Volvo XC60 Suspension Issues Explained(+5 Tips)

In this brief article we are going to discuss the different Volvo XC60 Suspension issues, what the causes are, and how these issues can be effectively dealt with.

What are the common suspension issues in a Volvo XC60?

The most common Volvo XC60 suspension issues that occur are failures in the following parts:

  • Rear Spring Breakage
  • Front Strut Failure
  • Tie Rod Ball-Joint Failure
  • Rear Shock-absorbers
  • Rear Trailing arm bush failure
  • Rear Anti-roll Bar Drop Link Ball-joint Failure
  • Rear Anti-roll Bar D-Bush failure

What suspension does the Volvo XC60 have?

The Volvo XC60 is a luxury crossover SUV made by Volvo Cars of Sweden. The XC60 was launched in 2008 is now in its second generation.

The XC60 is part of Volvo’s 60 series, which includes other models like the S60, S60 Cross Country, V60 and the V60 Cross Country.

Front Suspension

The front suspension is a conventional MacPherson Strut, Lower Control arm with an Anti Roll bar. The front incorporates a 3 piece lower control arm where the rearward bushing and the ball-joint are detachable from the control arm.

Rear Suspension

The Rear Suspension of the Volvo XC60 is of independent 4 – link type, consisting of a Trailing arm, Camber Arm, Lower Control Arm and Toe Link (yellow)

Rear Spring breakage

Symptoms:

  • You would notice a sudden drop in suspension height on any one side. This can be easily verified by measuring the wheel center height from any reference on the body like the Fender edge.
  • Rattling, Squeaking, Creaking noises while driving which are louder when driving over a Bump

Troubleshooting Rear Spring Breakage

  • In a majority of cases, the spring fails due to the combined effects of corrosion & fatigue over a period of time.
  • The service life of the spring depends on whether the car is used over roads that have salt or in an atmosphere where there is a lot of moisture.
  • For replacing the Spring from a strut, you need to first compress the Spring in a spring compressor. You can either use a hydraulic compressor (preferred) or a Threaded Bolt type as well

Front Strut Failure

Symptoms:

  • Front end feels Bouncier going over bumps
  • On a rough road it feels as if the front end is losing grip as you increase speed
  • Poor Handling
  • Knocking and squeaking noises from the front

Troubleshooting Front Strut Failure

  • The Bouncy Ride symptom points to the Shock Absorber as a probable cause.
  • The noises coming from the rear are partly due to the failed shock absorber allowing the bump stops to contact more often. And also the noises partly come from the worn out shock mounting bushes that allow the shock to move and hit against the mounting brackets.
  • If your vehicle has crossed 50K miles, then it could be due for a shock replacement. Due to long-term internal wear, the shock starts becoming ineffective over time.
  • If the rear shock has started leaking oil due to a failed oil-seal, then it means that the shock will no longer be effective.
  • One good way to tell if your shock has failed or not is to do a “Bounce Test”. Put all your weight on one of the front corners of the vehicle pushing it downwards. Keep oscillating the corner till you feel that it has reached its maximum height. Once you take your hands off the corner, observe how it settles. If it takes more than 2 oscillations to settle, that means the damper has failed.

Pro Tip

  • Once the Strut Shock absorber has been dismantled, there is one more way to see the shock condition for yourself by way of a ‘Compression’ test. 
  • You can simply apply force on the top of the shock and compress it. If it can come back up on its own, then the shock is in fairly good condition. But if it takes too long or doesn’t expand on its own, it’s confirmed that the shock absorber has failed.

Tie rod Ball-Joint failure

Symptoms:

  • Uneven Tire wear
  • Knocking noises going over Rough surfaces
  • Poor Handling, steering feels vague

Troubleshooting Tie rod Ball-Joint failure

  • The deterioration is usually initiated as a crack or rupture in the rubber boot around the Tie rod ball-joint
  • This leads to loss of lubrication and finally to complete wear out
  • The wear out causes play or movement accompanied by knocking noise. The play in the ball-joint is one of the reasons for the vehicle steering feeling value
  • You can easily check for the Tie Rod Ball-joint condition by this simple procedure:
    • Get the car on a Ramp
    • Lock the steering wheel
    • Hold the front tire with both your hands and try to steer the wheel
    • If you hear a ‘Knock’ or ‘Click’, then it is very much likely that the noise is due to a play in the Ball-joint

Rear Shock Absorber Failure

Symptoms:

  • Knocking and Popping Noises from the Rear going over bumps
  • Rear end feels bouncier

