Neutral to enable towing. So, she ended up having a AAA send another Tow Truck with the capability of lifting the Vehicle off the ground, so that dollies could be placed under the vehicle. This is the only safe way to move the car without damaging the transmission.
The 2008 XC90 was safely towed to the service center and we went ahead and placed an order for a new Ignition Lock Cylinder from Volvo, this will take three to five days.
Meanwhile, our customer was put into a Enterprise Rental Car, paid for by VIP Warranty, as she is taking a she daughter back to College in New York City.
If your ignition key gets stuck in the first position, position (I) and will not start up the car, try to wiggle it, just a little bit. But not too hard as you don’t want to break the key blade. You just may be able to free it, and then proceed to drive directly to the Dealership and don’t stop at the MacDonald’s for fast food or you might be left stranded, get it fixed now.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all and heard it all, in comes someone who shocks and awes you.
A young attractive lady had her volvo S40 towed in recently.
This pretty young lady’s car looked liked it had been through hell and back. Sitting atop a flat bed tow truck, the S40 Volvo’s rear right tire was shredded and torn to bits. The steel rim was partially melted and lay flat on the ground. The steel rim looked like a hot knife had sliced off a chunk, clean, through and through.
She came in with the Tow Truck driver and walked directly to her service Advisor — a lady, old enough to be her mother. She started to describe how her wheel was all jacked up and the how the brakes were all Fucked up, and then profusely apologised for her colorful language.
The only logical conclusion we came to was that the the brake caliper may have failed, but she must have ignored the loud clunk clunk noises and continued to drive the car, eventually the wheel locked up and the tire ripped to shreds. She continued to drag the poor wheel on the asphalt, melting off a huge chunk of steel. The mechanics were shocked beyond belief, they shook their heads in silent amazement.
Common Volvo Noises for the layperson
- Power Steering Wheel Noises: Whining when turning sharply to the left or right or a groaning hydraulic noise.
- Engine noises: High pitch whining noise – worn belts.
- Sludged Up PCV Breather Box: Whistling air noise in the engine.
- Clunky Transmission Noise: Defective universal joint, prop shaft or rear differential.
- Grinding Noise in the wheel: Worn Rotors/Brake Disks.
- Squealing or scraping while braking: Metal on metal contact means the brake pads or shoes are worn out.
- Hissing sound when braking: Could be a failing brake booster.
- Thumping noise when going over bumps: Your suspension system needs to looked at.
- Humming noise in the wheel area that changes in pitch as speed increases: Could be a failing Hub assembly or hub bearing.
- Bang.Bang. Thick black smoke: This means buy a new Volvo.
Parasitic Drain is sucking the life out of your Car Battery while you are on vacation
It’s a steamy hot day in August.
While you are away, relaxing and enjoying a fantastic 5 week vacation: Scuba Diving, Snorkeling and Sailing in the Grand Cayman islands, your Volvo’s car battery is getting weaker and weaker. The car battery is dying from excessive hot days and a dozen small drains.
The Caymans island’s sunny beaches are intoxicating. But you can hardly wait to get back home, because you dearly miss your 2011 XC70 Volvo, safely stowed away in your two car garage, awaiting your return.
On your first day back you rush to the garage in eager anticipation, to reunite with your beloved XC70 station wagon.
You open the driver side car door, and glide into the comfortable tan leather seat of your 2011 XC70. You slide the boxy key in and push the start button on the dash. Nothing. “Are you kidding me”, you say to yourself. You try again and again, nothing. All you can hear are the night sounds of chirping male crickets outside. Worse, you try to remove the key. The key won’t come out, it’s stuck.
Cussing like a sailor, you storm out of the garage.
The next morning at 7.30 A.M you call the dealership.
You are very upset and concerned about your late model Volvo XC70 not starting. The dealership lets you know that your best option is to call Volvo Roadside Service at 1.800. 638. 6586. They will come to you and give you a jump start and tow your Volvo to the dealership if necessary.
When Roadside Service gets to your vehicle they test your battery and discover that it’s completely discharged.
The Tow Truck driver gives your Volvo a jump and your car roars back to life.
The box ignition key can now be released — the box key requires a certain amount of voltage to work, and when there is no juice in the battery it will not work. If you get a key error message on your dash, it means that there is not enought voltage to start the car up.
(Key error message can also be triggered by a damaged key. Say, if you dropped the key several times onto a hard surface. To test for damaged key use your spare key to start the vehicle, if it works then you know that one key has gone bad. Another quick way to drain your car battery is to leave the box key in the ignition for a period of time).
Car Battery Discharge
As the car battery discharges, the lead plates become chemically alike, the sulfuric acid grows weaker and weaker, voltage plumets, electrons stop to flow and as result there is no electric current.
Parasitic Drain Will Kill Your Battery
Like Vampire bats, with blood dripping fangs, on a pitch dark moonless night. Small Drains will suck the life out of your battery. Eventually, the battery in your car will give out and become fully discharged if the car is not driven. This is normal.
