By on July 19, 2019

Caroline Writes:

Good day Sajeev:

I was blessed to find your information on line.  I am experiencing the exact issues mentioned on your site regarding my 2013 Volvo S60. Do you have any advice regarding the best way to handle this matter? Here are the details:

November 2015, I purchased a used 2013 Volvo S60 with 33,000 miles from a Volvo dealer. The car worked fine, within the last year (2018) the synthetic oil started burning out within 60-90 days. Synthetic oil changes are supposed to last for 7k miles. (my oil changes didn’t last for 1,000 mi). I have taken my car for servicing at the Volvo dealer. I searched the web and found my issue is a common issue with Volvo: Piston, Oil leaking, engine problems. There has not been a recall.

Dealer states they will cover parts, but I must pay $2900 for service hours. Why should I suffer penalty of $2900 for an international issue with the make and model of Volvo?

Sajeev answers:

The short answer: you’re paying for labor on the engine rebuild because Volvo isn’t convinced (so to speak) to issue a recall.  But hopefully the dealer is also discounting their labor rate, so ask before committing.

The long answer?

Looking from the outside, goodwill repairs are far from a black and white set of rules for dealers and/or manufacturers.  And perhaps your resolution also differs from Ed’s more pleasant experience (Part I) because he bought a new Volvo? All we can do is read between the lines: add this to the recent pressure Volvo’s feeling (making electric cars ain’t cheap, trade wars are no fun, etc) and the reality is not everyone prioritizes goodwill repairs equally.

Here’s a fun quote from an article about dealership audits:

“As we all know, manufacturers have tightened their financial belts and one of their favorite ways to address cash losses is warranty issues.”

More to the point, the threat of an audit must terrify any dealership. Not everyone’s gonna win in this game, so pay for the repair or trade it in: trade-ins become auction fodder for the experienced types aware of a vehicle’s pitfalls, and bid accordingly. That’s how the game is played.

Used cars (at the retail level) are always a risk, so should we consider the depth/breadth of manufacturer goodwill in our purchases?

Send your queries to [email protected]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. 

 

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53 Comments on “Piston Slap: Goodwill Repair, Goodwill Replace Again? (PART II)...”


  • avatar
    sirwired

    Really Short Answer: The vehicle has a warranty. This repair falls outside of it. The length of the warranty is expressed as years/miles, not “years/miles/how much it annoys you to pay for the repair/a bunch of people had to make the same repair”. If the manufacturer decides to cover anyway, great. But “no” is a perfectly normal answer to that.

    If you want a longer warranty, you can usually purchase a longer one at time of purchase.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Agreed ~ bite the bullet or dump it .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Jon

    This is a direct result of prolonged/extended oil change intervals. Just because the manufacturer recommends it, does not mean it is a good idea/practice.

    Metal on metal contact requires CLEEEEEAN lubrication to maintain tolerances. Not 5000+ mile oil.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      It has more to do with modern low displacement boosted engines. Low tension piston rings for added fuel economy. This is the way the industry is going.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “This is a direct result of prolonged/extended oil change intervals. ”

      At this point we don’t know that the original owner ever changed the oil at all. That’s why used cars aren’t quite the slam dunk deal many here seem to think they are.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        “That’s why used cars aren’t quite the slam dunk deal many here seem to think they are.”

        Wait, what ? .

        A used motor vehicle is cheaper to buy then you $pend far more over time trying to make it into the silk purse it never was but you wanted it to be….

        Everyone knows this, right ? .

        Just look at the junk I get buried in every time .

        At least I’m happy, this takes us back to the basic thing : do you like the car ? .

        If so, pay the $3K, drive happy and shaddap .

        I do understand that perhaps modern Volvos are not the stodgy but reliable ones I grew up with, owned and had to sell because TOO DAMN STODGY .

        -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Deontologist

      The word isn’t tolerances. It’s clearances.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    She doesn’t say how many miles are on the car now – it had 33k in November, 2015, so is it now 63k, or 73k, or 83k? Or more? If she wanted something kinda luxurious, and reliable, she should have bought an Avalon, not this.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    My point was :

    If you can get a rebuilt engine for $3,000 and you like the car, it makes good economic sense .

