Piston Slap: Goodwill Repair, Goodwill Replace Again?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Ed Writes:


I bought a 2012 Volvo S60 originally, but there was an ongoing issue the dealer could not fix. Amazingly, it offered to replace the car with a 2013 model after about 10 months of trying to fix the issue (at no cost to me). So, kudos to the dealership — I obviously feel like they did me a solid.

Fast forward to today and my 2013 S60 now has 60,000 on the odometer. During the last oil change cycle, I got a “low oil” warning pop up for the first time around 55,000 miles. I pulled over and the car was almost bone dry. I put in a couple of quarts and called the dealership. Since it was close to the oil change time, they asked that I just bring it in for a quick look and oil change. I did so, and now, just 3,500 miles after that dealership visit, I noticed my oil level has gone from the top of the “normal” range on the dipstick to the bottom. At this rate, my oil level will return to bone dry again in the next 1,000-2,000 miles.

On the Volvo forums there are a number 2012 models with oil burning issues and it looks like the dealers are all over the place when dealing with this issue, especially with cars that are out of warranty (in terms of goodwill assistance). So, do I press my luck and see what the dealership will do to help here or just trade it in for another car and keep quiet about the issue, considering their past goodwill towards me?

From what I read, it seems like the first step is a ring replacement ($3k) and if that doesn’t work, an engine replacement ($$$). Any thoughts?

Sajeev answers:

Too much time has passed to get another brand new car for nothing, but I’m optimistic you’ll get a sweet deal to remain a Volvo loyalist. Because you are a good customer (to both the Volvo brand and that dealer), and those folks regularly get goodwill repairs.

Let’s describe a typical “good” customer: they buy cars at Volvo-franchised sales and come back for service, aren’t rude to employees, wait patiently for a resolution as it goes up the chain of command, etc. “Bad” customers buy a used from a non-Volvo dealer, only come in for recalls/ groupons and are rude to dealership/Volvo corporate staff.

Sure, it’s rarely that cut and dried…but loyalty has its benefits.

So talk to the Service Manager about how much “goodwill” they can do for you once more. Maybe ask to talk to the General Manager/Dealer Principal and see how they can handle this internally and with Volvo USA. And, as I said in my reply to your email, do it sooner rather than later.

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

Remember, Ed’s technical problem is irrelevant. Many (most?) people buy a car as a single unit; they aren’t marketed as hackable/repairable by the owner. So the oil consumption remedy isn’t something most folks wanna tackle after a mere 60k on the clock. This is purely a customer service concern, and hopefully we can collectively find the best way to get what you deserve.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Skloon Skloon on Jul 23, 2017

    my volvo has a similar issue, uses one litre about every 1200km, mind you it does have 435000km on it

  • Tjh8402 Tjh8402 on Jul 23, 2017

    I have a 500 Abarth, and According to Fiat consuming a qt of oil every 750 miles on an engine over 50k miles is considered acceptable. that drops to 500 miles if the engine is being driven hard all the time. I believe Audi and BMW list similar numbers, so Volvo may consider this normal.

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