Volvo S40 Brake Problems

mattsgmattsg Member Posts: 5
I have a 2006 S40 T5 with 4200 miles on it which has developed a squeal from the rear brakes when backing up. I’ve had the car in twice (with a 3rd looming); and each time the pads were replaced, along with the rotors this last time in. The dealer can’t seem to find the problem, and I've done some searching around online and have found that while not widespread, the problem is not unique to my car; however nobody seems to have been able to identify the cause. Theories range from brake dust to the chemical make up of the pads themselves.

Has anybody heard of this problem and figured out once and for all how to correct this?


  • mattsgmattsg Member Posts: 5
    Just an update... I've heard this a number of times now (and even mentioned it above):

    "The problem IS the make-up of the pads themselves. Volvo knows of the issue and is working on a fix, but there isn't one yet. The problem shows itself primarily in the rear brakes when backing up, and the severity varies."

    Has anybody come across this? I'm wondering if the pads from the Mazda 3 would work since the cars share the same platform and many underpinnings, or if they’re the same pads used on the S40.

  • lbiggie2lbiggie2 Member Posts: 5
    I definitely had this happen to my S40 AWD. I had the car for a year and a half and it started squeaking before I even hit 800 miles. I brought the car in over 6 times for the problem to 2 different dealerships and they never managed to fix it. They changed the brake pads numerous times, lubed them up as well, changed the calipers, and eventually changed the whole braking system, including the rotors and it still didn't help. I also had some electrical problems so I contacted the manufacturer and they ended up buying the car back as a lemon.
  • mattsgmattsg Member Posts: 5
    Hey, thanks for the reply! I literally just got back from dropping the car off at the dealership again. They have finally been able to determine that it IS the pads themselves that are causing the noise. It was an issue that was known previously, but was thought to have been taken care of for the ‘06’s. The thing that’s stumping them is that my car has the *improved* pads that have taken care of the problem in other cars, and that to me the noise seems to be coming from the rear brakes; where they’ve only seen it on the front (it of course rarely does it when they have the car). The dealer I contacted in S. FL when I was down at my parents said they’ve still got customers with the issue, so it’s obviously still lurking out there.

    If this doesn’t do it, I’m looking into a set of aftermarket ceramic pads (providing it doesn’t void the warranty).

    Other than the brake noise, the car has been bulletproof, so hopefully (knock on wood), I won’t get to your situation because I absolutely love my car.
  • carscars2carscars2 Member Posts: 2
    First off I have a 2004 S40 the back brakes are making a loud grinding noise just like all of yours and when I back up and brake it is horrible. It isn’t just embarrassing it is disgusting to think that one owns a high end luxury auto and has to deal with that noise. I don’t really care why it is doing it. I also took it to the dealership once and was not told why it is making the horrible noise.

    I am taking it in again this Sat. for an oil change and again I will address the issue with them. I believe I am still under warrantee but I tell you right now, with the stupid issues I have had to deal with? I want to trade it in already! I have had it! I expect so much more from a Volvo!

    Second of all, the radio sometimes doesn’t work. It is on but nothing can be heard, then I park it and later I go to drive it and the radio is working, the window to the driver side will go up and then down it will not stop in the up position, and then it will be fine. One day I got in put my seat belt on and the beep noise when you have the keys in the ignition came on and I drove like that till I got home and then parked it. The next time I went to drive the car; it didn’t do it any more.

    Just about two days ago, I stopped at a mini mart, put it in park it was running and a co worker was in the car and told me that the air conditioning came on as soon as I got out of the car, by itself. She was a little taken back. So on and so on….I would think it would be a long process to declare this auto a lemon but that is what I think it is at this time. So instead of going through all that hassle I would rather go to the Mitsubishi dealer and trade it in. I have owned a Mitsubishi and never had all the problems that I have with this Volvo. Volvo let me down. They are not doing any thing about my car because they know it will be a matter of time when it will be out of warrantee and then they can start charging me good! Well? I was looking into Audi?

    Bad idea! If you read the write ups in this site just about all the people that have had the A3 and all the problems they have had? Well lets just say I am not getting an Audi either. I am disgusted at the luxury manufacturers who think that the name speaks for itself and the quality can be ignored. Well? I guess I have to thank each and every one of you for sharing your experiences on this forum because we all work hard for our money and why should we give them away on poor quality? We disserve better, I disserve better don’t you?

  • mattsgmattsg Member Posts: 5
    Hello. I'm sorry to hear about the problems! They were finally able to figure out my brake issue. I have to commend my tech guy(s) at my dealership because they really went to bat to get it figured out.

    The issue itself does stem from the pads themselves. There was a tech notice on them when the redesigned S40 first came out. A new type of pad were put on that was supposed to correct the problem. However, my car is a '06 and was supposed to have had the new pads from the get go. It does, but still made the noise. I don't have the service order in front of me to reference everything, but I do know one thing they did was shave the edges of the pads and that worked. Every now and then they still squeal, but only if they're wet or dirty from the car sitting for a few days (which is to be expected), but not since last November have I had the problem.

    Other than that, the only problems I've had were the car would stall right after start up if it was cold out (it would always start right back up the 2nd time). They fixed that the first time with a computer download. Also, the ventilation system will sometimes make noises that sound like an owl hooting (!!). That is also a problem that I've been told a few times can be corrected by a computer download, but I've not had the chance to take it in to have it done (in all honestly, I don't notice it that much but it drives my friends crazy.)

