Volvo Service Tips
Volvo Maintenance Tips
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.
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.
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.
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.
Volvo safety is legendary. But do you know why?
Volvo Passive And Active Safety Features
Volvo incorporates both passive and active safety features into it’s cars.
Passive Safety Features (Crash Protection) - These features aim to minimize the effects of an accident; includes
- Airbags (Frontal Airbags
- Side Airbags and Curtains
- Seat-Belt Restraint System (SRS)
The Seat Belt Restraint System consists of safety belt load limiter and safety belt pre-tensioner –A device that eliminates seat belt slack in the event of a crash.
So, when your SRS Airbag light is illuminated on your dash, it means that there is a fault in the SRS System.This could be a sensor that has failed.
Active Safety Features (Crash Avoidance) - These features aim to actively avoid an accident; includes,
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
- Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
Other Safety Features include:
Adaptive Headlights – Headlamps that bend in the direction you are steering the wheel, effective at illuminating the road around turns.
Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto brake – When a pedestrian unexpectedly steps out in front of an on-coming Volvo, a flashing red warning light on the windshield and a loud alarm sound alerts you if you fail to brake immediately. The Volvo automatically applies full brakes, coming to a dead stop or slowing down.
Every year, when Volvo releases a new model, dealership employees get to take all these wonderful tests online, to familiarise themselves with new Volvo features.
The tests are a pain in-the-you-know-what. But the extra knowledge has paid-off for me, because when a customer who is having difficulties with some features on his or her new Volvo calls in, I know how to solve their dilemma.
One hard to use feature is located on the Sensus Infotainment System.
Customer’s usually call to ask for help with the new Sensus Infotainment System, especially how to turn off the radio because it’s tricky, you have to hold down the power button for 5 seconds to shut down the radio.
The second hard to use feature is the new box keys that slide into the dashboard.
The new box key is confusing to Volvo owners who are used to inserting and turning the key in the ignition lock cylinder. This is now a two or three step process.
The trick here is to first slide the box key into the dash — gently does it — if you push too hard it will pop out again. Next, Step on the brake pedal and push down on the START/STOP button, to start or stop the engine. Don’t yank out the box key. I see customer do that all the time with our Volvo Loaner cars — replacement vehicles.
The third hard to use feature is the hands-free Blue-tooth.
The problem here is pairing up your phone to the blue-tooth. Software Engineers and IT Experts too, have difficulties with Volvo’s Blue-tooth.
We get quite a few customers who just purchased a new Volvo havIng issues with pairing up their phones. Just last week, a customer called about this same issue. His blackberry phone initially paired up just fine with the bluetooth and worked great for six months. Then out of the blue it the phone stopped working with the car.
What the accessories technician says to do is, first isolate the problem. Use a different type of phone and see if it pairs up with the car. And if it does, then the problem lies with the first phone, in this case, the blackberry.
Next, call the blackberry help line and find out if blackberry recently did a software update on the phone. If they did an update, then here lies the problem. We discovered that Blackberry had indeed updated the software. The solution was to get the old software put back in the phone. This can be a pain if Blackberry or any other phone keeps updating the software on a regular basis. Volvo should come up with a software patch to accommodate phone software updates.
Blue-tooth dropping calls is entirely another issue, probably a software bug in the blue-tooth.
About Volvo Anti-Skid Light
When You see this warning light illuminated on your dash, safely pull over and come to a dead stop.
Switch off and restart the engine.
If the light stays on, call your Volvo Dealership or Volvo Specialist and set up an appointment and have the problem diagnosed as soon as possible.
Volvo Anti Skid Service Light means that the Dynamic Stability Traction Control (DSTC) system has been automatically disengaged due to a fault in that system.
For example, the DSTC System on your Volvo consists of four functions.
Volvo Dynamic Stability Traction Control System
- Volvo Traction control (TC)
Traction Control is engaged when one wheel loses traction or grip on icy roads, mud or loose gravel and starts to spin. TC compensates by immediately cutting off power to the spinning wheel, transferring the extra power to the opposite wheel on the same axle. The Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) then kicks in, applies a pulsating braking force to stop the spinning wheel. ABS acts like the police, brings back order, ensuring the wheels are spinning at the same speed.
- Volvo Spin control (SC)
Spin control prevent the drive wheels from spinning while the vehicle is accelerating.
- Volvo Active Yaw Control (AYC) – on XC90′s. Yaw control, helps maintain directional stability when cornering. Anti-lock Braking System, applies braking force to one or more of the wheels when it senses the car sliding sideways or in the case of wheels spinning out.
- Volvo Roll Stability Control (RSC) - on XC90
Roll Stability Control is engaged when your Volvo SUV becomes unstable and weight shifts to one side, like it’s about to roll over. Anti Locking Braking (ABS) is applied to brake one or more of the wheels, and to help maintain stability.
Recently, one morning, a customer called the dealership to find out how much it would cost to have a bike rack installed on her 2009 XC90. So, I set out to do some research on trailer hitches.
Our expert Accessories Technician, David, says there are three ways to do this.
A trailer hitch installation will run you about $1100 ($700 for parts + $400 labor). And a Trailer Hitch consists of a cross member, a ball mount and a two inch diameter ball.
A hitch mounted bike carrier is a safe and easy way to transport up to 4 bikes on a tow hitch.
A quick locking-coupling makes it easy to fit a bike carrier onto the tow hitch. And an added advantage is that it’s easy to load a bike because the height is low. The bike carrier holds up to 4 bikes — 4 non scratch cradles lock down the bikes. Dual quick release levers makes it easy to unload the bikes and if you are worried about security, there is an integrated locking cable which stores conveniently in the carrier arm. A bike carrier will cost you about $400 to install.
2. Fork Mounted Bike carrier - Roof Bike Carrier
This is a very stable way to transport a bike, with little to no risk of swaying or rattling. This kit is used to carry a racing type bike without the front wheel attached. However, you have to need cross bars installed to make this attachement possible. This will cost you about $100 to install.
3. Upright Bike Carrier - Roof Bike Carier
If you have load bars and crossbars installed on the roof of your Volvo, this frame-mounted rack can be easily attached. However, if you have a T-Track crossbar, you may require additional installation kits for some attachments. We carry two types, the Aluminum Upright Bike Carrier and the Regular Upright Bike Carrier.This attachment will cost you about $125 for installation.
Get Rebates from Volvo Parts
Trailer hitch up to $35, Roof Bike Carrier $20, Load Bars/ Cross Bars $15
Road Networks are constantly changing, which in turn affects traffic patterns.
To get the best directions possible for your Volvo. Get a map update. Visit the NAVTEQ website for both American and European Maps – saves you money and time. You can also visit your Local Volvo Dealership — Parts Department – to purchase the most recent Volvo Map Updates.