2010 Volvo XC70 fuel gauge issue

I recently bought a 2010 Volvo XC70 T6 with 45k miles on it from a used car dealer. After driving it for a month and loving it there was an issue. The fuel gauge showed 1/4 tank fuel remaining yet the car totally was out of gas and of course it stalled out and the engine stopped running on me in the middle of the road. The dealer gave us a limited extended warranty through Endurance which unfortunately doesn’t cover the fuel sender unit if that is the problem. The warranty does cover the fuel pump if that is the issue. We got an estimate from Volvo to do the repair, and they charge $1,300 to drop the fuel tank and run diagnostics to confirm if it is the fuel pump or if it is just the fuel sender unit that needs to be replaced. There’s a good chance this expense won’t be covered by our limited warranty. The car dealer has offered to have his shop do the repair for us, or to buy the car back from us. I think he is minimizing the problem and I don’t have full confidence his garage will handle the job properly, but it seems to be our only option if we don’t want to spend additional money on a car we’ve only owned for a month and we want to keep the car. It drives just fine and we aren’t experiencing any other issues and symptoms aside from the faulty fuel gauge when it gets down around a 1/4 tank. Should we trust the dealer to make the repair? Volvo certified mechanics are telling us it’s a difficult and complicated job to diagnose and calibrate properly, and they said it could be as bad as needing to replace the entire fuel tank. What should we do?

You can get an opinion/estimate from an independent, non-chain,
Your Volvo requires the tank to be dropped to access the fuel pump and fuel gauge float. An independent might agree to cut an access hole under the rear passenger seat.

Another option is to fill the tank when at 3/4 fuel, never letting it go below 1/2.

Hopefully running out of gas did not overheat/damage your fuel pump.

Have you inspected to see if the tank is dented? Have you looked at CarFax to see if a fuel pump repair has been done?
I personally would experiment with a few tanks of gas to see if the gauge is consistent. Just refill at the 1/2 mark (or 40%, for example) a couple times and see how many gallons it takes. This mental re-calibration is a lot cheaper that $1300.

There is your solution . Let them buy it back. We have a Volvo but it was bought new. I would never buy one used and add Mercedes and BMW to that list.


What did the fuel guage do when you filled it up? Is it running now?

I suspect this is only the first of many unusual, expensive problems you’ll have with this Volvo. They don’t a good reputation, unfortunately.

Be that as it may… I’d also vote for keeping the tank full by mileage, rather than relying on the fuel gauge. For example, just top off the tank every 300 miles or something along those lines.

Good luck.


There’s a good chance this expense won’t be covered by our limited warranty. The car dealer has offered to have his shop do the repair for us, or to buy the car back .

Another vote to let the dealer buy it back as it is 11 years old and will be needing more expensive down the road. :frowning:


It’s running fine now. Once Volvo determined it was the fuel gauge we filled the tank and it runs fine. The only strange thing was that I only got 7mpg on this first refill. I refilled once the gauge dropped to 1/2 tank but the odometer only showed 60 miles driven. Since that first refill from the totally empty tank I’ve averaged 18mpg and have been refilling every 200 miles on the odometer without any issues as of yet. An independent mechanic I trust said those tanks are notorious for having inaccurate gauges. They are plastic with plastic inner baffles that can warp. And they are straddle tanks that have two sections that straddle the drive shaft requiring 2 sender level unit sensors. (1 attached to the fuel pump, and a second on the other side of the tank)

The independent mechanic said to either keep it as is and monitor odometer always filling tank after about 200miles, spend the money to have Volvo do the repair so that the new parts are certified and warrantied, or have the dealer buy the car back.

One question I have is why the first refill after the tank went bone dry only gave me 7mpg. Granted I was driving in 90 degree heavy standstill traffic with AC blasting for the heat, but I am wondering if running the tank dry did affect the fuel pump efficiency on this first refill and that is why I only got 7mpg at first. That problem hasn’t repeated itself. But it is still concerning. Thx!

I’m hoping it didn’t damage the fuel pump. I did only get 7mpg on the first refill after the tank had gone bone dry, which was concerning. That mpg issue hasn’t repeated itself since, but it was alarming and I’m assuming directly related.

The carfax is clean. No prior noted issues. Volvo and 2 other independent mechanics have told
Me they’d need to drop the fuel tank to inspect it

That only means ’ no reported issues ’ . Carfax only has what is reported and not every shop reports to them . Frankly why keep this thing if you have to refill every 200 miles because you don’t trust the gauge ? If you think this repair is expensive you have more shocks to come .


I might be in the minority here but to me all a carfax is good for is a sales gimmick.


I would not call Carfax or Autocheck sales gimmicks. They can be useful to help people avoid vehicles that might not be as good as they appear. They can also show where it has been serviced and if the mileage is correct. Just as anything use it to help you make a decision .

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No, you are not in the minority as far as I am concerned.

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Personally, I’d rather have the info in Carfax than not. Knowing it may be incomplete, going into buying a used car is better with some info, at least.


Yes and no…
If I had the blood test for my annual physical exam done, but only half of the lab report was available, neither my doctor nor I would believe that I had a clean bill of health.

Problem is that not everything is reported if you find one that looks good there might be the one thing that would be a deal breaker if it was reported. I may have said this before a guy I know bought a brand new car kept it well maintained and kept all the mainteinace records five years later he buys another new car and put the first car up for sale has all the records to show the buyer he pulled a carfax report thinking it might help carfax had the car reported stolen an totaled 3 yr’s before.

IIRC, @ok4450 had a similar totally bogus Carfax report on his old Saab.

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I trust my regular mechanic much better than any report.

  1. You apparently did not calculate your fuel economy correctly when you got 7 MPG.The fuel gauge reading is irrelevant, especially since you already know yours is not working right to begin with.

  2. A damaged fuel pump would not cause a precipitous drop in fuel economy.