The Volvo S60 is a compact luxury sedan that features good performance. It was meant to compete with the BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-Class.
Luxury vehicles tend to depreciate more than their non-luxury counterparts. Hence, the Volvo S60 is projected to lose 56% of its value after five years, according to CarEdge.com. While this may be bad news for existing Volvo owners, it makes buying a used Volvo quite attractive.
That said, buying any vehicle comes with its fair share of risks. In this article, we’ll discuss common Volvo S60 problems and make an overview of its reliability across its 21-year model history.
Is the Volvo S60 Reliable?
It’s a clear yes, given the S60’s above-average RepairPal reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.0. It ranks comfortably at 11th out of the 31 vehicles in its class. The S60 has average repair costs for mostly minor recurring issues, with severe issues seldom popping up.
The Volvo S60’s main attraction is its sleek design and array of driver assistance technology. MotorTrend tested a 2020 Volvo S60 for 20,000 miles and concluded that the S60 is indeed trustworthy. However, they encountered a hiccup with its emergency braking system, which randomly turns on sometimes. They also had to replace an evaporative emissions tube which was covered by the warranty. On the other hand, older Volvo S60 models may tell a different story.
Volvo S60 Common Problems
The Volvo S60 may have gotten an above-average reliability score, but some owners still encountered several persistent problems.
Various Transmission Issues
The Volvo S60 provides a generally comfortable ride, but some owners have reported that their transmission would cause their car to constantly jerk in between shifts. Several owners of Volvo S60 models made from 2001 to 2009, as well as the ones made in 2014, said that they usually experienced the jerking in lower gears, particularly in between the first and second gear. This issue makes being in stop-and-go traffic bothersome.
While some drivers describe the issue as jerks, others said that the transmission would slip between gears because the engine would rev. There were even instances where the entire transmission would fail, causing a breakdown. Even though the problem’s cause has been pinpointed to either an internal component failure or a software issue, owners have regularly re-encountered the issue even after the supposed fix.
This is the most common issue with the Volvo S60, with nearly 500 reports.
RepairPal recommends that the latest software should be installed in the transmission control module whenever the transmission is repaired. The issue should be looked at as soon as your sedan shows symptoms such as jerking, transmission noises, and check engine light illumination, because letting the problem linger could damage the transmission further and result in repairs that are both costly and time-consuming.
Strut Mount Failure
Another persistent issue that comes up with the Volvo S60 is front strut mount failure. The strut mount is the top part of the strut assembly and the vehicle body is meant to rest most of its weight on it. Owners have reported that they would hear a loud noise coming from the front end of their sedan whenever they would pass over a bump. Several owners have also reported that there would be noise when they traveled at high speed or even if they just turned the steering wheel. This problem persists in the 2001 to 2009 Volvo S60 models.
One owner found that replacing the strut assembly fixed the issue. Replacement Volvo S60 shock absorber and strut assemblies typically cost around $30 to $200.
Headlight Bulbs Always Burning Up
The headlight bulbs of the Volvo S60 tend to burn up prematurely. Owners have reported that they had to replace the headlight bulbs around every six months. One owner has reported that he’s had his Volvo S60 for 13 years and this issue has always persisted. He hasn’t found a fix for the issue. One cause for this could be that the S60’s electrical system is pumping excess voltage to the bulb, causing it to burn out faster. This issue happens to the S60’s 2001 to 2008, as well as its 2012 models.
Replacement Volvo S60 headlight bulbs typically cost around $10 to $40.
ABS Control Module Failure
Around 87 owners have reported that their anti-lock brake system (ABS) warning light would illuminate. The warning light typically lights up when there’s something wrong with either the vehicle’s braking system or the ABS, which can make the vehicle unsafe to drive. According to RepairPal, a faulty ABS control module causes the warning light, and replacing it will fix the issue.
You can get replacement Volvo S60 ABS control modules for around $250 to $420.
Electronic Fuel Module Failure
Some owners have reported that their Volvo S60’s performance would decrease significantly, while several others would encounter a hard time starting, a check engine light, or a decreased performance message on their dashboard. The electronic throttle module (ETM), which is the electronic connection between the throttle pedal and the throttle assembly, is the culprit behind all these issues. There are 110 reports for this problem in RepairPal. Since Volvo is aware that their ETMs have a tendency to fail, they’ve extended the warranty of some of their ETMs to 10 years or 200,000 miles. This issue affects Volvo S60 models made from 2001 to 2008.
If you’re unsure whether a Volvo S60 is the right vehicle for you, knowing about these common issues can inform your decision. Most cars have common issues, but learning about the experiences of other drivers can help you decide if a certain car is right for you. Knowing about these common problems can also help you look out for them to prevent expensive repairs down the line.