Late model vehicles contain electrical systems, specifically the Engine Control Module (ECM) that draws a tiny amount of power from the battery when not in use. This key-off electrical current drain is as a result of ECM module drawing current to keep the car memories alive. Keep Alive Memory (KAM).
ECM Modules have internal timers or clocks to power down other modules to standby mode or to put them into sleep mode. These clocks are the little parasites sucking your battery dry. Parasitic drain will kill your battery.
Other parasites include:
- Alarm system. If the Alarm siren battery goes bad it will start to draw current from the main Car Battery.
- Clock Radio. Satellite Radio can also draw down your battery.
- Vanity light that stays on will drain your car battery.
- Faulty door locks, faulty modules, relays or switches.
- Leaving your head lights on. Trunk light or hood light that stays on.
- Not driving your car enough to fully charge your battery.
- Accessories like ipods left plugged in will draw down your battery.
- Old age. Replace old battery.
Drain measured at between 0.02 and 0.03 amps might be normal and not a problem for a well equipped, late model, daily driven car. But the same 0.02 to 0.03 amp drain will soon take its toll on a battery if the car is only used for short drives to the store or on an occasional basis. This means that low mileage drivers will experience battery problems, and when you go on vacation it’s even more serious because your battery is not fully charged.
Disconnecting a battery is a bad idea because the ECM controls engine management systems that keeps the memory of your driving history. If this memory is erased your vehicle engine performance or handling characteristics will be drastically affected. You may have to be towed to the dealership to have the car reprogrammed in order to restore the lost memories.
A discharged battery is not the same as a dead battery
A dead battery — old battery – cannot be revived or charged (battery life span is about 4 years). A discharged battery on the other hand can be fully restored.
A solution would be a maintenance type charger that has special electronics to prevent overcharging when in use for long time periods to prevent overload. Thus, when the battery is fully charged the charger should automatically shut down.
You can also invest in a portable charger — jump box — that way you don’t need to call for a jump.
Car Battery Links:
- How heat kills your car battery
- How to get your Volvo Radio Code for free when your battery dies (older model Volvo’s)
Why You Should Think Twice Before You Buy A Used 2003,2004, 2005 XC90 T6
Unless you have been living in a cave, you must be at least mildly aware of 2003-2005 Volvo XC90 T6 Transmission Failures.
Several months ago, a lady who works at Capitol Hill in Washington DC called the Service Center requesting to have her 2003 XC90 towed in after the transmission failed on her way to work.
This Transmission drama happened exactly two days after she bought her used 2003 XC90 T6.
The West Virginia Used Car Dealer who sold her the vehicle asked her to call a Volvo Dealership, as there was nothing he could do for her. Click here to read more XC90 T6 horror stories.
Volvo 2003-2005 XC90 T6 Transmission Failure Class Action Settlement
This is just one of several class action lawsuits out there.
The lawsuit was filed in August 2009 by the law firm of Chimicles & Tikellis in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey for the alleged transmission defect in the model years 2003-2005 XC90 Turbo 6-cylinder (T6) SUV.
Volvo Cars of North America, LLC and Volvo Car Corporation.
Volvo owners – current and former, United States owners and/or lessees of Volvo MY 2003-2005 XC90 T6 vehicles equipped with a General Motors transmission – who alleged that these vehicles are predisposed to transmission slippage, premature clutch wear, overheating, and other problems that ultimately result in serious and expensive damage to the vehicles’ transmission.
This means that even if you no longer own or lease a Volvo XC90 T6 but paid for transmission rebuild(s) and/or replacement(s) during the period of time you did own or lease it, you may qualify for benefits under this settlement.
You must submit a Claim Form postmarked no later than November 7, 2012 to be eligible for any compensation under the settlement.
According to their website — Chimicles & Tikellis – states that, the final approval hearing will take place on October 4, 2012 in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
If this Class Action Settlement is successful, the plaintiffs – Original owners/lessees of a 2003-2005 XC90 T6 or Volvo Certified Pre-Owned XC90 T6 with less than 100k miles — will be reimbursed 50% of out-of-pocket expenses used to rebuild the transmission.
All other owners (bought used and not certified) – will be reimbursed 25% of out-of-pocket expense used to rebuild the transmission.
This proposed settlement would only cover replacements, rebuilds, or repairs to make the transmission operable.
The Offending Transmission
General Motors Hy-dramatic 4T65EV-GT trans axle was used in both the 1st generation S80 T6 as well as the XC90 T6. The GM-sourced 4T65EV-GT transmissions – usually show symptoms of failure by suddenly slipping while in gear. Unfortunately, there was no recall for this transmission failure.
