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I've been debating on how to handle this or talk about it. I'm posting this here in the event any fellow Michigan Volvo owners are here looking for service wisdom.

I purchased a used 2011 Volvo C30 in April. I also purchased an extended warranty on the vehicle. My dad has worked on my '91 Volvo 240 for years, however he has worsening muscular dystrophy and his ability to get under a vehicle has dwindled. I spent $3600 on the warranty so I never had to put stress on my father to work on a vehicle or worry about the impact on my wallet. For context, I am fairly fluent with car maintenance and repairs. I've spent the last 8 or so years shadowing my father working on a 3x 91 volvo 240s, 2005 S40 and 2007 S60. TL;DR, i'm not an idiot.

The vehicle was in excellent condition, well taken care of.

I am based out of Grand Rapids and per the conditions of my Volvo warranty, I needed to have it serviced at a "Volvo Dealer" - for me, this is Betten Imports. Another condition of the warranty is that all services performed must be done through the dealer, if not and further issue persists, the warranty may not be applicable. I'd like to detail a few things I've experienced and that my family of volvo owners have experienced, the reactions of the dealer and why I strongly advise against using them.

1) Brakes
I had an issue where the rear passenger side brake pad delaminated and tore a small hole in the boot. My car was not drivable. This was within a month of when I purchased the car. The dealer I purchased the car from was happy to pay for the repairs, however Betten saw no real "issue" with the boot being torn. When I say Betten, I will be referring to the Volvo Service Advisor unless otherwise noted. The dealer I purchased the car from ultimately told Betten to just do it against the advice of the Service Advisor. I was pretty frustrated that the dealer I bought the car from was fighting on my behalf and Betten was so fervently fighting against them on something that would ultimately cost me a fortune in the long run.

On routine maintenance visits, I was warned that my front brakes were "dangerously" low. Betten wanted close to $500 to do my brakes. My father volunteered to do the brakes to the tune of $130 total. However, when he started looking at the braking mechanisms, he had noticed at least 30% pad remaining and felt I had at least a few months left on the pad. I had to bring my car in about a month later for an A/C pressure switch and they again were extremely worried about the brakes. I pointed out they had quite a bit of pad left and he said I was wrong (I wasn't - pad wear isn't really that complicated...). About a month later, I had the rotors/pads replaced by my father.

2) Suspension
I'd noticed a pretty heavy clunking from the passenger side front wheelwell. I scheduled a service appointment and it was advised that the sway bar end link be replaced. My understanding has always been to replace end links at the same time as it may otherwise cause disproportionate wear and tear. With my warranty covering the failed end link, for whatever reason, it was too complicated to bill ME for one and the warranty for the other, so that was not done.

3) Shortly after, I started hearing noises coming from the other side. I called and asked Betten if they'd inspected my driver side when they inspected the passenger side. They said yes, they inspected all suspension and brakes in depth as they "always" do. I suspected possibly the other end link, the transmission motor mount or similar. I was never asked about these symptoms, how I heard them or when they appear. The suspected engine mount was on high rpm shifts (car is a manual), and the wheel well noise was on bumps. The advised service was that my struts needed to be replaced. He also mentioned the noise may have been a starbucks cup that was "rolling" in my backseat (Seriously???). He said they could find absolutely NOTHING wrong with my vehicle, but acknowledged the noise over bumps. I started feeling the noise getting worse and worse. I took the car to betten again, and again they told me nothing was wrong. Two weeks later, I started hearing an insane noise on turns, like a rotational noise. My wheel was loose, my lugs had not been torqued properly. I called betten to report this (I Know the C30 torque is different than the more common S60/S90/XC series) and they denied ever taking my wheel off. I am very confused how they managed to inspect my front suspension without ever removing the wheel? Throughout this entire process, the service advisor refused to work with the warranty company, by the way.

I took the car to European AutoHaus in grand rapids who specializes in Audi and VW specifically but had been referred from a fellow volvo enthusiast. They called me about an hour after i'd dropped the car off and said "Are you sure Betten looked at your car?" I said pretty sure, why? He said "Your caliper was practically hanging off, it was so loose. I don't know how they would have missed that."

Now, onto another recent experience, a 1991 Volvo 240. This car is owned by my 17 y/o brother, but has been meticulously maintained by my dad and hit 300K recently with no issues. My father replaced the rack + pinion on it last month. We took it Betten for an alignment. My brother left Betten happy as a clam, and about 5 minutes into his drive home, heard a horrific grinding noise. He pulled off to the side of the road to discover they didn't attach the plastic belly pan properly and it was dragging on the bottom of the car. My dad quickly called betten basically asking "what the hell?" and betten denied removing the belly pan for an alignment. This is not possible, nor realistic and yet again was a clear indicator of Betten messing up and doing everything in their power to cover up lazy work.

Betten has done well with oil changes on my car. I am in the Michigan Volvo group with one of their techs and he's great. But... i've seen and experienced a lot of stuff that has REALLY left a bad taste in my mouth. I LOVE volvos, I love MY volvo, but if I cannot get decent service and will continue to have to deal with such incompetency, I might lose my mind.

I wanted to warn other Michiganders and encourage you to seek service elsewhere. For the record, I have also gone through attempts of contacting Volvo HQ but received the heads up that they are independent companies and they have no oversight. Wonderful.

63,539 Posts
Not much you can do.
You can write a detailed letter to Volvo customer service.
In the past they usually did nothing but with new ownership they now they may bring some pressure on the dealer.

Unfortunately you are stuck with a very bad service dept.

Perhaps you can make an appt with the owner of Betten and relate the same to him. He may care and have a talk with his service manager or he may not,
It's the luck of the draw.

There are many AWFUL Volvo dealers and many very decent ones, you seem to have one of the awful ones! (Sorry).

You also posted in the very wrong forum. This is for EVENTS as the title says.
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