    If not, maybe the Volvo isn’t the brand you need to be driving .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    SavageATL

    Personally, the fact that a 6 year old car requires major engine work does not inspire confidence in the vehicle or the manufacturer. What else is going to go expensively wrong with this car? This is showing all the signs of being a money pit.

    The car is worthless without the work being done, so I’d have it done, but immediately dump it.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2019/07/2019-volvo-s60-t6-awd-r-design-review-one-sweet-swede/#comment-9774128

      My comment from yesterday supports your statement. I’d trade the thing without putting a dime into it.

  • avatar
    MBella

    First, how much oil is it using? Oil change intervals don’t mean you might not have to top up oil in between. 1 quart per 1,000 miles is the industry excepted rate. That might seem high, but it is what it is. These modern turbo engines combined with low tension piston rings all have greater oil consumption than what customers were used to previously.

    Good will depends on many factors. The dealer is usually allocated a certain amount of good will dollars. How good of a customer you are will determine how much they are willing to help. You bought it from a Volvo dealer. Was it CPO? Is it the same dealer that you service the vehicle at, and the same dealer you want to have the engine repair performed at? Have you been performing all manufacturer services on time and at that dealer? Etc… Everything gets looked at to make a decision.

    • 0 avatar

      MBella, it has nothing to do with turbo. Last five years I had two Fusion with 2.0 Ecoboost and none of them consumed any noticeable amount of oil, literally. I changed oil every 7500 miles with what Ford recommended: 5W30 synthetic blend. I had first Fusion for 4 years and 60K miles and never topped up oil during any of 7500 intervals. So it is how Volvo designs engines and not because of turbo.

      Regarding Volvo cars in general from what I know from my friends and their experience (frustration) with their Volvos I would never recommend to buy new and especially do not buy used Volvos, never ever. If you cannot live without Volvo – lease it or dump it after warranty expires. Volvo is a small company that barely survives. Do not expect good will or engineering miracles from them.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I own 2 ecoboosts and no, they don’t use any noticable amount of oil between changes. The last car I had that used any oil was a gen 1 Saturn, which was known for this.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        The low tension oil ring issues MBella’s talking about don’t always manifest right out of the box. Many times they work just fine until somewhere in the seventy-five to one hundred thousand mile range, at which point all of the oil vanishes between oil changes and you start getting misfire codes because of spark-plug oiling.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          Todd is right. They’ll usually be fine until they’re not. There are also going to be differences between manufacturers as well. Maybe Ford was a bit more conservative and uses a a tighter set of piston rings than has become industry normal. That I can’t answer. I do know that if you Google it, you will find plenty of examples even with Ford Ecoboost engines. The point is this is where the industry is going. The days of the engine internals going 200k+ miles trouble free appear to be over.

          • 0 avatar

            This issue barely matters, at least for me, because Fusion was the last ICE car I bought. For ICE is quickly becoming thing of the the past. ICE era is certainly draws to close. My next car will be BEV.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            If you can make a BEV work for you, more power to you. There’s some nice ones coming out. That being said, ICE engines will be here to stay for a while. Most predictions expect the number of ICe and BEV vehicles sold to be cross around 2045-2050. It’s still a higher number than the total amount of cars sold today.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      1000m/qt is 4000mpg. I just can’t get excited about that at all. Even expensive synthetic oil is cheap in the long run. You can buy a LOT of oil for $2900.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Here’s a missing piece of info: will the dealer warranty the work, and if so, can the warranty be passed on to the next buyer?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Lesson learned:

    1) Change oil at 5,500 mile intervals even if using synthetic (although good conventional oils are now also blended and at least 85% as good as synthetics in terms of OIC capability), and not the crazy 7,000-10,000 mile intervals many manufacturers are recommending.

