Crashed engine!

So the serpentine belt on my S60 broke and apparently got sucked into the timing belt, which because it is an interface engine where both the valves and the cylinders move, caused the cylinders and valves to crash. Dealer says this will cost $7,800 to fix, Volvo only willing to contribute $2,000. :frowning:

Too bad for you. Did you have a question?

How many years and miles were on your current timing belt?

the timing belt did not break, the serpentine did, the timing belt just skipped a few beats because the serpentine got sucked into it.
the car has 93K miles on it and was well maintained. so sign or sound suggesting that the serpentine was about to break, until it broke, all of a sudden
volvo says to replace timing belt at 105K miles

I’m having trouble picturing how the serpentine belt got “sucked into the timing belt” unless someone did something really dumb like removing the timing belt cover because they thought the gears looked cool.

At any rate, the thing has 93k miles on it. The warranty expired 44,000 miles ago. That Volvo is willing to give you anything is mildly miraculous.


Well, this is apparently something that happens on the S60, the timing belt is not entirely covered, some of it is exposed! Nobody at the dealership was surprised, their attitude was like “it happens …”
As for volvo being miraculously generous – I beg to differ, there is no way in hell the serpentine should be able to get sucked into the timing belt, and yet it keep happening on the S60 – design defect if there ever was one – that volvo should take responsibility for. My car is dead, useless.

I’ll try one more time and then leave it to you. I don’t think you understand what “warranty” means. It means the company will pay for repairs necessitated by defects until the car reaches the age or mileage the warranty is limited to. It doesn’t mean “We will pay for repairs necessitated by defects until the warranty period ends, and then we will continue paying for defects in perpetuity because the time/mileage limits are just there for show.”

The warranty said it would last 50,000 miles. It did. Then it lasted almost double the warranty.I completely agree with you that it is pathetic that any modern car can’t crest 100,000 miles without self-destructing, and I also completely agree with you that if the timing belt cover really does allow a broken serp belt to get inside and dislodge the belt, that’s a terrible and stupid design.

But legally speaking Volvo owes you nothing because the car performed well beyond the level that Volvo guaranteed the car would perform to. You agreed to the warranty when you bought the car. You don’t get to change the terms of the warranty now that you wish it wasn’t limited.

You’re really lucky that Volvo threw some money into the fix for you. That doesn’t mean I think you should buy another Volvo. I personally would not buy another example of any car that broke this badly through no fault of my own this soon, but it doesn’t follow that I would think the manufacturer owed me anything at all when I was out of warranty nearly twice over. I might ask, because it never hurts to ask, but I certainly wouldn’t take to the internet and drag them through the mud for only giving me a 25% discount on the repair. I’d happily drag them through the mud for their idiotic design, but not for the money.


I completely agree with you that this has noting to do with warranty, even the extended one has expired.
We seem to agree that a car should be able to make it past 100K miles without self-destructing because of such an obvious design defect. I mean, given the engine design, you would think volvo would do everything possible to make sure that nothing can disrupt the timing belt because that will crash the engine. Idiotic design doesn’t even begin to describe this.
I expected better of volvo from both a design and ethical perspective. I was clearly wrong on both counts, which is why I, as you suggest, will never buy another volvo.

I change serpentine belts about every 40,000 miles. If I had a car that I knew could be destroyed by a belt breaking, I’d put a new one on even sooner. The only fault I’d see with the dealer is that they should have advised you to change the belt on a regular basis after seeing this happening.


Volvo reliability doesn’t get great marks from Consumer Reports, see their most recent car issue for example. Maybe this is part of the reason. $8,000 for a replacement engine isn’t unreasonable, if it is a new engine. You might could find a used engine from the wrecked S60 somewhere, which would probably be lower in price. There’s not much else you can do but decide between the two obvious alternatives, replace the engine, or junk/sell the car.

Actually I agree with the original poster that the car should last more than 97,000 miles so long as you keep up with the maintenance requirements. They sell you a car, tell you to do maintenance at certain intervals, and you end up with catastrophic failure anyway? That seems wrong.

You have yet to mention the year model of the car. No rubber part lasts forever and 105k miles means little.
Factors such as cold and heat extremes, oil and coolant vapors or leaks, etc. all have an effect on both the serpentine and timing belt.

Alll cars should go through a regular maintenance inspection and part of that inspection is to check the serpentime belt and everything accessory that the belt drives.
This is not at all likely to be a factory defect and more than likely a failure to inspect the belt on a regular basis.

Volvo S60, with 93K miles on it, well maintained, no signs of any problems, until BOOM! this all happened while driving on a city street at 25 mph.

Last year I replaced serpentine belt on my daughter’s 10-years-old Nissan Altima with 90K miles.
Safety inspection was done just before that and it “passed”.
Visually belt was “OK” and ribs examination on UNREMOVED belt showed only a small nick here and there, nowhere close to threshold in NIssan manual, where they recommend few of them to be within one inch to condemn the belt.
So, I replaced it “just because I thought it was a good thing to do”, then out of curiosity, I bent it quite sharp and it actually broke in my hands!
Not completely, but rubber actually broke and it was holding on the threads inside.
Sure enough, as from mere age it was more like plastic, not rubber anymore.

My point is: if belt was not replaced over 93K miles (and we do not know how many years?), it was likely weakened to the point where it might snap with no advance signs.

Still, it looks very strange that Volvo design would allow it to be “sucked in” to the critical timing belt area: looks like a great fault of engineers.

That’s just the thing, serpentine belts break, it’s just a piece of rubber, but that should not destroy the engine. I’ve had serpentine belts break on other cars and was able to drive the car to the gas station to have it replaced, because the engine can run without it, although power steering and other things like that cannot, so it’s not easy driving. It’s a $150 repair.

The fact that a piece of the super critical timing belt is exposed and crap can get “sucked” into it with the obvious outcome that valves and cylinders will collide and get destroyed, that’s just beyond my comprehension. It’s just such an obvious failure point.

I was surprised a serp belt could dislodge a timing belt so I just watched a video for replacing a timing belt on one of these cars. That has to be the flimsiest timing belt cover ever designed! One bolt holding it on and it flexes super easy. I’d be disappointed in the design but not expecting them to cover the repair after so long/miles. But disappointed for sure…

For a company that prides itself of making safe cars and advertises safety, designing an engine in such a flawed manner, that causes the engine to crash and the car to come to a completely unexpected and sudden halt, leaves much to be desired.

Had there been a car behind us when this happened there is no way they would have had enough time to stop, they would just have plowed right into us. Looks to me like the government ought to order a recall and a replacement of this flimsy timing belt cover, with something more substantial.

Same here. How the heck could that happen.

didn’t remove anything. take a look at the video suggested in the thread above. I couldn’t believe it either when the dealer told me, but once again, the service manager at the dealer was not surprised at all, sounded like a not uncommon occurrence, unfortunately

What year is it?