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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We generally keep our cars for a long time but put very low mileage on them. Our 2017 XC90 T6 has only 35k and our 2009 Audi Q5 3.2 only has 65k. I'm thinking of possibly selling the Audi for another Volvo but I'm curious about long term maintenance costs and any potential pitfalls of owning older SPA Volvos. I do much of the maintenance myself and I'm generally fine with finicky European cars, but I'm trying to avoid engine pulls, etc. since I don't have the tools for something that extensive.

We've been lucky so far with the Audi, but it has a number of design defects that can make long term ownership very costly. For example, the timing chain is on the back of the engine and the engine is known to have tensioners which fail prematurely. If you're lucky, the upper tensioners fail and they can be replaced in situ, otherwise, it's an engine pull. The Audi is also prone to carbon deposits on the top and bottom. When the secondary air ports clog, it requires specialized power washer tools that pretty much Audi only stocks or removal of the front of the car (bumper, radiator, etc.) to manually clean the ports. There is also a cam guide frame interface near the top of the engine that can create a oil leak with a book repair time of 17 hours.

Does anyone know if these engines have any design issues that make maintenance more difficult than normal? I'm a little scared of a keeping a turbocharged and supercharged engine long term, but perhaps that's unfounded? I'd love to her everyone's experience and feedback about the general design and ease of maintenance of these cars. Thanks!
 

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To add a little background to my Volvo ownership experience, our car has been pretty good. The car initially had issues with brake vibrations and took a couple of warranty pad and rotor fixes to resolve it. The drivers heated seat failed and needed replacement. The battery in the engine compartment failed and needed replacement. The gas tank carbon filter failed and needed replacement. And recently, it had a P0171 code that required an O2 sensor replacement. In terms of wear and tear, it's needed rear brake pads and tires.
 

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To me it seems like you've had quite a few problems with your XC90 but everyone has their own tolerance for pain.

In short, it's probably too early to predict the long term reliability of the engines in these cars - they've only been around for 6 years. There was the early ring design issue that's been addressed and you do read of the occasional supercharger issue that requires replacement of that component.

The challenge with these newer cars for a home DIY'er is reading DTC's - you have to have the equipment and a 3 day subscription to VIDA to read the codes and reset DTC's.
 
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The challenge with these newer cars for a home DIY'er is reading DTC's - you have to have the equipment and a 3 day subscription to VIDA to read the codes and reset DTC's.
Good points, I do like having VCDS for my Audi. I was a rough ~$400 pill to swallow at first, but has been very handy. I'd rather pay once for VIDA, but at least they do have limited subscription options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Why do you figure your concerns could be "unfounded"?

Also very interested to see the results to this thread.
Maybe @Tech might have some insightful information.
I'm not really sure. I'm a little old school and used to naturally aspirated engines and don't really know how turbo and supercharger reliability has progressed (or hasn't). Yes, I'd really love to hear what real Volvo techs think. I'm OK paying for or doing maintenance, but when lots of things have 10+ hours of book time for repairs that commonly occur, that's a bit scary.
 

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I look in the engine compartment and think the drive e motors give you lots of space to work, which is always helpful. I just sell them and havn't worked on a Volvo with a Drive E myself yet though. If I were an owner, my biggest concern would actually be with carbon deposits because it's a direct injection motor. I'd think an induction clean out would be good practice, but I haven't really seen that as a common discussion here. I know when Volvo launched the drive e motors they didn't see major issues with that in their own long term tests, but they were probably always using the correct top tier gas and not all owners do. Turbos don't bother me, and super charges even less. Both have gotten better over the years as well. The rings might be a concern, but oil is cheap. I tell my customers as you get higher in miles make sure to check the oil level. Back when we were changing oil at 5k we might drain out 4 quarts and add 5 quarts and never know the difference. The same consumption at 10k intervals of course is 2 quarts low. But that's more about higher miles than time. Brakes are the only thing I've come to expect an XC90 that we get traded in to need. I haven't seen the technology failing or components not working on a regular basis. But I think the above statement that it's too soon to tell is true here... and for someone who has a low mile 2017 you'll always be at the cutting edge of early time failures just because it's an early example of the car.
 

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If looking forward to 8 to 10+ or even 15+ years ownership, I would watch following things:
coolant hoses, intake/supercharger seals, A/C (evaporator, etc), oil consumption, carbon deposit maybe.

It is kind of hard to trust it 15+ to 20 years though. It is not like the old simple 5cyl engine.
 
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If looking forward to 8 to 10+ or even 15+ years ownership, I would watch following things:
coolant hoses, intake/supercharger seals, A/C (evaporator, etc), oil consumption, carbon deposit maybe.

It is kind of hard to trust it 15+ to 20 years though. It is not like the old simple 5cyl engine.
Volvo and their coolant hoses.. I'll admit that I'm very used to old cars and simple hoses... when after 15 years my Volvo hose went and I looked at how it was designed I was a bit surprise. Glad it wasn't very expensive or hard to replace... but are all modern engine hoses so complex?
 

