Starting and driving

pg. 4:1 Starting and driving

Starting and driving

This section on starting and driving contains items such as starting the engine, operating gear selector, towing, trailers.

4:2Break-in period
4:3Fuel requirements, Refueling
4:4Economical driving
4:5Starting the engine
4:6Automatic Transmission
4:8Points to remember
4:11Emergency towing
4:12Vehicle Towing Information
4:13Starting with an auxiliary battery
4:14Three-way catalytic converter
4:15Brake system
4:16Towing a trailer
4:17Winter driving
4:18Before a long distance trip

pg. 4:2 Break-in period, Fuel requirements

A new car should be broken-in!

Refrain from utilizing your car's full driving potential during the first 1,200 miles (2,000 km).

Automatic transmission

Do not use "kick-down" during the first 1,200 miles (2,000 km).


Although some oil consumption during normal engine operation, more oil is consumed when the engine is new as the internal parts generate higher friction while wearing-in to each other. From the time the engine is new until the first service is performed, the oil consumption could be higher than normal. For this reason, it is especially important to check the oil every time you refuel your car during this period. See page 8:6.
In general, the rate of oil consumption depends on such factors as: engine temperature, length of trip, driving conditions, oil viscosity and quality, engine speed and acceleration/deceleration.
Checking your engine oil level each time the car is refuelled is one of the most important items you can perform to help keep your car in good running order.

Breaking-in parking brake (hand brake)

To obtain best parking brake performance, the brake linings should be broken-in. Stop 5-7 times from 30 mph (50 km/h), transmission in neutral, applying the parking brake with the release button pressed in during the stop.
The force must not lock the rear wheels. If this happens, release the brake enough to let the wheels rotate. Drive a mile between each stop to cool the brakes. Check for proper parking brake operation.

The brake lights are not illuminated when applying the parking brake. To warn traffic from behind it is therefore advisable to depress the brake pedal slightly to illuminate the brake lights.
The parking brake break-in procedure should never be performed on a wet or slippery road or in traffic.

Deposit control gasoline

Volvo recommends the use of gasoline containing deposit control additives. These additives have shown to be efficient in keeping injectors and intake valves clean. Consistent use of deposit control gasolines will help ensure good driveability and fuel economy. If you are not sure whether the gasoline contains deposit control additives, check with the service station operator.

Do not add additives yourself to the gasoline, unless you are recommended to do so by an authorized Volvo retailer.

pg. 4:3 Fuel requirements, Refueling

Unleaded Fuel

Each Volvo has a three-way catalytic converter and must use only unleaded gasoline (as specified on the instrument panel and by a label near the filler inlet.). U.S. and Canadian regulations require that pumps delivering unleaded gasoline be labeled "UNLEADED". Only these pumps have nozzles which fit your car's filler inlet. It is unlawful to dispense leaded fuel into a vehicle labeled "unleaded gasoline only". Leaded gasoline damages the three-way catalytic converter and the heated oxygen sensor system. Repeated use of leaded gasoline will lessen the effectiveness of the emission control system and could result in loss of emission warranty coverage. State and local vehicle inspection programs will make detection of misfueling easier, possibly resulting in emission test failure for misfueled vehicles.

Octane Rating

Volvo engines are designed for optimum performance on unleaded premium gasoline with an octane rating, AKI of 91, or above. AKI (ANTI KNOCK INDEX) is an average of the Research Octane Number, RON, and the Motor Octane Number, MON, (RON + MON/ 2).
The minimum octane requirement is AKI 87 (RON 91).

Gasoline Containing Alcohol and Ethers

"Oxygenated fuels"
Some fuel suppliers sell gasoline containing "oxygenates" which are usually alcohols or ethers. In some areas, state or local laws require that the service pump be marked indicating use of alcohol or ethers. However, there are areas in which the pumps are unmarked. If you are not sure whether there is alcohol or ethers in the gasoline you buy, check with the service station operator. To meet seasonal air quality restrictions, some states require the use of "oxygenated" fuel in certain areas.
Volvo allows the use of the following "oxygenated fuels"; however, the octane ratings listed on this page must still be met.

Alcohol -- Ethanol
Fuels containing up to 10% ethanol by volume may be used.
Ethanol may also be referred to as Ethyl alcohol, or "Gasohol".
Ethers -- MTBE
Fuels containing up to 15% MTBE may be used.


