With its many moving parts and complex electronics (even by today’s standards), the Volvo XC90 is a brilliant piece of automotive technology that’s just one malfunction away from leaving you stranded on the side of the road. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, but in all fairness, this isn’t just true off the XC90 – it’s true of almost every car these days. But I have a 2004 Volvo XC90 with a 2.5T engine, so I don’t care about other cars. I care about mine. And trust me, I know from experience as I’ve had my first-generation XC90 stall in traffic as well as die on me in a relatively upscale neighborhood. Both times were related to the MAF sensor and PCV system needing some love and I’ve not had any trouble since then.
When it comes to the old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” I tend to take that advice with a liberal amount of salt. Case in point, my turbo hose from the OTE (Over The Engine) pipe to the charge air cooler was getting quite soft and covered in oil droplets that were very likely from the power steering pump – or weeping from the inside. Either way, the hose was likely functioning as it should have – within its tolerances. There was no malfunction, no check engine light and no symptoms that I could tell that would demand that the turbo hose be replaced.
So I replaced it anyway.
I replaced the hose because not everything breaks on the XC90 – but everything does wear to some degree and that could lead to a malfunction. I’ve known drivers who have had this hose fail under acceleration. There is no temporary fix until you can get a new hose. I suppose if the tear is small enough, you could fashion some sort of temporary fix, but not likely on the side of the road. You simply need a new hose.
On a Volvo XC90, maintenance starts long before a part fails.
Call it spending money before I need to, or call it preventative maintenance – either way, I’ve minimized (likely eliminated) the risk that this turbo hose would fail in some fashion. Whether it develops a small tear or leak or starts to come apart at the clamp – doesn’t matter. It won’t happen now. Maybe that old hose would have lasted another 10 years, problem free. Or maybe it had another 10 miles left in it. Again, it doesn’t matter now.
It wasn’t broken, but I “fixed” it. Is there a maintenance interval for that turbo hose? I doubt it. I do know that it was not a Genuine Volvo part – unlike the hose with which I replaced it, which IS a Genuine Volvo part from FCP Euro.
So back to the title of the post: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s crap in most cases, and if you follow that advice during the course of your Volvo XC90 ownership experience, you are almost certain to experience a failure or catastrophic failure.
On this day, I replaced a turbo hose. I also have a passenger side engine mount to replace the one that is old, but not failing. I have a complete set of Ate brakes and hardware (and fluid) to replace the brakes that are worn, but not failing.
Same goes for some PCV parts I have, a coolant reservoir, a petcock, some vacuum hoses, and a few other things that don’t need replacing but I’ll replace them anyway because new stuff typically doesn’t break as often or as easily as old stuff.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the worst advice to give a Volvo XC90 owner. It’s also the worst advice for an XC90 owner to give to their fellow XC90 owners.
You’d never leave your timing belt to break before you fixed it, right? Or your spark plugs? Would you leave your fuel filter until it was 100% blocked? Or your air filter? No way. True, those things have their own maintenance intervals but you can still apply the same maintenance logic to parts that don’t have an interval but may still fail and cause you more problems than you’d like to deal with.
My rear door struts didn’t work when the ambient temperature was lower than 43F, so were they really broken? They worked just fine in the summer, so no big deal right? Maybe they weren’t important to the driving of the car, but they were important to me so I fixed them.
So go ahead, change that part that’s old and worn, yet not broken. Upgrade those hoses to fresh ones. Get that new coolant reservoir to replace the one that has hairline fractures that aren’t leaking yet. Get new struts for your rear door. Replace the top motor mount with a fresh one…and do the transmission mount while you’re at it. I have quite a few parts that are, literally, spare parts that I could replace at just about any time because the part on the car is starting to wear. My coolant reservoir is a good example of this. Mine is starting to develop hairline fractures – so I bought a new one. I could replace it today and not have to worry about it ever again. Or I could let the cracks continue until the reservoir leaks enough coolant to cause a check engine light and leave me stranded somewhere.
No thanks. I’ll change that reservoir.
Yes, these things cost money, but the result is additional peace of mind when it comes to your 1st generation XC90 ownership experience. With many of us owning XC90s that are creeping up on 14 years old, it’s a good approach to prolong the life of your Volvo XC90.