Volvo Fault Codes List: How To Read Your DTC Engine Codes With Ease

View Fault Codes ListOnce upon a time, diagnosing a vehicle's issues took (what old-school mechanics call) "brute-force diagnostics." Back then, having a Volvo fault codes list would have sped up the overall repair time. Not to mention saving a few headaches. In the old days, you needed to have a firm understanding of the "big three" that kept a car running in order to source a problem, as well as a trained ear, nose, and set of eyes to spot potential symptoms. For the last 50 years, diagnostics have evolved with the advent of engine computers (otherwise known as ECUs, ECMs, or BeCMs, among others), and now, cars can self-diagnose engine and other problems thanks to a wide range of sensors. The vehicle relays this information to the mechanic via stored Volvo trouble codes, and the mechanic can spend more time fixing with precision as opposed to brute-force testing.

In short, understanding the entirety of the Volvo fault codes list is easier than you might think, but having some historical perspective can help. Scroll below to get a brief history on engine diagnostics and see how you can retrieve your stored Volvo fault codes list like the pros who carry out Volvo auto repair in Lexington every single day.

A Brief History of Engine Diagnostics

For well over 100 years, the ICE (internal combustion engine) converted stored energy into kinetic energy through the combination of fuel, air, and fire (yes, those are your big three). Most of us know that generating heat (converted energy) at a fireplace requires something to burn, proper airflow, and a spark. Without those big three components, cavemen would have frozen, and ICEs would not work. If a cave dweller in Lexington could figure out how to maintain a state of converted energy, rest assured, you can understand how an engine works!

There are mechanical systems responsible for sustaining the big three, and when one fails to operate, engine performance suffers. About 50 years ago, Volkswagen Group was the first to implement a computerized monitoring system to aid in diagnostics. This system was clunky and crude and copied by other manufacturers. Each manufacturer had its own system, its own codes, and its own procedures.

These proprietary systems were the first generation of onboard diagnostics (OBD-I). In the early '90s, federal and international law required that these trouble codes be easier to read by consumers and other parties, and OBD-II systems were born. Feel around in the driver's footwell of your car. There's a trapezoid plug somewhere down there. This plug accepts an innumerable number of specialty (and customer-friendly) scanners by which you can identify your diagnostic trouble codes (in this case, your Volvo DTC codes).

Engine codes, as you might think, are the most common and widespread because, if you recall, without the big three, there's no car or any other system that the ICE supports. These Volvo engine codes have alphanumeric designations, like P-3001, P-1238, and so forth. While the numbers themselves might seem meaningless, you can quickly pair them to a Volvo fault codes list, which will identify the faulty component or system, as well as test & repair procedures.

If your thinking cap is on, you might have guessed that there are specialized code sets specifically for each system: Fuel codes, Air codes, and "Fire" codes (ignition codes). There are literally thousands of codes nowadays monitoring everything from AC to windows, people sitting in seats, and the car's angular relation to the equator. Not to worry. The team at Quantrell Volvo Cars, your Volvo dealership near Louisville, will be the ultimate resource for the Volvo fault codes list specific to your car. All you need is a scanner to read them. There are a wide variety of scanners available online, from $25 to $10,000 (a $150 - $300 scanner that reads multiple systems is usually all you need).


Now that you have a better understanding of why diagnostics are so valuable, let's take a look at some answers to common questions regarding the reading, understanding, and clearing of your ECU's Volvo fault codes list.

What are the DTC codes?

DTCs (or diagnostic trouble codes) are your vehicle's way of monitoring, storing, and expressing specific faults and issues with your vehicle. There are engine DTCs, transmission DTCs, electrical DTCs, ABS DTCs, and on and on for every vehicle system.

How do you pull up a Volvo diagnostic trouble code?

All scanners are different. Some are "read-only," while some require you to scroll through some menus. In general, the following steps will be similar for all code readers:

  1. Locate the connector in the driver's footwell. Be on the lookout for clever little hatches that hide the plug for cosmetic reasons. Sometimes you might find a yellow sticker indicating that the plug is in the passenger footwell.
  2. Ensure your vehicle is in accessory mode (typically when the key is turned to position two), so all accessories are powered without the car running. For push-button start vehicles, tap the start button with your foot off the brake.
  3. Plug in your scanner. At this point, your scanner will automatically read whatever codes it can and will display them to you in a menu to scroll through. If you don't have a read-only scanner, you will be prompted to scroll to your year, make, model, and desired system to scan.
  4. If that is the case, select your year, make, and model. Hit enter. And then, scroll through the various systems and select "view trouble codes (or similar)."

