The Volvo S40 and V40 are great cars that are reasonably reliable and very solid. But like a lot of different makes and models of cars, some have common faults.
At some point in their life quite a few of the Volvo S40 and V40 model of cars may suffer from a failed VVT Pulley. The models most prone to this problem are Volvo S40/V40 1997 -2000 and 2000 – 2004 models. If you are planning on buying a Volvo S40/V40 made in those years check it carefully. Amongst all the regular checks that you would or should go through when buying a used car make sure to listen to the engine bay on any Volvo S40/V40 made between 1997 – 2000 and 2000 – 2004.
The sound you don’t want to hear is very similar to a rattling piece of plastic, and you would be forgiven for thinking the rattle was nothing more then a bit of plastic in the engine bay if you hadn’t done your research before hand and your not aware of the VVT Pulley problems on 1997 – 2000 and 2000 – 2004 models of the Volvo S40 / V40. If you do go and view a Volvo and notice that it has the rattling noise coming from the engine bay it’s probably best to move on and find another Volvo.
There’s no shortage of good examples around. Either that or point out the fault to the seller and make sure you get a hefty discount. VVT Pulleys are for sale and can be bought for around £140 – £180 brand new. You may be able to find a used but fully working VVT Pulley on eBay that’s come from a Volvo being broken down for spares.
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Sadly, the VVT Pulley is not an easy part to replace yourself. This is because in order to correctly fit the new VVT Pulley the timing belt /cam belt has to come off. So while replacing the VVT Pulley it’s recommended that you just fit a new timing belt / cam belt at the same time. This is a fairly complicated job that requires some precision so it’s best left to a good independent garage or a Volvo specialist.
If your Volvo S40 /V40 has a strange rattling / ticking noise coming from the engine bay the chances are that you need to replace the VVT Pulley. Symptoms of a failed VVT Pulley include higher petrol consumption and a decrease in car power. Some people drive their Volvo S40/V40 with a broken VVT Pulley, and some drivers have even reported that they have been running the risk and driving their car for months with this problem in full force and the car had not broken down. However, there are a handful of people who have had the unfortunate luck of engine failure due to a failed VVT Pulley.
An engine failing because of a broken VVT pulley is rare but has happened. This happens because without the VVT Pulley in fully working order it can lead to starvation of oil to the engine. How long it takes to result in engine failure is unpredictable and seems to be different from car to car. If it’s not the Pulley that’s broken what else can it be? It could be the solenoid, but most of the time it is the VVT Pulley that needs replacing.
You can either run the risk and see how long you last or get it fixed as soon as possible. I suppose it depends on how much you value your car, and also how much breakdown cover you have just in case the worst happens. I had this problem with my own Volvo S40 when I first bought it.
Once the car developed the dreaded VVT Pulley failure I parked the car up and left it until I had the time and spare money to get it fixed. I refused to drive the car with this problem because at the time I didn’t have any breakdown cover and I also didn’t want to cause more damage to the car by driving it with a fault that has the potential to cause engine damage.