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Chapter 7 - Starting and driving

pg. 97 Starting and driving

General information 98
Fuel requirements 101
Starting the vehicle 104
Manual transmission 107
Automatic transmission - Geartronic 108
All Wheel Drive (option) 110
Brake system 111
Stability system 113
Rear park assist 115
Towing 116
Jump starting 118
Towing a trailer 119
Trailer towing 120
Detachable trailer hitch 121
Transporting loads 122

pg. 98 General information

Economical driving conserves natural resources
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 few minutes of operation. A cold engine uses more fuel and is subject to increased wear.
  • Whenever possible, avoid using the vehicle for driving short distances. This does not allow the engine to reach normal operating temperature.
  • Drive carefully and avoid rapid acceleration and hard braking.
  • Use the transmission's (D)rive position as often as possible and avoid using kickdown.
  • Do not exceed posted speed limits.
  • Avoid carrying unnecessary items (extra load) in the vehicle.
  • Maintain correct tire pressure. Check tire pressure regularly (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 also fuel consumption.
  • At highway driving speeds, fuel consumption will be lower with the air conditioning on and the windows closed than with the air conditioning off and the windows open.
  • Using the onboard trip computer's fuel consumption modes can help you learn how to drive more economically.

    Other factors that decrease gas mileage are:

  • 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 intervals.

    Weight distribution affects handling
    At the specified curb weight your vehicle has a tendency to understeer, which means that the steering wheel has to be turned more than might seem appropriate for the curvature of a bend. This ensures good stability and reduces the risk of rear wheel skid. Remember that these properties can alter with the vehicle load. The heavier the load in the cargo area, the less the tendency to understeer.

    Driving with the trunk open: Driving with the trunk open could lead to poisonous exhaust gases entering the passenger compartment. If the trunk must be kept open for any reason, proceed as follows:
    Close the windows
    Set the ventilation system control to air flow to floor, windshield and side windows and the blower control to its highest setting.

    Drive slowly and carefully if going through standing water (i.e. flooded roadways, etc.). Damage to the engine could result if excess water is drawn in through the air intake system. Never drive the vehicle in water deeper than 18 inches (48 cm).

    pg. 99 General information

    Handling, roadholding
    Vehicle load, tire design and inflation pressure all affect vehicle handling. Therefore, check that the tires are inflated to the recommended pressure according to the vehicle load. See the "Tire pressure" section. Loads should be distributed so that capacity weight or maximum permissible axle loads are not exceeded.

    Cold weather precautions
    If you wish to check your vehicle before the approach of cold weather, the following advice is worth noting:

  • Make sure that the engine coolant contains 50 percent antifreeze. Any other mixture will reduce freeze protection. This gives protection against freezing down to -31°F (-35°C). See section "Coolant". The use of "recycled" antifreeze is not approved by Volvo. Different types of antifreeze must not be mixed.
  • Volvo recommends using only genuine Volvo antifreeze in your vehicle's radiator. Your Volvo retailer stocks plenty of Volvo engine coolant to help protect your vehicle during cold weather.
  • Try to keep the fuel tank well filled - this prevents the formation of condensation in the tank. In addition, in extremely cold weather conditions it is worthwhile to add fuel line de-icer before refueling.
  • The viscosity of the engine oil is important. Oil with low viscosity (thinner oil) improves cold-weather starting as well as decreasing fuel consumption while the engine is warming up. For winter use, 5W-30 oil, particularly the synthetic type1 , is recommended. Be sure to use good quality oil but do not use cold-weather oil for hard driving or in warm weather. See page 187 for more information.
  • The load placed on the battery is greater during the winter since the windshield wipers, lighting, etc. are used more often. Moreover, the capacity of the battery decreases as the temperature drops. In very cold weather, a poorly charged battery can freeze and be damaged. It is therefore advisable to check the state of charge more frequently and spray an anti-rust oil on the battery posts.
  • Volvo recommends the use of snow tires on all four wheels for winter driving - see the chapter "Wheels and tires."
  • To prevent the washer fluid reservoir from freezing, add washer solvents containing antifreeze (see page 148 for the location of the washer fluid reservoir). This is important since dirt is often splashed on the windshield during winter driving, requiring the frequent use of the washers and wipers. Volvo Washer Solvent should be diluted as follows: Down to 14° F (-10° C): 1 part washer solvent and 4 parts water, Down to 5° F (-15° C): 1 part washer solvent and 3 parts water, Down to 0° F (-18° C): 1 part washer solvent and 2 parts water, Down to -18° F (-28° C): 1 part washer solvent and 1 part water.
  • Use Volvo Teflon Lock Spray in the locks.

