Getting Volvo Diagnostic Test Codes



Recently our 2006 V70R’s engine light came on. It is out of warranty so we took it to an independent repair shop where they said the Mass Air Flow sensor was bad. We had it repaced and within two months the light was back on. I was at a different shop and they said the codes indicated the Mass Air Flow Meter again. I called the original shop and they said there was a warrantly on the MAF sensor and to bring it in. In the meantime the light went off.

The original shop looked at the car, said the MAF sensor was fine and charged me $90 for the diagnosis.

One day later the light was back on - I called and they said I could bring it back in but they would have to charge me another $90 to just look at the codes - according to them they can only get the codes through a satellite connection to Volvo - not for any SW but just to look at the codes.

Is that true? If it is how can someone sell a device like this: ?


The first thing you need to know is that there are no codes that tells you that a part is bad. There are codes that can point toward something like the MAF sensor system. You may, for example, have a wiring problem rather than a sensor problem. The other things to ask are whether or not your air filter is clean, and/or whether or not you have something like an oiled aftermarket filter (e.g. K&N). (This is about something that would keep making the MAF dirty or otherwise fouled).

As far as reading the codes goes, this sounds completely bogus to me. OBD-2 systems are standard. Any OBD2 code reader should give you these codes…including the ones that people at auto parts chain stores will hook up for free.

But there are lots of things I don’t know, so there could be something I don’t know about Volvos in this respect. If not, find an auto parts store that reads codes (e.g. Autozone), get the exact codes (format: P0123) and post them up here.


I never knew that Autozone could read the diagnostic codes, should have thought about that though. Many thanks for the great tip. I primarily want to see if it is putting out the same code over and over - which to me indicates that the shop used to code to say “bad part” and did not really look into the issue.


Satellite connection needed?? Sounds like pure BUNCO… For many shops, “Reading the codes” is a huge profit center, better than air conditioner service…The fastest $90 ever made…


I know that Volvo makes a mint off of VADIS in order just to deliver software fixes - but this claim was the first I heard that you needed to system just to READ the codes. Autozone says they can read the codes if I bring the car by so I will be heading there later today.


If Auto Zone is–as I suspect–able to read the codes, that is pretty good proof that your mechanic is a thief, even if he does not wear a mask. I strongly suggest that you not patronize him any longer. And, if by chance he is listed in the Mechanix Files section of this site, I would suggest that you register a negative opinion of his honesty.

By any chance, in addition to trying to sell Satellite-Based Diagnostic Services, did he also tell you that you need to have your Blinker Fluid changed? Has he ever told you that you need new muffler bearings?


$90 fee typically includes a diagnosis, not just a code. Sometimes a code is the answer, other times a symptom.

$90 makes a great filter for those who want a “free diagnosis” only to fix it themselves. At least my local Subaru dealer only charges $40 for diagnosis and my independent nothing typically.


Just went back to the Volvo dealer I used to work at and picked the foreman’s brain. An “up to date” code reader like they use at Autozone, etc, can read the codes on your '06 V70R. You don’t absolutely need a VADIS (Now called VIDA) connection.

VIDA is basically a Volvo diagnostic website that independent garages can pay for, so that would explain the high charge of $90. On the other hand, VIDA has infinitely more diagnostic power than any code reader, so the $64,000 question is, for $90, why wasn’t this garage able to properly diagnose the problem?

This is a question you really should ask this guy. Pointedly, if necessary. Good luck and let us know how things work out.


I havce found that alot of code readers out there will read generic codes on most vehicles,including the volvo but only the generic obdII codes.however i had my volvo in recently,and observed (over the shoulder of a mechanic that did not think i was paying attention) how to look at the codes of the systems WITH OUT a code reader.try this with the key on engine off push the foglight button and hold the read button on the turn signal lever on at the same time.after a few seconds the display that shows messages will start with the first sys to check after that keep pushing the read button to scroll through the systems that are on-board your car.


The code for “something wrong with the MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor)” is not ONLY for the MAF sensor itself; but, includes the wiring to and from the engine computer, and the engine computer itself. So, all the parts of the MAF circuit need to be checked.
A scanner isn’t needed to check the MAF and its circuitry. Its input and output voltages can be measured with a multimeter (aka voltmeter), and the values compared to know expected values. Oh! Drat! That would involve TROUBLESHOOTING. Durn!