How do you clear a Volvo code?

With your scanner plugged in and your vehicle at accessory mode (or ignition position two, as mentioned above), you are ready to clear your codes. While every scanner is different, the method of operation is similar:

  1. Ensure that your scanner is on and plugged in.
  2. In the main menu, you should see "Read Codes" and "Clear Codes," among others. Select "Clear Codes."
  3. At this point, you may receive special instructions. If so, follow them. Eventually, you will be asked, "Clear Fault Codes (or similar)?" Click yes.
  4. From here, you may be instructed to turn the vehicle off and on, or a variety of other prompts. In general, you will receive a "Success" message or "Faults Not Cleared" message. If you got the latter, it means the repair itself was unsuccessful or that the problem still persists.

How do you reset service message on Volvo XC90?

  1. Depending on your year, insert the key in the ignition and hold the odometer reset button.
  2. Continue to hold down the odometer reset button and turn the key to ignition position 2 (right before the starting position).
  3. Release the trip odometer reset button when the service engine light begins to flash.
  4. Pat yourself on the back!

How can I read my engine code without a reader?

With some models, you may be able to retrieve generalized faults and messages through the driver's information center. In those cases, you can scroll through messages like "Ride-leveling disabled" or "Power protection mode enabled." Once you identify those messages, your owner's manual will have a glossary with definitions and instructions. You cannot read the alphanumeric DTCs without a proper OBD-II compliant scanner.

Quantrell Volvo Cars. Your Magic 8 Ball Near Louisville.

Who's ready for their dissertation on modern engine diagnostics? Please raise your hands! While the world of DTCs can seem intimidating, your friends at Quantrell Volvo Cars are always here to help. Keep in mind that an engine is an engine is an engine. No matter how complicated or advanced, like the Volvo T8 engine, they still work (or not) based on what's going on with the big three. Your sophisticated Volvo vehicle can accurately monitor, diagnose, and tell you what's going on so that you can spend more time enjoying the drive and less time scratching your head!

