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Greetings all: My 2016 S60 has displayed the famous low-battery warning ever since I bought it. My (Dealer) SM says "it's normal so long as the car doesn't fail to start." But can this really be true? I can't imagine that Volvo engineers planned it this way. As it stands I can't adjust the car's settings or let anyone listen to the stereo while I run in the store for a couple minutes, unless I leave the car running.

Would buying a new battery fix this? Or is there an auxiliary battery as some cars have? If the warranty addresses this I'd really like to have it sorted out while the car is still covered by the factory warranty. So my question: is there a magic word or phrase you can use which will induce the dealer service dept to address this rather than just claim that it's normal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The car has 21K miles in case that's relevant. And I did have the dealer test the battery and they said it's fine. TIA.

ETA: Is the magic word 'software'?? I don't want to insult or irritate the SM; he's a generally cool guy.
 

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My wife’s 2013 s60 is on it’s 3rd battery. First one failed on us with no warning after 2.5 years drove 5 minutes to get gas and wouldn’t start after filling up the tank). 2nd one failed after a month or 2 (dealer said it was just a bad battery that was most likely on the shelf for a while). 3rd one has been fine ever since and has probably been in the car for 3 years or so. I know the 2013 doesn’t have an auxiliary battery and wouldn’t expect yours to have one either. We carry a jump pack in the car now and I plan to replace the battery with a non-Volvo battery the first sign of trouble.
 

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We had a 2015.5 xc60 with the 3L and had the famous low battery sign. We had 5 brand new Volvo battery’s installed under warranty in 2 years and were still getting the sign. At the end the dealership kept the vehicle for a week and noticed the car would wake up every couple hrs and drain the battery. They had a tech from Sweden help and they couldn’t figure it out. Needless to say they bought the vehicle back and we got a new xc60 and no issues.


2014 Volvo S60, polestar tune, elevate rear sway bar, polestar endlinks, K&N filter, polestar 370mm brakes, Rdesign shocks, H&R springs, Polestar strut tower brace, Elevate exhaust... downpipe and intercooler to come this spring
 

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The car has 21K miles in case that's relevant. And I did have the dealer test the battery and they said it's fine. TIA.

ETA: Is the magic word 'software'?? I don't want to insult or irritate the SM; he's a generally cool guy.
We're on second batteries on both our '15.5 XC60 and '16 V60P*, the latter just recently when it was getting this message and failed the test. I was a little surprised that I got a new battery under warranty - would have thought it would have been pro-rated or something but I wasn't going to argue. I would put a charger on your battery to see if it just needs to be recharged and if that doesn't work consider a different service department. Waiting for the car to fail to start is not really good advice from your service advisor.
 

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I am on my 3rd battery on my 2015.5 XC60 with 43k miles. Hopefully the last since it is now out of warranty.
 

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The battery should last about 10 years. The only way to know the battery is not being drained when the car is shut down is to disconnect the battery. It is normal for the computers and also at least one, perhaps several cooling fans to be operable when the ignition is off. In your situation, I would be checking the battery voltage with a manual volt-ohmeter(VOM) to confirm battery voltage, when the ignition is off. Even when the car has been shut down for 24 or 48 hours, the battery voltage should be 12V, with the ignition off. The on-board computer would normally drain very little current, with the ignition off. If your battery is being run down, there must be something else that is on, when it should be off.
 

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Battery's last about 4 years on average

The battery should last about 10 years. The only way to know the battery is not being drained when the car is shut down is to disconnect the battery. It is normal for the computers and also at least one, perhaps several cooling fans to be operable when the ignition is off. In your situation, I would be checking the battery voltage with a manual volt-ohmeter(VOM) to confirm battery voltage, when the ignition is off. Even when the car has been shut down for 24 or 48 hours, the battery voltage should be 12V, with the ignition off. The on-board computer would normally drain very little current, with the ignition off. If your battery is being run down, there must be something else that is on, when it should be off.
Depending upon the climate batteries can last from 3 to 5 years on average.

Just because some batteries last longer that doesn't mean all batteries last that long. Expecting any battery to last ten years is unrealistic and misleading.

Voltages vary widely at idle and shutoff as well. The days of making the claim that if you measure 12 volts when shutoff that the battery is fine are long gone. A number of factors influence battery voltage.

Is there a LoJack or similar installed? They are notorious for shortening the life of your main battery.

How is the vehicle driven? Lots of short trips?

Is the dealer using genuine Volvo or an off brand?

In this day and age, AGAIN most batteries last between 3 and 5 years. And in some climates they last a year.

This is all vehicles, not just those from Gottenburg.
 