    I did look at the A3 but I'm not a fan of Audi's new designs. The interior of the A3 looks nice, but I think the rest of the new interiors are very cheap and '80s GM looking.

    Again, I hope you get everything worked out. I honestly can say that I absolutely love my car and wouldn't hesitate to buy another Volvo. Good luck!
  • 2004volvos402004volvos40 Member Posts: 2
    I had my front brakes replaced at 22,000 miles-service rep explained that Volvo brakes are soft and wear out more frequently! At 30,000 mile service, had 8mm left. At 36000 miles,service rep said once again they required replacing as they were at 3mm. That's only 16000 miles! Same driver and same driving area. This seems way too little mileage to me, yet service rep insists it's "our fault for the way we drive", not the car. I had had problems with noise and they had to replace bushings in the front, ser rep says that the bushing issue was unrelated. Does anyone have experience to know whether brakes wearing out at 16000 miles is normal and/or what recouse I can take? Thanks.
  • mattsgmattsg Member Posts: 5
    I think you may want to find another dealer to service your car if they're blaming you for break wear. My dealer was very up front and diligent about correcting the issue on my car. There was a issue with the pads themselves that was traced their chemical make-up. What perplexed my dealer is that my car is an '06 and the problem was thought to have been corrected the previous year. It took some time, but they finally took care of the issue.

    My car has 12,500 miles on it and the squealing is starting to come back so I'm taking it in next week for it's 12k service. My tech has already told me they'll replace the pads and do the same thing they did last time to solve the issue. I think it is an ongoing problem, but my dealer (at least) has been more than willing to make sure I'm satisfied.
  • lastvolvolastvolvo Member Posts: 1
    I have a Volvo S40 with less than 1000 miles on it, and it developed a brake fire in the right passenger rear tire well. Has anyone else had problems with their brakes?
  • jsnappjsnapp Member Posts: 1
    Hi, I was wondering if anyone else has had a similar brake problem. I own a 2005 S40. When braking, my volvo started to accelerate. It happened 4 times in one day. I immediately got it into the dealership, and they say they've fixed the problem. I had the car back for 3 days, and so far, it hasn't happened again. They replaced the brake cylinder and that did not fix the problem. Then, they had to call Volvo Tech Support (they called it Volvo Tech... yes, I took it to a Volvo dealership). They then decided it was a software issue. They ordered a new part. I've requested a copy of all documentation related to the problem so I can post the part later. I just was curious if anyone else had such issues? It was very scary when it happened and a clear safety issue that I think others should know about especially in light of what's happening at Toyota.

  • rapidrickrapidrick Member Posts: 70
    The "step on the brake and the car accelerates" crowd makes an appearance.

    I thought they all went away with the Audi 5000 :confuse:
  • eosinseattleeosinseattle Member Posts: 9
    leased an 01 and 04 and had brake issues with both. also heard the 'its the drivers fault' finger-point from the service advisor. i plead guilty as i am aggressive.
    buying a 2010 T5 R-design S40 this month. haven't read about continuing brake issues this this puppy...

    any 2010 T5 R-design S40'rs out there?
  • winsor6winsor6 Member Posts: 3
    The brake problems started at around 32K miles when the rear brakes started making a grinding noise. Rather than drive 50 miles to the Volvo Dealer I went to a local mechanic who said the rear pads were completely worn out and the rotors were damaged and had to be replaced. The rotors were replaced and ceramic pads were installed instead of the OEM organic pads. The brakes were fine until 2K miles ago when the rear brakes started making a lound "groaning" noise when backing up. The pins that the calipers ride on were lubricated and the noise went awsy for about 4 days. The the pads and rotors appear as new. The next step, accoording to the mechanic, is to go back to the OEM organic pads. The ceramic pads are suppose to be quiet, but not in this case. Has anyone else had this experience with the 2008 and newer S40 / C30?
  • bty84bty84 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2007 Volvo s40. Handbrake not holding. Driverside wheel not holding at all but passenger side is a little. Adjusted cable under boot of hand lever but D/side still not grabing.
    Is there another adjustment somewhere else?
  • volvos40girlvolvos40girl Member Posts: 2
    I'm having this same problem. In my '07 Volvo S40, I have to pull my handbrake all the way back to set it. It works fine, but there is too much slack in the line. Driving a manual, and having to park on a slight incline, I want to be sure my car isn't going to roll. I was wanting to know is anyone knows how to adjust the cable, before moving on to something else. Apparently, this is a problem many Volvo owners are having. I love my car, but this is a bit of an inconvinence. Any help would be appreciated.
  • citysquirecitysquire Member Posts: 1

    I have recently experienced the exact same accelerating while breaking issue with my 2003 Volvo S40. I find it happens if I'm going over a bump in the road and at the same time have to break. I also have found it when I suddenly had to slam on the brakes. Please tell me what you were able to find out about the problem and if it was fixed. Thank you.
  • sowrnewsowrnew Member Posts: 6
    I have a 2005 with about 100K on it. Last time I did a brake service (in my driveway) I replaced all four discs and used ceramic pads - I do a lot of twisty mountain driving and this "upgrade" works like a charm. The Akebono ceramics have chamfers on the leading and trailing edges and these helps a lot to prevent squeaking, they are also very clean with no dust.
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