The 4T65EV-GT is a GM built transmission that was initialy introduced for the Buick and GM midsize Sedans such as Buick’s Regal GS and Park Avenue Ultra in the 1990′s. And with a few tweaks, Volvo engineers married the T6 to a powerful twin-turbocharged straight-six cylinder Volvo Engine that produced a surge of high torque at very low RPMs. The T6 was adapted to S80′s and XC90′s.
The 4T65EV-GT was proven to work adequately in a 3,600 lb mid-size sedan such as the S80. But the XC90 weighed 1000lb more than the S80 and produces 300+ ft Lbs of torque . That is almost half a tonne (1102lb) in extra weight. Imagine towing a half tonne sail boat behind your mid-size sedan (S80) and expecting the transmission to work flawlessly.
Thus, we can see this was not a well thought out idea.
The good news is that this problem was resolved with later models that use a 5 cylinder engine.
Why This GM Sourced Transmission Failed
The transmissions failed as a result of contaminated transmission fluid.
This happened when a seal failed, leading to engine coolant mixing with transmission fluid. It so happened that the transmission fluid lines ran through the radiator, and when a coolant leak sprung, the resulting engine coolant and transmission fluid mixed together, causing transmission failure.
What You Should Do
The first step is to take the car to your Volvo Dealership Service Center when your transmission starts to slip.
The dealership will recommended you get a Transmission Software Update as per instructions from Volvo North America.
If the software patch does not work, your dealership will then invoke the Volvo Goodwill Assistance Program. Whereby, your dealership will contact Volvo North America on your behalf.
The dealership will take photos of the ruined transmission, attach them to an email and send the documentary evidence to a Volvo North America regional representative for review.
Upon approval, Volvo North America will ship a rebuilt transmission to your dealership for installation. In addition, Volvo North America will also replace the radiator, all coolant lines and fluids.
What’s new for 2013 Volvo’s XC90, XC60, C70, C30, S80, S60 And XC70
This call’s for a celebration. Break out the champagne guys.
2013 marks a NEW milestone because the service interval has now increase to 10,000 miles/16,000 km for new 2013 Models. This means that the service will now include Full Synthetic Castrol 5W 30 Oil.
According to Volvocars.com, the maintenance program covers the first five scheduled services at no charge on model year 2013 vehicles.
The service schedule is:
- First year or 10,000 miles, whichever comes first
- Second year of vehicle or 20,000 miles
- Third year of vehicle or 30,000 miles
- Fourth year of vehicle or 40,000 miles
- Fifth year of vehicle or 50,000 miles
Wear and Tear items included under The 5 Year Safe + Secure Coverage Plan include:
- Brake pads
- Brake Rotors
- Wiper Blades (inserts)
Conditions that you, as a customer must meet for Coverage:
Customers should not exceed (+/-) 1,500 miles for each service interval. For example, the first service is at 10,000 miles; hence, the earliest you can get the service is at 8,500 miles and the latest you can come in is at 11,500 miles. Failure to meet this guide-line may adversly afffect your warranty coverage for future related component failure. In other words, kiss your warranty good-bye.
Volvo recommends you bring your Volvo in for service at least once per year even if the current mileage falls below 8,500 miles in between services. Your Volvo is eligible as long as it’s serviced within 2 months of the annivesary date (month of purchase).
Are you suffering from the dire effects of a suffocating heat wave — 100 + degree fahrenheit weather like I am?
As you can imagine when the A/C unit that cools the Shop — Technician’s Bays — goes down, consequently the productivity also goes down.
In your case, when your Volvo A/C unit goes down, you need to have it fixed ASAP.
The first step is to Evacuate and Recharge the A/C system with R134-A refrigerant
This will cost you $230 at our dealership.
Now, this may or may not fix the problem because you could have a leak in the pressurized System. This could as a result of a broken hose, a loose A/C compressor drive belt or a blown seal in the compressor.
So, depending on the size of the leak, you could go the entire summer with A/C working fine– tiny leak – or you could be back next week if you have a gaping hole.
When we Evacuate and Recharge, we draw out the remnants of the old refrigerant in the system including water moisture and recharge with new refrigerant. A fluorescent dye is also added. In case of a leak, we can inspect the system with UV light, to detect traces of fluorescent dye leaking out.
I would recommend you go to your Volvo Dealer for an Evacuation and Recharge because they have the proper equipment to do this work. I learned this the hard way when my girlfriend bought a 22 ounce Can of R134A one day after her A/C stopped working and she sweetly asked me , ” can you please recharge my A/C”.
I am not a technician. But because I work in a Service Center she expects me to know these things. So, here I am, trying to figure out the low pressure valve from high pressure valve on her car’s A/C system. I am reading the instructions on the can, which says to start the car and set the A/C on full blast. Fan settings from low to high. I do all these things, and I am starting to feel good, confident. I shake the can like a professional, elevate it and depress the button, Psssss…Psssss. Nothing is happening. I start to sweat and swear. Damn! where is a good mechanic when you need one.