1999 Volvo S80 2.4 5 cylinder petrol from UK and Ireland


Electrical system is a disaster. Stay away


Engine died on three separate occasions. Once while turning right and accelerating over a small bump, once when going over speed bump and the last time when I was doing 120 kph on the motorway and hit a small bump. Each time I had the following error: "Electronic System Service Required" and "STC Service Required"

On all three occasions I lost power-steering, brakes etc, so it's really rather dangerous. On each occasion I had to have the car towed to a Volvo dealer, and on each occasion they told me it was fixed, but in reality they had no idea what the problem was, and they charged me each time even though it was not fixed.

After extensive research by myself, I found that the potentiometers in the electronic throttle module wears out on almost every S80 between 1999 and 2001. This can cause MANY various error messages to appear, including the "Emissions warning light" to light up on the dash.

In the USA and Sweden, Volvo offered to replace this unit and extend the warranty on it to 10 years. Unfortunately in Ireland they do not offer this, so I will have to purchase the unit at a cost of over €1,000.

Also, the ABS / STC control module is prone to errors, and this unit is also very expensive to replace.

I wish I knew about these problems before I bought the car.

General Comments:

To sum up this car in one sentence, I would say it is the most unreliable car I have ever owned, and my advice is to stay well away from the S80 between the years of 1999 to 2001.

Trust me, you will have problems with it. Mechanically all seems to be fine with the Volvo, but the electrical system is of extremely poor quality.

The modules wear out and break very quickly, and they are very expensive to replace.

I am lucky not to have crashed three times when the engine died when I was driving at speed.

Stay away from the S80.

The only positive I can think of is that the seats are very comfortable.

I have had various problems with this car, every week there is a new problem to fix.

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

Review Date: 13th November, 2008

5th Jan 2009, 15:34

Quick fix.

I have recently acquired a Volvo S80 1999 2.4 5 cylinder and seemed to have similar problems.

I traced the problem to the main engine fuse box and replaced the relays.

In addition to this, I keep the fuse box free from moisture by applying wd40 or damp start. This has worked a treat!

I know that this can be looked at as a temporary solution but it worked for me.

My car has done 136000 miles and drives like a dream. Whats not to like? It's stylish, powerful, smooth and safe. Occasional tinkering makes it more fun.

1999 Volvo S80 from North America


Safety first!


Service engine lights were a bit testy...

General Comments:

I had this car for one month after making an upgrade from an older Toyota Celica.

I read the reviews on this site... weighed my options... as someone trained in research I know that self-respondent websites usually only get comments from extremes. That is, people who either hate it or love it with most people in the middle not passionate enough to bother posting.

SO I decided all the negative nancys here were just those who happened to have all the problems.

That said, in the month I had the car there were a few tiny glitches. A fuse that I changed easily by myself. An engine service recommended light that liked to come on and off (regularly scheduled maintenance?). Other than that things worked fine. And I absolutely loved the performance of the engine, the interior features, the delicious sounding stereo, the heated seats on a cold morning...

So why on earth am I writing a post then?

At the end of that first month I got in a horrible car accident going head-on into a Chevy Tahoe that jumped out of a driveway into my lane. The driver and passengers of that Tahoe all went to the hospital... the S80 was totaled beyond belief... and I had only a small bruise on my forearm.

So now I am the extreme on this website. The extremely positive. If I had had problems here and there and repairs or overly expensive parts... WHO GIVES A CRAP! I will pay for more expensive parts if it can save your life. Or even just save you from whiplash (yes, the car protects against that)... or to holding the cabin intact with extra strength protection... or top and bottom side air bags to cradle you in the accident...

Maybe other cars have these features now, but for my price this is the safest and nicest car possible. I would highly recommend it to anyone who finds it important to protect the contents of your car, be it you or other loved ones.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th April, 2008

6th Jan 2009, 13:23

Absolutely spot on! I couldn't agree more!

8th Jul 2009, 07:48

I do agree with the importance of safety. I have to say though, if a car is as unreliable as the S80 was for me, the majority of the time your very precious safe car will be in the garage and you'll be driving a small Japanese car with no airbags, because that's the loan vehicle you become so well acquainted with.

I loved the S80 and its safety air curtains; it was a beautiful car, but owning it was an absolute nightmare.