Electrical ghost in the Volvo Machine

My wife will go out to start her 2004 Volvo. The engine cranks but there is no fire. Lights work, battery fine, starter turning, but no fire in the engine. The Volvo dealer has tried twice to fix it. They believe that, for some reason, the car thinks it is being stolen and shuts down. When we try later (and I don’t know how many hours is necessary), it starts right up. Has 116,000 miles, has been and (except for this) continues to be a great car. We don’t want to get rid of it but I don’t want to trust its tempermentality when we need to rely on it. Any suggestions???

Have you tried using a different key? Are there other RF type keys on your key ring?

There are no other RF keys on the ring. We haven’t tried using my key, as opposed to hers, as the mechanical–starter turning–was working just fine.

Make sure the key for the Volvo is on a separate key ring from any other car keys. If you have another key try it, the chip in the key you are using could have gone bad. There are replacement chip keys on the market that have a replaceable battery, is your key one of the original Volvo keys?

If is not the key, security code, issue perhaps the fuel pump is going bad. Some just quit altogether, but others work intermittenly which would cause the symptoms you describe.

Aside from all that, you are going to find your '04 Volvo to become much more problematic in the future. Frequent expensive repairs are on the horizon. If the car is off warranty I suggest you seriously consider selling it now. This is only the beginning.

I’ll try those fixes and then settle in for the upcoming bills. We have really liked the car, my wife especially. I am trying to get her into an Audi A4 (we have both owned Audi’s in the past and loved them), but she isn’t the most open to change. It will take a big Volvo bill to push her—which is what happened w her 120,000 mile Audi 7 years ago. Thanks for the advice.

Volvo repairs (speak from experience of previous ownership) are often in the $2,000 and up range. Problem is when it happens you either fix it so you can sell it, or have an unsaleable car on your hands. You can wait for the day of the big bill, it isn’t a matter of if, just when.

Hopefully using your key will do the trick for now.