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Andy
Andy, Volvo Expert Technician
Category: Volvo
Satisfied Customers: 3782
Experience:  One of only a handful of ACTUAL Volvo dealership technicians on JA, ASE Master Certified with L1
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My Volvo is having trouble starting, usually in cold. It

Customer Question

Hey Mike, my Volvo is having trouble starting, usually in cold. It turns, the batter is a year old and the alternator is less than three. It will start... but Ive usually tried to start it like six times. Right about the Ive flooded it, or the battery's going to keel it will sputter on. It also has a reduced engine performance light that will be on when its startinf then go away. It drives fine when it starts.... like what the heck???!!!
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Volvo
Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

Hi Amanda,

My name is ***** ***** I am a Volvo dealership technician. I am going to try to help with your question today. When you are cranking it, does the RPM needle jump and bounce around?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
not sure, not that noticed
Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

Okay, does the problem seem to only happen after the car sits for a while or does that not seem to matter?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
If its warmed up it seems to work fine. today after started it it had the power steering warning off. I feel thats more to do with me trying so many times to start it though
Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

That car doesn't have a power steering system that would set that warning message. Did it by chance say "power system service required"?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
yep, you got it! sorry
Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

Okay, no problem. Just wanted to make sure so we're on the same page. That message come on while the car was running? Did the message go away?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
No and it was the first time I had seen it
Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

Okay, thank you. First, the "Reduced Engine Performance" and the hard start. These are likely related, which you probably already assumed. Because that warning message comes up, there are fault codes stored that would need to be read to give a better idea as to the cause. But based on what I have seen, that warning message is usually either related to the throttle body or a bad RPM sensor. A bad RPM sensor would cause the tachometer needle to bounce and jump while cranking, which is why I asked about that. If that isn't happening, you most likely have a throttle related problem, which is pretty common on that model. Sometimes the throttle just needs to be cleaned. Other times it needs replacement. I have also seen problems with the electrical connection at the throttle and/or ECM. Volvo sells a new harness to go between the two for this problem.

Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

The "Power System Service Required" warning message is for the charging system, and means the alternator is not charging. I know you mentioned it was replaced before. Was it a Volvo alternator or an aftermarket one?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I'm not sure, the car was my dads then. I think he said it was a volvo one.
Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

If the light is staying on while driving, the alternator would need to be checked. Make sure the serpentine belt is in tact and if so, then there is probably a problem with the alternator. I've seen plenty of cheap aftermarket ones fail rather quickly, but not the Volvo ones. Anything is possible, of course.

Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

Do you have a Volvo dealer nearby?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Theres one around minnetonka mn, thats about 30 to 40 minutes from me.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
My Dad said it would be a good idea to have them read the codes, but they charge 150 for it.
Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

Volvo has a program called Volvo Service Advantage which is free to all Volvo owner's. It includes free diagnostics for warning lights. So if you have a dealer nearby, you can have them diagnose the warning messages for no charge without obligation. However, if the Power System Service Required message is staying on, driving the car with it on will wear down the battery and could cause you to get stranded

Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

Some auto parts stores will also read codes for free, but their generic scanners may not be able to read all fault codes.

Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

Click here for info on Volvo Service Advantage

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I see, could the power systems code have been trigger by the hard start?
Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

Not likely. Unless the constant cranking wore down the battery, which then caused the alternator to struggle to recharge it.

Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

I show Borton Volvo is about 7 miles from Minnetonka.

Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.
br />Golden Valley, MN 55426(###) ###-####/p>
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Yep thats the one, I just couldn't remember the name
Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

They would be your best bet because the diagnostic equipment we have at the dealer can read all fault codes in all systems. If there is a low voltage issue caused by an alternator problem, it can cause other warnings to come on. However, because the Power System Service Required message came on after the Reduced Engine Performance warning, I don't think that is the case.

Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

Let me know if you have any other questions. If you find a local auto parts store that can scan the codes, you can post them here and I might be able to narrow it down some more. Please remember to select a rating for my service at the top of your screen. You can always follow up at any time.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Okay, thank you. I will reach out when I can in the next week.
Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

Hello,

I'm just checking back to see if you had any other questions. Let me know how i can help. Please remember to select a rating for my service, as that is the only way we are credited here. You can always follow up at any time. Thank you.

Expert:  Andy replied 11 months ago.

Hello,

It has been a couple weeks and I have not heard back. Did you still need help with this?

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