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Volvo S40



  • slovoslovo Posts: 1
    Boy, I thought I was the only one having problems with my 2000 S40 until my sister shared this web site with me. I was informed by the dealer that I was one of the first in California to purchase the car when it became available in September 1999. I thought I had done my homework. After all, the car had been in Europe since 1995 and I could not find any reports of problems with the vehicle there. I actually had my heart set on the Lexus ES300 but where I live the nearest dealer is 2 hours away. So, I test drove the Maxima, A6, Toyota Avalon, and G20 before settling on the "Cute" S40.

    Almost immediately I began having problems with the car. It went back to the dealer within days because of flaws and spider cracks in the windshield. I noticed tiny blue paint spots all over the white paint the first time I washed it (but the dealer refused to do anything about it.) Headlights have been replaced numerous times. Front right headlight sucks water in when it rains (dealer won't fix because they can not duplicate even though you can see the watermarks on the inside of the light.) I've experienced 2 "campaigns" (recalls) for a defective oil filler grate and driver side seat dampers. Rear sway bar replaced. Hard starts/grinding noises coming from engine when started. Plastic wheel inserts falling off. Rattles and squeaks from roof liner, dash board and rear seat on passenger side. Faulty gas gauge that has never been accurate. Drivers window makes grinding noise. Rear brake pads were replaced after only 26K. At 33K front and rear brakes had 50% remaining which seemed unusual wear especially since I live in a fairly rural area and my driving is mostly highway. However most intriguing and scary is the car was in the shop for more problems (new and recurring) at 40K miles (yes, I do a lot of driving) and my front brakes miraculously had 90% remaining and rear 80%. At 45K front brakes 30% and rear 60%. Now how does that happened?? Dealer is "looking" into this but I no longer trust their opinion or the car. The only thing that tickles my funny bone at this point is the Bag o'Parts I carry in the car to collect items that have fallen off. Unfortunately the dealer and Volvo N.A. find nothing amusing about this and can never seem to find where the parts are coming from to replace them. Nevertheless, each time the car is taken in the Bag o'Parts is delivered with what ever items have fallen off that week.

    Needless to say I am very DISAPPOINTED with this vehicle and would caution anyone interested in purchasing an S40 to seriously think twice about their decision. Since discovering this page and reading the numerous service bulletins at I am convinced that Volvo's quality and workmanship have taken a turn for the worse. By the way don't be fooled into thinking the 2001 or 2002 models are/will be any better. The word I hear is that they are not.

    I hope to trade my little piece of work in on the Lexus AS 300 I originally had my eye on. My greatest fear is that they won't take it or I will take it in the shorts. Regardless, I will spend the money and it will be a pleasure to drive the 2 hours for service. At least they are friendly, open on Saturdays, will provide a loaner car for as long as needed, and will even let you pick up your serviced car on Sundays. He, real customer service... what a great concept. Had I known the past 22 months owning this car would have been this frustrating and time consuming I would not have sold my reliable, trouble-free '89 Honda Accord LXi with 230,000 miles on it. If anyone is curious the couple who bought my Honda still have it and have not had a single problem. In fact--they love it! Boy, did I make a HUGE mistake!
  • maggienmaggien Posts: 6
    I picked up my new Volvo S40 on Monday and was not as excited as I would have been if I hadn't read the posts. Immediately noticed a big black stain on the beige cloth on the drivers's seat. I had uncovered the seat myself when I looked at it and it wasn't there before. They had installed the 10 CD changer, however. Promised to fix it when I gave them the car to install the LoJack and sunroof.
    Just got it back after driving a S80 loaner for a week. The stain hadn't been completely taken off and I had to watch them do it again. Also there was a tiny scratch on the side, they left the car messy from installing the sunroof, forgot to put back the clip for my sunvisor and there is a vibration in the roof when I drive with the sunroof open. Is this normal? I've never had a car with a sunroof but I've driven with friends and don't remember a big vibration noise. I did have to added after-market but I basically can't stand the noise it makes above 30m. Anyone with a sunroof have this problem? Makes the sunroof pretty useless. Also, idle doesn't seem stable - rpm doesn't really change but the engine sounds different. Took me 10 mintes to defrost the back so I sat and listened to the engine. Never really settled down. Any recommendations?
  • ml430s40ml430s40 Posts: 14
    I have had my S40 for 5 weeks now. I have had no problems with my sunroof except for a little wind noise with the sunshade pulled back. When closed, it is pretty quiet, even at highway speeds.

    The only problems I have had was a slight pull to the right and some interior rattling. The dealer performed a frontend alignment under warranty. As for the rattle, I found that the right storage tray vibrates, especially when I turn up the volume on the stereo. I took the interior panel off the door and sprayed some dry type lubricant on the seams and it is very quiet now.

