Problems with Volvo S40


When the Volvo S40 first came on the sport sedan scene in the year 2000, it was reviewed as a sleek, small sedan, fun to drive, with good gas mileage, and excellent handling and maneuverability. Although well-liked by the majority of owners, this competent and comfortable car is not without its shortcomings.

Interior problems

  • On the positive side, most Volvo owners find the interior of the S40 to be both roomy and comfortable. Glove box and luggage spaces are abundant, and the leather seats look and feel luxurious. On the negative side, there have been many complaints about the back door locks sticking as well as the cup holder staying stuck in the "in" position. Another common interior problem is the poor quality driver's arm rest, which often breaks off after about 100,000 miles.

Exterior problems

  • Although most of the paint colors the S40 was manufactured in wear well, the red paint on older model S40s definitely has given owners headaches. After five years red paint has been known to become dull and fade dramatically, sometimes even chipping off in flakes.


  • As anyone who has ever owned any model Volvo knows, the headlight bulbs burn out extremely fast and require constant replacement. The problem holds true for the brake light bulbs, although not quite as bad. If repaired by a Volvo dealer, they will be guaranteed for a year. All genuine Volvo parts are expensive, however, so replacing the bulbs yourself with a less costly brand might be the best bet.

    Another problem associated with the S40 occurs on the 2005-2006 model. A sudden battery failure may result when the central control module fails to go into sleep mode.

Engine complaints

  • Early replacement of the engine mounts has been a common complaint of many S40 owners. Failure of the engine intake valves, leak detection pump, and crankcase ventilation hose under the intake manifold have also been noted on 2004 models.

Power steering recall

  • A recall was announced for over 1,000 2008-2009 S40s due to a faulty section of the power steering return hose. The French-manufactured hose was not sufficiently cured, thereby causing the hose to suddenly rupture, the system to lose fluid, with a possible loss of power steering function leading to the risk of a crash. As with all recalls, the dealer will replace the defective part free of charge.

Brake master cylinder recall

  • A faulty section of the master cylinder was the cause of a recall of over 1,100 2007 S40s. Internal leakage of brake fluid could lead to the deterioration of braking performance, eventually causing complete brake failure and risk of a crash.


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