    2) If your vehicle is “consuming” more than 1/4 quart of oil per 1,000 miles, there is a major problem, no matter what any dealership tells you nor what HQ of the manufacturer states\'(disregard the “within spec” B.S.).

    3) All of the ancillary complexities involved with increasingly common turbocharging of relatively smaller displacement engines in modern vehicles makes #1 and #2 doubly true/important.

    4) Volvo makes some real hot garbage and hasn’t transition well from the relatively simple’and robust Volvo of yore, that many came to know and love, to the modern iteration (Volvo is now even m more the disposable garbage now under Geely ownership – big surprise – they are to be leased, not bought .for the long haul, from now on).

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      The “simple Volvos of yore” got to be solid cars in part from sharing engines with boats, tractors, howitzers, and a number of other more industrial areas.

      By the 90’s we got some good if not slow cars. Then they were shoved aside for the 850 and a Mitusbishi. Thats about when Volvos became disposable.

      Incidently its also when Volvo cars no longer shared engines with Volvo Penta or their other branches. Instead mostly pumping out interference timing belt time bombs.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I owned a ’92 740 base wagon.

        Take it from me, the whole “Volvos are bulletproof” thing is a bit overhyped, to be polite. It ran, but some stuff fell off, other stuff stopped working, and all of it cost lots of money to fix.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Please do tell more, I can already guess that the AC went out and the interior fell to pieces (a weak spot on the 7-9 series).

          I havent owned a redblock for years now, but I do stick around in places to help out owners. Many of them end up in that same situation.

          Parts are stupid expensive at times too, ever seen a non-classic car where a set up hubcaps can cost more than $100? Or tiny bits of plastic can fetch $300?

          I still got a fuel pump, relays, gaskets, all of it extra parts that were given to me with the other cars. If anyone near me had one of these cars I’d just give it away.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “Used cars (at the retail level) are always a risk, so should we consider the depth/breadth of manufacturer goodwill in our purchases?”

    Exactly. Do we know that the original owner ever changed the oil? Did she think buying a used car was some kind of deal? It’s not. You get what you pay for.

  • avatar
    EAF

    Caroline, the dealership agrees it is a piston ring issue?

    These were known for sludging PCV systems that cause excessive oil consumption as well. There will be other symptoms, idle issues, whistling noises, oil leaks, difficulty in removing oil cap while engine is running (some examples).

    PCV service requires intake manifold removal & possibly oil pan if passages are clogged.

    If the PCV is not suspected I agree with everyone above, trade it in on a Toyota.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    p.s. –

    5) Call a good attorney who specializes, at least in one area, in automotive related defects (aka “lemon law”). Even if the vehicle is not new, thus not falling under most states’ protections via “lemon laws,” if a manufacturer has a known manufacturing and/or design defect, especially as evidenced by a mountain of TSBs for the duplicative issue, there are other avenues of legal recourse to obtain an equitable, legal remedy (this is especially true where the manufacturer specifically intended to bury a know, major problem with a large volume manufacturer-to-dealer TSBs, rather than issue a recall).

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      You’re not doing her any favors by giving her false hope.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Todd’s got this one.

        All DeadWeight’s advice will lead to is arbitration (lol) and the same repair being needed after a long fruitless fight.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          Also, perspective. $3,000 is a kick in the nuts by ‘maintain my five year old car’ expectations.

          In the legal world $3,000 out of pocket is only just getting started.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          …All DeadWeight’s advice will lead to is arbitration (lol)…

          Sadly, arbitration is being used to eliminate access to the legal system. Almost everything now has those stupid clauses that you have no choice to accept. This recently came to a head with the banking industry. The Senate was split 50-50 and predictably Mike Pence came down on the side of the wealthy banking industry to the detriment of everybody else. This was the first real legislative issue for the trump administration and it certainly was the canary in the coal mine for the future.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        “You’re not doing her any favors by giving her false hope.”

        ? Do you ever say anything not negative ? .

        I didn’t think so .

        -Nate

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    My 1975 245DL developed a leak at the fuel tank drain plug, because the bung in the tank cracked. This was the subject of a recall in 1977.

