How do you keep a Volvo engine in good running condition? Well, it is not difficult. Follow the manufacturer service requirements and make sure that your engine gets the right service on time. The most common mistake people make is that they wait until the “service" light inside the instrument panel comes on before changing the oil. The interval of an oil and filter change is determined by the time and the distance travelled. The "Time For Regular Service" message or "service" light will come on after one of these conditions will be met:
the car has been driven a certain amount of Kilometers
the car has been driven a certain amount of Hours
a certain amount of time has passed since the last “service" remainder reset
If a car is used for short trips, the only criteria that will be reached and turn the “service light” ON, is the amount of time passed since the last reset (in many Volvo models this interval is one year). During this extended period of time, for many reasons, the oil inside the engine will lose most of its properties like :
the ability to reduce friction and wear
the ability to prevent the formation of rust, corrosion and sludge
the ability to clean and cool the engine
Here is an example. A Volvo V70 came into our shop with “No Oil Pressure” message displayed on the Driver Information Module. The message was intermittent but still a very serious problem. The engine oil filter was removed and signs of sludge and solid material were found inside the filter housing. When the owner of the car was asked when the last time the oil was changed was he, said that he could not remember exactly but the car was taken for service right after each time the “Time for Regular Service“ message showed up. Judging from the Kilometers traveled, the car got only one oil change per year. This was not good news. After an engine oil pressure test, the engine oil pan and the cylinder head upper section were removed.
As you see in the photos above, the oil pick up pipe screen was clogged. Insufficient oil was flowing through the lubrication system. Furthermore, the oil passages were full of varnish, sludge and carbon build up, creating an oil starvation situation of the entire engine. All removed parts were cleaned carefully and put back together. The engine came back to life.
From our experience we can say that an engine driven for short periods of time needs more frequent oil and filter changes than an engine that is used everyday and driven moderate distances. The quality and properties of the filter and the oil you use makes a big difference in the life and performance of your engine. A good choice for owners that drive their cars for only a few Kilometers per day, would be synthetic oil. Synthetic oils will control sludge deposits, clean and protect the engine better than conventional oils.