Common problems with Volvo XC70

The Volvo XC70 is a mid-size premium estate car made by Volvo through two different generations. The first generation of the XC70 was introduced in 2000 and was in production until 2007. The second generation of the XC70 was in production between 2007 and 2016 when it was replaced by the Volvo V90.

The Volvo XC70 holds an excellent reliability record as it is one of the most reliable modern-day Volvo models. According to most online reliability surveys and charts, the XC70 manages to uphold its record even decades after it was first released.

That does not mean that the XC70 is perfect though as it suffers from issues associated with driver’s airbag, engine cooling, safety belt issues, drivetrain failures, and transmission issues. Even though the lack of issues the XC70 experiences is good, the severity of some of these is also substantial.

All in all, the XC70 is a reliable car. You need to maintain it if you want it to last a long time as no car is able to last without maintenance, no matter how reliable it is from the get-go.

Volvo XC70 – Driver airbag issues

Even though Volvo is a brand known for safety, the XC70 does experience peculiar safety systems-related issues which indeed do hamper that image a bit. Many sources state that the XC70 suffers from defective driver airbags that could potentially shoot out inflator fragments when the airbag is deployed.

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This can cause all sorts of injuries to both the driver and the front passenger. As such, Volvo issued a recall for the XC70 with the codename R10136. This recall was only issued last year which means that there are many XC70 models out there that are still sporting defective airbags.

Volvo XC70 – Engine cooling issues

The issue with the XC70 cooling system is that the system tends to be filled with coolant bubbles that remain in the cooling system after you fill the tank up. Therefore, the system will essentially lack coolant which can, in turn, cause your engine to overheat, or even worse, cause the entire engine to burst into flames.

Volvo has also issued a recall because of this, but as with the previous issue, not many XC70 models have been repaired so far. The number of XC70 models associated with these is not entirely known which means that the potential number of cars affected could be huge.

Volvo XC70 – Safety belt issues

As with the first issue listed in this article, the Volvo brand is not one that is associated with safety-related issues. However, the tensile steel strength that is part of the safety belt system is known to lose its rigidity over time which means that the safety belts may not be able to keep you safe in place.

Once again, Volvo has also issued a recall for this issue as well, and XC70 models made between the years 2007 and 2016 were part of the recall. This means that the vast majority of all XC70 models out there are currently being driven with potentially faulty seat belts.

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Volvo XC70 – Drivetrain issues

The worst problem that affects the 2007 XC70 is the AWD drivetrain failure which tends to occur in both low and high-mileage examples. A few studies have shown that the issue tends to reoccur every 80k miles or so. In addition to that, this issue is also known to be quite severe as it costs a lot of money to fix.

Furthermore, drivetrain issues could potentially even be significant safety hazards, especially if they occur while driving.

Volvo XC70 – Transmission issues

The 2001-2004 XC70 models are known to suffer from transmission-related issues that tend to happen on a larger scale. Some sources state that the XC70 is known to experience these every 150k miles or so with the early 2000s model while the 2003 and later models experience these even at an earlier stage.

These issues are so common that many sources state that the 2003 XC70 model has a huge transmission problem that tends to affect all 2003 XC70 models eventually. As such, be sure to check the transmission, especially if you are looking at some of these more affected model years

FAQ Section

Which Volvo XC70 should I buy?

The third-gen (2008-2016) XC70 models are the ones you should be focusing on the most as these are not only the most modern, the most powerful, and most common, they are also the most reliable ones of the lot. However, this also means that the 3rd generation XC70 models are the priciest of the bunch.

If you don’t like the third generation of the XC70, or you simply don’t want it, you should check out the post-facelift 1st generation model as these tend to be more reliable than the initial models. Most of the issues listed in this article are associated with the earlier XC70 models which should be avoided.

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Which Volvo XC70 model years should I avoid?

The worst Volvo XC70 model year is the 2003 model which is both the most problematic and tends to experience the most severe type of issues. 2001, 2002, and 2004 models are also more problematic and should be avoided as well.

Whenever you look into buying a used car, a good thing to do would be to always avoid the first models in general as these tend to suffer issues that have not been noticed during production. As such, post-facelift models tend to fix many of the issues that plague the earlier models.

Are Volvo estate cars reliable?

Volvo is one of those brands that really focuses on making an estate as competitive with a sedan as it can get. As such, Volvo has designed many great Volvo wagons throughout the years and some of these are even known to be indestructible like the Volvo 740 with a V8.

Modern-day Volvo estates are also reliable, but they are not all that different from the sedan versions on which they are based. Modern-day Volvo cars are extremely complex in their nature which means that many things can go wrong.

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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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