​​Volvo DTC Fault Codes List

Fault CodeMeaning
P0010Wiring problem, faulty powertrain control module (PCM), defective variable valve timing actuator
P0011Low engine oil level, wrong engine timing, worn timing chain, camshaft variable timing solenoid failure, subpar engine oil does not meet requirements set by the manufacturer, defective variable valve timing actuator
P0013Wiring problem, faulty powertrain control module (PCM), defective variable valve timing actuator
P0014Low engine oil level, wrong engine timing, worn timing chain, camshaft variable timing solenoid failure, subpar engine oil does not meet requirements set by the manufacturer, defective variable valve timing actuator
P0102Electrical terminals are corroded or loose in the mass airflow (MAF) sensor circuit, defective MAF sensor, wiring for the MAF sensor is damaged or it's unplugged
P0113Faulty intake air temperature sensor, faulty mass air flow sensor, air filter is dirty, intake air temperature sensor connections or wiring are worn away or malfunctioning
P0128Faulty intake air temperature sensor, malfunctioning engine thermostat, faulty engine coolant temperature sensor, engine coolant is low, engine cooling fan(s) are always running or faulty, malfunctioning intake air temperature sensor, inaccurate coolant temperature sensor readings caused by dirty engine coolant
P0135Leaking intake system, malfunctioning oxygen sensor/air fuel ratio sensor or heater circuit, fuel pressure is low, leaking exhaust system, faulty engine coolant temperature sensor, circuit issue and/or a faulty sensor, updates required by the PCM software, malfunctioning PCM
P0171Various leaking vacuums (vacuum hoses, intake manifold gaskets, pcv hoses, etc.), update control module software, defective mass air flow sensor, filthy or clogged fuel injectors, weak fuel pump or clogged fuel filter
P0200Worn or malfunctioning fuel injector, connections and/or wiring, dirt is in the fuel injector, plugged fuel injector
P0202Faulty or worn fuel injector, connections and/or wiring, dirt is in the fuel injector, clogged fuel injector
P0300Inaccurate ignition timing, worn out spark plugs, coil(s), ignition wires, distributor rotor and cap (when applicable), faulty mass air flow sensor, fuel pressure is weak or low, leaking vacuum(s), faulty egr system, faulty camshaft and/or crankshaft sensor, malfunctioning throttle position sensor, issues with the mechanical engine (low compression, valve issues, leaking head gasket(s), etc.)
P0401EGR passages are restricted (usually caused by carbon buildup), faulty EGR valve, electrical signal or vacuum failure to the egr valve, defective egr vacuum supply solenoid, EGR system feedback is lacking to the computer from the: egr valve position sensor (EVP), differential egr pressure feedback sensor (DPFE), egr temperature sensor, manifold absolute pressure sensor (MAP)
P0420Malfunctioning front or rear oxygen sensor(s), incompetent catalytic converter(s), engines are misfiring
P0430Faulty catalytic converter, engine is damaged internally causing increased oil consumption and/or the catalytic converter has been damaged by a leaking head gasket
P0440Faulty or damaged or missing fuel cap, fuel tank filler neck is damaged or deformed, defective fuel tank sending unit seal or gasket, carbon canister is damaged or split, evaporative system hose(s) are ripped or perforated, malfunctioning evaporative purge valve and/or evaporative vent valve, fuel tank is faulty or damaged
P0500Malfunctioning speedometer, vehicle speed sensor connector or wiring, faulty vehicle speed sensor, issues with the communication (CAN) bus, faulty differential vehicle speed sensor drive gear or transmission
P0505Leaking intake manifold vacuum, faulty idle air control motor, throttle body air passages have carbon buildup
P0600Faulty PCM (powertrain control module) or PCM data bus connections/wiring, malfunctioning PCM data bus ground circuit(s), other control module controlled output devices are defective, faulty CAN bus communication
P0601Faulty PCM memory module or ground circuit(s), PCM lacks proper voltage, malfunctioning PCM-controlled output devices
P0602Problems with wiring, powertrain control module (PCM) failure
P0603Faulty PCM keep alive memory module, defective PCM-controlled output devices, keep alive memory (KAM) connection on the PCM lacks proper voltage, malfunctioning PCM ground circuit(s)
P0605Faulty PCM ROM memory module or PCM ground circuit(s), PCM lacks proper grounding and/or voltage, PCM-controlled output devices are malfunctioning
P0700Faulty valve body, faulty shift solenoids, faulty engine coolant temperature sensor, hydraulic passages are restricted by dirty transmission fluid
P0720Faulty valve body, faulty engine coolant temperature sensor, faulty output speed sensor, defective output speed sensor connector or wiring, malfunctioning shift solenoids, hydraulic passages are restricted by dirty transmission fluid
P0730Malfunctioning shift solenoids, faulty valve body, faulty engine coolant temperature sensor, hydraulic passages are restricted by dirty transmission fluid
P0841Low transmission fluid level, problems with wiring, transmission control module (TCM) failure, faulty transmission fluid pressure sensor
P0A0DFaulty powertrain control module (PCM), issues with wiring, failure of the inverter/converter assembly
P0A0FFaulty internal engine, failure of the hybrid transaxle assembly, failure of the power management control module
P0A80Failure of the high voltage battery assembly
P0B22Failure of the battery contactor assembly or battery energy control module (BECM)
P2101Failure of the powertrain control module (PCM) or accelerator pedal position (APP) assembly, faulty throttle control motor, wiring problems
P2181Low engine coolant level, failure of the engine coolant heater, faulty thermostat
P2237Faulty oxygen sensor, failure of the powertrain control module (PCM), leaking exhaust, issues with wiring
U0001Wheel speed sensor circuit issues, defective wheel speed sensor, problems with the reluctor or ABS module

Don't See the Code You are Looking For?

Can't find the code that matches the one on your OBD reader or need further help diagnosing the problem? We have certified Volvo Cars technicians who are happy to help. Chances are that your code is less common and anything starting with "P1" is specific to Volvo models.

Schedule a service appointment here at Quantrell Volvo Cars so we can help you diagnose and fix the issue in record time.

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