Someone tampered with my car - why?

Hi everyone, I have a strange one here. I got into my 2000 V70 Turbo and noticed that someone had cracked the gear shift box. I didn’t know what to think so I checked to see if they messed with the gear shift (automatic transmission) and thus were trying to steal the car by moving the gear shift into neutral and pushing my baby away. Nope. Gear shift looked ok. I put my key in and the car was totally dead. I popped the hood, looked about, then looked at my main fuse box. Someone pulled my air pump relay fuse. Oh boy! I went back to the gear shift to see if they messed with my emergency brake. I can’t tell. So, I called the police and filed a police report. Here’s my question: By pulling the Air pump relay–is someone trying to kill my ABS brakes and then when I’m cruising down the highway I have no ABS and my emergency brake is gone? Very scary thought here. Has anyone ever heard of this? Is my thinking clear, or is there another reason to remove the air pump relay and break into my gear shift box? Thank you!

Could you clarify the air pump relay, is that the air bag or the ABS (brake) we are talking about?

Also, if someone had access to the gear-shifter, then they should have gotten in the car, any sings of tampering with the doors/locks/windows. Was the car locked when you got it.

Last, but not least, do you have teenage boys or enemies?

Secondary air injection air pump?:

Hi Galant and Insightful, Thank you for responding! It’s No. 16 in the relay/Main Fuse Box: Air pump relay. Without it you don’t know that you have an air injection problem. So, it’s ABS. Sad to say that I do have a very nasty enemy that I’m getting more and more fearful of. So, I’m just checking with all you experts to see if my thinking is mechanically sound. Any insight is greatly appreciated!


The air pump relay has nothing to do with the brakes. Air injection is for cold starting emissions control. ABS is for keeping the wheels from locking up during a panic stop or on ice. There’s no connection between the two.

And your emergency brake is a third, entirely separate system.

The air pump relay has nothing to do with the ABS.

The air pump provides secondary air into the exhaust system so the catalytic converter lights off quicker.

Why someone would pull this relay is beyond me?


Also your car would stop the same way that all the cars that were made stopped. What is a gear shift box? You have an enemy? what are you, a teen age girl?

“You have an enemy? what are you, a teen age girl?”

or Richard Nixon…

If you have any political stickers on your car you might want to remove them.

I’m having trouble following this. Someone broke into your car and (maliciously) damaged your “Gear shift box”. Is this a trim piece around the shifter gate? Next, they got under your hood and went right for the main fuse box and removed only the Air Pump Relay fuse. And then somehow drained the battery.
What did the Police say when you filed a report? Have you turned it into your insurance?
The whole thing is way to strange for me.

Maybe some teenage kids were intending to steal the car, but couldn’t, got frustrated, and pulled that relay at random just to give you a hard time for having such a difficult to steal car. Or they thought that relay was part of an alarm system which they wanted to disable.

Might be a good idea to purchase a lo-jack or equivalent so if it ever gets stolen, the police can find out where it is.

People do strange things.
Twice in years past I’ve had someone vandalize a new car of mine. The first was in '72, when someone keyed the side of my new Vega while it still had the temporary paper plates on it. The second was in 2005 when my new Scion still had the temporary plates; someone painted a bright neon orange stripe on the back of it while it was parked in a mall parking lot. Fortunately, I had just given it a good wax job and was able to clean the orange paint off.

People are such $&%*#!s at times,to tamper with somebodys car and make it unsafe and the person maybe gets severly injured,should carry a severe penalty,maybe like a hate crime(some people dont recognize hate crimes)-Kevin

To the OP: please don’t go off rashly and accuse anyone.

Plenty of regulars remember that I, here, posted about how my coolant all drained from my engine while parked, the day after I did something that displeased my neighbor. I soon found out the problem was a rusty hose clamp that got stripped, and the timing was pure coincidence.

Think how stupid I’d have felt if I’d confronted the guy, only to be forced to back down in light of new information!

It is difficult to find the culprit in these situations. Sometimes a security camera comes in handy, but I am too lazy and cheap to put one in. I had bought a new Ford Focus last year, nothing fancy esp not in my neighborhood (probably the cheapest car hands down), our other cars are just basic trims of cheap brands. So one day I went to Walmart and then came home, parked the car in the driveway for 10 minutes and came out to one side of the car keyed along with some red residue on the silver paint. I had polished the car, so it was easy to take it off. But still not sure if someone in WM did it or a neighbor. I am inclined to think the latter, but then I have no proof. I am just more careful now.

The car is 15 years old. Maybe there’s the possibility that the console has been cracked for a while and was just now noticed. Maybe it cracked the last time the car was parked and shifted into PARK. Aged plastic, cold weather, it happens.

As to the missing fuse, maybe that’s just a blank hole or if used maybe that fuse has been missing since who knows when.

The totally dead car is another issue; maybe related to cold weather and the battery whose age has not been specified. Maybe a faulty neutral switch depending upon the symptoms which also have not been clarified.

It’s difficult for me to buy into the vandalism theory at this point.

“Maybe it cracked the last time the car was parked and shifted into PARK. Aged plastic, cold weather, it happens.”


In fact, it is even possible for this to happen in cold weather with plastics that are fairly new.
One very cold morning, as I was driving my 2 year old '86 Taurus, I had to go through a “filled-in” road trench that really hadn’t been filled in properly, thus creating a major sharp depression across the traffic lane. As the front wheels impacted that too-deep trench, the plastic moldings over both of the front doors split–simultaneously–and in the exact same place.

Clearly, this was a case of poor design. I contacted Ford’s customer service folks, scheduled an appointment with the Zone Rep, and wound up getting the moldings replaced free-of-charge, even though the car was out of warranty at that point.

Obviously, Volvo is not going to come to the rescue of the OP, but I wanted to emphasize that strange things can happen to plastics during periods of very cold temperatures.

Hi everyone, Thank you for your replies! Nope, not a teenager; I’m actually an English teacher. They broke the plastic under the emergency brake, but the gear shifter was not forced into neutral so that made me think they were after the emergency brake. In the Volvo v70 the Air Pump Relay/Fuse is a needed component for the proper running of the vehicle. My thought was (after looking through my repair manual) that someone took the relay out to hide the fact that I have an air injection system problem which would eventually mess with the ABS and the exhaust air injection (I have been smelling exhaust in the car). The plastic housing under the emergency brake couldn’t have been broken by the cold because I’m in the South and it’s 70 degrees! And, yes, I do have an enemy who happens to work on old cars so in knowledgeable. So, I guess I’m asking, (and you have to think with a devious mind)–would this be a clever way to sabotage someone’s car that wasn’t obvious and could cause them serious harm? Thank you so much!

If this is sabotage then I’d have to say that the one who did it has to be one of the stupidest people on Earth. There are countless and much easier ways to muck up a car than do what you’ve described.

As to the South and 70 degrees; it may be 70 now but it’s not that way all the time. I’ve lived in MS with 30 degrees and a foot of snow. I currently live in OK where we’ve been pretty much freezing for a month.
I might also add that plastic gets brittle and dried out with age so it can crack even in balmy Belize… :slight_smile:

It sounds like someone with a very cursory knowledge of cars (and maybe in general) may have tried to mess with your car. Is there surveillance video near where it was parked?