December 12

2008 Volvo XC90, Shock Absorber Replacement



Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; Vancouver’s best auto service experience; 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well this morning.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2008 Volvo XC90 that had a, needed some shocks. What was going on with this SUV?

Bernie: Well the vehicle was brought to our shop for a couple concerns; it was a stability warning light on, on the dash and first we always road test the vehicle and almost immediately I drove out of the parking lot and the handling of the vehicle just felt weird; like it felt very unstable and clearly there was something wrong, I figured based on years of experience something is wrong with the shock absorbers in the rear, you could just could feel it the way the vehicle was bouncing.

Mark: So what was happening with the shocks and how did you know they were bad?

Bernie: Well basically, so what was happening with the shocks was the vehicle rides as I mentioned was very poor, it was, it’s just a feeling you get when shocks absorbers are worn out and it’s like the vehicle bounces in an odd way and so when we hoisted the vehicle and looked at it there really was nothing else other than they were worn out. I’ll share pictures in a couple minutes but it’s just a feel you get with the vehicle and I know in my, in the automotive industry shock absorber manufacturers they often recommend you replace your shocks at 80,000 kilometers or 50,000 miles, they’ve since toned that down to inspect your shock absorbers because honestly and I’ve battled with my suppliers, talked to my suppliers and I think this is a bogus recommendation, I mean there’s so many cars that have 200,000 kilometers and I’ve seen a Subaru with 250,000 kilometers, the shocks, the struts original and the car still rides fine and they said look, I’ll give you a free set to try out, about 50,000 kilometers ago, try them out and you know there might be a subtle difference but really it’s minimal so when shocks are blown you can feel it like there’s, there’s a bounciness to the car, when you hit the brake if the fronts are gone, yeah the car will, you hit the brake and the vehicle dips and then it bounces back up and it keeps bouncing, like that’s when they’re really bad, if it dips too much that can be a problem too but it’s that relaying bounces that’s the problem. Now this vehicle the fronts were fine but the rear bad so when you hit a bump the whole back of the cars just kind of flopping around, it’s kind of hilarious. There’s a bridge near by my shop, the Oak Street bridge and there’s this curve and every vehicle I drive on this curve there’s a little expansion joint in the bridge and every vehicle I drive and you hit the curve it kind of makes a little bump and twists the back end and I went around this curve with this Volvo and I honestly thought the car was going to off the road it was that scary, so. Anyways, I’ll just share a couple photos so there’s our XC90, it’s a little dirty, it’s Vancouver this time of year and I didn’t have a chance to wash it for the photo but that’s it. 08 XC90 and then we have shock absorbers, the old shocks are on the top, I mean they look old and dirty, there might be a slight bit of fluid leaked out of the but that’s the new replacement unit underneath, it’s a KYB Gas-a-Just, excellent shock absorber, original equipment quality or better, so yeah that’s it, so a lot of, sometimes you can tell shocks are bad too, they start leaking, they all have fluid in them, if they start leaking fluid that’s a sure sign the shocks are on the way out. Sometimes you can be leaking fluid and still work fine for a while.

Mark: So is this a difficult repair on this Volvo?

Bernie: Not too difficult although it does require removing some of the interior to access the top shock absorber vault and there’s a bit of finikyness to it but it’s not a really, you know not a really crazy job, a couple of hours type of work to do it and it’s done.

Mark: So how did the vehicle ride after you put the new shocks in?

Bernie: Felt awesome, felt like a semi luxurious sport utility vehicle, yeah it’s nice, really good and stable I mean, the thing when the rides like that it, it actually is dangerous even though it’s not like driving a car with not brakes but it’s not stable on the road so he could lose control under certain circumstances; it’s important to have them working.

Mark: So how are these XC90 for reliability and repair?

Bernie: They’re not bad, the older versions, the older models prior to this generation they had a lot of problems, these ones seem to be a more reliable, I don’t know if I’d go out and buy one, I think they’re still you know, if you want something that’s really reliable Japanese would be better but I would say that you know, overall they’re pretty good, definitely better than the previous generation; quite redesigned too, the engine design is different. One of the other items we replaced was a serpentine drive belt that it’s interesting because it’s located between the engine and transmission instead of being on the side of the engine away from the transmission which is the normal place, so there’s a lot of interesting redesigns with cars over the last decade, we look under the hood and go wow that’s strange but you know but it uses the space more wisely but it makes for a more expensive belt replacement but fortunately they last a long time so overall you know the car is good.

Mark: So there you have it, if you’re looking for auto service, auto maintenance, changing your oil and other special, you know, specialty services in Vancouver for your vehicle’s, these are the guys to call Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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