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From several months of reading on this forum, this is what I concluded before buying our ‘19:

t5 & t6 engines are all quite reliable. Have only read of one ‘17 or newer with engine trouble. Couple incidences of supercharger seals, and some talk about carbon buildup, but yet to see the carbon actually create a problem. Pretty surprising really as I would’ve expected a lot more issues with a high strung, twin charged engine.

transmissions, made by Aisin, also seem to be well built and haven’t come across a single post with transmission issues (t5 & t6 only)

its the rest of the car around the drivetrain that can be problematic, but the only issue that scares me is the potentially leaky sunroof (not covered under extended warranty). Otherwise get a fat platinum warranty from steingold and enjoy.
 

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My 2018 XC90 T6 has given me more issues over 45K miles than my 2013 Audi S5 does over 85K miles. My audi is a keeper, the volvo will get traded in once warranty is up.
Over 45K miles I've had following issues:
1. Gas filler neck recall (twice)
2. Supercharger seal and O2 sensors
3. Warp front rotors
4. Busted rear air suspension bags

While my audi has given me 0 issues and it's heavily modified, a little over 500hp when running on E30 tune.
 

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Not my personal experience but reposting from knowledgeable mechanic who is specializing in rebuilding Volvo engines. The gas VEA emgines are considered to be very good and reliable. They share design ideas with the old 5 cylinders. I personally own diesel VEA and had done some little work on it. It has issues with EGRs as all modern diesel engines.
Turbos are reliable and have an extra cooling pump when you turn ignition off without cooling it down. It requires good olil and changes ideally every 5 to 8 thousand miles depends how you use it.
You named quite a few design issues with Audi. That is my personal and others experience with Volkswagen cars. They usually work well in the first three years and then they fall a part. Depressing part is that you can not repair it. Design issues will hunt you back again.
You do not need VIDA for DTC error reading. Just get a quality OBD dongle like VGATE and install an app on your phone for example OBD Reader . The paid version cost I believe around $10 and can clear them too.
To add my two cents, I personally like Alfa Romeos. They are exceptionally reliable and durable with no mechanical issues. There are niggles but nothing you can not sort out at home. The ergonomics is excellent and the comfort is outstanding. They drive like a dream. There is nothing like that to come even close. My Volvo V70 is not as comfortable, not a joy to drive and ergonomics sucks. I bought it for space. We are four and a dog. Stelvio is not within my reach and other Alfa station wagons are too old.
 

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I personally like Alfa Romeos. They are exceptionally reliable and durable with no mechanical issues.
I'm sorry, but I nearly spit out my coffee when I read this! Alfa Romeo has to have the worst reliability in the industry. I mean, when the relaunched in America they couldn't even provide a single press car that didn't broke down during their possession. One dealer in my area went bankrupt and was bought out, while another pulled out of the capital city of the state. That leaves one dealer for the entire state and one for the adjacent state.....that's two dealers covering 132,000 square miles. Resale is laughable, and likely AR will leave the US all together in the next few years....all over reliability.
 

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I'm sorry, but I nearly spit out my coffee when I read this! Alfa Romeo has to have the worst reliability in the industry. I mean, when the relaunched in America they couldn't even provide a single press car that didn't broke down during their possession. One dealer in my area went bankrupt and was bought out, while another pulled out of the capital city of the state. That leaves one dealer for the entire state and one for the adjacent state.....that's two dealers covering 132,000 square miles. Resale is laughable, and likely AR will leave the US all together in the next few years....all over reliability.
I think this person you're answering is not from the United States. Many things have good support abroad, but not in the US.
 

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I'm used to reactions like that. I was reacting from my personal experience with cars mentioned (Audi > Volkswagen, Alfas, FIATs, Lancias and Volvo). The support here is also not the best. But the question is about long term mechanical reliability. Today's cars are fairly complex and may suffer software issues especially when there is a brand new car on a brand new platform and a brand new dealer network.
Volvo is much better established in the States. It depends where you live to have an access to an authorized service for software updates and recalls. My note was merely mentioned as a recommendation to try something else if conditions allow.
 

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If you want long term reliability as the priority, I for the life of me do not understand why you would own anything other than a Lexus or Toyota. We have an Audi 3.2 fsi with 180k miles on it. The timing chain issue comes down to frequent oil changes and looking after leaks in the cam adjuster solenoids immediately. Mine are running at -1.1 and 3.4 degrees. Lots of nickel dime issues with the Audi, but the basic block is robust. The V90 in the family is too young for conclusions, we have had a fair amount of dealer induced frustration after big software upgrades and needed up disabling the Stop/Start system in all but ECO Mode for frustration over the battery replacement under the hood.
 

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I as well have a 2017 XC90 T6, got it last year with 31k and now it has 40k. So far I've had a few issues but only one powertrain issue. The torque mount rubber was breaking apart, which seems to be a long term Volvo issue. I did get the premium extended warranty that covers 10yr/100k miles because I know as soon as that CPO warranty is over somethings gonna s*** the bed.

My only complaint is transmission feel, sometimes it just seems to not select the right gear at times and then it will downshift and jerk forward. I have the OE Volvo fluid so going to do a drain and fill on it and see if that helps.
 
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So Alfa Romeos break less in Europe? I don’t think so.
Hm, your post mentioned 1 dealer in state. Do you remember? I am referring to that, though carthrottle places AR 9th in reliability out of 30 companies, rated less than 1% worse than Lexus.

Their issues in the US were more related to new-to-the-market situations, and very few dealerships, which as you alluded to where overwhelmed, which meant poor perception of reliability. Their actual reliability is better than average, so you're just wrong.
 
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