Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Trouble shooting in the cold

I have a 94 volvo 850 wagon. i am the second owner of this car and i have had no major problems with it until recently. When the temperature outside drops to 40* or below my car has trouble staying on. Staying on being the key words. the car will start and rev for two seconds and then die. after turning it on several times this way the car will usually turn on. This process can take up to 15 min sometimes. occasionally a loud buzzing noise will come from the drivers side dash. when this happens i know after i hear that sound the car will turn on. once the car is on it is perfectly fine all day. what could be causing this problem?

Im no authority but id start with the fuel pump. Its electric no? Can you hear it when you turn the key on? It should come on(a buzz sound) then shut off when it builds pressure

The problem with your car could and most likely is (are) isssues that are also present at temperatures above 40F. It is just that you don’t notice them, not that they are not there

If you could post back the maintence history, I will try and find what type fuel injection system your car uses. Perhaps you also do a “google” of your car and find this out.

it is electric. i only hear it after several attempts of turning the car on. the car revs and dies and then after i turn the key but not all the way, then it makes the noise. once the car stays on the sound stops

it has been suggested that i needed a new fuel pump. thank you for your suggestion. i will have to get back to you with the maintenance history.

I will look at this, you can do as you wish but I ask that you don’t buy anything just yet. This could be something as simple as a crack in a rubber part that makes the car run lean (and thus hard to keep running when cold). I really wonder what type injection system (and what cold start technology) Volvo used in 94. I never really got too involved with Volvo.

OP (you are the OP) Something you can do if you ever visit used bok stores. Try and find the best manual you can for your car, a factory service manual is best (we call them FSM’s). Even though you may not read it, it will be good to say to the person fixing your car “the FSM is on the seat”, at times things like this help. One customer wanted me to meditate in her car before I worked on it, I wonder what happened to her?

haha. Yes i have the FSM. I will make sure to leave it out for my mechanic the next time.
Is it possible for this problem to occur if a simple tune up is needed? someone once suggested after looking at it that my wires were bad and needed to be replaced. They said that they were having similar problems and they were able to fix it with new wires.
I will look at my manual and see if i can give you more info.
Thank you so much for all your help so far!

The buzzing sound you are hearing my be coming from a relay, possibly for the ignition system. For some Volvos at least, I think there is an access panel under the hood and near the driver side windshield. If you find that there is a buzzing relay you could swap it with another one if there is another one like it and see what happens then. The relay contacts may be going bad.

My hat is off to you for having the FSM on hand.

well thanks! i googled the problem and found a similar answer regarding the relay. seems like an easy fix, hopefully it will work! Thanks again for your help!!

Wow a reader who has both the concept of “googling” the problem and a FSM. More like you and we will be out of business. Yes, simple tune up items (I think “tune-up” still had some application in 94) could be the culprit here. What I mean is, with todays cars the term “tune-up” is not applicable but with a 94 much more so, but even in 94 it was on it’s way out. Sure,plugs,wires,filters, no vacuum leaks, all emission gear working correctly could solve this. I would even go for a injector cleaning if there is more proof for a need and if they were not so expensive.