    NOTE: Avoid using de-icing sprays as they can cause damage to the locks.

    1. Synthetic oil is not used when the oil is changed at the normal maintenance intervals except at owner request and at additional charge. Please consult your Volvo retailer.

    Conserving electrical current
    Keep the following in mind to help minimize battery drain:

  • When the engine is not running, avoid turning the ignition key to position II. Many electrical systems (the audio

    pg. 100 General information

    system, the optional navigation system, power windows, etc) will function with the ignition key in position I. This position reduces drain on the battery.

  • Please keep in mind that using systems, accessories, etc that consume a great deal of current when the engine is not running could result in the battery being completely drained.
  • The optional 12 volt socket in the trunk provides electrical current even with the ignition switched off, which drains the battery.

    NOTE: If the ignition is switched on, a warning message will be displayed in the text window in the instrument panel when the battery charge is low.
    An energy conserving function designed into the vehicle's electrical system will switch off certain functions or reduce the load on the battery by, e.g., reducing the audio system's volume.

    W Winter/Wet driving mode- enhanced vehicle traction

  • Mode W will only function if the gear selector is in the (D)rive position.
  • Press the button at the base of the gear selector to engage/disengage this driving mode.
  • An LED in the button will light up to indicate that W is engaged.
  • This mode may be selected for starting/moving off on slippery roads.

    Before a long distance trip
    It is always worthwhile to have your vehicle checked at a Volvo retailer before driving long distances. Your retailer will also be able to supply you with bulbs, fuses, spark plugs and wiper blades for your use in the event that problems occur.
    As a minimum, the following items should be checked before any long trip:

  • Check that engine runs smoothly and that fuel consumption is normal.
  • Check for fuel, oil, and fluid leakage
  • Have the transmission oil level checked2.
  • Check condition of drive belts.
  • Check state of the battery's charge.
  • Examine tires carefully (the spare tire as well), and replace those that are worn. Check tire pressures.
  • The brakes, front wheel alignment, and steering gear should be checked by your Volvo retailer only.
  • Check all lights, including high beams.
  • Reflective warning triangles are legally required in some states/provinces.
  • Have a word with your Volvo retailer if you intend to drive in countries where it may be difficult to obtain the correct fuel.
  • Consider your destination. If you will be driving through an area where snow or ice are likely to occur, consider snow tires.

    2. To prevent injury from contact with hot surfaces, do not inspect your vehicle's transmission fluid yourself. Have your vehicle's transmission fluid level inspected by a qualified Volvo service technician.

    pg. 101 Fuel requirements

    Octane rating
    Volvo engines are designed for optimum performance on unleaded premium gasoline with an AKI octane rating 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).

    Deposit control gasoline (detergent additives)
    Volvo recommends the use of detergent gasoline to control engine deposits. Detergent gasoline is effective 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.

    NOTE: Volvo does not recommend the use of store-bought fuel injector cleaning additives.

    Unleaded fuel
    Each Volvo has a three-way catalytic converter and must use only unleaded gasoline. U.S. and Canadian regulations require that pumps delivering unleaded gasoline be labelled "UNLEADED". Only these pumps have nozzles which fit your vehicle's filler inlet. It is unlawful to dispense leaded fuel into a vehicle labelled "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.

