Is there a pattern? — I need Volvo facts!

I am starting to feel uneasy about all the similar stories I hear from you. People are coming from all sides telling me they have had similar or repeating problems at local dealers, that seem out of the ordinary. Is there something larger here than just a series of lemons breaking down at random? Is there a pattern in this? I’ve decided (after suggestions from an Auditor friend of mine) to go all Erin Brockovich on y’all and start compiling facts and figures in a spreadsheet, to see if I can find patterns in breakdowns, repairs, and warranty covers. I need facts starting with all you Volvo owners. Facts you can back up with service records (easily obtained from the dealer) or receipts.
Send me:
1. Year
2. Make
3. Model
4. Where you bought your Volvo
5. What major mechanical issues you have had
6. What mechanic found it (dealer or independent)
7. At what date & milage
8. What action was taken
9. If you were covered under warranty
10. Where you had the car repaired

If you had repeated problems, I definitely want to hear about it.

14 Responses to “Is there a pattern? — I need Volvo facts!”

  1. 1 nancy November 23, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Good for you. It is about time we started telling the truth about some of the dealers out there. Car’s are an investment, if we wanted a crappy care we would have bought an old fixer upper. Hope they take care of you, Nancy

  2. 2 Charles November 23, 2009 at 5:43 am

    Two yesrs ago, I bought a mercedez S model. It also had a transmission problem. After the second repair I hire a lawyer for this problem. I won the case without any cost to me and have the dealer replace a brand new car with two extra options for free. At the time I got ther replacement, I have drove the old car for six months with 6 thousand miles. Why did you hire a lawyer?

  3. 3 Former tech November 23, 2009 at 6:01 am

    Go to a different dealer and ask techs how many trannies do they do or have done recently….. You are not alone there is a high failure rate, i seen new cars with less than 5k miles and need a tranny (transmission), i saw an engine replaced due to a failed cylinder head, under warranty vehicle had 38,000 miles, came back with an oil leak……REDO!!!!

  4. 4 Charles November 23, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Pleae read other comments I made. but one dealer everyone should avoid in the city of San Francisco is Royal Motor Sales very lousy service. But hey independent volvo shops in the area are good just like the one on Valencia Street.

  5. 5 stephen November 23, 2009 at 7:21 am

    It is not just Volvo. The other labels do the same thing. The trick is to stay with a dealer who does a good job.
    I have owned Volvos and the dealer in my small town is unfriendly. The4y do little for the customer. I had a warranty repair and they would not provide any transportation for me. I did go to another dealer out of the area and they provided me with a car while they did the pepair.
    Have had some problems with other dealers. The manufacturers in the past did not want to do a thing for the customer, me.
    The sadist thing was that I had a Mercury Station wagon break down in a Ford dealers driveway. The wagon was spewing out white smoke. The dealer told me that if I did not get the car out he would call the police as I was treaspassing. Sorry to hear of Ford’s problems but from my point of view they sure earned it. I could have been any one of them.

  6. 6 Joel November 23, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    I don’t want to discourage you here at all but I think you’ll have a hard time collecting the kind of evidence that would make up proof of a conspiracy or proof for a recall. It’s true that the 5 speeed transmission (which I’m assuming is the trans in your car) is not the toughest trans around, but it’s not exactly made of jelly either. It may be the case that you got a trans from a bad ‘batch’ but on the whole they have performed adequately, though perhaps not as well as the 4 speed that preceeded it.

    I don’t know where the 5 speed that I think is in your car comes from, but the prev generation used a 4 speed from Aisin, which is basically the transmission arm of Toyota. Those 4 speeds weren’t as tough as the old 3 speeds used in the 7×0/9×0 series cars by a long shot but nobody cried recall.

    Besides, many other companies have manufacturing problems, assembly problems, etc, and they all do recalls, and they all voluntarily extend warranties to avoid recalls, and on and on.

    Although a lot of your commenters see this website as a forum to gripe about Volvo, the real problem here is not that your car is no good – many people own and love the same car as you and many have had problems and many haven’t. In fact, you picked out and purchased this car, and I assume you did what you thought was due diligence – test drives, read reviews, etc, etc…. The real problem is when you /had/ trouble you weren’t taken care of properly and were in fact taken advantage of.

    Stephen (above) makes some great points on this.

    The dealer should be reprimanded by Volvo NA, and the situation should be resolved for you at Volvo’s expense. Hopefully this will come to pass.

    Actually, on the Brickboard we talk/trade stories/provide feedback on various dealers and indies all the time – dealer research should be seen as a part of the car buying process. Unfortunately there are a lot of shady dealers in NA and they know all the ways to suck extra money out of us.

    • 7 Joel November 23, 2009 at 6:10 pm

      Here’s my case in point:

      To my knowledge there are no consumer activism websites for the Pontiac Torrent, Chevrolet Equinox, Saturn Ion, Saturn Vue, Saab 9-3, Nissan Maximas, Nissan Quest, Nissan Altima and they ALL use the exact same transmission (again assuming the 5-speed trans) made by Aisin. The problem is not with this car, it’s with the dealer.

      Oh and also the ridiculous notion that transmission fluid can last the life of a vehicle (20+ years?) without renewal is ridiculous. As noted on the linked wikipedia page, transmission fluid should be renewed every 50k miles or so (80k km) if you’re interested in allowing the transmission to last.

