Volvo V70XC 2002 can't make it over the mountains!

My Volvo with 167,000 miles lost power and almost stalled at approx. 3,000 feet in elevation driving up to the mountains from sea level. Check Engine Light came on and after getting off highway and letting it sit for a bit, it started right up and made it down to sea level without a problem. Volvo Dealer could not locate problem. Codes 3503,3513,3523 were showing up. Same problem 1.5 years ago and at that time they replaced radiator, coils, and spark plugs. They said it was not that again, however, they do not know what it is. Any idea? Car has been faithfully serviced and I want to keep it. I volunteer for a seal rescue non-profit and need a reliable car! Thanks!

A 12 yo Volvo with 167,000 miles on it will not be the reliable car you’re looking for. It may be time to look for something newer with less miles.In my experience, European cars are made with infant gremlins built into them. It takes about 10 years for the gremlins to mature and begin to wreak havok. It starts slow, and accelerates as the car ages.

I agree. Even the dealer who is suppose to know everything about every car they ever sold(?), might be baffled from here on. It’s time to trade it in on a brand spanking new…whatever.

I’d look at checking the MAF (mass airflow sensor). If you want a reliable car - this one won’t do. If you want a car that needs very expensive repairs - frequently, then keep the Volvo. You should be budgeting about $2,500 yearly for repairs if you keep the car.

Unlikely, but some cars change the engine operating parameters at certain altitudes. On these cars, the car knows what the altitude is, it has a altitude sensor. When a certain altitude is reached, the ECM changes the operating parameters to compensate for reduce O2 in the air. But sometimes this goes askew. If it was running fine then all of a sudden it lost power, this could be a cause. When you went back downhill the ECM went back to the prior operating parameters, so it worked ok then. Sometimes this is causes by a mechanic changing the wiring during some other prior repair, then not hooking it back up correctly. The problem goes unnoticed as it only occurs when the car reaches a certain altitude.