Volv S60 Design Flaw - Low Radiator

Hello From Texas,

Please tell me we are not the only ones, but my wife has not only once, but twice cracked our Volvo S60’s radiator and blew the engine. Each time, she was driving in/out of a parking lot, and hit something. After carefully inspecting underneath the car, I’ve noticed that the plastic radiator is less than 1 foot off the ground, unprotected. Have you heard of this?

Design flaw? Sounds more like driver error to me. I’ll bet there are lots of cars with radiators mounted within a foot of the road.

Same on Ford Focus. Try driving these on Navajo rez roads !

But, NOW THAT YOU KNOW YOUR OWN CAR’S OPERATING PERAMETERS…It shouldn’t be happening again…and again !

Sedans aren’t supposed to be driving over things that are a foot tall. It’s not a design flaw.

I don’t understand the comment about blown engines. Why isn’t she stopping the engine when fluid is pouring out of the radiator and the temperature gauge is going up?

I agree with the preceding posts. Anyone who drives a sedan over obstacles that are “a foot tall” should re-evaluate his/her driving style.

Additionally, no car manufacturer is likely to design a sedan to forestall damage from driving over objects that big. As a matter of fact, I am surprised that the OP has not experienced problems such as a punctured oil pan or a punctured transmission pan.

Two blown engines! Now that’s “high maintenance.”

This isn’t a design flaw. It sounds to me like she is hitting the concrete barriers in the parking spaces. She should try stopping [i]BEFORE[/i] she hears the scraping noise and feels the impact.

If you are not able to train your wife not to hit things, you might look into having a custom skid plate fabricated and installed. It will be expensive, but it will cost less than a blown engine.

By the way, this issue doesn’t explain why your wife kept driving while the engine was overheating, not once, but [i]TWICE[/i]. Is that a design flaw too?

What year? How many miles?

It might have worn front struts that allow the nose of the car to dip excessively going up/down rough cut ramps.

Good idea about the struts - also could be underinflated tires.

Buy a truck and you won’t have that problem. But if you stil hit the curb with any speed, it doesn’t matter what you drive.

The flaw is the purchase of a vehicle that you cannot operrate properly.

Hit something ?? STOP !

Get out and look under there.
Leaking ? STOP ! Don’t drive any more and call for a tow.

Learning exercise for low cars; - Get empty carboard boxes of various sizes and line them up in sequence ; shortest to the tallest. Drive over them until the car hits one. The tallest box that the car didn’t hit goes INSIDE the car with your wife to have a visual reminder of the maximum size of any obstruction the car can pass over.

( Dad got a new focus after owning a Ford E150 van. He asked me for any of my 30 year Ford dealer partsman’s advice. Pointed to the ground in front of it and we both got on our hands & knees and I pointed out the radiator/condenser bottom edge. He’s never had a high-center issue. )

Sounds like you need one of these:

It’s not a design flaw as many vehicles have low radiators, your wife should be more careful in her driving habits, and if she’s blowing the engine because of this then she needs to learn what the dashboard temperature gauge is for.

C means cold, getting up there means worry a bit, and heading towards H means stop immediately; not drive the last 50 miles home.

I wouldn’t say putting the radiator that low is a design flaw. But they could have done a little better and put some kind of brace or shield in front of the low part—c’mon the real world is full of speed bumps, steep driveways, parking lot islands, etc. I’ve scraped quite a few with my 15-year old vehicle and haven’t killed a radiator yet.

The OP will probably go through life telling people about this “terrible, badly designed” Volvo, when in reality, it is his wife who is at fault.

Every time I run over a kid in a school zone, I get damage on the underside. I have to get a vehicle with a skid plate or with more ground clearance.

Just when I was hoping we’d hear back from Jack, you have to go and spoil it! :wink:

That is exactly what I had in mind.

Yah, where is ol’ jack0238 ?
I thought by now he’d be tearing into us for our opinions of his wife’s driving ability…or lack thereof.

Nah! He was hoping for a sympathetic ear. Jack doesn’t want to hear what we have to say. Too bad we don’t know him; we could start a pool.

Guess the date Jack buys a third engine. Closest date wins.

Anybody in?