Intermittent starting for 2001 Volvo S60

For over 1 year I’ve had a problem with my 2001 Volvo S60 only giving a “click” when I attempt to start it. Often when I repeat multiple times, it DOES START, but more often than not, it doesn’t (at least right away).

I’ve replaced the battery, starter/solenoid and starter relay. Twice I’ve had it to the local Volvo dealer, and both times the mechanics said the problem was associated with “corrosion” on the solenoid blade. Once the mechanic just “wiggled” the connector, and the other time the blade was sanded to remove potential oxide/corrosion.

After replacing the starter/solenoid, it STILL didn’t start, so I replaced the wire leading from the fuse-box, thinking that “wiggling” the connector may have degraded the crimp on it.

Now the car won’t start AT ALL. I’ve tested the line from the fuse down to the wire to the solenoid, and the ECM only now gives a “pulse”, rather than turning ON while the ignition is turned to START. I’m thinking that some other input is telling the ECM to NOT CONTINUE CRANKING.


I’m not real clear with what wire you replaced. If it was the one that ties to the battery then that is the main wire for the car accessories and it supplies power to everything in the car except the starter motor. You should have at least a test light probe to make test for power with. Otherwise you are wasting your time looking for the trouble. Power usually routes from the battery to the fuse panel under the hood, through the ignition switch, and then to the dash fuse panel. If just the ECU seems to have a power problem it could be there is a relay that supplies power to it and the contacts are bad.

The clicking problem may be a separate issue and is being caused by corroded wires inside the main battery wire to the solenoid. It might be good thing to go over and clean the ground wire connections under the hood also.

Its the key cylinder, in any car those can get bad spots on them - as you repeatedly turn the car on, it will rotate the cylinder - hence why it is only intermittent that it will not start, and that you can try several times and suddenly the car starts up. Check online with IPD in Portland, see if they sell a new one (might include new key also).

FYI - it is one of those things you could do yourself, but the air bag is right there. I’ve disconnected the power and changed instrument stuff before (the turn signal lever). Just depends how comfortable you are doing it.

Oh, look for a local mechanic that specializes in only Volvo’s. Those guys are much better than the dealer when your car gets to be older. Still, an S60 should run 20 years/500,000 miles - if you take care of it.

But it will break the bank for that S60 to reach 500K

Unlike a Camry, Accord, etc.

No offense to Volvo owners, but we all know they aren’t exactly known for being reliable

Obviously you are not a Volvo driver and know nothing about what you speak of.

My brother had a Volvo he got rid of at 473,000 miles, still got $1,500 out of it. I know two S60’s that are over 400,000 miles. Its a myth that European cars are greatly more expensive to take care of than other brands. They are overall more reliable, and taken care of will run much longer than other makes. Plus, on the S60, a home mechanic can still do a lot of the work - unlike the compact modular design of Honda or Toyota engine compartments. Visit any local mechanic that specializes on Volvo’s and you will see all sorts of older Volvo’s that people are running 12, 15 or over 20 years. Take care of a Volvo and drive it into old age, it will be the cheapest car you can ever own. Plus, with yearly polishing, a Volvo will continue to look great - can’t say that for cheap paint jobs on Japanese cars.


I just flagged you for abuse, because I feel you’re talking down to me.

“It is a myth that European cars are greatly more expensive to take care of than other brands.”

I’ve been a professional mechanic for quite a few years, and I worked at a Benz dealership for many years. On the same lot was Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Audi and Porsche.

I literally walked right through those other ships 5 days a week for many years, and based on what I saw, those cars weren’t all that great.

And I can tell you that those Benz cars were nice to drive, but it wasn’t cheap to maintain them properly. Several of them were also notoriously unreliable.

I’m not sure what your qualifications are, but I do timing belts on FWD Japanese engines in my garage, on the weekend. If those “home mechanics” that you’re referring to can’t do that, that’s their problem.

Of course I am talking down to you… because if you were a half way legitimate mechanic, you would not be making blanket uninformed statements like:
“But it will break the bank for that S60 to reach 500K”

Plus, if you were a legitimate mechanic, you would know that the home mechanics does not do a timing belt due to a lack of skill - it is not that difficult. Reality is that it is not worth the risk, you line it up wrong and the timing is off, resulting in a destroyed engine. Hence, it is not worth saving the $500, at the risk of having to buy a $3,500 rebuilt engine. Might as well let an insured garage take the risk.

My brother’s Volvo which he sold for $1,500 at 473,000 mile had two clutches in it and a new alternator. None of the rebuilt transmissions, etc. that you so often see Japanese vehicles needing to get to high milage.