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Volvo XC70 Reliability and Common Problems

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The Volvo XC70 is a good choice if you’re looking for a crossover that’s safe, capable, and comfortable. While the latest 2016 XC70 comes with the newest tech, you may find one of the earlier model years a great investment with its ample cargo space, strong brakes, and superb safety features. Before you seal any deal, it’s helpful to know the XC70’s reliability ratings and the issues it may develop as it racks up mileage.

Are Volvo XC70s Reliable SUVs?

When it comes to reliability, the Volvo XC70 gets average to above-average ratings. RepairPal.com gave it a score of 3.5 out of 5.0, ranking it 6th out of 14 luxury midsize SUVs. Meanwhile, JD Power gave the 2015 model year an average quality and reliability score of 74 out of 100.

The XC70 also has higher-than-average ownership costs. While it does require repairs more often than usual, the problems that crop up are often minor ones that don’t require a trip to the auto repair center.

The Volvo XC70 can reach at least 100,000 miles and run smoothly for years afterward.

As long as you drive carefully, follow Volvo’s recommended maintenance schedule, and don’t delay in fixing any problems, you can make the most out of its service life.

Common Volvo XC70 Problems

While the Volvo XC70 was manufactured only from 1999 to 2016, there are still plenty of XC70s on the road and in used car shops. Depending on the model year, some of these Volvo SUVs are more likely to develop issues than others.

In a model year comparison by CarComplaints.com, the 2003 model year received the most complaints and the worst problems. The site also identified transmission failure as the most commonly recurring Volvo XC70 problem.

Here are the most widely reported Volvo XC70 reliability issues across different model years:

Automatic Transmission Slips and Shifts Hard Between Gears

The 2006-2016 model years of the Volvo XC70 came with a six-speed automatic transmission. However, many drivers found this transmission a struggle to control whenever they shifted between gears. It tended to shift harshly when it grew too hot. In some cases, their transmission also slipped between gears, which made driving dangerous.

2008 Volvo XC70 Volvo Car USA Newsroom
Some drivers of the Volvo XC70 2006-2016 model years found the transmission a struggle to control whenever they shifted between gears. Image source: Volvo Car USA Newsroom.

Erroneous software, a bad valve body, or faulty shift solenoids can cause this Volvo XC70 transmission problem. Some owners had to replace or rebuild the entire transmission at a great cost to resolve this issue.

Knocking or Squealing Noises From Control Arm Bushings

Bushings protect the 2013 Volvo XC70 control arms from friction and heat that would otherwise damage the crucial suspension parts. Unfortunately, some drivers have reported that their front control arm bushings became worn out earlier than expected.

When the unprotected metal of the control arms came into contact with other metal parts, they produced knocking or squeaking sounds. The worn bushings could also throw the wheels out of alignment, leading to problems like uneven wear on the tires.

Fortunately, replacing the worn bushings usually got rid of the noise. This problem has also been reported for the 2003-2010 Volvo XC70 model years.

Transmission Doesn’t Shift Properly

Some drivers have raised concerns about shifting-related problems with the 2012 Volvo XC70 transmission. They reported cases where the transmission took too long to shift between gears, shifted or downshifted harder than normal, or stopped working altogether.

Aside from the 2012 Volvo XC70, the 2003-2008 and 2010-2011 model years could also develop transmission shifting problems.

Noise and/or Vibration From Faulty Upper Engine Mount

The engine mounts keep the 2008 Volvo XC70 engine from loud noises or excessive vibrations while driving. So when the upper engine mounts got worn out early in several 2008 XC70s, the owners of the affected units reported issues like harsh shifting between gears and rough idling.

Many 2003-2006 Volvo XC70 owners have also reported that their crossover had issues with their upper engine mounts. Whatever the model year, it’s best to replace bad engine mounts before they affect other engine parts.

Premature ABS Control Module Failure

The anti-lock brake system (ABS) makes it possible to retain control of the 2007 Volvo XC70 on all but the most slippery road surfaces. Unfortunately, the ABS control module in some units could stop working much earlier than designed. This makes the XC70 more likely to skid out of control while driving in rainy or icy weather.

2007 Volvo XC70 Backside Volvo Car USA Newsroom
The ABS control module in some 2007 Volvo XC70 could stop working much earlier than designed. Image source: Volvo Car USA Newsroom.

Some 2003-2006 Volvo XC70 owners have also reported that their vehicle’s ABS module prematurely failed.

All-Wheel Drivetrain Failure

The 2003 Volvo XC70 can conquer most terrain thanks in part to its all-wheel drive, which supplies each wheel with enough power whenever needed. However, some drivers have reported that their vehicle’s drivetrain tends to malfunction without warning. As a result, the rear wheels may not get enough power to work.

All-wheel drivetrain failure makes driving dangerous. For instance, if the system stopped working while on a slippery road surface, the driver could lose control of the vehicle and end up in an accident.

Transmission Failure

The 2003 Volvo XC70 is considered a solidly built vehicle, but several drivers have complained that their vehicle had a flawed transmission. Issues like rear-wheel drive failure started occurring at an average mileage of 108,000 miles. Most of the owners of the affected units recommended rebuilding the entire transmission rather than replacing the entire system under warranty to avoid a repeat.

A similar transmission issue also showed up in several 2001 Volvo XC70 units, and reports show that this is a recurring problem among second-generation XC70s.

Overall, the Volvo XC70 is about as reliable as most luxury midsize SUVs, making it a good choice as a family vehicle. Read up on the most common XC70 problems. By preparing beforehand, you can get the most value out of your vehicle.

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Vehicle Reliability

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