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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,192 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2005 Volvo S40 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Volvo S40 Owner Comments

problem #16

Apr 272016


  • 194,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Volvo S40. The contact stated that while driving at 55 mph, the steering wheel and entire vehicle began to shake as there was an abnormal noise. In addition, the air conditioner, radio, horn and sun roof failed to function when activated. The SRS warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the ECM, front axles and struts needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 194,000.

- New Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #15

May 222015


  • 90,000 miles
Inserted key in ignition and nothing happened. Computer reads key error try again. Kept trying and finally started. Next day same thing happened.

- Valparaiso, IN, USA

problem #14

Feb 152015


  • miles
2005 Volvo S40 faulty wire in ignition switch. Car fails to start. No messages initially, then immobilizer light indicated. Unsure of equipment model. Original to factory installed.

- Shenandoah, IA, USA

problem #13

Dec 152011

S40 5-cyl

  • 37,000 miles


Often, the headlamps bulbs fail, after a few years changing bulbs, I found out that due to contact between detachment of the wiring harness cover is the cause of the failure bulbs in right and left headlamps. The wiring harness installed by the manufacturer do not resist voltage and heat.

- San Juan, PR, USA

problem #12

May 022014

S40 5-cyl

  • 62,700 miles
(S40 2.4I) initial car message: "brake failure, pull over safely." I continued to drive home since I was a few blocks away. Message changed to "anti skid service required" then back to brake failure again. Difficulty accelerating after stopping, felt like the parking brake was on but drove ok once accelerated. Attempted to turn off car but message changed to "immobilizer, check manual" and could not turn key to off position. From what I read in the manual, it appeared that the card didn't recognize it was in park. Turned parking brake on and off a few times and was able to turn off car. Brought to local mechanic who replaced brake pad sensor and anti-stop switch. --in and out of auto repair shop 4X over the past month w/the same issues and new symptoms: Wipers turned on automatically and don't shut off and new message: Engine system service urgent. --mechanic replaced some rusted wires, brought to a Volvo dealer who reset computer and did not find any problems. --still having same issues. Cannot put car into drive or turn off car when brake failure or anti-skid message appear but if I wait a few minutes, I can turn the car off and on a couple of times to get to the engine system service urgent message and I can then put it into drive. Sometimes all messages go away and it is fine for a few days but then the car jerks forward as if someone bumped the car and all messages appear again. New message: Power steering message flashed briefly.. although there was no problem w/the steering. Bringing to another Volvo dealer.. the saga continues. --I read prior consumer complaints on this site and I also had the sunroof leakage problem in 2013. Entire floor of car was soaked, especially passenger side. Took 3 visits, weeks and $900 to get it fixed. Volvo first cleaned out the clogged line but carpets were wet again so they then replaced the entire line.

- East Meadow, NY, USA

problem #11

Apr 172009

S40 5-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
3 of the 4 door lock actuators on my car have stopped working. This happened right after the warranty expired. The locks will not longer lock or unlock. This is a safety issue. Please look at requiring Volvo to fix this issue. It is a know issue due to faulty parts.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #10

May 142013

S40 5-cyl

  • 84,000 miles


I was in the intersection ready to make a turn when the car suddenly stalled all the dash display lights went out all gauges stopped working and the windshield wipers would not go off when I tried to restart the car the dash suddenly displayed brake failure pull over safely, and immobilizer check manual and the car would not start it had to be pushed across the intersection and it has been sitting in a parking lot since then waiting to be towed this has happened on 3 different occasions since I bought the vehicle this problem needs to be fixed at company expense each time I have been fortunate enough to be in a parking lot or a public street but on the last incident I would've been on the freeway. I hope some one will call or contact me to rectify this issue I love the Volvo brand but going through this make not want to continue on with any other model.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #9

Mar 122013

S40 5-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
This car has developed an electrical problem where the dash lights start flickering on and off displaying various failures on the dashboard display, like immobilizer failure and crash mode and various other warnings. At the same time, the radio cuts out and an audible "clicking" is heard underneath the dash board. On several occasions the vehicle has stalled out completely while driving causing a dangerous driving condition and I have had to coast to the side of the road without power steering or power brakes. Sometimes the vehicle will start back up, other times it simply won't click or turn over at all. I fear an incident where the steering column will lock automatically when the vehicle dies, as the steering column is unlocked by the immobilizer key fob to initially start the car. If this were to occur I fear this could create an unsafe condition for the occupants of the vehicle and others motorists or pedestrians. I have just had two new remotes programmed to the vehicle and this procedure was performed at weiss brentwood Volvo in St. Louis Missouri. I have owned this vehicle for one week prior to taking this car to weiss Volvo without issue and this problem only arose since this service was performed at weiss Volvo. The previous owner told me this problem did not exist prior to the sale of the vehicle..... updated 08/05/14

- Nixa, MO, USA

problem #8

Jun 022012


  • 110,000 miles
While driving on the highway my car began to show signs of an electrical problem. Different warnings were coming up on the control panel, alerting me to brake fluid low, as well as my current mileage disappearing. When I pulled off the highway, shut the car off, and removed the key the windshield wipers continued to run. The display messages including "brake failure, stop car safely" and "immobilizer see manual." The brakes are fine, because they worked when stopping the car and work while this message is displayed. I believe this was an electrical problem, as I was driving the car earlier in the day and no issues were arising. When I tried to restart the car it would be start saying to see the "immobilizer see manual" and would not recognize the problem. The car is now stuck in a parking lot until it can be towed to a dealer. I would appreciate this matter being investigated and recalled if possible, as this is not the first time the car has not recognized the key.

