If you have experience working on cars, then an older Volvo would be easy for you to work on. The engineering done by Volvo on its cars is not too complicated, so some people have reworked their cars entirely, even changing important parts like the transmission.
Volvo’s simple engineering
The engineering of older Volvo cars is not really complex, so they are easy to work on and repair, especially in older models. Many Volvo customers have bragged about working on their own cars by themselves and saving them time and money from not going to repair shops.
Yet, Volvos are complex enough where we can tell that they are still engineered well. However, they’re not so complex that no one can understand them. For instance, the panels and connectors are designed in a way so they can be repaired later on. The engine bay is the only place where it becomes super complex, but even it is still workable.
Newer electric models are more difficult for regular people to work on, as they have more complex technology.
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Room for improvement
Unfortunately, not everything in Volvo’s engineering is done superbly. In many Volvo models, the electrical system with the battery is very poorly designed. The battery is placed in the back of the car, which can cause power loss due to long wiring from the back to the front.
The other thing about the electrical system is that the alternator is way beneath the power steering pump. If you want to replace the alternator in case of a problem, then you are in a serious trouble. The bolts used are also very unconventional, and you would need to used TP55 bolt opener.
Volvo issues you can fix yourself
Changing the oil
You should change your car’s oil regularly, which will elongate the life of your car.
There’s also a need to flush the trans oil at around 100K miles with the required 3309 oil. The oil is used more in turbo engines. To change the engine oil, you can even add Fumoto valve which makes the oil change very easy. If you need to work under the engine, then the 10 mm bolts are pretty easy to remove and the filter is also easy to reach.
If you feel that you need an oil separator, which is used to compress any air operation, you should do a “rubber glove test.” It’s also a good idea when your car reaches 100K miles. The test is pretty easy and there are a bunch of videos where you can learn how. Otherwise, you’ll have to waste time bringing your car to the shop.
Replacing headlight light bulbs
You should also pay attention to the headlights, which can burn out. Fortunately, the bulb can easily be replaced at home without much effort.
Bolts, belts and dash controls
If your car reaches around 150K, you will need to work on end-links, struts, strut bearings, and other suspension-related problems. These parts usually get older with time. Working on these things is pretty easy and straightforward, including unbolting and bolting the new parts.
Dash controls are intuitive and easy to understand. You can see what problems the car might face. In the rare cases of being cryptic, VIDA/DICE will explain in detail and have very detailed diagrams and enhanced diagrams showing you the step-by-step process to follow.
Some other things to work on are timing belts which should be changed at 100k-115k miles, especially if you have an older model. There usually aren’t many issues with gaskets on these cars. The water pump should be done with the belt. Most other stuff can be taken care of easily.
Common Volvo problems
Like all brands, Volvo has some common problems. First is the transmission system’s failure, which is the most complained about issue in Volvos. A failing transmission system can cause a lot of harm.
The auto-braking system also requires attention. Some have reported the system being automatically engaged without any need while driving, creating dangerous situations. Volvo even made recalls about that.
There have also been some issues reported with the PCV valves. They should be replaced at around 100k miles.
Fluid leakage issues have also been reported with the newer models. The AWD models have some issues with leakage from bevel gear and also the bushing wearing out. However, the older 2005 to 2007 models are pretty durable about these issues.
Your skill level determines what you can work on
With all the tips and common problems presented above, it still basically depends upon the person’s experience working on cars. There are people who have even changed the whole transmission system in their Volvos, and other who can’t even change the oil by themselves. So, it really just depends on the person.
How can I learn about working on cars?
Working on a car is not an easy thing to do. If you do not know about the car, then you can do much more harm than good. However, working on your own car can help you at certain times, and it is money-saving. Here are some tips which you can follow to start learning about working on your car:
- Work on an old car – Start by working on an older car. Observe the parts and get your hands dirty.
- Get some advice – You can get some advice from a friend or family member because there are many people who love to work on their cars. Let them point things out and walk you through some of the processes.
- Tutorials – Watch repairing tutorial to get familiar with the car’s features.
- Car manual – Read your car manual.
- Observe the professionals – If you take your car to a garage, ask if you can watch the process and then observe what mechanics do.
What are the easiest cars to work on?
There are many cars which can be worked on easily. Especially older cars. Newer cars have more technology, making it harder for un-specialized people to work on them. Some models that are easier to work with are:
- Jeep Wrangler
- Toyota Corolla
- Subaru BRZ
- Toyota Tacoma
- Chevrolet Silverado
- Lada Niva
Are electric cars easy to work on?
Electric cars are more complicated for average people to work on. They don’t have any engine in the front. They also lack the majority of parts that other cars have, so they are low maintenance and need little repairing. However, there are some parts like brake fluid that are not easy to work on EVs because of their complex systems.