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Volvo S80 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Volvo S80 based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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22
Known Problems

Many complaints have been reported regarding Volvo S80 transmission shifting issues. Long shift times between gear shifts, hard shifting, hard downshifting and a loss of transmission operation all together to name a few.

If the issue is minor, a transmission software update may address this issue so if available, the software should be updated before any repairs are made. After a software update or repair, the shift adaptation needs to be reset. A good quality Volvo repair shop will know how to perform this task.

There are several technical service bulletins (TSB's) available from Volvo that address these shifting issues and they should be consulted by the repair shop during the automatic transmission diagnostic process.

Regular servicing of the transmission fluid can help with preventing transmission failure, but not in all cases. Follow the suggested fluid replacement interval recommended by Volvo. You will find this in your owners manual, or find it here: http://bit.ly/Volvo_Owners_Manuals

Model years 2007-2016 of the Volvo S80 using the 6-speed automatic transmission have been known to produce hard shifting and transmission slippage between gears. This is most noticeable when the transmission is hot, but can happen at any time. Note, this transmission is designed to be ‘sealed for life’ meaning the transmission fluid is never meant to be changed.

As many drivers and owners have learned, the issues are caused by problematic software for the transmission or mechanical failures associated with the transmission valve body or shift solenoids.

In order to restore transmission performance while shifting, the manufacturer of the transmission has issued several software updates that should correct the shifting issues. If hard shifts and slippage still exist after the software updates are completed, the transmission must be removed, disassembled, inspected and repaired.

Some technicians have advised replacing transmission fluid at normal intervals, but the manufacturer guidance is to use the original transmission fluid for the entire service life of the vehicle. 

 

During the diagnosis of the symptoms the technician may pull diagnostic codes from the Engine Control Module that point to a lean air/fuel mixture. If no vacuum leaks are found, then the mass air flow sensor (MAF) is often the cause.

Replacement of the MAF will be needed, along with a reset of the Engine Control Module and erasing of the diagnostic trouble codes.

The Electronic Throttle Module (ETM) has a higher than normal failure rate. Volvo has extended the warranty on some of the ETMs to 10 years/200,000 miles

Transmission issues related to shifting have been reported. Software upgrades available from Volvo often resolve these problems.

The steering wheel module (SWM) stops working, this affects the turn signals, horn, cruise control, and audio buttons on the steering wheel.

Front upper strut mounts may wear prematurely, resulting in loud noise from the front of the vehicle when going over bumps.

There have been reports of a failed ABS Control Module causing the ABS and Check Engine warning lights to illuminate. Repair or replacement of the failed module will be required to correct this issue.

The anti-lock brake system (ABS) warning light and/or other dash warning lights may illuminate due to a failed ABS Control Module. Replacement of the failed module is generally required to correct this concern.

The front control arm bushings wear out, resulting in alignment issues and squeaking and/or knocking noises from the front end. Worn bushings will require replacement.

 

The automatic transmission may develop shifting problems and/or the Check Engine Light may illuminate due to internal component failure and/or software issues. It is always best to be sure the transmission control module has the latest software installed when any major transmission repair is performed.

Engine oil leaks from the PCV housing and turbocharger oil return line seals have been reported.

The mass air flow (MAF) sensor may fail, resulting in drivability issues and/or illumination of the Check Engine Light.