The folks at Volvo did a lot of things right with the XC90. Named one of Autotrader's "Cars of the Decade," the crossover SUV has almost the perfect balance of performance and comfort. However, over time many Volvo XC90 owners are noticing a 'Suspension Service Required' message. Even if you've gotten your air suspension serviced, you might get this message over and over again. Before you take yet another trip to the dealership, let's look at why these warning messages keep happening and what your options are for solving the problem.
How To Tell If Your Volvo XC 90 Is Having Suspension Problems
Even if you haven't seen the 'Suspension Service Required' message in your Volvo XC90, you could still have suspension problems. Here are a few ways to check.
- Look. Does your XC90 sit lower to the ground than it should? Compare your Volvo with pictures of new ones you see online. If you're sitting low and there isn't any additional weight or cargo in the vehicle, you may have a problem with your suspension.
- Listen. Does your vehicle make strange sounds like creaking or popping? Many Volvo XC90 owners have reported strange noises going over uneven surfaces -- even before seeing the Suspension Service Required message.
- Feel. Use the bounce test. Walk to each wheel of the vehicle and push down on the bumper. Does it spring back into place? If so, the suspension at that wheel is probably fine. If it takes a while to come back up or bounce several times before settling, that could indicate a problem at that wheel.
Why You Keep Seeing 'Suspension Service Required'
Truth be told, the problem isn't just with the Volvo XC90. Recurring warning lights or error messages are common among all vehicles equipped with a factory air suspension system. These high-tech suspensions rely on a series of sensors and electronics to provide excellent ride quality. But as the vehicle ages and mileage increases, the system starts to fail. There are a few reasons why that's the case.
- Complicated systems. Here's a brief rundown of how the active suspension in your Volvo XC90 works. It has ride height sensors at each wheel that constantly read the chassis height from the pavement. These sensors send readings to a computer, called the suspension control module. The control module calculates how much air is needed to inflate or deflate the air springs. Then, it sends that information to the air compressor which generates pressurized air and pumps it to the air struts as needed. In short: It's an entire series of functions that must go perfectly for the system to do its job.
- Flexible components and moving parts. With moving parts like electronic solenoids and rubber air bladders that develop cracks, tears, or punctures over time, it's no wonder that air suspensions fail. That Suspension Service Required light in your Volvo XC90 is more of a "when" than an "if."
- Interconnected components. All those high-tech components we just mentioned? In order to do their job properly, they all have to be working. One part failing can lead to extra stress on the other components. For example, if one of your ride height sensors is malfunctioning, it can send the wrong signals to your suspension control module and put a heavy load on your compressor, leading to early failure. One small problem in the system can compound very quickly.
Why Repairing Your Volvo XC 90 Suspension Is So Expensive
If you've taken your Volvo XC90 to the dealership to have the Suspension Service Required message looked at, you know it's not cheap to fix. The high-dollar repair estimate might have even made you decide to just ignore the problem, leading to even more issues. Here's why fixing the air suspension system on your Volvo XC90 costs so much:
- Costly parts. The simple fact is components for the air suspension system cost a lot of money. A single air strut for your XC90 can range from $800 to $1200 each. And just like a set of tires, once the rubber is shot in one of your air springs, the others are sure to follow. To truly fix your air suspension, you'll need to address all four wheels of the vehicle. Since the entire system is failing, other components like compressors, sensors and the control module will drive up the already high cost of repairing the system. We are talking thousands of dollars in just parts and components alone.
- Big labor bills. Not only are these high-tech parts expensive, but they're also very precise and take lots of time to install. With the slightly higher labor cost for an import vehicle, that translates to a huge labor bill. The high-tech nature of the system precludes many Do-It-Yourself types from tackling the job.
- Continuing failure. The interconnected suspension system means when one part wears down, others are wearing out too. That's why you keep getting the Suspension Service Required message on your Volvo XC90 and why you have to keep heading back to the shop. Unless you replace all the components in the system all at once, your air suspension will continue to fail.
A Better Way To Fix Your Volvo XC 90 Suspension Problems
There is an alternative to the never-ending warning lights and suspension failures with your Volvo XC90. Here at Strutmasters, we've developed a conversion kit that allows you to end your factory air suspension woes once and for all. Rather than a complicated web of computers, sensors, and air suspension components, the Strutmasters conversion kit uses our exclusive American-made coil over struts for the front and new shocks and coil springs for the rear two wheels.
Our engineers have tailored and tuned this kit specifically for what XC90 drivers love about their vehicle--a nice smooth ride with sporty handling. The beauty in these 2016 - 2020 Volvo XC90 air suspension conversion kits is their simplicity. There are no computers to install, no sensors to calibrate, and no air compressor. Instead, you'll get full assembled coil-over struts for the front and new shocks and coil springs for the rear, plus detailed installation instructions you won't find anywhere else.
With our great instructions and available tech support, many of our customers choose to install the kit themselves. With a sturdy jack and some basic tools, you can safely convert your entire vehicle in about an hour per wheel. But even if you don't install this kit yourself, the bolt off, bolt-on design and superior instructions mean you'll be in and out of the shop in no time -- saving on labor fees too.
With more than 20 years of dealing with these types of factory suspensions, Strutmasters fully stands behind the quality of our suspension conversion kits. That's why we offer a Limited Lifetime Warranty on all of our conversion systems as long as your own your XC90.
How Do I Get Started?
If you're ready to end your Volvo XC90 air suspension problems forever, just purchase the kit and we'll get it on the way to you! Still, have some questions? Our Suspension Experts are ready and waiting to take your questions on our hotline.
Just give us a call at 866-317-1579 and we'll make sure you get exactly what you need. Then you can get back to enjoying your Volvo.