XC90 air conditioning problems seem to always happen during the time when you need cool air the most: The middle of summer. Which is why I’m writing this post at the very beginning of summer – so that you’re prepared for that unbelievable inconvenience of not having air conditioning in a warm climate.
Most people in this predicament rush their Volvo to the nearest mechanic to have it diagnosed. This can mean anything from testing for leaks, checking the AC clutch, looking for worn parts, broken lines, etc. These are some of the more obvious ways to diagnose XC90 air conditioning problems, but most non-Volvo mechanics overlook one very basic issue that’s quite easy to rule out.
If you like your Volvo XC90 clean, or if you clean it at all, here’s a good chance that you vacuum the dust that can collect in the cabin temperature sensor area.
Meet the Volvo XC90 Cabin Temperature Sensor
Not sure what the heck a cabin temperature sensor is? Check the diagram below:
The XC90 cabin temperature sensor (known in the manual as the “passenger compartment temperature sensor” …thanks Volvo) does exactly what it sounds like it does – it monitors the temperature in the cabin area to determine that amount of cold air necessary to maintain the set temperature on the temperature controls. When it breaks, the cabin temperature sensor can’t sense the cabin temperature.
It’s a vital part of the system, and when it doesn’t know what the temperature is, you can get some very unwanted symptoms from the air conditioning system, including a complete (or severe) lack of cabin cooling.
Broken Xc90 Cabin Temperature Sensor? Someone Probably Tried to Clean it.
It’s possible that, at some point, you or a previous owner has noticed dust collected in the sensor area and attempted to get it out using various methods:
- Vacuum with duster attachment
- Small screwdriver
- Blowing on it very hard
And while whomever did this may have had only the best of intentions, it could be that the tiny wire sensor housed in the module has been cracked or completely broken. The good news is that, if this is the reason your XC90 air conditioning problems are occurring, it can be fixed. The part number for the sensor is 869166. Volvo dealerships carry the part and it’s also available from FCP Euro.
My suggestion is to take this, and just about all of your Volvo XC90 air conditioning problems, to an independent Volvo mechanic. This is my suggestion especially if you aren’t comfortable replacing the sensor yourself. If you don’t have a local independent Volvo mechanic, then take it to the dealership. Also, you may be able to find a replacement on a wrecked XC90.
If you’re leery about getting a used one, you can always go new by purchasing from FCP Euro or a similar website as I mentioned above. And if a broken climate control temp sensor wire on your XC90 isn’t the culprit, then you have at the very least made an easy elimination of a possible cause.