- Chepachet, RI, USA

problem #7

Mar 012011

S40 5-cyl

  • 83,000 miles
The vehicle exhibited stalling and misfires the first time at 65 mph. The check engine light (cel) came on and the diagnostic indication was that fuel pressure sensor needed replaced. It continued with stall and misfire at intermittent times with the cel staying on and off intermittently. I bought a fuel pressure sensor and replaced the original, which has remedied the problem. When I replaced the fuel pressure sensor, I examined the original part and noted that it had a part number of 8699448 instead of 31272733 like the replacement part. Putting in fuel pressure sensor 8699448 on the internet, I quickly found Volvo recall 181 which covers this part for Volvo 2003 - 2004 S60/V70 cars (48,000 plus). My motor is a slight variant of the motors used and not included. It is obvious that the major part of consideration is the fuel pressure sensor 8699448 but Volvo did not see their way to include all motors using this part and the danger is no different for the S40 than the S60/V70. The internet shows many other examples of this failure within 2005 S40S. This is probably the tip of the iceberg with many more to follow and possible potential dangerous accidents impending. All information I relayed in this complaint has been told to my local Volvo dealer and Volvo customer service (national).

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #6

Oct 012010

S40 5-cyl

  • 66,500 miles


Ignition switch malfunctioning. When you insert the key, which is an electronic key the message display will display "key error try again." When this happens the car will not start at all. Thus far repeatedly jiggling the key fob while in the switch, and/or turning on/off multiple times gets the system to eventually recognize the key. There are 2 keys to my car and this happens with both keys, so I know it isn't the key. I have researched this online and found it to be a common problem. This problem will let me remove the key, but the radio and interior lights stay on, and I can't lock the car. This happens sporadically, but on average once a week.

- Toluca Lake, CA, USA

problem #5

Aug 012011

S40 5-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
I own a 2005 Volvo S40 T5 which I have enjoyed thus far. However every once in a while when you insert the key, which is an electronic key the message display will display "key error try again." When this happens the car will not start at all, nothing inside the car including the radio will work either. After 20 to 30 times trying to start the car the key will eventually start the car. There are 2 keys to my car and this happens with both keys, so I know it isn't the key. I have researched this online and found it to be a common problem. This happens sporadically for example it will happen several times over a week or so and then not happen for several months. It recently started about a week ago and has happened everyday since. It is embarrassing to be in such a nice car and it not start. Sometimes when this happens, in addition to the "key error try again" message the message display will also display messages including "brake failure, stop car safely" and "immobilizer see manual." The brakes are fine, because they work on the way home and work while this message is displayed. The computer in the car was reset and that seemed to help temporarily, but I believe it is an electrical problem since the car does not recognize the key. I would appreciate this matter being investigated and recalled if possible.

- Rutherfordton, NC, USA

problem #4

Aug 012010


  • 48,000 miles
The starter control unit (scu) on my 2005 Volvo S40 has ceased to function twice in the 5 years that I've had it (50,000 miles). Essentially, this means that the scu does not read the key (the car tells me I have a "key error"), and therefore the car shuts down completely and does not turn on (the steering locks, the car does not start, it is unusable). The first time it happened, it was under warranty, therefore it was fixed free of charge. It happened again last month, was diagnosed by the bill pearce (reno, nv) dealership as the same issue, and I was given a 50% discount on the repair. It is an issue that apparently many other 2005 Volvo S40 owners have had (learned this through a simple internet search), but it is not recognized as an issue with Volvo and is not a recall item. It is a software problem, not a wear and tear item or something that I can maintain and keep from happening. It should not be something that I have to pay several hundred dollars to fix. There is no warning when this is about to happen. The car works on minute and then doesn't the next. I have no way of knowing when it is going to happen, and was stuck 200 miles from a dealership the last time it happened. It can supposedly be fixed only by the dealership because it's needs the proper software download. Please look into this issue. I have a car that I can no longer trust and the dealerships don't recognize it as a legitimate issue. I have all the documentation to provide if necessary.

- Mammoth Lakes, CA, USA

problem #3

Jan 302010


  • 65,000 miles
I have been waiting for over 1 month for a new alternator for my 2005 S40 Volvo. I cannot get an answer from anyone in Volvo why it is taking so long. Of course, I can not drive the car I have been told by Volvo that 139 other Volvo owners are in the same condition. Please help.

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #2

Apr 032008


  • miles
I have a Volvo S40 2005 and the radio/cd player just blanks out. When I start the car the radio/cd won't play. It will power up and the display will show, but no sound comes on. It has done this three times. I have to totally turn the car off and let it sit for a while before it will work again.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #1

Jul 122006

S40 5-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,877 miles
The S-40 was on the highway and the message came on stating engine failure. I pulled over in the breakdown lane and shut the car off. I restarted the car and was able to drive home. I made an appointment with the dealer to look into the problem which occurred at that time, today I experienced the same and now the cd does not work properly. I made an appointment to bring the S 40 T5 in for service to check the problem again.

- Providence, RI, USA

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