Howard's P2 Volvo Maintenance

READ THIS FIRST if you are new to this car

If you are new to these Volvos, here is a quick bullet list of issues specific to this car that can cause some damages.

  • Before dis/reconnect battery, read this. Your climate control can get damaged if not following a precise sequence. This seems to be reasonable frequent as I get emails from people here and there.

  • Flush or do the simpler drain+fill (exchange 1/2) your automatic transmission fluid every 30k (not in Volvo's maint schedule). This is the weak point on this car. Read this.

  • Don't put ATF in your power steering system as indicated in your owner's manual. Pre 2005 owner's manuals are wrong. It is a synthetic hydraulic fluid. Read this.

  • Before you have a non Volvo specialist service your transmission. Read this.

  • Before topping off or replacing coolant. Read this.

  • Even experienced DIYer make this mistake often when doing brakes *cough cough*. I see it quite often. Read this.

Hopefully, these few quick items specific to this vehicle help you to avoid damaging your car. Otherwise, have a nice look and see what are some of the other common problems I've encountered.

Our Two Volvos

Its been a few year since we've owned our 2 P2 generation (01-07 V70/XC70, 01-09 S60) Volvo wagons. But I read many people still consult this site. Thus, going to try to go through it to update all contents and make sure no dead links haha.

Our first wagon wagon was a 2001 V70 T5 which was purchased at 46k miles in 2003. We sold it in 4/2012 after 9 years at 133k miles. Our other one is a 2001 XC70 also purchased used at 2005 with 52k miles. It was sold on 4/2014 at 123k miles. We have moved onto higher gas mileage vehicles. Now we no longer own any Volvos. I have helped maintain a friend's daughter's 2002 V70XC for a few years but that is now also sold. Also a friend's 93 850 that is also now sold. And fixed up a 2000 V70XC for a single mom in 2015. Friend's 2002 V70 before moving onto a 2009 XC90 V8.

I have done much of the debugging and maintenance on the 2 wagons I owned. This site is to capture the common problems I've encountered and tips I found from various sources on the internet. So take a look on the topics and see what maybe of interest to you :)

Still very much involved with Volvos these days. Still participate on volvoxc's XC70 (V70XC) forum and seems to find Volvos to checkout on craigslist periodically. Still own my Volvo diagnostic setup (VIDA/DiCE).

Definitely review the "READ THIS FIRST..." section at the top of this page to quickly familiarize yourself with a couple of weak points on this car.

My Other Cars

Maybe us Volvo owners end up buying similar cars. Here are my other cars and I'm also doing all maintenance on them (Haven't visited a shop in years other than warranty covered repairs haha) If you have questions on a similar vehicle, please don't hesitate to ask. I'll tell you what I've done, tools to get, and which forums to hang out at.

Cars I own and know most about

  • Gen2 and Gen3 Prius

    • Flush brakes

    • ATF, Coolant, Belt, Engine/Cabin Air filter

    • Cleaning the Gen3's very complex EGR system

  • 2013 Tesla Model S (low maintenance until 8 year unlimited mile warranty honeymoon is over)

    • cabin air filter + wiper blades. Still waiting for factory diag tool (tech told me its ethernet! figures from silicon valley haha)

    • (notes 2020) 7 years on, problem areas are creeping up

      • 17" screen. Built-in NAND flash worn due to over zealous software logging.

      • Need to upgrade to LTE. 3G cellular about to be obsoleted.

    • Drive unit uses coolant to cool electric motor rotor through a shaft. 10k RPM at 100mph. No seal can keep coolant out. Coolant leak collateral damage including damaging motor windings, shorting the high voltage inverter, trashing the $400/each ceramic non conductive ball bearings. Tesla replacement $6k-$11k. Gory details

    • Battery pack has multiple failure sources. $25k replacement when a single (1/7000) internal battery cells fail. Poor longevity with battery sub module repairs. $5k for failed contactors

Cars I've owned and have lots of experience with

  • VW MK4 (1.8T and 2.0 engine 01m transmission). European car so lots went wrong and therefore I know a lot haha. I did the following on this car

    • Cam Chain Tensioner

    • Starter

    • Torque Converter + Seal (had to pull tranny)

    • Sunroof drain

    • Alternator

    • Struts and shocks

    • Valve body harness

    • TCM replacement

Cars I help others to debug and maintain

Have done most typical maintenance items (all filter and fluid changes, plugs, coils etc)

  • Gen1 Prius

    • did a steering rack replacement on this thing

    • resolve a catalytic convert inefficiency (code P0420) by extending downstream O2

  • Audi B7 (2.0T FSI)

    • PVC boost circuit embedded in plastic valve cover. Cracked and sucks in a bunch of oil.

    • Rear cam chain, Cam fuel injection follower

  • Audi B8 (2.0T)

    • Common rapid oil consumption ~100k miles from clogged oil ring drain holes

  • 2006 Toyota Corolla

  • Gen4 Chrysler Town and Country/Caravan

    • SRS light

    • EVAP leak

    • Valve cover leak

    • Tranny relearn after ATF. Some poor shifts after simple ATF change

  • 2000 V70XC

    • Jammed lock steering wheel

  • 2003 Honda Odyssey (front calipers)

  • 2008 Camry Hybrid

  • 2004 Honda Accord / Element

    • Leaky door vapor barrier (common)

    • Valve adjustment

  • 2007 Honda Civic

    • 06-07 had some issues with cracked engine blocks. Yikes.

  • 2009 Toyota Corolla

  • 2003 Mercedes E320

    • ATF flush

    • PCV reseal

    • water pump

    • Transmission mount

    • Control arm

    • Parasitic drain (dead siren unit)

  • Gen1 CRV

    • valve adjust

    • ATF

    • Tranny solenoid cleaning

    • Motor mount

    • Rear diff fluid

    • Jammed door lock

    • Burnt out D shift light

Diag Tools

  • Toyota = Mini VCI + Techstream

  • VW = VCDS Lite