    However, the cracks developed in 2003. Volvo performed the recall work free of charge, despite the fact that recalls are only required to be done for 10 years after the recall is issued.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    eggsalad: That was the old, better Volvo, where in addition to building stout, reliable vehicles, there a priority in treating customers with respect, as valuable clients, who paid good money for their products, and for which their was also recognition that goodwill takes many decades to build, and mere years to destroy.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Although they dragged their feet way too long in recognizing the problem, and there shouldn’t have been a problem in the first place, contrast this with Hyundai’s engine issues.

    I’m a member on a few Hyundai forums, and Hyundai is replacing engines WAY beyond the initial warranty. They’re putting new engines in cars with 160K miles.

    Although I’d be disappointed if my car had an engine failure, at 160K, I wouldn’t be THAT disappointed, especially if I was getting a new engine. Bonus, free oil and coolant change!

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      160k for a new engine is way beyond made up for whatever problem it initially caused.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Was talking to someone just the other day who was thinking of dumping their old Sonata (well over 100K on it) when they got the recall letter from Hyundai stating they were eligible for a new engine.

        They got a new engine and decided to keep enjoying the payment free life for a while longer.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Also, on the subject of extended drain intervals, the synthetic oil can be the best oil in the world, but it’s not going to matter with the fuel dilution in oil issues of modern direct injection engines.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Just need to get in the habit of checking the oil at least once a week and topping it off until you can afford to trade it in, someplace that is not the dealer that knows yours has a problem and in fact at no Volvo dealer if you want a reasonable amount for it on trade.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    What does “burning out” mean in quarts? And how do you determine the lifespan of an oil change based on consumption?

    It sounds like she has to add a quart every 1000 miles. Throw a $2 quart of 5W-30 in every 60 to 90 days and get on with your life. Just like most car owners did for most of automotive history.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    “the synthetic oil started burning out within 60-90 days. ”

    What does this mean? Down a quart? Oil analysis shows it’s oxidized beyond the recommended level? or ???

  • avatar
    jkross22

    All the Euro brands have shortened their previously reasonable 2-3 year cpo warranties to 1 yr warranties.
    If they such little faith that their products will last just a few years out of the 4yr/50k period, why should any of us?

    More to the point, no 2013 vehicle should require an engine rebuild unless it was abused.

    • 0 avatar
      Avanti!

      It does make my eyebrow go up an inch when I see a manufacturer shorten the length of time their CPO warranty lasts. I would still consider a CPO for a specific vehicle with an older, proven powertrain, etc before the car is updated. I would consider it, but I’d be wary.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I was about to say that I doubt Mercedes’ CPO warranty was reduced to a year, but I checked and you are 100% correct.

  • avatar
    Michael S6

    Changing engine oil every 5000 miles is a waste of money, oil and time and would not have prevented this engine from failing. It’s obviously not a reliable engine given above information.

  • avatar
    ryanwm80

    A couple of thoughts.

    Why the Volvo specifically? Is it just “a car” or is there something about it that makes it superior?

    Did you ever test drive or consider a Chrysler 200 or 300, a Ford Taurus or Buick LaCrosse? I have a Ford Taurus and I’m extremely happy with it. My mom has a Chrysler Town & Country and is also extremely happy with that. Those are great vehicles that have held up well.

    Is it worth the time, money, and effort to fix the Volvo, or should you get something better, like a Chrysler 300 with a 3.6 / 8 speed auto, or a Taurus with a 3.5 or twin turbo 3.5, or a Lincoln MKZ hybrid?

  • avatar
    incautious

    Burning that much oil in that short period of time will affect one’s emissions( and eventually poison the catalytic converter). I would get a tailpipe emissions test and if the car is under the 8/80,000 warranty they are obligated to fix the issue. If your vehicle is out of warranty, try switching to a conventional heavier weight oil such as Shell rotella 15w40. this may slow down oil consumption. Finally class action action lawsuit.


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