March 21

2011 Volvo XC60; Rear Spring 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, servicing and repairing vehicles in Vancouver for 38 years and 18 time winners, so far, of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Good thanks Mark. I like the so far, it’s good, many years to go.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2011 Volvo XC60. This is a nice station wagon-ish SUV kind of vehicle. What was going on  with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Well the owner of the vehicle came to our shop, he’d seen some of our videos on YouTube of noisy rear ends on Volvo’s and figured we were the people to have a look at it. So he brought the vehicle into our shop and we had a look at it.

Mark: And what was wrong?

Bernie: Well what we found essentially, something quite different from all the other videos, all our other videos on Volvo rear ends, all feature worn out differential bearings, but this one had something quite different. It had a broken rear leaf spring, actually it had two broken rear springs and it was very interesting because I just casually backed the vehicle up in my parking lot about to take a little road test and I stopped immediately because just backing it up 5 feet the vehicle’s going bang bang bang in the back. So there’s something pretty serious wrong with it. We put it on the hoist, did an inspection, we found the right rear leaf spring was broken so badly it was actually hitting the right rear axle as the vehicle turn.

Mark: Was it a leaf spring or a coil spring?

Bernie: Coil spring.

Mark: And so, what’s required to do that kind of repair?

Bernie: Well, it’s actually a pretty straight forward repair. There’s some suspension bracketry that needs to be removed and of course, you need to have ways to hold everything together because the springs are under pressure, especially the new ones. Because the old one was broken, it’s easier to get out. But it’s not too involved in the job. The parts and unfortunately are only available from the dealer, as least in Canada. We may have been able to order it elsewhere but none of out local suppliers had it other than the Volvo dealer, so that’s where we got the spring from. Put it in, pretty straightforward repair. Also replaced the cushion, it’s like a snubber cushion that if you ever hit, if the spring collapses, if you hit something so hard that the suspension fully travels to the end of its travel, there’s like a rubber cushion, we replace those because they’ve been damaged too.

Mark: And you have some pictures?

Bernie: I do. Let’s have a look at a couple. So there’s our Volvo XC60. You said nice station wagon, all wheel drive so the XC in Volvo it’s cross country, so I guess the idea is that you can go pretty well anywhere with it. They got pretty decent ground clearance and you can travel across the country in any condition, in luxury. What else do we have here for pictures? Then we have our broken spring. So that’s a broken rear leaf spring, sorry coil spring, I keep calling it leaf spring, it’s a coil spring. So you can see right at this spot here and there, that the spring is broken apart and there’s also a piece of the spring missing here as well. So there’s another chunk of the spring that had come off and the spring was also broken on the other side as well, although not quite in the middle, it was sort of more, you know near the top third of the spring. But that’s basically it. You can see a lot of rust here, so pretty certain what happens is the spring will develop a slight crack of some sort and then as over time, water corrosion will seep in and it’ll eventually cause the spring to break.

Mark: And why, that would seem to be a fairly rare thing, like what would cause a spring to break like that?

Bernie: Well you say, it’s a pretty rare thing and in fact it doesn’t happen too often, but yesterday we replaced these springs, and then it just so happens that we had a Mazda 3 come in with a banging noise in the back end with a broken coil spring as well. It’s not entirely uncommon but I mean, I think as far as causes, I mean, overloading a vehicle could certainly be a cause for it. Other than that I think, just sometimes hitting bumps little too hard. These springs are always under stress and so eventually you know, as I say that this one, you can see a very rusty area, probably developed a little stress crack, moisture seeped in, road salt corrosion, eventually weaken the spring. But certainly if you’re going over hard roads, hard bumps that’ll affect it over time. I say hard roads, I mean like you know bumpy roads, logging roads like that kind of thing.

Mark: And is it safe to drive a vehicle with a broken spring?

Bernie: Well certainly this one was not. The Mazda we had yesterday, there was only a little piece of the spring broken off, so the actual spring, it was just on the end, so the actual spring itself in kind of intact. But the risky thing with a spring breaking and as this Mazda, a piece of the spring comes off and that piece could, depending on where the spring’s located on the vehicle, could easily jump out puncture your tire, you know while you’re driving down the road. So it can be pretty serious, you definitely don’t want to drive with a broken spring.

Mark: And how are the XC60 Volvo’s for reliability?

Bernie: Well, they’re pretty good. This particular Volvo, it’s a 2011, not that old, has about over 200,000 kilometres, in really nice shape. They’re a little quirky in design, the engine, they have the serpentine drive belts are actually located between the transmission and the engine so it’s a lot of work to change it. So there’s a few quirky designs about it that make it, it can make it a little expensive to repair but as far as reliability, is really very few issues. We did our complimentary inspection on the vehicle, there’s no fluid leaking anywhere under the car, so that’s quite an achievement for that kind of mileage. Now this is the first time we’ve seen this vehicle, so they may of had a number of repairs previously but we do work on a number of and don’t see  a lot of problems. Pretty good.

Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for service for your Volvo in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to book ahead, they’re busy. Or check out their website, we’re getting ready to launch our PodCast, or you can check out our videos on YouTube. Pawlik Automotive Repair. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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