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My wife has a 2015.5 XC70 T6 - At 3 years and 35K miles, battery warning showed up while sitting in a parking lot listening to the radio. Car would not start. Waited about 1/2 hour and car started okay. Took it to the dealer a couple of days later and they said the battery was shot, replaced under warranty. I have a 2016 S60 Polestar with 55K miles. I periodically get the warning message, but the car sits for extended periods of time due to weather, (I don't take it out in the snow - wrong tires). I can put the car on a trickle charger for a day or two and then clear the message using the message review and clear function on the turn signal stalk. When car is driven, it is generally for several hours at a time. Dealer has checked the battery and it is good.

I do wonder about having the keys too close to the cars as they are constantly talking to each other and I wonder if that runs down the battery over time. Our keys are about 20 - 25 feet from the cars through two walls.
 

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Speaking from XC60 low battery experience, there is a software update to address the SAT radio issue and another System 2.0 update that improves but does not solve the issue. I’ve had both done along with new battery install and still cannot play radio or run accessories with engine off without triggering the low battery warning.

The battery itself is a big part of the problem. Those claiming OEM Volvo batteries last long, may not realize the new batteries are made in Mexico, no longer Germany. The new batteries are not the same quality. While you may find a third-party battery that is better, warranty for related issues will no longer be covered. Or complaints will be addressed saying you need to buy a OEM Volvo battery.

All dealers know about this low battery warning. There is no incentive to fix it because it brings customers in for service. Once you are out of warranty, it becomes even easier to charge you for diagnostics, a new Volvo battery, and other attempts at repair.

There are hundreds of complaints online describing this. Some describe temporary fixes. None have ever reported back saying my problem was permanently solved because of X and fixed doing X. Every follow up is “I’m living with the problem”, “We replaced our car” or “I’m not buying Volvo again.”
 

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Depending upon the climate batteries can last from 3 to 5 years on average. Just because some batteries last longer that doesn't mean all batteries last that long. Expecting any battery to last ten years is unrealistic and misleading. Voltages vary widely at idle and shutoff as well. The days of making the claim that if you measure 12 volts when shutoff that the battery is fine are long gone. A number of factors influence battery voltage.
Absolutely true.
 

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Our 2016 XC-60 also exhibited the low battery warning. First time I ignored it, figured too many short start stop rides. We took it for a 600 mile round trip over a week and it went away only to return in a few weeks. Next time I took it in the dealer (warranty) recharged the battery and did a computer update. The low battery warning returned after a month or so. I returned it to the dealer, still under warranty, they changed the battery and the warning has not returned.

So...the question remains, did the subsequent computer updates while in for service fix it or was it in fact a bad battery?

An aside, I did pay for the RDAR Sirus/XM computer update for my long out of warranty C30 and it did fix my battery dying in a few days problem.
 

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Sat-Radio(Sirius)

It's the SAT Radio-
Have the dealer do a RDAR software upgrade to remove the offending bull**** that Volvo forced on it's users.
There is a class action suit and you can contact: https://www.seegerweiss.com/news/investigating-claims-against-volvo-for-recurring-battery-drains/
If the cost is more than you think it should be -like 1/2 hour of labor should be max for this job.
I did it to my Volvos and have no battery issues.
Even if you don't subscribe to any Radio Services- the unit keeps checking.
 

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I must be a lucky guy, at least with respect to automotive batteries. Mine have consistently lasted 10 years or more. The only exception I can think of is if the car is located in a climate where it is exposed to airborne salt spray, for example, coastal southern Florida. I can understand the need for an electric cooling fan to operate for a few minutes when the car is shut down, because it will get very warm under the hood, & both the transmission control module and the engine control module are located under the hood, on my 2005 S60. I have no idea why a satellite radio needs to be drawing current when the car is shut down.
 

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I must be a lucky guy, at least with respect to automotive batteries. Mine have consistently lasted 10 years or more. The only exception I can think of is if the car is located in a climate where it is exposed to airborne salt spray, for example, coastal southern Florida. I can understand the need for an electric cooling fan to operate for a few minutes when the car is shut down, because it will get very warm under the hood, & both the transmission control module and the engine control module are located under the hood, on my 2005 S60. I have no idea why a satellite radio needs to be drawing current when the car is shut down.
Newer cars have a LOT more electronics on them than older cars, and much more standing drain with that (SAT radio issues only further adding to this of course). Anecdotally, batteries are rarely lasting past 5 years on them, and that's not unique to Volvo. Now older cars, with far less electronics, yea they last a lot longer from my experience. On the *40s in my family we usually made it to at least 6 years before having cranking issues during the cold NorthEast winters, and 7-8 years was fairly common. On the P2s (such as your '05 S60) where the battery is in the trunk away from the heat of the engine bay, it is far from uncommon to see batteries last 10 years, I know of many folks that have had their battery last that long. Certainly not all last that long, but my general observation has been that since the P2 era, battery life has been steadily declining.
 

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Strange, I said it in the beginning of this thread but nobody seems to care. Sat-radio. I even send a “lawsuit link”...


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