Your car is an important part of your life. You want to make sure that it is running smoothly, safely, and comfortably. Unfortunately, bad things can happen, and even your super safe Volvo can face problems. Volvos are great cars, but are definitely known for being a little finicky. One of the things that can go wrong is your variable valve timing unit.

What is the variable valve timing unit?

Variable valve timing is a system that uses technology to apply variable electronic signals coming from the ignition system through a variable valve timing solenoid. Basically, the system activates when there is a noticeable extra load pushing against the engine, and sends oil to the variable valve timing chain and gears to lubricate it and help the engine.

For example, if your car is pulling a lot more weight (like a trailer), or is constantly going up and down hills, the system to activates to help the engine and provide more power. If there are any issues, however, this can cause massive engine failure which is dangerous and costly.

Symptoms of a Variable Valve Timing Unit Failure

Because a failure of the variable valve timing is not something that you can see and control very easily, it’s important to make sure that you are taking all precautions and seeking help when necessary. If your “Check Engine Light” comes on, that is a good indication that there is something wrong with the car. While it may not be the variable valve timing, the Check Engine light is as good a call as any to bring your car to the shop. If it is something serious, that quick turnaround could prevent a costly and worrisome breakdown or more problems down the road. It’s crucial to bring the car to an ASE certified mechanic, who will be able to run the diagnostic and decode the very specific failure.

If your car’s idling system sounds wrong and is idling roughly, it could also be a problem with the VVT system. While the system doesn’t kick on until your car has a high RPM, or when you’re pulling something heavy, if there is a problem a rough idle can be heard even at low RPM. This is because too much oil is being pulled into the system. While not catastrophic in and of itself, it can lead to problems further down the road.

Another way to check if the variable valve timing unit is having problems is if your engine oil is dirty. The dirty oil negatively impacts the VVT system and makes the problem significantly worse. The dirtiness of the oil can clog up the internal passageways of the car, which sets some chain reactions into place that can cause variable valve timing failure. Make sure to get your oil changed as recommended by the manufacturer, and check your oil frequently.

If you notice a drastic decrease in your fuel economy, it might be another sign to take your car to the mechanic. While the decrease could be attributed to a number of things, it may also be because of the failing variable valve timing system. They are in place to maximize your engine performance and minimize your fuel economy. If the system is not working properly, your fuel economy may also decrease as a response.

Trust the Pros with Your Volvo’s VVT

Luckily, no matter the problem, Dell’s Service Center is here to help. Serving clients of Green Bay, Manitowoc, and Sturgeon Bay, WI, we are experts in a number of makes, including the Volvo. You want to ensure that you have dedicated, quality care, and we want to make sure that we give it to you.

The owner of Dell’s is an ASE Certified mechanic, and he hires only highly-qualified individuals who are specialized in European auto repair. We are your local shop who is dedicated to going above and beyond whatever your local dealer can provide. We have a team on staff who is prepared to handle any of your Volvo problems, and make you feel comfortable and safe while we do so. Come visit us so we can get you and your Volvo back out on the road as soon as possible!

* Volvo XC40 image credit goes to: y_carfan.

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