    NOTE: Some U.S. and Canadian gasolines contain an octane enhancing additive called methyl-cyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT). If such fuels are used, your Emission Control System performance may be affected, and the Check Engine Light (malfunction indicator lamp) located on your instrument panel may light. If this occurs, please return your vehicle to an authorized Volvo retailer for maintenance.

    Gasoline containing alcohol and ethers
    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 alcohols 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 standards, some areas require the use of "oxygenated" fuel. 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.

    Fuel Formulations
    Do not use gasoline that contains lead as a knock inhibitor, and do not use lead additives. Besides damaging the exhaust emission control systems on your vehicle, lead has been strongly linked to certain forms of cancer. Many fuels contain benzene as a solvent. Unburned benzene has been strongly linked to certain forms of cancer. If you live in an area where you must fill your own gas tank, take precautions.

    These may include:

  • standing upwind away from the filler nozzle while refueling

    pg. 102 Fuel requirements

  • refueling only at gas stations with vapor recovery systems that fully seal the mouth of the filler neck during refueling
  • wearing neoprene gloves while handling a fuel filler nozzle.

    Carbon monoxide is a poisonous, colorless, and odorless gas. It is present in all exhaust gases. If you ever smell exhaust fumes inside the vehicle, make sure the passenger compartment is ventilated, and immediately return the vehicle to your retailer for correction.

    Use of Additives
    With the exception of fuel line antifreeze during winter months, do not add solvents, thickeners, or other store-bought additives to your vehicle's fuel, cooling, or lubricating systems. Overuse may damage your engine, and some of these additives contain organically volatile chemicals. Do not needlessly expose yourself to these chemicals.

    Fuel filler door
    Press the button on the light switch panel (see the illustration on page 45) with the ignition switched off to unlock the fuel filler door. Please note that the fuel filler door will remain unlocked until the vehicle begins to move forward. An audible click will be heard when the fuel filler door relocks.
    If you intend to leave your vehicle while it is being refueled, this feature enables you to lock the doors/trunk while leaving the fuel filler door unlocked.
    You can also keep the vehicle locked if you remain inside it during refueling. The central locking button does not lock the fuel filler door.
    Be sure the fuel filler door is not obstructed and is completely closed after refueling.
    Open the fuel filler cap slowly during hot weather.

    The fuel tank is designed to hold approximately 15.9 US gallons (60 liters)1 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 "Reid vapor pressure" characteristics, and terrain can affect the fuel pump's 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.

    1. Models with All Wheel Drive have a tank volume of 15 US gallons (57 liters).
    Models with engine code 39 have a fuel tank capacity of 14.5 US gallons (55 liters). This code is the 6th and 7th digits from the left in your vehicle's VIN number. See page 184 for the location of the VIN plate.

    pg. 103 Fuel requirements

    Do not refuel with the engine runninga. Turn the ignition off or to position I. If the ignition is on, an incorrect reading could occur in the fuel gauge
    After refueling, close the fuel filler cap by turning it clockwise until it clicks into place.
    Allow for fuel expansion by not overfilling the tank. Overfilling could also cause damage to the emission control systems.
    Avoid spilling gasoline during refueling. In addition to causing damage to the environment, gasolines containing alcohol can cause damage to painted surfaces, which may not be covered under the New Vehicle Limited Warranty.
    Do not use gasolines 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.

    a. If the fuel filler cap is not closed tightly or if the engine is running when the vehicle is refueled, the Check Engine Light (malfunction indicator lamp) may indicate a fault. However, your vehicle's performance will not be affected. Use only Volvo original or approved fuel filler caps.

    pg. 104 Starting the vehicle

    Starting the vehicle
    To start the engine:

    1. Fasten the seat belt.

    Before starting, check that the seat, steering wheel and mirrors are adjusted properly. Make sure the brake pedal can be depressed completely. Adjust the seat if necessary.

