Please help! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Have a Volvo XC70 and LOVE it! Recently ETS light came on and Check engine has always been on, mechanics did not seem to worried in past. As of the last month seemed to be issue with thermostat… Car would warm to normal when idling and driving below 25 mph… once I accelerated needle would drop and thermostat would go to baseline… Could feel faint warm air, but was only getting cold air coming from vents… Thought it might be thermostat stuck open? Called my trusted mechanic and he recommended going to a radiator specialist, felt he might not be able to solve. Went to new shop today, after dropping off at 8am when they opened and not hearing from them until 4:45pm, 15 minutes before they close… Car is fixed, or so they say. Hot air is indeed coming out of vents and needle is staying where it should without falling… BUT, now there is a strange smell (sulfur"ish") coming from the engine, and the car is shuddering and vibrating, bucking almost when car comes to a stop and then accelerates. ETS light is back on and check engine is now flashing!?! Tried going up hill on the way home and could not go faster than 20mph? None of this was happening before I took it in to the new shop today? They changed oil and oil filter and flushed radiater? What is happening to my poor volvo? Please forward any advice… I would GREATLY appreciate any help!!! Thank you!!!

Check engine light has always been on and the mechanic had no worries ? Did he ever give you a reasonable explanation ?. You may not love your Volvo trying to get this straightened out. You may have to take it to a dealer…but with Volvos, that’s no gurantee either.

It’s misfiring badly. Take it back and ask them to check their work…Maybe they somehow got the ignition wet during the flush…


First thing in the morning, you need to go back to the shop that “fixed” your car, with your receipt in hand

“check engine light is now flashing” means you have a severe misfire, which has the potential of damaging the catalytic converter

The ETS light . . . traction light, I presume . . . may be on, because the engine may be in limp mode. Just speculating

“shuddering and vibrating” seems to point to the severe misfire

strange sulfur smell seems to point to a catalytic converter that may now be damaged

To be clear, if the catalytic converter is damaged, it is almost certainly due to the severe misfire which your engine seems to have

Please post the fault codes you have, once the shop scans your engine control module

I suspect you have P0300 misfire code and P0420 catalytic converter low efficiency code

It is possible the shop spilled an extremely large quantity of oil on the ignition system, and this may have caused the misfire

If I were you, I’d make sure they actually put oil back into the engine. Check the dipstick

Here’s a bit of advice about that check engine light. Let’s it comes on, a mechanic retrieves a fault code, and says it’s due to a bad thermostat, but doesn’t replace the thermostat. The light stays on and you keep driving. In the meantime, you are not aware that you now have 5 fault codes, instead of just the one.

The check engine light does not let you know how many fault codes you have, only that you have codes, which are affecting the vehicle’s emissions

In the future, do not assume that a check engine light is nothing to worry about

It’s possible something bad happened to your car while at that shop, and hopefully they’ll fess up and make it right, if that is the case

But since your check engine light has “always been on” it’s possible the damage was done, before that shop ever got their hands on your car

Just a word of caution, it only took me about 30 minutes to get my cat red hot and ruin it from a misfire. Cat was $700. Might want to tow it if its not too late already, in which case it wouldn’t matter but another code will pop up.

Year? Miles?

A theory:
When the engine was running cold the computer kept it running rich, maybe open loop, keeping the misfires at bay.
Now with the engine fully warmed up a vacuum leak etc. causes the misfires.
Driving long term with the CEL on can cause cascading problems.
Good luck.

I agree with the comments above, but I wanted to emphasize that driving a car with a flashing check-engine light is a bad idea because of the potential for damage to other systems. I assume your owner’s manual says the same thing.

Yes, a crucial distinction: CEL on means a fault has been detected. Flashing CEL means stop the engine as soon as possible, to avoid severe damage. And yes, your owners manual says words to this effect.