The fuel tank filler cap is located behind the door on the left rear fender. Open cap slowly during hot weather conditions.
When filling, position the cap in the special bracket on the door.
After filling the tank, install the cap and turn until a "click" is heard.
The fuel tank is designed to hold approximately 21.1 US gals (80 liters) with sufficient volume left over to accommodate possible expansion of the fuel in hot weather. Be aware that the "usable" tank capacity will be somewhat less than the specified maximum. When the fuel level is low, such factors as ambient temperature, the fuel's "vapor pressure" characteristics, and terrain can affect the fuel pumps' ability to supply the engine with an adequate supply of fuel. Therefore, it is advisable to refuel as soon as possible when the needle nears the red zone, or when the fuel warning light comes on.

CAUTION: Take care not to spill gasoline during refueling. Gasolines containing alcohol can cause damage to painted surfaces, which may not be covered under the New Vehicle Limited Warranty.
Do not use gasoline containing methanol (methyl alcohol, wood alcohol). This practice can result in vehicle performance deterioration and can damage critical parts in the fuel system. Such damage may not be covered under the New Vehicle Limited Warranty.

pg. 4:4 Driving economy

Economical driving does not necessarily mean driving slowly

Better driving economy may be obtained by thinking ahead, avoiding rapid starts and stops and adjusting the speed of your vehicle to immediate traffic conditions. Observe the following rules:

  • Bring the engine to normal operating temperature as soon as possible by driving with a light foot on the accelerator pedal for the first minutes of operation. A cold engine uses more fuel and is subject to increased wear.
  • Whenever possible, avoid using the car for driving short distances. This does not allow the engine to reach normal operating temperature.
  • Drive carefully and avoid rapid acceleration and hard braking.
  • Do not exceed speed limit.
  • Avoid carrying unnecessary items (extra load) in the car.
  • Check tire pressure regularly (check when tires are cold).
  • Remove snow tires when threat of snow or ice has ended.
  • Note that roof racks, ski racks, etc., increase air resistance and thereby fuel consumption.
  • Avoid using automatic transmission kick-down feature unless necessary.
  • Avoid using the air conditioning when it is not required. When engaged, the air conditioner's compressor places places an additional load on the engine.

    Other factors which decrease gas mileage are:

  • Low tire pressure
  • Worn or dirty spark plugs
  • Incorrect spark plug gap
  • Dirty air cleaner
  • Dirty engine oil and clogged oil filter
  • Dragging brakes
  • Incorrect front end alignment

    Some of the above mentioned items and others are checked at the standard Maintenance Service intervals.

    NOTE: Since using (D)rive improves fuel economy, it should be used as often as possible.

    pg. 4:5 Starting the engine

    Starting and stopping a car equipped with automatic transmission

    1 Fasten the seat belt.

    WARNING! Before starting, check that the seat is adjusted properly. Make sure the brake pedal can be depressed completely. Move the seat closer if necessary. Refer to section "Front seats".

    2 Apply the parking brake, if not already set. The gear selector is locked in the (P)ark position ( SHIFTLOCK ).

    3 Without touching the accelerator pedal , turn the ignition key to the starting position. Allow the starter to operate for 5-10 seconds. Release the key as soon as the engine starts. If the engine fails to start, repeat step 3.
    For cold starts at altitudes above 6000 ft (1800 m), depress the accelerator pedal halfway and turn the key to the starting position. Release the accelerator pedal slowly when the engine starts.

    4 To release the gear selector, depress the brake pedal . See page 6:21 for instructions on manually overriding the SHIFTLOCK system if the lever cannot be moved. Do not race a cold engine immediately after starting. Oil flow may not reach some lubricating points fast enough to prevent engine damage.

    5 Select desired gear. The gear engages after a slight delay, especially noticeable when selecting R.

    CAUTION: Engine should be idling; never accelerate until after you feel the gear engage! Too rapid acceleration immediately after selecting a gear will cause harsh engagement and premature transmission wear.

    NOTE: Your car is equipped with a KEYLOCK switch system. When the engine is switched off, the gear selector must be in the (P)ark position before the key can be removed from the ignition switch.

    Never leave car unattended with engine running.
    Always open the garage doors fully before starting the engine inside a garage to ensure adequate ventilation. The exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide, which is invisible and odorless but very poisonous.

