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VVT Issues in a Volvo: Causes and Symptoms

Volvo Check Engine Light

The Volvo brand is one of the oldest in automotive history and has provided comfort and luxury to drivers worldwide. However, drivers have complained about having VVT issues more often than not. VVT is an acronym for Variable Valve Timing.

The variable valve timing system is a system that uses new and advanced electronic technology to apply variable electronic signals coming from a variable valve timing solenoid. Simply put, the VVT system opens and closes a valve to help your engine work harder and smarter.

Today, all cars utilize a VVT system as part of a means to achieve high performance. The VVT system found in your Volvo is unique in its entirety and cannot be found in any other car brand. If the VVT system fails, the engine in your Volvo will become unable to do strenuous work like pull a trailer or go up and down a hill. Sometimes, the engine will start to fail, too, and overall performance will reduce significantly.

Causes of VVT system failure in Volvo

Failure of the VVT system of your Volvo is usually due to a lack of routine maintenance. A basic maintenance routine should involve the frequent change of the engine oil. Over time, as you continue to use your car, the engine oil gets contaminated with specks of dirt and sludge, and these particles are large enough to block the screen on the solenoid.

When the VVT solenoid becomes jammed by contaminants, it becomes unable to serve as a medium to transfer signals to the engine. Hence, the VVT system will start showing signs of failure, and the engine will eventually fail.

Another common reason for VVT system failure is the natural wear and tear of the solenoid or VVT switch. The solenoid might develop faults due to constant use and give way. When the controller and solenoid start failing, contact a Volvo expert to inspect and replace them.

The simple solution is to practice a tight maintenance schedule for your Volvo. Change your engine oil frequently and cover it tightly to prevent oil contamination.

Symptoms of VVT System Failure in Volvo


  • Check Engine Light is on: The VVT system is an integral part of the Engine Control Unit (ECU). Hence, the engine is affected whenever the VVT develops a fault. The check engine light comes on for several other reasons, so that is why it is important to visit a professional mechanic to help you examine the issue to find the root cause.
  • Rough Engine Idle: The VVT system is activated only when the engine is at high RPM or the load on the engine is too much. When the VVT engine becomes faulty, the VVT solenoid malfunctions and introduces additional engine oil to the gears, which causes the engine to idle roughly. Call for help immediately and have the issue rectified to prevent damage to other parts.
  • Reduction in Fuel Economy: One of the primary functions of the variable valve timing system is to ensure that the valve opens and closes at the right time to optimize engine performance and reduce fuel usage. When the VVT system starts failing, the intake and outtake valves will begin opening and closing at wrong intervals and cause fuel economy to decrease significantly. You’ll notice that your car consumes fuel faster than usual, and you’ll spend more on gas and have incorrect emission ratios.

The Professionals of Glenwood Foreign Car Can Fix Your VVT Issues

The VVT system is a delicate part of your Volvo located near the camshaft and should only be repaired by an experienced mechanic. Glenwood Foreign Car is the Volvo Oil Change ultimate solution to all problems with your European vehicles.

We provide high-quality repair and services for all European vehicles, including your Volvo, at affordable prices. We are a Bosch-certified center with the required skills to diagnose, maintain, and repair all the faults in your Volvo. You can quickly locate us at our shops in Morrisville, PA, and we have provided quality service to drivers in the surrounding areas of Upper Makefield Township, Yardley, and Newtown. Call us today to schedule repairs for your Volvo or to speak with a mechanic about our available service and maintenance plans.

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