    2. Apply the parking brake if not already set. The gear selector (automatic transmission) is locked in the (P)ark position (SHIFTLOCK). See also page 109.
    Manual transmission: the clutch must be fully depressed.

    3. Without touching the accelerator pedal, turn the ignition key to the starting position. Allow the starter to operate for up to 10 seconds. Release the key as soon as the engine starts. If the engine fails to start, repeat this step.


  • On certain models, when the vehicle is started, idle speed may be noticeably higher than normal for a short period, depending on the temperature of the engine. This has been done to help bring components in the emission control system to their normal operating temperature as quickly as possible, which enables them to function normally.
  • For cold starts at altitudes above 6000 ft. (1800 meters), depress the accelerator pedal halfway and turn the key to the starting position. Release the pedal slowly when the engine starts.

    4. To release the gear selector from the (P)ark position, the engine must be running (or the ignition key must be in position II) and the brake pedal must be depressed.

    5. Select the desired gear. On models with an automatic transmission, the gear engages after a very slight delay which is especially noticeable when selecting R.


  • Immobilizer: If two of the keys to your vehicle are close together, e.g., on the same key ring when you try to start the vehicle, this could cause interference in the immobilizer system and result in the vehicle not starting. If this should occur, remove one of the keys from the key ring before trying to start the vehicle again.
  • Keylock: Your vehicle is equipped with a keylock 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.
  • When starting in cold weather, the automatic transmission may shift up at slightly higher engine speeds than normal until the automatic transmission fluid reaches normal operating temperature.
  • Do not race a cold engine immediately after starting. Oil flow may not reach some lubrication points fast enough to prevent engine damage.

    Volvo's floor mats are specially manufactured for your car. They must be firmly secured in the clips on the floor so that they cannot slide and become trapped under the pedals on the driver's side.

    pg. 105 Starting the vehicle

    Automatic transmission: The engine should be idling when you move the gear selector. Never accelerate until after you feel the transmission engage! Accelerating immediately after selecting a gear will cause harsh engagement and premature transmission wear. Selecting P or N when idling at a standstill for prolonged periods of time will help prevent overheating of the automatic transmission fluid.

    Always place the gear selector in Park and apply the parking brake before leaving the vehicle. Never leave the vehicle unattended with the engine running.
    Always open 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.

    pg. 106 Ignition switch and steering wheel lock

    0 - Locked position

    Remove the key to lock the steering wheel1. Never turn the key to position 0 while driving or when the vehicle is being towed.

    NOTE: A ticking sound may be audible if the key is turned to a position between 0 and I. To stop this sound, turn the key to position II and back to position 0.

    I - Intermediate position2

    Certain accessories, radio, etc. on, daytime running lights off

    1. The gear selector must be in the Park position.
    2. Please be aware that leaving the key in this position will increase battery drain.

    II - Drive position

    The key's position when driving. The vehicle's entire electrical system is activated.

    III - Start position

    Release the key when the engine starts. The key returns automatically to the Drive position.
    A chime will sound if the key is left in the ignition and the driver's door is opened.

    Steering wheel lock
    When the key is removed from the ignition, the steering wheel locks so that it cannot be turned.
    If the front wheels are hard up against a curb, the steering wheel lock may be under too much tension to unlock.
    If so, the key will turn in the ignition switch but the car will not start.
    At the same time, a message "Steering locked" will appear in the driver information text display.
    If this happens:
    1. Remove the key from the ignition.
    2. Turn the steering wheel slightly and hold it to relieve pressure on the lock mechanism. Reinsert it the key.
    The steering should immediately unlock. If not, try again.

    NOTE: In order to help reduce vehicle theft, make sure the steering wheel lock is engaged before leaving the vehicle.

    Never switch off the ignition (turn the ignition key to position 0) or remove the key from the ignition switch while the vehicle is in motion. This could cause the steering wheel to lock, which would make the vehicle impossible to steer.

    pg. 107 Manual transmission wheel lock

    5-speed manual transmission (option on certain models)
    Depress the clutch pedal completely when changing gears1.
    Remove your foot from the clutch pedal while driving. The shift pattern should be followed.
    Overdrive (5th gear) should be used as often as possible to help improve fuel economy.

