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Andy, Volvo Expert Technician
Category: Volvo
Satisfied Customers: 3712
Experience:  One of only a handful of ACTUAL Volvo dealership technicians on JA, ASE Master Certified with L1
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2001 volvo s80: the dash says urgent transmission service

Customer Question

I have a 2001 volvo s80 2.9L. the message on the dash says urgent transmission service. It also feels like its stuck in 3rd gear all the time. Also, the oil pressure light comes on at idle, and the check engine light is on all the time. can you tell me what is going on?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Volvo
Expert:  Andy replied 4 years ago.

Andy :


Andy :

How many miles are on the car?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Expert:  Andy replied 4 years ago.

I'm not sure why the chat closed, but we can continue this way.


There are a couple of different problems here. First, the transmission warning message. This is caused when the transmission control module detects a fault in the system. This could be anything from a bad speed sensor, wiring problem, shift solenoid problem, internal slippage of the transmission, etc. This is causing the transmission to go into what is called "Limp Home Mode", which keeps it in third gear to prevent damage. You need to have the trouble codes read in order to have an idea of what is going on. I will say, however, that those transmissions have seen quite a few problems, though mostly in the XC90s.


The low oil pressure light and check engine light are likely related. Low oil pressure can be caused by clogged oil passages in the engine due to sludge. The engine is equipped with Continuously Variable Valve Timing. This system uses oil pressure to change cam timing based on engine load. Because it runs on oil pressure, if there is a restriction, the CVVT solenoid won't function properly and this can cause the check engine light. Again, codes will need to be read in order to know which direction to go with diagnosis. In the meantime, make sure the oil level is full and clean.


Volvo has a new service program called "Volvo Service For Life", which gives the customer up to one hour of free diagnostics for any warning light or warning message. I would recommend taking advantage of this program to have one of these lights diagnosed. Since they are separate systems, they may charge 1 hour to look at the other warning message. But if its something relatively easy, they may not charge the hour once they read the codes to have a better idea what is going on.


Let me know if you have any other questions.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
if i could get you the codes, would that help you be more specific in your response? The transmission is of the biggest concern to me. I do not have any access to a Volvo Dealership.
Expert:  Andy replied 4 years ago.
Yes, the codes will certainly help narrow it down. The problem is not all shops have a scanner capable of communicating with the Transmission Control Module. Some auto parts stores, like Autozone, use generic scanners for check engine lights. Those codes might be useful for the check engine light/oil pressure problem but they will not help diagnose the transmission warning message.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

ok, then i will get back to you tomorrow with the codes. thanks

Expert:  Andy replied 4 years ago.
Any luck with getting the codes?

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