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Volvo maintenance: cost, plans and service schedule

Are Volvos expensive to maintain?

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    Whether you’re considering buying a Volvo or you already own one, it’s helpful to know how much you can expect to spend on maintenance and repairs. Keep reading to find out how much your Volvo’s upkeep might cost you and what you can do to make these expenses more affordable.

    Key insights

    • On average, Volvo maintenance and repairs cost owners $769 per year, according to RepairPal.
    • Maintenance schedules for Volvos vary depending on the model in question.
    • Volvo’s factory warranty coverage lasts for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first.
    • Extended warranties and prepaid maintenance plans can help you save money, but it’s important to get a good deal.

    Volvo maintenance schedule

    It’s difficult for us to say exactly what kind of maintenance your Volvo needs because Volvo has different recommended maintenance schedules for different models. However, you can find the recommended schedule for your vehicle in your owners manual or by contacting your local dealership for more information.

    Scheduled maintenance is an important part of keeping your car running smoothly, and it’s often required by warranty agreements. That means if you don’t keep up with your scheduled maintenance, your warranty claims might be denied when your car breaks down.

    Author’s note: Your maintenance needs may vary based on what type of parts you use. As a professional mechanic, I’ve often advised customers to get oil changes more frequently if using conventional motor oil instead of synthetic. However, you should always follow the recommendations of your Volvo mechanic, especially if you want to maintain your factory warranty coverage.

    Example: Volvo XC60 recommended maintenance schedule

    To illustrate what a given maintenance schedule might look like, we’ve included the recommended schedule for a Volvo XC60 below.

    Engine and oil filter replacement Every 12 months or 10,000 miles
    Coolant check Every 10,000 miles
    Brake fluid check Every 12 months or 10,000 miles
    Replace engine air filter Every 20,000 miles
    Replace fuel filters Every 40,000 miles
    Inspect spark plugs Every 70,000 miles

    Are Volvos expensive to maintain?

    RepairPal estimates that the average Volvo costs its owner $769 per year in maintenance and repairs. That’s well above the industry average ($652) but not as high as some European luxury brands, like BMW ($968).

    MakeAverage maintenance and repair costs*
    Volvo $769 per year
    Honda $428 per year
    Toyota $441 per year
    Ford $775 per year
    BMW $968 per year
    *According to RepairPal

    What’s interesting is that RepairPal also gives Volvo a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5, placing it 17th out of 32 automakers. RepairPal’s data shows that Volvo cars average slightly more visits to the mechanic each year than the average vehicle, but there’s only a 9% chance of your Volvo’s problem being severe.

    This suggests that Volvos are more likely to need minor repairs but less likely to cause catastrophic repair bills, and that’s backed up in some consumer reviews.

    Dionna, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from California, wrote: “I purchased my top of the line Volvo XC90 and have not [had anything] but problems. The auto hold/brake keeps malfunctioning. I took it in two times in six months and they kept saying it’s a ‘software update’ then the third time it did it."

    Dionna continued: "I said DO NOT just say it’s a software update and send me on my way. So they said it was the module that is directly under the cup holder and that something must have spilled in the cup holder, so it’s not covered under warranty. … I had to pay out of pocket to fix it. Then one week later, the auto hold/brake malfunctioned again.”

    We purchased our Volvo XC60 about 19 months ago … because we wanted something safe and reliable. … It has been to the service center between 10 to 15 times for all kinds of issues.”
    — Carrie, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer

    Carrie, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Texas, said, “We purchased our Volvo XC60 about 19 months ago after our first child was born because we wanted something safe and reliable. Right from the start, the vehicle started having mechanical issues. It has been to the service center between 10-15 times for all kinds of issues including the transmission, rotors and now the brake fluid draining out twice within a few weeks, which the service center found to be a leaking caliper."

    Carrie went on: "Since receiving the vehicle back, I have noticed a puddle under my vehicle again. I feel like I am just waiting for the brakes to go out while I am driving down the highway with my 21-month-old daughter in the back.”

