2003 Volvo S60 2.0 turbo from Sri Lanka


Solid car


Suspension parts, very common on Sri Lankan roads.

Faulty stereo.

Power steering pump makes a weird noise.

Other than that, nothing which I could describe as unreliable.

General Comments:

I bought this car after driving my friend's S60.

The ride quality is great. There is much less road noise.

The 5 cylinder engine is not the most refined, but gets decent gas mileage (because it's a manual).

The factory stereo and speakers are brilliant. You can turn the volume up a lot with no distortion.

The seats are the best I have sat on a car. Very comfortable and they have lots of adjustments.

It has lots of toys compared to other cars (dual zone climate control, telephone etc).

Overall it is a solid car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st December, 2014

21st Dec 2014, 20:34

The power steering pump gets noisy on Volvos, if the wrong fluid is used. The fluid must be the Pentosin CHF11s. An equivalent is the Prestone Power Steering Fluid for European Vehicles, which is synthetic.

2003 Volvo S60 2.4L from North America


Comfortable vehicle with a few design issues


A few light bulbs.

Digital dash clock problem - a common electronic issue.

General Comments:

Got this vehicle in pristine condition, despite the mileage.

A few points about this Volvo, an older model:

All three mirrors are too small, affecting rear visibility - a safety concern.

The trunk is deep, yet rear leg room is very short - they could have cut into the trunk size and increased the rear leg room.

Central arm rest is a thin plastic cover.

Otherwise a great package overall.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 19th May, 2013

7th Jun 2015, 16:50

I'm updating my review two years and 20000 miles later (I don't drive it too often).

Keeping in mind the first owner drove it gently and had it maintained by the Volvo dealer, the car was in a shape as good as one can find for a 100000 miles car. These cars will often times look almost like new at 100000 miles, but don't get mislead by the exterior/interior condition. There will be issues.

Here are the list of things that went bad since I've owned the car. I don't include here brakes (definitely source them aftermarket such as Akebono, as dealer quotes are too expensive) and timing belt (Continental and Gates are good replacement parts for the belt and pulleys).

- The shock absorbers front and rear are worn out and make the car ride harsh over street bumps. I'm about to replace them with original spec Sachs for $500 US parts only. Dealer costs for parts only (same Sachs product but badged Volvo) are around $800.

- The top strut bushing mount (the rubber part seen from under the hood that keeps the strut nut) as well as the top spring seat (a bearing) are worn. Replacements using good Lemfoerder parts (be aware that most other aftermarket parts fail very soon, sometimes in less than a year, as reported on several Internet forums) are about $50 for the strut mount each side and $100 for the spring seat each side, sourced off eBay.

- The front control arm bushings are torn, the whole control arm needs replaced. The aftermarket bushings are well known for failing very soon, so I'm going with original replacement parts again, Lemfoerder at $150 each side. Sourced them off the U.K. eBay site. For original parts at a Volvo dealer, add a few hundreds extra.

- The fan blower inside the car got noisy on cold days; replaced with a used part off eBay.

- The radiator fan relay failed; replaced with a used part again (or $500 part cost at Volvo dealer).

- Inner door handle broke, dealer wants $400 for the whole door panel. I removed the panel and fixed with some wire - Google it about the fix.

- A/C stopped blowing cold air after driving for a few minutes. Replacing the A/C compressor is around $1500 at the Volvo dealer. Instead, I inserted myself a few shims and it works great again - again Google about this fix.

- The power steering pump has a small leak (not a problem) and the steering is a bit hard. There is a coupler on the steering shaft that can seize, and the power steering pump also is a bit worn out, not giving enough pressure. Not fixed yet, will probably get a used pump from a car with lower miles. Refurbished pumps don't always work well.

- As mentioned, the instruments display (the panel with the gauges behind the steering wheel, also called DIM) failed. This will fail on all 2002 and 2003 models. Dealer quote is $1200 for a new panel. Instead, I used a torx screwdriver and removed the panel and sent it to a TV repair show (or eBay DIM repair service) for around $100. Works fine now.

- Replaced the thermostat housing. $100 off eBay (sold only complete with the housing), Beck & Arnley part.

- The first owner had already replaced the PCV box. A very common issue above 80000 miles, causing engine seals to fail and leak oil. About a $1200 fix at a Volvo dealer.

- The first owner did never replace the transmission fluid. There is a hard up-shift from 2nd to 3rd gear and a hard down-shift from 2nd to 1st gear, especially when I stop the car while going up on an incline. This is because the three main solenoids inside the transmission are clogged with debris from old fluid and don't shift well. Can be solved only by removing the solenoids (about a 1 hour job) and replacing them with new parts sold around $200 off eBay. Same parts as for the Nissan Maxima, by the way; it uses the same transmission.

That's pretty much it. As you see, there are a lot of quirks, and from my reading on forums, all these issues are typical to all S60/V70 owners with similar miles. Still, I did not have issues with other components, so as long as the car can be repaired at a reasonable price, I think it's worth buying it, as compared with the competition.