Edmunds Answers



  • MrShift@Edmunds 01/10/13 7:36 pm PST

    This is a tough one, because of the time lapse between the service and the incident. I'd hate to be the referee on this one during a mediation hearing!

    Couple of suggestions and I hope they don't seem "lame"--

    1. Could you possibly claim this under a road hazard clause in your comprehensive insurance policy?

    2. you could write/call the Volvo Zone Office and explain the situation and ask for "factory participation"---maybe they'll do something like a 50/50 goodwill split. It's not all you want but given the vague area of responsbility here, it's better than nothing.

    3. Consult an attorney and try to make the dealer's "errors and omissions" insurance pay for it.

    I really doubt that the Volvo factory would honor this as a straight warranty claim.

    I can also tell you what the other side will say:

    1. cap came off because someone else touched it and put it back wrong

    2. owner didn't stop when red light was on, and the reason the temp gauge didn't show HOT was because the coolant was already missing---a temp gauge cannot read "steam" (which is true, it can't read when the cooling system is already empty).

    I'm really sorry this happened to you---it's a very tough situation to deal with, but given that the stakes are pretty high, you're going to have to summon up all your patience and negotiating skill to try and salvage all or part of it.

  • gregnal 01/10/13 8:52 pm PST

    Mr. Shiftright,
    Thank you for your advice. After sending a letter to Volvo of North America with the above info, they called this afternoon and said they would cover everything as a "one-time" courtesy. I was shocked. I can only assume that I may have been correct that the Federal Emissions Warranty may have applied because the sensor and gauge didn't register any engine problems. If a light goes off when my tire is going flat, you'd think a light would go off to tell me my coolant is low. I asked about an after market coolant level sensor, which I know Mercedes and other manufacturers are placing in their cars, but the Volvo guy didn't know of one. I don't know if the cap popped off and just happened to land in the headlight well or if the Volvo engine is so resilient that it can withstand loss of coolant for lengthy periods - since I don't know when most of the coolant finally burned off.

    However, the service manager offered to give me a tutorial on the fluids, caps and various things I should check, even after the car has been serviced, to ensure I don't fry another engine.

    It's really crazy that the entire engine can be destroyed by the lack of a fluid sensor. I can't add one while it's under warranty, but I'm sure going to look into it when it expires. Big mystery. Maybe they'll find another explanation when they tear it down. Thanks again.

    I should add that I am very appreciative of Volvo's good faith gesture in repairing the car.

  • MrShift@Edmunds 01/10/13 9:01 pm PST

    Well that's a real score for you! I was quite worried that they might stonewall you. You just never know how the factory will handle something like this--it's the unpredictability of their response that makes giving advice so difficult.

    Anyway, all's well that ends well. I'm not sure either why you didn't get more of a warning of overheating---you'd think they'd make the car with all kinds of bells and whistles to warn of such a drastic condition.

    Congratulations, in any event, and I hope the car continues to give you pleasure in the future. Thanks also for the follow up feedback.


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