Common problems with Volvo S40

The Volvo S40 is a compact 4-door premium sedan made by Volvo between 1995 and 2012. Since the introduction of the S40, Volvo has managed to sell more than a million of these if you also consider the V40 estate version which is the same as the S40 through and through. The first generation was in production between 1995 and 2005 while the second generation stopped production in 2012.

The S40 seems to be an average-reliability car which means that it falls short when compared to modern-day cars which mostly offer above-average reliability. The most common issues that plague the S40 are associated with the catalytic converter, lackluster brakes, leaking sunroof, oil leaks, and MAF sensor failure.

Most of these can be resolved without too many issues, but they do sometimes cost a lot of money. All in all, the S40 can be a worthy consideration as a used car, but only if you manage to find one that has been kept in good condition throughout the years.

The S40 was later replaced by the V40 as a hatchback version because the S40 market positioning was starting to lack when compared to many of its competitors.

Volvo S40 catalytic converter issues

If you sense a rotten egg smell while driving the car, your catalytic converter is likely the one causing it. A catalytic converter is designed to convert harmful exhaust fumes into more eco-friendly particles through various chemical reactions that happen within the converter. However, the cats found in the S40 are known to become clogged and thus are unable to convert harmful gasses into more manageable particles.

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The good news is that in today’s day and age even a faulty catalytic converter costs a lot of money thanks to many substances found within the converter. The bad news is that a new catalytic converter is fairly expensive for the very same reasons.

Volvo S40 brakes issues

A fairly well-known gripe with the S40 is the braking system which seems to deteriorate a lot faster when compared to other cars. More specifically, the brake discs tend to wear out a lot sooner which means that they need replacing at an earlier stage.

Issues such as these are easily noticeable because the car is unable to come to a complete stop in the advertised distance. It is also important for you to replace the discs as soon as possible as issues such as these can result in a safety hazard no one wants to experience.

Volvo S40 leaking sunroof

The sunroof on the Volvo S40 is known to leak which means that the seals around the sunroof tend to wear out really fast. These issues are known to happen on many Volvo models with the S40 being one of the models with the highest percentage of reported cases.

The drainage channels located around the sunroof tend to become clogged with dust and dirt particles which makes them unable to channel water away from the sunroof. If this issue persists, the seals around the sunroof will start leaking which can reach havoc on the interior trim.

Volvo S40 oil leaks

The Volvo S40 is also known to experience occasional oil leaks coming from the turbocharger return pipe seal. You need to tackle these issues as soon as possible, otherwise, you might damage the engine. Leaks such as these tend to progress over time which means that they can damage many components they come in contact with.

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The best thing you can do is replace the entire pipe, especially if the leak is already large. Some people prefer addressing these issues simply by stopping the leak with duct tape, but this will only solve the issues temporarily.

Volvo S40 MAF sensor failure

The Mass airflow sensor (MAF) is tasked with regulating the amount of air entering the combustion chamber. If the MAF sensors start causing issues, you are likely going to notice the S40 struggle when it comes to acceleration and overtaking.

The easiest and cheapest way to fix this is to remove the MAF and clean it thoroughly. If you fail to do so soon enough, the MAF might even damage itself completely. As such, be sure to visit your local Volvo dealership to decide your best course of action.

FAQ Section

Is the Volvo S40 worth it?

The Volvo S40 is now one of the most popular used Volvo compact cars which means that many people are interested in buying it. However, the lackluster reliability is a deterrent to some, especially when it comes to older and higher-mileage examples.

As such, if you want to buy the S40, be sure to look for a comparably lower mileage example with a complete service and maintenance history. The S40 is not a bad car, but given the fact that it does not cost all that much money nowadays, people are not keen on maintaining it, and that is why it gets such a bad reputation.

Is the Volvo S40 a safe car?

The Volvo S40 is indeed a really safe car as is the case with every Volvo car. However, the S40 is now a fairly old car which means that it does not benefit from all the state-of-the-art safety systems most of us have come to expect from modern-day cars. The Volvo S40 was designed with family use in mind which makes it superiorly safe.

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This means that you should not worry about safety if you are in the market for an S40. The estate version of the S40 seems to be even safer while also being more capable of carrying people and their cargo.

Why did Volvo stop making the S40?

The Volvo S40 was a fairly popular car because it managed to rack up more than 1 million units sold. However, its larger brother, the S60 started getting more and more recognition which made the S40 a little bit redundant.

If you pair that with the fact that the early 2010s were the time when SUVs and crossovers started selling like crazy, the S40 simply was not able to keep up with the times.

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Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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