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Frequently Asked Questions


I failed emissions. What should I do?

If your vehicle fails emissions, it could be something as simple as a new gas cap (for some vehicles) or an indication of a larger repair needed.

Swedish Motors has registered technicians to perform these repairs and adjustments. Bring it in or give us a call 303.443.4812 and we can explain your options.

We have an Air Care Colorado emissions center here in Boulder on Airport Road just off Valmont for a recheck after your repair with us.

How often should I change my oil? I've heard conflicting numbers.

Since opinions vary between 3,000 and 10,000 miles, we suggest it always safest to follow the mileage or time period in the manual that came with your vehicle.

If your manual is unavailable, call 303.443.4812 and we can look the numbers up for you.

Please, note that if you use synthetic oil the Volvo warranty still requires the normal oil change intervals.

What should I do if the Oil Light comes on?

Do NOT drive. Don't even drive to the next exit.

Turn the engine off as soon as safely possible. The light means the oil pressure is dangerously low. Call for roadside assistance and get your vehicle towed to us.

Without oil (even for a few minutes) the engine starts grinding itself away. Within moments, your precision machine becomes an old car.

Next stop is an expensive engine swap. This is one of those problems that require a mechanics attention before proceeding.

Call us on 303.443.4812.

What should I do if the temp gauge goes into the red or the light comes on?

Do NOT drive. Don't even drive to the next exit.

Turn the engine off as soon as safely possible. The light/gauge means the coolant (antifreeze) is dangerously low. Call for roadside assistance and get your vehicle towed to us.

Without coolant (even for a few minutes) the engine starts melting itself away. Within moments, your precision machine becomes an old car.

Next stop is an expensive engine swap. This is one of those problems that require a mechanics attention before proceeding.

Call us on 303.443.4812.

I've decided to sell my car. Will you buy it or will you suggest where I can find a buyer?

We often buy Volvos or Subarus that need repairs or that can be used for parts.

We have a bulletin board on which you can place your ad at no charge.

Just give us a call 303.443.4812 to make arrangements.

If my car stops and needs towing, what should I do?

If it's not a simple over-the-phone fix, then we recommend your insurance company (many insurance plans cover tows) or AAA towing services.

What type of oil should I use?

Volvos 2013 and newer use full synthetic per manufacturer recommendations. Generally, Volvos 2012 and older are fine using conventional oil.

Subarus 2006 and newer use full synthetic, per manufacturer recommendations, while 2005 and older can use conventional oil.

Note: We have experienced higher oil consumption on vehicles with 75,000+ miles and so recommend a high mileage synthetic blend (even on newer models) and to shorten the oil change intervals for best performance.

I'm going to buy a used Volvo or Subaru; can you check it for me?

Yes, absolutely! We do pre-purchase inspections and highly recommend you get any potential vehicle you may purchase checked out by a trained technician before buying! Many customers find this helpful in either avoiding costly future repairs or knowing they've found a used car that's in good condition.

Call us at 303.443.4812 to schedule.

How often should I have my vehicle checked-out or perform maintenance?

Often, a check-up is recommended about once a year and is intended to catch most problems. It is vital to maintain your vehicle's recommended factory maintenance schedule (based on mileage). Most common intervals for these are 5,000 miles; 7,500 miles; and 10,000 miles depending on year and model of vehicle.

The tires should be rotated during this check-up since front wheel drive vehicles wear them differently than the rear tires. We can do this for you for a fee or, in most cases, your tire store has included this fee in the purchase of the tires. They will thus do it at no additional expense.

You should bring your vehicle in to see us for a quick check-up before going on a long trip or before summer heat or winter cold (as the temperature changes can often wreak havoc).

Overall, your owner's manual will have the recommended intervals listed. If you have questions, call 303.443.4812 about your model and year.

Do you have any winter car care suggestions?

  1. Before you turn on your wipers in the morning, make sure that they are not stuck to the glass. Turning the wipers on before this is done will strain the linkage to the wiper motor. Heavy snow can also do this. The safest is to place your wipers up, away from the windshield.
  2. Don't roll down your windows when it's cold and icy for the same reason as the motors are strained when ice is present on the glass. We've seen at least one window get stuck each winter from an enthusiastic and optimistic person.
  3. To avoid a build-up of condensation, keep your fuel tank at least half full at all times. This condensation can possibly freeze.
  4. Have your car checked for winterization (coolant, tires, brakes, wiper blades, windshield washer solvent) by one of our highly trained technicians.

What should I do if the Check Engine Light comes on or there is reduced engine performance?

If the car seems to be running normally, not making any unusual sounds, and is good on fluids, you should be safe to drive it to us to get it checked. If you are unsure, get it towed to be safe (you could cause consequential damage to the engine or other components otherwise).

A Check Engine Light might be accompanied by reduced engine performance or Check Engine Light FLASHING at you, which means it is more serious, get the vehicle towed to us IMMEDIATELY! Do NOT drive. A constantly flashing Check Engine Light is damaging to the engine and other components.

What should I do if the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) Light comes on?

Low tire pressure means you should check your tire pressure. We recommend in CO temperatures to set your tire pressure at 38psi for Volvo and 32psi for Subaru (check the inside of your door panel for your specific model's psi recommendation, not the tires themselves as the door panel number will allow for the weight of your car and engine). If one tire is low, it means it has a leak and should be inspected. If all tires are low it is most likely caused by a temperature change.

What should I do if the Tire Pressure Service Required message comes on?

This message may indicate low tire pressure or possibly a defective component in your tire pressure monitoring system. Each tire pressure sensor has a battery and life expectancy is between 80,000-100,000 miles or about 10 years. Come see us for a diagnosis to determine what needs to be repaired if this light comes on for you after you've filled your tires up with air. This light generally comes on when you are at a 25% loss.

What should I do if the Low Coolant Light comes on?

If the light comes on when the vehicle is cold, or first thing in the morning, but then turns off after a few minutes, pop the hood and check the level of coolant. If it is slightly low, go ahead and top off with coolant (in an emergency, you can add some water, but no more than two cups!). You'll want to keep an eye out for any drips or loss in coolant over time. Give us a call if you have this happening more than a few times in a row or see drips beneath your car.

If you are driving along the highway and the light comes on, stop immediately. Do NOT drive. Don't even drive to the next exit.

Turn the engine off as soon as safely possible. The light/gauge means the coolant (antifreeze) is dangerously low. Call for roadside assistance and get your vehicle towed to us.

Without coolant (even for a few minutes) the engine starts melting itself away. Within moments, your precision machine becomes an old car.

Next stop is an expensive engine swap. This is one of those problems that require a mechanics attention before proceeding.

Why aren't you changing my fuel filter and spark plugs often?

Most modern cars don't require these as often as past cars do. Current cars have more common issues such as cabin filters (this is like the furnace filter in your home and important for the function of your climate control blend doors, motors, and sensors), USB ports becoming broken, power window locks, and sugary drinks spilled on the center electronics area wreak havoc and lead to many costly repairs.

What are some of the most common repairs on a Volvo?

Common repairs on a Volvo:

  1. Strut caps and sway bar links (could be as frequently as 25,000-30,000 miles)
  2. Lower control arm bushings (somewhere around 80,000-120,000 miles)
  3. Engine mounts every 100,000 miles
  4. Axles (could be as frequently 80,000-90,000 miles)

What are some of the most common repairs on a Subaru?

Common repairs on a Subaru:

  1. Axles due to higher articulation than a normal car (an average could be every three years)
  2. Head Gaskets right around 100,000 miles
  3. Suspensions about every 90,000 miles (this includes shocks, ball joints, control arm bushings, and tie rod ends)