2016 Volvo XC90 - Coolant

My dash light went off yesterday “hot engine,safely stop”, then “Coolant system repair” alert
I brought it to my dealership who diagnosed it as a loose coolant cap . It should have been locked but wasnt. I never touched the cap and he said, when the car was in for service in Decembetr, that it was checked and locked.
I am now being asked to pay for a flush to make sure no air bubbles are in engine and refill. $195.00

I don’t know the interval for coolant change listed in your owners manual, but at three years it is probably time.

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You have a very expensive vehicle why would you not want to spend 195.00 to avoid a problem and possibly have warranty problems later.

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Does your owners manual / maintenance guide tell when to change coolant, and whether to drain and fill or to flush and refill? It shouldn’t cost anywhere near $195, whichever is recommended - and to get air out of a cooling system requires neither a drain or a flush. Methods vary, but in many cars elevating the front and letting it warm up and idle with the cap off the radiator does the trick. Some cars have a bleed nipple somewhere high up in the engine. Not a big deal to get air out.

Now if the head gasket is damaged, there may be air (exhaust gasses) getting pumped into the cooling system and an ongoing loss of coolant. That’s something to look out for and get fixed soon.

This a Volvo dealer of unknown location so the 195.00 charge does not sound out of line to me .

Any thing about a Volvo is not cheap unfortunately many people don’t know that when they buy one.

You shouldn’t need a coolant flush in order to burp your cooling system. In fact, I could teach you how to do it yourself at home if you’re interested. Here is what you do:

  1. Starting with a cold engine (this is important to avoid injury), remove the radiator cap and fill the radiator. Also fill the overflow tank to the “cold” line."

  2. Start the car and let it idle for 10 minutes.

  3. Pop the throttle a few times.

  4. Shut the car off and let it cool down.

  5. When the engine is cold again, remove the radiator cap and check to see if you need to add more coolant. Also top off the overflow tank to the proper mark.

If you think there might be more air in the system, repeat the process until you check the radiator in step five and find it full.

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To Whitey’s excellent procedure I would add: be sure to collect any overflow coolant and dispose properly - it is poison to living creatures. And do check the coolant level in the overrflow tank and the (cold) radiator a couple times in the days to come.

It requires special coolant filling equipment to remove the air from your Volvo.

Read the last TSB at the bottom of the page.



Well, that supercedes the usual how-tos. How and why could this be made so complicated? And how can one be sure the $195 Volvo dealer actually uses this special procedure?

I’d just ask your shop to do a drain and refill with fresh coolant. They’ll burp the air bubbles out as part of the job. Coolant should be replaced every 2-3 years anyway, imo. It gets acidic and can damage internal engine parts otherwise. Since the cap was off for some time, this probably allowed air into the system which will accelerate the internal corrosion process, so even more reason to just replace the coolant w/fresh.

No , this is a Volvo still under factory warranty so the person should let them do it according to Volvo . George , did you not see the link posted by Tester ?

Someone may have said “flush” but that may not be what the technician is going to perform. Whether it is called a cooling system service or a drain and fill the technician is going to want to be paid for his time.

Expect to pay for one hour of labor and $30 per gallon for long life coolant than lasts much longer than 2 years.

The OP stated in the top post that their shop is a Volvo dealership.