Volvo V70 having trouble starting



In the past 6 months, I have never NOT been able to start my 2000 V70R, but it has been more difficult to start in certain circumstances.

The Problem: When I turn the key, the car used to start after a couple of revolutions – usually in a matter of 1-2 seconds. Now, usually when the engine is warm, when I turn the key, it can take 5-10 seconds (or even longer on a rare occasion or two) to start. Sometimes, it starts very roughly ending in a stall, but this happens less than 50% of the times the problem occurs.

Almost The Solution: I just took the car into a Volvo dealer to spend over $400 to have them attempt the repair. They found a battery cable with melted insulation on it. They replaced it. The problem still exists.

The Next Solution: The Volvo tech wants me to replace my catalytic converter. He says this could be causing the starting problem.

Could this be the solution? Does anyone have any other ideas for possible, cheaper, solutions?

The car has 160,000 miles on it. I am on my 4th catalytic converter. I have been dealing with a check engine light that comes on every 1,000 miles or so. Apparently the air mix is wrong and that is getting caught by the car computer. Many dealers have told me it is a problem that will be solved by replacing the catalytic converter, but noone can explain why I’ve gone through three catalytic converters. And they can’t explain why I can go 1,000 miles without seeing a code. I drive up and down the east coast, and have yet to figure out a pattern to help explain why a code occurs at any point in time.

I’ve had bad starters and starters with flat spots. This car has had no issues with the starter turning over the engine. I’m just not getting ignition. The spark plugs were replaced 10,000 miles ago. I do not recall the problem occurring before they were changed though.

Any thoughts?




I think you need a new shop. I don’t the cat converter is the cause of the problems. I think you’re struggling with either a bad oxygen sensor or more likely a bad temp sensor. The reason I suggest a bad temp sensor is that if the ECU thinks the engine is cold it will bypass the oxygen sensor loop to allow the engine to run rich. That would cause warm start problems as well as put lots and lots of unburned hydrocarbons into the exhaust stream, which could even cause premature converter failure. Has your gas mileage been terrible too by any chance?


Thanks for the reply. I’ve always doubted that the cat was failing first. The next time I take it in, I’ll ask them to check the temp sensor and o2 sensor. But if the cat is bad, that’s a huge bill … something I’m hoping to avoid. I am hoping to fix this issue because excessive cranking in the winter months in Maine can result in a dead battery very quickly.

My gas mileage has seen no change in all of this. If I drive conservatively, I can even get 29mpg. When I step on it, mpg drops to 21. This is how the car has always been.

My car is showing age, so if I can fix this relatively cheaply then I’m happy. Otherwise, it might be time for a new car. The ABS light comes on periodically. The HVAC compressor is starting to go. Each of those are estimated at $1,000 to fix. So, if I have to do the cat as well as a couple of sensors, I’m probably up around $4,000-5,000 to fix all the current issues. Oh, and then there is the leaky sunroof, which I can live with.

This car seems to have started to fall apart much quicker than others I have had.