    My only complaint with the car is the amount of torque steer is has. I'm not accustomed to it but have heard it is normal.

    I like the car for it's power, handling, safety, and sports car feel. The other cars in the class are good too - Acura TL and Audi A4. Only time will tell, but having fun.
  • wrossiewrossie Posts: 2
    I own a 2001 S40, with 14,500 miles on it. The other day I started hearing a LOUD shreaking type of noise coming from the rear driverside. I brought the car into the dealer for service and they told me that my rear brake pads were completely gone and that hot spots were on the rotors and they would need to be replaced. They would cover the rotor cost, but I would have to pay $170 to replace the pads. Has anyone had any luck with getting the total cost paid for? How quickly do the second set of pads need to be replaced? Or are they lasting longer?
  • wrossiewrossie Posts: 2
    I own a 2001 S40 and my check engine light has come on twice within 15,000 miles. Each time I take it in for service, they have to replace a valve or two within the emmissions system. Sounds like a reoccuring problem - has anyone had any luck with this eventually stopping?
  • geedawggeedawg Posts: 3
    2001 S40, 3,300 miles, no problems.
    - Sunroof quiet.
    - Car pretty quiet in general. I'm coming from a Jeep Wrangler so that's a relative statement.
    - No "check engine" or any other lights flashing.
    - It's spirited for a four cylinder. Feels peppier htan my 97 Honda Accord EX V6 which I think was 170 hp but heavier.
    -Good seats
    - I think it is very stylish.
    - The stereo (HU-615) does sound pretty good.

    Overall I like it. It is fairly utilitarian in trim for a "luxury sedan" and could use a few features and refinements IMHO.

    - Cupholders (sorry non-americans). Come on. One cupholder up front in the middle of the HVAC and stereo controls? Not good thinking.
    - Memory seats/mirrors for more than one passenger
    - A compass. The "Info Center" has many good stats available but no compass. Seems odd.
    - Quiet down the door locks. Sounds like you're closing the shuttle door when you lock them.
    - The upgraded stereo (HU-615) has some wierd logic. With CDs, no track time is displayed when CD playing, although if you rewind or fast forward the time is displayed. No random shuffle. No repeat track. The price for it the "upgrade" is outrageous.
    - The price for the 10 disk CD change is REALLY outrageous. A joke.

    Happy Driving

    (Wish we had the T5 in the USA)
  • Before I traded my 2000 S40 in for my Audi, I had replaced my rear brake pads and rotors at 14,600 miles. Volvo covered the rotors. The service manager told me to come back in another 5000 miles to have the front pads checked. At 4000 miles, the car was in for an oil change and an annoying rear squeak (that they never did solve) and I was told that the front pads were down to almost nothing. So, at 18,600 the front pads were replaced at my expense. This seems to be a common problem on Volvos. Too much money to be spending on a newer car in my book. That's why I now drive an Audi with all maintenance covered for 4/yrs-50,000 miles. And that even includes oil changes.
  • rpcohenrpcohen Posts: 3
    I have a 2001 Volvo V40 and it has been in the shop going on 7 times for the check engine light and now the dealer has had the vehicle for 5 days and still can not figure out why or what is going on. We have been told that 5 of the items out of 100 parts have been replaced, so I'm wonder if we need to have everything that is routed to the check engine light relay replaced. Even Volvo has no idea what to do. Any ideas.
  • minilinkminilink Posts: 13
    Hi, Well the balance here tilts towards more S40 disappointed people than actually those loving it... I just can't digest is it Volvo we are talking about? I am looking to buy a car soon.. and S40 was/is certainly on my mind.. Please Help! Can I get any other "luxury" car for the same price? Also looked at G20 Infiniti, but guess they are enjoying their last year, so i wont spoil their party... G35 thats next year... si let me know of your opinions... ciao
  • geedawggeedawg Posts: 3
    Well. it does sound like the Phase I version of the S40 was not the greatest of autos. The Phase II (2001) seems to be much better. I'm satisfied with mine to date (3,500 miles).

    I'm sure you realize most people on forums like these are more likely to complain than praise their autos. Nobody comes onto a forum and says "hey, my heater's working great!"

    I would recommend the S40 thus far.

