14th Jun 2015, 22:35

When Volvo facelifted the S60 in 2004, the headlamp covers were changed from glass to plastic in common with many other manufacturers. Unfortunately, plastic lens do 'fog up', whereas the glass ones didn't. Every manufacturer seems to suffer this as I've seen this on Mercedes, Saab, Vauxhall and many others. I understand why they changed them, but it's a shame they don't stay clear for so long. The upshot is they don't fracture with stone chips, etc as the glass ones did, and are cheaper to produce amongst other things.

Sorry to hear you didn't fully enjoy your S60. I have two - a 300bhp R model and a D5 diesel model, and I think they are superb cars and so underrated on the marketplace today. I really can't see why people pay twice as much for an Audi or BMW. But then again, I value comfort and safety over sportiness, which probably explains it!

15th Jun 2015, 16:23

I like the idea of buying American; my first car was a Ford truck. But then I got Toyotas, Acuras and Hondas and that just sort of ruined American cars for me. American cars have improved ENORMOUSLY though over the past ten years. We are getting an SUV to replace the Volvo. My wife likes the Ford Edge and Consumer Reports gives it a thumbs up, so we are going to at least test-drive one.

Your comment regarding pointless/nonsense engineering sort of hit the nail on the head for me regarding our Volvo. When people ask us about our S60, we always call it "quirky". Nothing is straightforward about this car, at least to me. The self-dimming rear-view mirror is a great example of this. Cool feature I guess; only problem is they have an unfortunate habit of cracking or deforming. Replacement is about $700 at dealership -- for a rear-view mirror. If you want to swap it out with a spare part, it's impossible as it will immobilize the car. Same thing with the power seat module -- I've NEVER had a problem with a power seat working, even on my Acura with 162,000 miles, but with the Volvo, it just stops working. Want to fix it? Software upgrade of $250 (my original figure in review was wrong) is the probable culprit, but NO GUARANTEE that it will work. Then must replace the power seat module at more expense, which requires more software to integrate it with the anti-theft system. No trunk-release in the interior of the car; the only way to open it is using your awkward $500 switchblade key fob remote. PCV system is large and something I've never seen on any other car I've ever owned. Oil filter housing is semi-recessed, making hand-removal impossible.

We actually thought about replacing the S60 with a Volvo XC90, but our Volvo mechanic (30+ years of experience, revered in the area for his honesty and expertise) told me straight-up that he hates them and that they are a mess of problems. He bemoaned what has happened to Volvo in the last 15 years, and feels that Volvo's heyday is long past. When a Volvo expert tells you not to buy another Volvo, you know something is up.

15th Jun 2015, 16:42

Thanks for the comments. I think the earlier S60 headlights are glass and more durable. Still, I have a 2005 Honda Element with 108,000 miles with plastic headlights and they are clear. Maybe it's the factory Xenon lamps (which cost over $100 each by the way)? Who knows.

Tried the chemical sprays into the condenser. Helped somewhat, but the smell always returned within a month. Yet I've had Fords, Toyotas, Hondas, Acuras where this has never been a problem (and I live in a VERY arid climate too). Is the A/C system poorly designed or too complex? Who knows.

As for the turbo, I know these Mitsubishi turbos are rock-solid so it must have been abused. But the average driver isn't a grease-monkey who thinks about how to drive/maintain their car to keep the turbo happy. Sadly, according to my mechanic, if you simply follow the manufacturer's instructions on oil changes at the dealership, then you're courting disaster with your turbo. The Volvo service interval on oil changes is every 7,500 miles and claims that conventional dino oil will be used at the dealership unless synthetic is requested. That's nuts. My mechanic says you must religiously replace oil with Castrol Syntec every 4-5k to keep your turbo safe. I've never even heard about keeping revs low at cold temperature, but it makes sense.

I know about the control arms, they're on the list of needed repairs my mechanic gave me, along with struts, strut mounts, upcoming timing belt/water pump change, ignition immobilizer antenna ring and a host of other little things that are needed. Oh, also need new tires. I don't want to spend any more money on this car, so it's going.

I flushed/filled the transmission the day I got it with 48,000 miles on it. My neighbor has a 2005 S60 and put the fear of God in me after he said his transmission had to be replaced at 65,000 miles for about $6,000 because he followed Volvo recommendations and didn't change his fluid. I did the "Gibbons Method" with Mobil 3309 and I'm happy to report that my transmission has always been flawless. I hope it's the same for whoever ends up with this car though.

15th Jun 2015, 19:39

Re: the clouding headlamp polycarbonate lenses, from what I've read, it's UV that does it. Here in NZ, so many Japanese used imports have yellowed lenses. Besides the sun, you need to use "UV-cut" bulbs, not the normal halogens (if it's on halogen bulbs), that might help. I have a 2001 BMW 316TI with the plastic headlamp lenses, and they are very clear, and I park on the street during the daytime when I'm at work, so it's exposed to the sun (and UV is very strong in NZ).

15th Jun 2015, 22:05

Why do cars sold in America have to have such frequent oil changes? Here in the UK, the minimum is every 10,000 miles. A lot of manufacturers suggest 20k intervals. Is the oil of cheaper/inferior quality in the USA?

ALL modern cars seem to have their problems though. I have never had a rear view mirror go wrong in ANY of the Volvos I have owned (XC90, 4x S60s and V70). However, have had them fail in a Mercedes. I think your dealer may be ripping you off somewhat, as I have never heard of having to reprogram the software for a new seat or rear view mirror?

I wouldn't say my Volvos have all been faultless, but they have all been 100% reliable - I even sold one 2005 car with just under 300k miles and still going strong. Our XC has done 148k with no problems. I too thought about going Japanese, but they are all just soul destroying to drive - it's ALL about the reliability and ONLY that. Boring! Obviously I am in the UK and the American cars we get should have gone out of production about 10 years ago. Who knew car companies to be SO cheap at building cars!

Sorry to hear you're not sticking with Volvo. They have won me over - but all cars are personal choices and EVERYONE is different.