Volvo V50 Reduced Engine Performance

I purchased a Volvo V50 estate (secondhand) just over a year ago. After a few months it started having problems when pulling away or when revving the engine over 3,000 RPM. This first started happening when it was really cold (-9’C)… however, after a while, the car would often go into reduced engine performance mode at any temperature if pushed hard. This was really dangerous because this would often happen when joining a busy road or when trying to get out of a tricky situation. The car would then stall or loose most of the power. I wish Volvo would allow me to override this setting on the car so that I could remain safe.

Having spoken to several mechanics and researched on the internet – the problem generally seems to be with the particulate filter. It can be either a faulty cable (next to the battery) or the tube to the particulate filter sensor becoming blocked.

Anyhow, I took the car to an independent Volvo garage near Banbury. They charged £60 per hr rather than £115 per hr that a main dealerships cost and the service was brilliant.

In my case, it turns out to be the tube to the particulate filter sensor becoming blocked. It seems that the Volvo dealer who serviced the car previously had not checked or topped up the EOYLS tank. This meant that the EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) Valve that a pipe to the particulate sense and valve had become clogged up

The moral of this post is:

1) If I had taken the car to a garage when this problem first appear then it’s very lightly that the EGR valve would not become clogged and needed replacing.

2) Don’t take your car to an official Volvo main dealership because you can get better services at an independent.

3) Volvo know that this is a problem and should provide a sensor to the EOYLS tank.

4) Volvo should allow the driver to override the “Reduced Engine Performance” stalling and shutting down of the car. It is simple dangerous.

13 thoughts to “Volvo V50 Reduced Engine Performance”

  1. I have the same symptoms in my volvo 1.6d. Everything you said there sounds reasonable, this fault is simply scandalous, I wonder how many people have died because of this. Volvo, shame on you.

      1. Hi James. . Thanks for all this information and the recommended indie garage. I have the same issue and am looking around at garages.. I’m in reading so Banbury is a little way but if they are good I may consider thames. Can I ask approx how much the who fix cost you?

        1. Hi Russell, I can’t remember exactly how much is cost by it was something in the region of £500-£700. I needed the EOYLS liquid filling which cost around £150 and also a new valve and their time. By the way, I also have had a problem with the diesel particulate filter getting blocked up. I recommend putting some diesel particulate and injector cleaner through the car every six months or so. This made a big difference to the power and fuel efficiency of the car for me.

  2. I’m having this problem in a V50 petrol, so nothing to do with EGR. Any thoughts on what might be causing it? Happened about 4 times in 6 months, there doesn’t seem to be a connection between temperature / speed etc. It usually happens soon after starting and clears when the engine is turned off and restarted.

    1. I’m sure what to suggest exactly. It sounds like you should take it into a garage and plug is into an engine management reader.

  3. Hello, I have V50 1.6 diesel 2011 stop/start. Few weeks ago I was taking long journey to EU, about 4 hours in to the drive I got message “engine reduced performance” for 2 seconds and gone, then car went to limp mode, I stopped restarted and it went normal again, with much of the worry I continued my journey, went over 3k miles and same issue happened few more times during all journey, however to the end of my journey it started to happen more often so I kept low reps hoping at least get back to UK. After the ferry got in the car and it went even worse then before, each time I was going uphill it was showing same message for few seconds then dissappear and limp mode, I pulled over and got green flag, engineer connected handset to my car and said he can’t see any faults, then kept reps on 4K for few minutes checked for leaks ond any physical faults and said car is fine and he can’t even take it on the truck to take to garage, so got his consent to carry on for over 200 miles reseting limp mode each time, however he suggested that it must be dpf filter and rejected my suggestion that it’s fuel filter. Both parts not cheap and labour is costy so don’t really want to end up replacing both solving one problem.. I tend to think that once dpf filter is full light on dashboard should come up? That’s why I’m more likely to think it’s fuel filter got partly blocked and getting worse, rather then 700pouns worth dpf filter.. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    1. There is a really good chance it is the DPF filter. It is highly unlikely to be the fuel filter. I would buy yourself a bottle of DPF cleaner from Halfords. http://www.halfords.com/motoring/engine-oils-fluids/fuel-oil-additives/wynns-diesel-particulate-filter-cleaner-325ml . Also buy some injector cleaner because this is often the reason that the DPF filter has become blocked in the first place. http://www.halfords.com/motoring/engine-oils-fluids/fuel-oil-additives/wynns-injector-cleaner-for-diesel-engines-325ml If that doesn’t work then it might be worth getting Halfords to clean the DPF overnight in a special cleaner. This can save buying a completely new DPF filter.

  4. I had the same problem, the official Volvo service found the problem was reproduced at 4000rpm and suggested the replacement of turbo. The problem did not appear after replacement.

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