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Edward, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Volvo
Satisfied Customers: 3153
Experience:  I've had 10 years of experience on the car line at 2 Volvo dealerships, Quality level Volvo tech.
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Volvo S40: How much does a software update cost on a 2005 s40?

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How much does a software update cost on a 2005 s40? Does one have to go to a volvo dealership to get this done? what kind of problems can arise from not having the update done?
Hello, I will try to help, Your Volvo has numerous modules that have software loaded into them to make them function, from the radio, to the climate control, to the engine and transmission modules they are on a system called the CAN network. (Controller area network) A software upgrade is somewhat similar to servicing a home's computer's software such as defrag, temp file delete and cleaning the hard drive. If you are experiencing any drivability or electronic problems with the vehicle, then it may benefit having the latest software that Volvo's engineers have designed to run the modules. A total upgrade, (meaning ALL of the software upgrades for every module on your car) should be 200$ or less. We charge 1 hour labor and it takes about 1/2 that actually to download the software into the vehicle. it's not a hard job at all and only involes hooking up one cable to the data link connector. There are individual software packs (one for each module). But if you were going to get the software upgraded, then I would request the TOTAL upgrade, which includes all the updates available for the vehicle. If you are not experiencing any quirky electrical or drivability problems, then I would refrain from upgrading the software as it is used to basically "tune" the network.
Here is an interesting link that explains from Volvo about software upgrades.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you - this helps me understand a bit. My car is 2005 and has very low miles (43,000) but I sometimes feel the transmission sticks when it is changing gears on a few occassions. At the dealership I expressed my concern about this but I believe "if" they drove it they did not see anything wrong with the transmission and that is what they told me. If it is just radio, climate then I will not do the upgrade but if may be causing an issue with the transmission, maybe I should?

The dealership also told me that on a volvo the transmission fluid does not need to be flushed. Is this correct?

Volvo does state that the transmission oil is for life. That means that the fluid condition is suppose to outlast the transmission components. There are conflicting opinions on this topic and it really depends on who you ask. Some mechanics will say transmission oil needs to be changed in the unit for best operation. personally I believe that Volvo has tested their transmissions and have found that the transmission will wear the internal components the same with or without servicing the transmission. I have seen transmissions get 200,000+ miles on them without servicing. So knowing that. I have to stick with Volvo's theory of do not service it.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you. You have been extremely helpful. I think I will postpone the upgrade for now but just need to know if I do decide to do the software upgrade, does it have to be done at a volvo dealership?
Some independent shops have acquired the necessary equipment to do software installs on your Volvo. But most have not, it takes a lot of money to invest to be able to do that operation. You can call your most prominent local import shop and ask them if they can do that. But alot of independent shops just don't have the budget to invest in equipment to be able to perform that operation.
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