    FYI: A large delivery truck slammed into the right rear area of my S40 a couple days ago. The S40 felt very solid on impact. No injuries but car is out two weeks. Bummer.
  • godeacsgodeacs Posts: 481
    I speak as a 19 yr Volvo owner who is not happy with the recent reliability issues they are having. The S-40 is NOT a luxury car - at best it's a low end "near luxury" car. For the money an Audi A4 1.8T is a much better choice. Unless you're willing to spend more to get the S60, I would look elsewhere.
  • sachinosachino Posts: 7
    Geedawg: I think you are mistaken when you say that most people are more likely to complain than praise. You need to check out the A4 forum. There are a lot more people praising than complaining.
  • That so many people are having problems with the S40. I had always heard that Volvos were known for their reliability. I was considering an S40, but after reading all of the complaints here, I'm having major second thoughts. And I have to agree that it sounds like a consistent theme of recurring problems with the car, rather than just one or two lemons out of the whole bunch. That's a shame. A neighbor of mine has a 160 or 190 Volvo that has almost 300,000 miles on it...drives it every day.

    I'll be fair and reserve final judgement until I see the 2002 or even 2003 models. The 2003 is supposed to share the same platform as the Ford Focus, though, so I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. See or for more info. The S60 seems like a nice alternative, but it's obviously more expensive.

    I hope all of the S40 owners out there having problems are getting their situations dealt with fairly. Hang in there!
  • tboneytboney Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 S40 and have replaced front pads twice and rear just recently (25000miles). Dealer said they were surprised the rear pads made it this long. I was shocked. Most cars, almost all cars you only have the rear pads replaced once, maybe twice in the lifetime of the car. At least no sooner than 60-70000 miles. What is going on? I thought I had a good safe car. I have it at the dealer every month or more. Any comments?
  • I've heard that Volvo uses softer brake pads than some companies. The benefit of a softer pad is that it gives you better braking ability and braking grip. But the downside is that the softer pads wear out much faster than harder ones.

    I believe that the pads on the 2001 S40's were designed to be a little harder than the ones found on the 2000 S40's, so they're supposed to last a little longer, too.

    If you read through this whole thread from the first message forward, I believe there's some other info on the brake pad issue. Good luck.
  • geedawggeedawg Posts: 3
    Sachino: Maybe your right but my unscientific experience in newsgroups tells me otherwise. While there is a certainly information sharing that goes on, the majority of the posts are about problems.

    P.S. I'm glad people are happy with their A4s. I'm happy with my S40.
  • I recently traded in my 2000 S40 after 11 visits to the shop. Check engine light 8 explanation. New cars should be somewhat stress free. Vovlo's corporate offices were unresponsive. Depreciation was outrageous.
  • Have 21,000 on my S40 and have been mostly pleased with performance. However, after reading about so many problems I am a little nervous. Yes I did have rear break pad replacement and complained. But wasn't as upset as some because on a 740 wagon I had for 10 years I had similar wearout. They told me at the service center that Volvo was addressing the break pad problem with longer wearing ones soon!! Also had the headlights replaced already. But my anoying problem is a high pitched noise when traveling fast on freeways usually going in a N to S or S to N direction. Even taped it - coming from the drivers side I think.By the way I'm an "older lady" and everyone thinks I'm cool in my S40!!
  • I own an s70 and it sounds like the problems with Volvo's are consistant. Nothing but complaints on their boards (Except the far). The sad thing is the Edmunds boards are not complaint boards in general so when the volvo boards are primarily compliants that should tell you something. Can anyone spell C-L-A-S-S
    A-C-T-I-O-N? Any lawyers out there want to take the case. I would say us abused volvo owners are collectively due millions!! I can write a five page letter with my complaints.

    I purchased a new S40 in October 1999. My S40 proved to be a nightmare on wheels. So what could be so bad about the S40? Let me tell you my experience....

    -Total BRAKE FAILURE at 6K: Aside from being extremely scary for me, I thought Volvo was known for their safety! Wrong again! (It is important to note I had brake problems upon delivery and had the car in twice for brake service prior to the failure. Not until after I had brake failure could they fully diagnose and service the problem.)
    -Stalling: The car would stall on me whenever I stopped at red lights, stop lights, etc.
    -Starting: The car would not start on most first attempts.
    -Turn signals: They stopped working.
    -A/C: It stopped working.
    -Driver's side window: It made a loud popping noise every time I opened and closed it.
    -Blue spots on exterior paint (very noticeable since my car was white)
    -Paint runs in the door jams
    -Cuts in the exterior paint
    -Defects in the fabric
    -Rattles from the dash, the headliner, doors, seatbelt mount, etc.
    -Numerous headlight bulb replacments
    -New brake pads at 25K
    -Small surface rust spots after 2 winters in the New England area

    Needless to say, for my sanity (and safety), I decided to sell this car. After a month long battle with the dealership and Volvo Corporation without favorable results, I finally sold my car to another dealership. The depreciation was unbelievable; however, the thought of keeping the car was more unbeliveable so I took the depreciation hit and celebrated that evening with margaritas!