  7. 8 Brian November 23, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    I have owned a total of three Volvo’s, and currently own two, an ’03 S60 and an ’09 C70. Our first Volvo, the S60 that we bought new in ’03 has performed exceptionally well. The only major problems I can think of over the years is the motor started “missing” and the end result was a computer upgrade that cleared the problem. The other thing was a broken motor mount bushing. Both of these items were fixed and covered under warranty, and no further problems have been noted. We now have right at 60,000 miles on the car and it seems as tight as the day we drove it off the lot–VERY pleased with this car! The second Volvo was an ’01 C70 convertible (with 25,000 miles on it) that we purchased in ’05. No problem with this car at all! Traded the ’01 in on a new ’09 C70 last February. Right after I bought it, the button that operates the left hand rear view mirror broke. Fixed, no problem. The only other thing has been an issue with the “Boot” that extendes forward when the top goes down, had been getting “dimples” or dents in it when the top was up and the trunk was opened and closed. The mechansim that activates the boot was hitting the boot and causing the dents. Had it into the dealer twice, and twice new boots were installed and modifications made to the mechanism. End result, they got it fixed, and I am happy with the results. I might add that I have not bought any of my cars from this particular dealer (I found better deals elsewhere), BUT I would not take either of my cars to anyone but Moores Volvo, Midlothian, Virginia for service.
    I think Freya is showing ALL owners of Volvo (or any other car for that matter) that it pays to be persistant and “get the word out” if you’re being taken advantage of in respect to service problems with your car. She is doing this in a way that gets peoples attention and THAT is what needs to be done! Let people know who is giving shoddy service so they can make a choice on who they want to work on their car. I feel Volvo NA should step up to the plate and correct the problems noted with Freya’s Volvo, or even better, give her a new one for her trouble.
    PS The horns look GREAT on you!

  8. 9 Peter H November 24, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Hi Freya,

    How come you want everyone’s information but we have nothing about your case? We are all following, and some of want to know your facts…Since you didn’t update us yesterday and posted another video, I have to say I’m skeptical….Give us some history on your car, some of your questions right back at you…
    1. Year
    2. Where you bought your Volvo, and how many miles?
    3. What major mechanical issues you have had?
    4. Has Volvo ever helped you before? I assume that since you are vocal now, if you had a repair in the past you were vocal then?
    5. What mechanic found it (dealer or independent)
    6. At what date & mileage – what mileage do you have now? 7. What mileage was the first transmission replaced?
    8. What action was taken?
    9. If you were covered under warranty – did you pay for your first transmission?
    10. Where you had the car repaired – Rusnak..Anyone else?

  9. 10 Peter H November 24, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Freya,

    Why did you delete my comments? Do you have something to hide? I think I’m done with the theatrics here…unless you as the moderator post my questions from this morning.



    • 11 rusmackedvolvo November 24, 2009 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Peter H, I have not deleted any of your comments. They are all here. As for trying to get attention, you are absolutely right. That has been my mission all along. As for details on my service record, Volvo and Rusnak has all of my information. They will review my case in detail on Dec 9th. I’ll keep you updated. Best, Freya

  10. 12 Peter H November 24, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Thank you for deciding to post my questions, will you answer for us.

  11. 13 Wol November 25, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    1. Year – 1995
    2. Where you bought your Volvo, and how many miles? – Second hand, 180 000
    3. What major mechanical issues you have had? – None. If not to count broken front lamp after accident with big dog.
    4. Has Volvo ever helped you before? I assume that since you are vocal now, if you had a repair in the past you were vocal then? – No need for assistance. Yet
    5. What mechanic found it (dealer or independent) – just regular oil change, disc pad’s change etc
    6. At what date & mileage – what mileage do you have now? Now 229 000 miles
    7. What mileage was the first transmission replaced? Still running on original – 5 gear manual.

    Later questions does not need to be ansvered.

    As remark. Volvo qulity went downhill after it was aqquiered by Ford. Sapienti sat.

  12. 14 John Mith December 1, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I saw your story on the consumerist.

    I had a 1998 Volvo S70 that was a major nightmare and experienced very similar treatment that you did. Whenever my car was covered under its warranty no matter what was wrong “everything was ok” until the very moment my car dropped out of warranty coverage. The dealerships went out of their way to lie and deny any issues with the car until the warranty coverage lapsed and they could profit from me. Volvo’s customer service in New Jersey were experts at stonewalling customers as well. I saw this happen to other customers while in the service department at Dyer and Dyer Volvo here in Atlanta. After my experience with VCNA and Dyer and Dyer I would not be surprised if there was not some kind of organized warranty fraud going on. Dyer and Dyer and VCNA seemed too good at their lie and deny routines for this to be something that was not organized and intentional.

    I moved on to Mercedes Benz’s and Porsche’s which are more expensive to maintain and service and have had much better luck. The Mercedes and Porsche dealerships don’t lie and deny warranty issues. When there is a problem it is dealt with ASAP. Nobody makes a perfect car (unless you want to drive some plastic Japanese junk) and problems are just part of owning a nice car. It makes all the difference in the world to have a dealership network that is honest and a manufacturer that stands behind its cars.

    If I could provide you one word of advice. Dump your Volvo and take a loss on it and buy a higher quality car. Even if Volvo fixes the transmissions these cars are plagued with huge problems. Cut your losses now and let someone else deal with the problems. Check out a Volvo message board and see the scores of other owners that have been stonewalled by Volvo dealerships and VCNA. Check the resale value of your car as well. There’s a reason why Volvo’s don’t hold their resale value.

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