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Volvo Coolant Questions

Is your Volvo losing coolant? Are you having issues with your air conditioner and wonder if it has to do with low coolant? Do you need to know if it is safe is it to drive after a ‘low coolant’ warning?

Automobile coolant comprises a mix of ethylene glycol, a chemical additive package which includes inorganic corrosion inhibitors and water. Many owner/drivers have misconceptions about the cooling system. To clarify doubts and for coolant solutions Experts can help with questions such as the ones above. Read below to see what Experts have answered to some questions asked.

Will the washer fluid reservoir need replacement on a Volvo V70 with only 79,000 miles on it and isn’t it too soon for a coolant leak?

A washer fluid reservoir becomes hard and brittle with age and might break or develop a crack, so there’s nothing unusual about having to replace it. Coolant however could leak from a hole/rupture anywhere in the system. One will have to trace the source of the leak which could be from the heater hoses, thermostat, heater core, water pump and other locations including the coolant reservoir tank. It is impossible to hazard a guess without a thorough inspection. Both coolant and washer fluid reservoirs tend to crack more in colder weather. It’s rare but not unheard of to experience a coolant leak under 79,000 miles.

Is it safe to drive a Volvo XC90 which displays a ‘low coolant’ warning only on start-up and which goes off when driving?

Yes it is provided one checks if the coolant level is OK. The reservoir has a coolant level sensor at the bottom which is known to fail frequently and deliver a false reading even though the level is perfect. The sensor is misleading because it turns the indicator light on. If there are no visible leaks it is perfectly safe to drive this car.

Repairing the coolant sensor is easy and takes just a few minutes. Another recommendation is always use Volvo brand coolant.

Will low coolant on a Volvo S80 result in warm air from the AC?

Coolant has no direct connection with the AC but it does impact the cooling fan. If the cooling fan does not come in at the right time it will shut down the compressor. Low coolant, under certain situations, will cause a vehicle to warm up and shut off its AC compressor. If the compressor starts and stops it could be that the coolant is at marginal level.

Where could a strong coolant leak start from on a Volvo 850 as it is not apparent anywhere?

Take a look at the water pump which might be the source. Another suspect area difficult to identify is the thermostat which sometimes leaks allowing coolant to trickle all the way and drip from the back of the engine.

In an emergency can distilled water be used to top up the coolant till regular coolant becomes available?

If the level is marginally low, distilled water can be used as an emergency measure. But if the level is significantly low then this is not acceptable and the car should not be driven till the source of the leak is identified, stopped and replaced with regular coolant.

When using a coolant of a general brand one has to be careful that it is compatible with the Volvo. For example some coolants are only suitable with aluminum radiators and could cause damage to copper and brass fittings. It’s always safe to use a Volvo brand coolant on Volvo cars. For help on Volvo coolant problems always consult an Expert.
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