    Unless you are prepared to accept the poor quality and craftsmanship of the S40, the headaches and frustration of dealing with Volvo Corporation, huge depeciation, and lots of your valuable time wasted waiting in a service department for your car (not to mention the big service bills after the warranty expires), do not buy this car. Personally, I would never (and that is a long time) buy another Volvo --- any model --- after my S40 nightmare. Please spread the word about Volvo!

    P.S. I am happily driving a 1969 Camaro SS.
  • I had nothing to do this morning so I decided to put together all my service receipts in date order since they were ALL such a mess. If I were to recap the work done on my car it would take up pages. I spent over $1,800 maintaing my 21/2 year old car with 28K miles. This included the "wear" items not under warranty like break pads, rotors, 10 and 20K sevice and premature tire replacement. I also had the rust spots upon delivery (whit car too). Were yours very tiny? After several trips to and denials from the dealer they compounded them out. You are not alone.
  • Overall, mine's fine! I have a 2000 S40 w/about 45M miles. I had some early minor issues to straighten out. Other than that mine is fine. Sure breaks wore quick. Big deal, they stop on a dime. The longer I have it, the more I like it!
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    ....but I'm here to announce the new Volvo Owners club now available on Owner's Club board. Please stop by and introduce yourself in Meet the Members and let me know how I can help build your club.

    I have linked this discussion into that folder, but it will always reside here in Sedans.

    Looking forward to meeting everyone!

    Owner's Clubs

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • Does anyone know where you can get the kind of pricing Spattson (Msg #439) got on his 2001 S40? Thanks.
  • I've had my S40 for 4 weeks now and have been fighting with the dealer to do something about the headlights. Instead of a beam of light, I have a spray of dispersed light that fans out in front of the car and does more to light the side of the road than in front of me. The dealer said they've done everything they possibly can. Anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions.
  • I have had my S40 3 1/2 months now. I have no problem with the lights. In fact, they light up the road much better that my new MB ML430 does. They throw out a very bright light forward. They do appear to have lines of light, probably from all the reflectors. I do like them. Just a note, I have disabled the daytime running feature. The only problem I have is the check engine light sometimes comes on.
  • ml430s40---

    I too have disbled the day running lights, however, the dash lights still are on even when the headlights are off. Anyone know how to get rid of this on a 2000 S40?
  • I laugh when I see you with 3300 miles on your car and you LOVE it. I laugh when I see those of you who post that you have had your car for 5 1/2 weeks and you LOVE it. 2000 S40 VOLVO: DO NOT BUY IT. PLEASE SAVE YOURSELF. IT'S NOT WORTH IT!

    I am on my 9th trip to the dealer and they have just thrown their hands up and admitted they have no idea what is wrong with the car. 18,800 miles. THE DEALER EVEN SAYS THE S40 is a PROBLEM! It's part Mitsubishi you know?

    Just wait, yours is coming.

    I am collecting emails of S40 owners that are having difficulties. I have compiled 109 so far. Bring them on. You can email me at

  • Holly:

    Have you looked into your state's lemon laws to see if you might qualify for a buy back from Volvo? I'm sorry to hear about all of your problems with the S40. If I were to spend that kind of money on a car and have nothing but problems, I would be going through the roof!

    I'll be in the market for a new car in about 10 more months, so I appreciate your posting all of the problems you've been having. I came so close myself to buying an S40 last year (the 2000 model), but I am so glad that I didn't. I'm hoping that Volvo/Ford will be able to iron out all of these problems with the 2002 and 2003 models that will be out next fall. We'll see.

    Anyway, hang in there. I hope things get better for you and your S40.
  • I too recently had my brake pads replaced, 22K...and i thought i was just another way they were trying to scam money out of me. The service guy said he was surprised i've gone so long without replacing them...Like someone mentioned earlier, i thought brakes weren't suppose to go until about 50-60K miles....At this rate, i minus well trade mine in. The check engine did come on quite about during my first year, but i figured out that it was the type of gas i was using, Gulf. Since i stopped, haven't had the problem, plus my car did start to make a weird noise upon acceleration. Anyhow i worry to read how unsatisfied so many owners are in addition to not being so happy about future brake replacements. But i do enjoy my car and hope he treats me as well as i've treated him. No car is 100% or full proof, however i did have higher expectations for the S40. One question that i hope someone can answer for me is how often do you have your oil changed. When i recieved delivery of my car, the service sheet indicated every 7,000 miles, however the service dept. pushes for 5,000.

This discussion has been closed.