My xc90 T8 won't start in spite of being freshly charged. The instruments power on as normal but the car/engine won't

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Customer: Hello, my xc90 T8 won't start in spite of being freshly charged. The instruments power on as normal but the car/engine won't turn on. The gear indicator doesn't show as normal. I've tried both keys in case the key battery was flat - no difference. Any ideas? Never had this issue before
JA: Hi there. How long have you had problems starting the vehicle? Do any lights still turn on?
Customer: Just tried today. Yes the instruments power on as normal, but only partially in that when I try to engage gear (still in electric mode), nothing happens and the gear indicator in the instrument cluster does not light up
JA: What year is your XC90?
Customer: 2016
JA: Is there anything else the Volvo Mechanic should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Don't think so. Has been operating normally up to last night
Answered by Matt in 8 hours 1 year ago
8+ years of experience

36,802 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Automotive Mechanic, Small Engine Repairs, Auto Body Repairs, Diesel Engine Repairs

Hello & welcome to Just answer

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been an automotive engineer since 1996 so hopefully I can help
Sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with your vehicle, it’s certainly frustrating when this happens as it rarely occurs at a convenient time.
May I ask with whom I am speaking today?

If the car's not cranking then first check it can turned over by hand by using a socket on the crank pulley nut, so double checking for any mechanical issues
If OK then check that the main battery cables are on tight and the terminals are clean and bright. Do the same for the engine / gearbox earth strap.
Then follow the main positive lead back to the engine and down to the starter motor, and check the connection at this end as well. Ideally use a multimeter to measure the main power lead resistance as it should be no more than 3 ohms if it is then replace it with a new part

Then use a voltmeter to measure the battery voltage as it should be at least 12V with the ignition on and not drop below 9V when you're trying to crank / start the engine

There should also be a small wire to the motor which should have 12V when you're turning the ignition switch/ pushing the start button to crank. If the 12V isn't there, check back along this wire for damage to the insulation or corroded connections

This 12V feed comes directly from the ignition switch/ starter button so this may be faulty and need replacing

Check the resistance of the main positive lead that runs down to the motor as anything more than a few ohms and it should be replaced
Don't forget to try a jump start from another car / battery as its possible the battery is poor, if you have a voltmeter a healthy battery should read 12.7+V

Also try substituting the battery for another as I've known a very flat battery to drag down the system voltage too far even with jump cables
one other thing to consider is that the immobiliser is faulty and preventing the starter from being enabled - however if the dash / ignition lights are on then this usually means that its off
If this is all OK then its possible the car needs a new starter motor

Hello Matt, Jeremy here. Just got to your email (7am here). I don't think its an ignition or starter motor issue. This is the hybrid Volvo XC90 T8 model. When you first start the vehicle it normally only engages the electric motor. However in this case its not getting to the point where it actually engages. Foot on brake, twist the 'On' knob and the instruments light up, dials turn round, then instead of gear select indicator lighting up the dials turn back to zero and nothing happens. Key batteries fine. Just come off charge so battery should be fine.
I googled and found this blog with similar issue, which may help . Problem is NZ has just gone into total Covid lockdown and the local Volvo dealer won't be able to assist at the moment as they are not open

Hello Jeremy

Thanks for the extra information, I'd agree that resetting the car is well worth a try and cannot do any harm

can you locate the fuse 11 in the underbonnet fusebox and remove it for a few minutes  to see if that helps?

I've just removed for 5min and replaced again. No change unfortunately
Fuse 11 is for the charging unit according to the handbook, which does makes sense. Any ideas?

OK next step would be to disconnect the 12V battery and then press the brake pedal down for a few seconds to reset the car

Its also possible that the issue is with the steering lock as this is supposed to communicate with the ECU to allow it to start

this sadly needs dealer level software to interface with it and re-programme it if thats the case

OK, will try later in morning and lyk if it works

Understood good luck

Hello Matt. Talked to the Volvo service mgr. He said only thing to try is to charge the 12v starter battery overnight in case it has little or no charge. Failing this the dealer will have to collect and sort with diagnostics etc.
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