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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m in a bit of a bind but I am hopeful that the Swedespeed community can help me out.

Starting yesterday morning I started getting a terrible grinding sound from somewhere underneath my vehicle (2018 XC90 RD with air suspension and 18” wheels, 40k miles). While driving it’s an intermittent scraping but when turning left or braking it is a continuous loud grinding. It has gotten worse since yesterday.

The problem - I’m 600 miles away from home and must drive home tomorrow evening or very early Sunday morning at the latest.

I called the local dealership here and they told me that they don’t do brakes on Saturdays and there was no way they could even get me in until sometime late next week. That obviously doesn’t work. So I reluctantly decided to take it down the road to Firestone. I figured at the very least have them inspect the brakes.

However, after multiple techs spent an hour trying to undo the electronic parking brake I was told they couldn’t do anything. They informed me that Firestone’s software only goes to MY2017 for the XC90 and that no matter how many times they tried the 2017 software would not release the brake. They even got their regional manager involved but nobody could figure it out. They did offer to disassemble the whole parking brake motor assembly but I opted against that for obvious reasons.

They did let me know that the front pads were at 5 and the rears at 3 but they couldn’t see the back side due to the heat shields being in the way.

So I then super reluctantly called Sears and Pep Boys and was informed by both of them that it would be best to take the vehicle to Volvo as they have never/rarely worked on a SPA platform Volvo.

I am at a total loss. So if anyone out there knows of any national chains that can do brake work on an ‘18 XC90 I would greatly appreciate it.


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There are YouTube vids on how to change the tears with the electronic brake. You do not need software. Some have used a 9v battery to rewind the brake, and others disconnected the electronic brake mechanism and manually rewound it back. Food for thought if you want Firestone to have another crack at it.
 

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Is the parking brake stuck on, or caliper seized? If not, you can take the caliper(s) off and simply wind the piston back into the caliper with a $10.00 caliper piston tool from PepGirls, replace the pads and be done. I made my own from some scrap metal I had laying around my garage in about 10minutes (see attachment). You do not need VIDA to do the brakes on the SPA cars. I’ve done rear pads twice on my 2016 XC90 I had. Firestone is probably overthinking this job.
 

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I’m in a bit of a bind but I am hopeful that the Swedespeed community can help me out.

Starting yesterday morning I started getting a terrible grinding sound from somewhere underneath my vehicle (2018 XC90 RD with air suspension and 18” wheels, 40k miles). While driving it’s an intermittent scraping but when turning left or braking it is a continuous loud grinding. It has gotten worse since yesterday.

The problem - I’m 600 miles away from home and must drive home tomorrow evening or very early Sunday morning at the latest.

I called the local dealership here and they told me that they don’t do brakes on Saturdays and there was no way they could even get me in until sometime late next week. That obviously doesn’t work. So I reluctantly decided to take it down the road to Firestone. I figured at the very least have them inspect the brakes.

However, after multiple techs spent an hour trying to undo the electronic parking brake I was told they couldn’t do anything. They informed me that Firestone’s software only goes to MY2017 for the XC90 and that no matter how many times they tried the 2017 software would not release the brake. They even got their regional manager involved but nobody could figure it out. They did offer to disassemble the whole parking brake motor assembly but I opted against that for obvious reasons.

They did let me know that the front pads were at 5 and the rears at 3 but they couldn’t see the back side due to the heat shields being in the way.

So I then super reluctantly called Sears and Pep Boys and was informed by both of them that it would be best to take the vehicle to Volvo as they have never/rarely worked on a SPA platform Volvo.

I am at a total loss. So if anyone out there knows of any national chains that can do brake work on an ‘18 XC90 I would greatly appreciate it.


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Call Volvo Roadside Assistance. They can tow you to the nearest Volvo Dealership. If the issue is found to not be caused by you, they offer up to $500 trip interruption insurance. And I imagine you'd probably get a loaner.

https://www.volvocars.com/us/own/owner-info/service-by-volvo/roadside-assistance
 

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I’m pretty sure driving a car with “grinding noises” falls under a driver decision and would not be covered...


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It's 2018. There shouldn't be a grinding noise......If his brakes / rotors have already warped at 40K, that's pretty bad. Unless OP brakes heavy and abuses his car.
 

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I’m pretty sure driving a car with “grinding noises” falls under a driver decision and would not be covered...


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It's 2018. There shouldn't be a grinding noise......If his brakes / rotors have already warped at 40K, that's pretty bad. Unless OP brakes heavy and abuses his car.
They aren't warped. They are worn out. The inner pads are metal to metal with the rotor. 40k miles is on the higher end for the rear brakes on these cars. This is based an actual experience and not assumptions. So don't assume the OP "abuses" his car.
 