    1. Clutch interlock The clutch must be fully depressed before you can start your car. If the clutch is not depressed, it will not be possible to start the engine.

    6-speed manual transmission (option on certain models)
    Fifth and sixth gears should be used as often as possible to help improve fuel economy.

    An extra mat on the driver's floor can cause the accelerator pedal and/or the clutch pedal to catch. Check that the movement of these pedals is not impeded. Not more than one protective floor covering may be used at one time.

    Engaging reverse gear
    Reverse gear should only be engaged from a complete stop.

    Never shift into reverse while moving forward.

    pg. 108 Automatic transmission - Geartronic

    Shift gate positions
    Depress the button on the front of the gear selector knob to move the selector between the R, N, D, and P positions.
    The gear selector can be moved freely between the Geartronic (manual shifting) and (D)rive positions while driving.

    Gear selector positions
    P - Park

    Select the P position when starting or parking.
    In P, the transmission is mechanically blocked (Shiftlock). Always apply the parking brake when parking.

    The car must be stationary when selecting position P.

    R - Reverse
    The car must be stationary when shifting to position R.

    N - Neutral
    N is the neutral position. The engine can be started, but no gear is selected. Apply the parking brake when the car is stationary with the gear selector in N.

    D - Drive
    is the normal driving position. The car automatically shifts between the various forward gears, based on the level of acceleration and speed. The car must be at a standstill when shifting to position D from position R

    Manual shifting - Geartronic
    The manual shifting mode (Geartronic) can be selected at any time, including while the car is moving.

  • To access the (M)anual shifting position from (D)rive, move the gear selector to the right to M.
  • To return to the (D)rive position from M, move the gear selector to the left.

    While driving

  • If you select the M position while driving, the gear that was being used in the (D)rive position will also initially be selected in M position.
  • Move the gear selector forward (toward "+") to shift to a higher gear or rearward (toward "-") to shift to a lower gear.
  • If you hold the gear selector toward "-", the transmission will downshift one gear at a time and will utilize the braking power of the engine. If the current

    pg. 109 Automatic transmission - Geartronic

    speed is too high for using a lower gear, the downshift will not occur until the speed has decreased enough to allow the lower gear to be used.

  • If you slow to a very low speed, the transmission will automatically shift down.

    W - Winter/Wet driving mode - enhanced vehicle traction
    Mode W reduces torque at the wheels, which helps improve traction when starting off on a slippery surface.

    Once underway, turn off mode W to improve vehicle performance and fuel economy.

  • Mode W will only function if the gear selector is in the (D)rive position.
  • Press the button near the base of the gear selector to engage/disengage this driving mode. The indicator light in the button will light up when the function is engaged.

    Automatic transmission - adaptive system
    The automatic transmission is controlled by an adaptive control system that constantly monitors the way in which the transmission functions. It senses and adapts each gear shift for optimal performance.

    Cold starts (turbo engines)
    When driving before the engine has reached its normal operating temperature, the transmission will shift up at slightly higher engine speeds to heat the three-way catalytic converter as quickly as possible.

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

    NOTE: The gear selector must be in the D (Drive) position for kickdown to function.

    Shiftlock override
    Shiftlock prevents the gear selector from being moved out of Park unless the ignition key is in position II and the brake pedal is depressed.
    In certain cases it may be necessary to move the gear selector from the Park position manually, for example if the battery is discharged.

    Overriding the shiftlock system

    To manually override the Shiftlock system:
    1. Apply the parking brake.
    2. Depress the brake pedal.
    3. There is a small cover behind P-R-N-D on the gear selector panel. Open the rear edge of the panel.
    4. Insert the key blade (see page 90) or a screwdriver into the opening and press it down until it bottoms and move the gear selector out of the P position.

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