Troubleshooting Rear Shock Failure

  • The Bouncy Ride symptom points to the Shock Absorber as a probable cause.
  • The noises coming from the rear are partly due to the failed shock absorber allowing the bump stops to contact more often. And also the noises partly come from the worn out shock mounting bushes that allow the shock to move and hit against the mounting brackets.
  • If your vehicle has crossed 60K miles, then it could be due for a shock replacement. Due to long-term internal wear, the shock starts losing its damping action over time.
  • If the rear shock has started leaking oil due to a failed oil-seal, then it means that the shock will no longer be effective.
  • One good way to tell if your shock has failed or not is to do a “Bounce Test”. Put all your weight on one of the front corners of the vehicle pushing it downwards. Keep oscillating the corner till you feel that it has reached its maximum height. Once you take your hands off the corner, observe how it settles. If it takes more than 2 oscillations to settle, that means the damper has failed.
  • The Top Mount of the rear shock absorber is Bolted onto the top of the shock absorber. You will need a bench vise to hold the shock and remove the Top Nut so that the top mount comes apart.

Pro Tip

  • While fitting a new shock absorber, always, Tighten the Top mounting bolts first and then the Lower mounting bolt.
  • Also make sure that while tightening the Shock bottom bolt,  the Wheel Hub is supported at its normal ride height. For this you can either use Blocks, a screwjack or a jack stand.
  • If the shock bottom mounting bush is tightened at any other ride height, then when the car is lowered to normal ride height, the Bush will rest in a twisted condition and will have a reduced Bush service life.

Rear Trailing arm bush failure

Symptoms:

  • The car seems to roll more
  • Poor handling while Lane Changing
  • Uneven Tire Wear pattern
  • Knocking Noises while going over Rough Patches

Root Cause:

  • Due to a Tire wear issue, it can be inferred that the alignment of the rear suspension is outside of the recommended settings. But this is still a symptom.
  • The cause for alignment change points to the Rear suspension Control arm Bushings that may have got worn or damaged

Troubleshooting Rear Trailing Arm Bush Failure

  • The Rear Control Arm bushings wear out over time and crack due to age
  • To assess the bushing condition, you can use a Pry-bar and insert it between the Each of the Rear suspension control arms and the rear Subframe. Now, try to move the Lower Control arm using the Pry-bar and observe the movement at the Bush location. If the lower control arm moves without much force, then it means that the bushes have worn out.
  • When inspecting the Rear Trailing arm after removal, it is clear that there are tears and cracks in the rubber portion.
  • The Rear Trailing arm’s bushing is bolted to the frame via a removable bracket
  • The Bushing is Press-fitted onto the trailing arm and therefore can be replaced only along with the whole trailing arm

Anti Roll Bar Drop Link Failure

Symptoms:

  • ‘Clunking’ / ‘Knocking’ Noise while driving
  • Noise is very less on a smooth road and more apparent when driving over a rough patch

Troubleshooting Anti Roll Bar Drop Link Failure

  • Rear Clunking noises that increase on a rough road are the signs that point to an issue with the Anti-roll bar(ARB) links
  • The anti roll bar does not articulate so much on smoother surfaces and hence is less noisy
  • An easy way to check the ARB linkages is to hold each link and shake it by hand observing for movement or noise at each linkage point.
  • The perfect way would be to remove the ARB Drop Links and check the ball-joint for excess play

Anti Roll Bar D-Bush Failure / Dryness

Symptoms:

  • Squeak Noises while driving
  • Noise is more apparent when going over a rough patch

Troubleshooting Anti Roll Bar D-Bush Failure

  • Squeaks and Creaks generally relate to metallic Spring elements within the suspension, namely, the Coil Spring and the Anti-Roll Bar
  • If the noise is more apparent on a rough road one could be more suspicious of the Anti Roll Bar
  • In order to confirm this, you can try to articulate the Anti-roll Bar after removing the Drop-link ball joint on one side. (This will require an additional hydraulic jack)
  • If you hear the Creaking Noise, then it’s confirmed that the Anti-roll bar was indeed the issue.
  • When you rotate the Anti Roll Bar, it does so on the support of a D-Bush Rubber (or Polymer) Bearing that connects the the Anti-roll bar to the Chassis frame
  • The Anti roll bar metal rod rotates within this bush and rubs itself on the inner surface of the bushing. This causes considerable friction or wear.

Pro Tip

  • If this D-Bush is of harder Polymer-based material then it requires lubrication. There are Anti-seize products available in the market which you could use while mounting the bushes onto the Anti Roll Bar.
  • Or you could refer to the manufacturer’s Service Instructions to see if there is a particular product recommended

Conclusion

In this brief article we have discussed the different Volvo XC60 Suspension issues, what the causes are, and how these issues could be effectively dealt with.

For any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch with us.

References 

Audi MediaCenter Model Updates Official Page

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