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I’m pretty sure driving a car with “grinding noises” falls under a driver decision and would not be covered...


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I think you folks are missing the point. The guy is asking the community for insight as to what he can do. It is not like he has been driving this way for a long time and purposely allowed his brakes pads to wear down to the metal. This is how a lot of you find out that your pads need changing. The key is to catch it soon enough to where you do not damage the rotors. That aside what can he do at this time. 600 miles is a long way to grab a loaner and then return it, so I would not be excited about that. The best thing to do is change out the pads. At 40,000 he has done well up to this point. My guess is it is the rears that are giving him the problem. The fronts are not a big deal to change out. The Firestone guys can check out the fronts and the inside pad to make that call. As for the rears, there are several approaches he can pursue. The problem with the metal to metal during driving is probably the rear pads (inside pad). Once they remove the electric motor from the caliper then you can turn the rear bolt by hand to allow the pot to be retracted. As I understand doing this by hand messes with the computer knowing the depth of the adjustment. Put in new pads and then put everything back together. On the video everything seemed to work correctly. Worst case, disconnect the electrical connection to the rear caliper? This would eliminate the use of the emergency brakes but still allow the use of the hydraulic brakes? This should allow access to the rear pads. You can show the guys the YouTube video on the phone. He does not need emergency brakes to drive home. He can make sure that when he parks the car it is in park. Why would this approach not work? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35Ost8pExtc
 

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They should be able to remove the parking brake motor to retract the piston. But they also should have been able to figure that out and are clearly not comfortable with the job.

The biggest surprise in this whole situation is that the dealer doesn't do easy brake jobs on Saturdays.
 

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They aren't warped. They are worn out. The inner pads are metal to metal with the rotor. 40k miles is on the higher end for the rear brakes on these cars. This is based an actual experience and not assumptions. So don't assume the OP "abuses" his car.
Based on what OP states, he is at 40K miles. If OP has taken his car in for the proper maintenance intervals (10,20,30,40) then Volvo would have warned his pads and/or rotors need immediate replacement.

I COULD BE WRONG....but I can't imagine someone spending $50-60,000 on a 2018 XC90 is going to ignore a critical piece of maintenance.

Since neither you nor I have the full story, we can't make judgment calls without some assumptions.
 

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So you are assuming that he doesn't need brakes because he didn't need them at his 30k service?

The difference between your assumptions and mine are mine are based on actual experience dealing with these cars every day.
 

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They aren't warped. They are worn out. The inner pads are metal to metal with the rotor. 40k miles is on the higher end for the rear brakes on these cars. This is based an actual experience and not assumptions. So don't assume the OP "abuses" his car.
I think you are correct. Warped would be a very different scenario. The car in question sounds more typical of a vehicle with worn pads where metal to metal contact is occurring.
 

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Based on what OP states, he is at 40K miles. If OP has taken his car in for the proper maintenance intervals (10,20,30,40) then Volvo would have warned his pads and/or rotors need immediate replacement.

I COULD BE WRONG....but I can't imagine someone spending $50-60,000 on a 2018 XC90 is going to ignore a critical piece of maintenance.

Since neither you nor I have the full story, we can't make judgment calls without some assumptions.
I think you are making an assumption that he may have ignored a critical piece of maintenance. He may have taken his car in for the 30,000 mile maintenance. Since it is free I assume that he did in fact take it in. At that time his brakes may not have been an issue. It appears he has done well with brakes getting him to where he is today. We don't know whether his car just turned 40,000 and/or if he had planned to take it in for the maintenance or not in the near future. Volvo does us a disservice by not having a warning system in place for pad wear. Most cars either have metal prongs that scratch on the rotor indicating the pad is down and needs to be replaced or a fugitive sensor that wears and gives a notice on the dash that pads are in need of changing. 10,000 mile intervals are too lengthy for finding a brake pad is just ready to go. The dealerships could send out a reminder that based upon the last inspection and number of miles driven that it is time to change out the pads even if the next interval is still some time away in the future. When I drove a 2006 Prius as well as my 2015 Highlander, I would get notifications from the dealer where they estimated my mileage (Highlander gave them the exact mileage) and recommend that it was time to come in for either an oil change or some other service. Volvo could do the same.
 