    If you really want to know how much your individual vehicle may cost you in upkeep, it’s important to check model-specific data. Let’s look at estimates for a few of the most popular Volvo models to see how their expected costs can change.

    ModelAverage maintenance and repair costs*
    Volvo XC60 $769
    Volvo XC90 $851
    Volvo S90 $522
    *According to RepairPal

    It’s also worth noting that, so far, all of these statistics have conflated maintenance costs and repair costs, even though they’re technically different things with different demands on your budget. Let’s take a look at each to see how they can affect you and your Volvo.

    Volvo maintenance costs

    Maintenance costs are relatively easy to budget for because the services involved are needed on a regular schedule. That means you can look at what your maintenance schedule recommends, check your mechanic’s prices for those services and plan out how much maintenance will cost you for the next several years, assuming prices don’t change.

    If your Volvo is new, you might not have to pay for maintenance yet, though. Volvo’s Complimentary Factory Scheduled Maintenance covers a new Volvo’s first three maintenance visits over its first three years on the road.

    Example: 2019 Volvo XC60 maintenance costs

    We collected some estimated costs for common maintenance services using a 2019 Volvo XC60 in Austin, Texas, as an example. Your costs may differ depending on your vehicle and location.

    Tire rotation $73-$93
    Oil change $146-$188
    Air filter replacement $99-$131
    Front and rear brake pad replacement $666-$776
    Fuel filter replacement $284-$309
    *According to RepairPal for a 2019 Volvo XC60 in the 78705 ZIP code

    Volvo repair costs

    Estimating repair costs is much more difficult than estimating maintenance costs because you rarely know what’s going to fail on your vehicle ahead of time. However, some mechanical problems happen more often than others on certain vehicles, so you can make an educated guess at what’s in store for your vehicle by looking at others’ experiences.

    According to RepairPal, some of the most common complaints for Volvo vehicles include transmission failures (2001 to 2014 S60s; 2003-2011, 2013 and 2016 XC90s), malfunctioning mass air flow sensors (2012 S60s) and worn sway bar links (2013 S60s).

    Example: 2019 XC60 repair costs

    Transmission replacement $9,014-$9,689
    Mass air flow sensor replacement $358-$484
    Front stabilizer bar link replacement $263-$310
    *According to RepairPal for a 2019 Volvo XC60 in the 78705 ZIP code

    These estimates partially back up what we had previously assumed about Volvos — that they’re prone to frequent, less serious visits to the mechanic. However, the estimate we got for replacing the transmission in our sample XC60 is more than double what it costs to replace the transmission in some other vehicles we’ve gotten quotes for.

    Volvo’s new-car warranty only lasts for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. That includes both bumper-to-bumper and powertrain coverage, so once your warranty ends, you’re responsible for paying any repair bills, and unless you have thousands of dollars set aside for auto repairs, you could be in trouble.

    » LEARN: What is a manufacturer’s warranty?

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      How can an extended warranty or maintenance plan help?

      Extended warranties and prepaid maintenance plans can help you save money on vehicle upkeep, but they work in different ways:

      • Prepaid maintenance plans let you lock in a price for maintenance services ahead of time, which can shield you from rising costs and inflation.
      • Extended warranties pay to repair covered components when they break down.

      Volvo offers both types of plans, but it’s not your only option. For example, when we compared Volvo’s extended warranties with third-party options, we found that the results were mixed, with the best rates shifting between providers based on the vehicle in question. That’s why we recommend getting quotes from different auto warranty companies and comparing the results before you buy.

      If you’re considering buying an extended warranty for your Volvo, do your research, shop around and weigh the pros and cons of your purchase before you put down your hard-earned money.

      » MORE: Car warranty vs. car insurance

      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page. Specific sources for this article include:
      1. CarSalesBase.com, “Volvo U.S. Sales Figures.” Accessed March 14, 2023.
      2. Volvo Cars Lisle, “Volvo XC60 Maintenance Schedule.” Accessed March 14, 2023.
      3. Volvo, “Complimentary Factory SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE.” Accessed March 15, 2023.
      4. RepairPal, “Volvo Repair & Maintenance Costs.” Accessed March 15, 2023.
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