    Engine warm-up initial driving procedure

    Engines in vehicles driven short distances are subject to abnormally rapid wear because the engine never reaches normal operating temperature. It is therefore beneficial to reach normal operating temperature as soon as possible. This is best achieved by driving with a light foot on the accelerator pedal for a few minutes after starting, rather than prolonged idling.

    B 6304 S/ B 6254 S engines

    These engines feature hydraulic valve lifters which means that valve clearance is adjusted automatically. It is possible that the valve lifters will produce a ticking sound for the first few seconds after the engine is started, while the oil pressure is increasing.
    If the car has not been used for a long period of time, this ticking sound may last for up to 15 minutes. This is entirely normal.


  • Do not exceed 3000rpm until the ticking sound disappears.
  • Selecting position P or N when idling at a standstill for prolonged periods of time will help prevent overheating of the transmission oil.

    pg. 4:6 Automatic transmission

    P (Park)

    Use this position when starting the engine or parking the car.
    Never use P while car is in motion.
    The transmission is mechanically locked when in position P. Also use the parking brake when parking on grades.
    The gear selector is locked in the P position (Shift lock). To release the selector, start the engine and depress the brake pedal. See page 6:21 for instructions on manually releasing the gear selector.


  • Never select P or R while the car is in motion.
  • When initially selecting positions D, 3, L or R, your right foot should press firmly on the brake pedal to ensure that the car is standing still with the engine idling.
  • The gear selector should not be downshifted to L at speeds above 75 mph (125 km/h).*
    * Always observe posted speed limits!

    Never leave the car when the engine is running. If, by mistake, the gear selector is moved from P the car may start moving.

    R (Reverse)

    Never engage R while is moving forward.

    N (Neutral)

    Neutral position = no gear is engaged. Use parking brake. The engine can be started with the gear selector in this position.

    D (Drive)

    D is the normal driving position and should be used as often as possible to help improve fuel economy. When modes E or S are selected, upshift and downshift of the forward gears occur automatically and are governed by accelerator pedal position and vehicle speed.

    3 (Intermediate position)

    Automatically shifts up and down between first second and third gears when driving mode E or S. There is no upshift from third gear. Position 3 can be used for driving in hilly terrain, for towing trailers or for increased engine braking power.

    L (Low gear)

    No upshift can occur when L is engaged. Select position L for driving in first or second gears. Use this position to select low gear with no upshift, e.g. when ascending and descending steep grades.

    pg. 4:7 Automatic transmission

    Shift gate positions

    The gear selector can be moved freely between D and 3. Selections of other positions are obtained by depressing the selector knob prior to moving the selector.
    Slightly depressing the selector knob allows selection of positions N, D, 3 and L. Fully depressing the selector knob allows selection of positions R and P. This is also necessary when initially bringing the selector out of position P. Fully depressing the selector knob thus permits shifting freely between all positions.


    Automatic shift to a lower gear (kick-down) is achieved by depressing the accelerator pedal fully and briskly.
    An up-shift will be achieved when approaching the top speed for a particular gear or by releasing the accelerator pedal slightly. Kick-down can be used for maximum acceleration or when passing at highway speeds.

    Mode selector

    The push-buttons to the left of the gear lever are for selection of modes E, S and W. Any mode can be selected while the car is on the move.

    Economy Mode

    This mode is used normally. The gearbox changes gears at a lower engine speed to achieve the best possible fuel consumption.

    Sport Mode

    This mode is adapted to "sporty" driving characteristics. The transmission upshifts at higher engine speeds and less accelerator pedal pressure is required to initiate a downshift.

    Winter Mode

    This mode may be selected for starting/moving off on slippery roads or to lower downshift speeds if the transmission is in "L".
    Mode W
    * In position D, the gearbox starts in third gear and changes up to forth gear.
    * In position 3, second gear is locked and there is no change up to third gear.
    In position L, first gear is locked.
    * These positions always offer the kick-down feature.

    CAUTION: Driveability and fuel economy will be adversely affected by prolonged driving in winter mode. Volvo recommends using this mode only when starting in extremely slippery conditions.

    The indicator lamp in the instrument panel lights up when mode W is selected.
    Press button W in order to disengage this mode.
    When mode W is disengaged, the gearbox automatically reverts to the previously selected S or E mode. If the indicator lamp begins to flash, this is an indication of a fault in the automatic gearbox. Please contact your Volvo retailer if this occurs.


    The automatic gearbox has a "lock-up" function. It reduces engine speed and saves fuel. The "lock-up" function can sometimes be felt as an additional gear change.

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