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I think you folks are missing the point. The guy is asking the community for insight as to what he can do. It is not like he has been driving this way for a long time and purposely allowed his brakes pads to wear down to the metal. This is how a lot of you find out that your pads need changing. The key is to catch it soon enough to where you do not damage the rotors. That aside what can he do at this time. 600 miles is a long way to grab a loaner and then return it, so I would not be excited about that. The best thing to do is change out the pads. At 40,000 he has done well up to this point. My guess is it is the rears that are giving him the problem. The fronts are not a big deal to change out. The Firestone guys can check out the fronts and the inside pad to make that call. As for the rears, there are several approaches he can pursue. The problem with the metal to metal during driving is probably the rear pads (inside pad). Once they remove the electric motor from the caliper then you can turn the rear bolt by hand to allow the pot to be retracted. As I understand doing this by hand messes with the computer knowing the depth of the adjustment. Put in new pads and then put everything back together. On the video everything seemed to work correctly. Worst case, disconnect the electrical connection to the rear caliper? This would eliminate the use of the emergency brakes but still allow the use of the hydraulic brakes? This should allow access to the rear pads. You can show the guys the YouTube video on the phone. He does not need emergency brakes to drive home. He can make sure that when he parks the car it is in park. Why would this approach not work? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35Ost8pExtc
What point am I missing? I made no comment on his situation; just that is bad practice to use Volvo emergency service when maintenance item that is exhibiting the tell tale sign work is needed is ignored.

The plain and simple here is the brakes need to be replaced.

Several posters have provided some tips/ info for manual release of the parking brake which the non-volvo shops are concerned about.

I’ll throw in the idea of finding a local Euro repair shop to take a shot. The generic shops probably get a lot more American / Korean / non-luxury brands than anything.


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What has been suggested so far may be the right course of action, but the resolution may not happen during this weekend.

In the meantime; @ OP, see if you can spot anything around the brake pad and caliper. On one of my vehicles (not a Volvo), we experienced a very loud squealing noise when in reverse, to the point that it feels like the parking brake is on. There was no noise moving forward. It turns out there was this random plastic debris (from what appears to be a small drink stirrer) wedged on the area where the caliper contacts the brake rotor. When moving forward, the debris contacted the brake rotor like dragging a shovel behind you. When moving backward, the debris contacted the brake rotor as if holding a shovel in front of you and plowing it on the ground as you move, apparently making the plastic piece vibrate. As it does that, there was some strong resonance. The remedy was to pull that debris off.
 

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If his outer pads are 3mm on the rear and Firestone can't see the inner, it's because they are metal to metal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks everyone for all the replies. Your help is appreciated.

I should have pointed out that the brakes were replaced several times under warranty due to the squeaking issue. So they only have about 25k on them since the their most recent replacement.

Anyway, I decided to just drive home early this morning as a rotor replacement is mandatory at my dealership when doing pads anyway. I have never had brakes that made any noise but have always been forced to replace the rotors regardless of condition. On my former ‘16 S60 it was recommended that I do rear brakes at the 20k service and although there was no audible or physical warning that they needed to be done I was told rotors were also needed. So I figured to hell with it. If the rotors are ruined then at least I’m actually paying for something that I need and I’m home.

I will say I’m not thrilled about this situation. The XC90 is our 6th Volvo and by far the most problematic and annoying to maintain. For the first time in a long time I will shop around when it is time to replace the XC90. It’s time to see what else is out there. BMW killer? I think not.


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They aren't warped. They are worn out. The inner pads are metal to metal with the rotor. 40k miles is on the higher end for the rear brakes on these cars. This is based an actual experience and not assumptions. So don't assume the OP "abuses" his car.
Appears I assumed right....OP had his services. OP has had brake issues...And these brakes + rotors only have 25K of life....

Thanks everyone for all the replies. Your help is appreciated.

I should have pointed out that the brakes were replaced several times under warranty due to the squeaking issue. So they only have about 25k on them since the their most recent replacement.
 

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You don't know what you're talking about. He had brake work done for squeaking. That isn't warping, which is what you mentioned. That isn't wear. And rear brakes lasting 25k miles is not unusual at all, as I mentioned. It doesn't mean he is abusing his car.
 

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Tech is it common practice to replace the rotors when replacing the pads? Way back in the late 70s a guy I knew who used his 5series BMW in Sales had to do a periodic maintenance and it called for replacing the pads and rotors. I was kind of surprised. I used to take my rotors in and have them termed as long as they met the thickness spec. Maybe the Volvo rotors are on the thin side to start with? I understand that the T8 is easier on brakes? My Prius went over 100,000 miles and still did not need pads.
 
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