Regular readers of my blog know that I bought Tricia a Volvo XC60 about a couple of years ago. She loves it — but I maintain it.
Or, should I say, Volvo dealers maintain it. Or they are supposed to for the next 2.5 years as part of Volvo’s “Safe+Sound” program. S+S was an extension of Volvo’s warranty and included maintenance for the first five years. (I don’t think they offer warranties or maintenance for that long any more.)
Several weeks ago, I noticed that the headlight housing on the passenger’s side was loose. You could move it vertically a couple of inches up and down in its opening. By contrast, the driver’s side was held tightly in place. When I opened the hood, I discovered that the housing is held in place by two flimsy looking stakes that are driven down through the headlight housing into a bracket attached to the body. The stakes, in turn, are held in place by clips at the bottom of the stakes. (See nearby photo.)
The dealer who sold me the car is nearby here in Southborough; that’s the reason we gave them the order. We thought it’d be convenient to have a dealer in our town service the car for the next five years. But I’d had a series of terrible service experiences with Farrell Volvo, so I’d been taking the car to what was Lee Volvo, now known as Volvo of Wellesley. For this issue, I figured I’d give Farrell a chance to redeem itself. The hack job on my dash and the four visits it took them to update Sensus in July 2012 were long-ago events and maybe, just maybe, they’d gotten their act together.
No such luck. When I called for an appointment a few days ago, Alex didn’t confirm a specific appointment time. When I arrived and asked Alex to come take a look at the problem, he wouldn’t go outside (it was snowing). I overheard him give the tech the problem description — which was unspecific and identified the wrong side of the car. Lackadasical is about the most polite thing I can say. No changes there — Alex was at the center of the Sensus update disaster over a year ago.
30 minutes later, I got the diagnosis: the headlight housing is (get this) removed to change the oil and “someone” must have broken the stakes and/or clips when doing an oil change. Since only one of the three oil changes the XC60 has had under S+S was done at Farrell, it must have been someone else who did it. Turns out there is a repair kit for this problem. (Volvo engineers: did you fix this after the fact or did you design this with the car?) But Farrell wanted me to pay for it since it was “impossible” that they were responsible for the issue.
“Well, it seems to me that you could be at least 1/3 responsible, no?” I asked playfully.
“No. Do you want us to order the part or not? You have to pay for it,” Alex replied humorlessly. Dour doesn’t describe this dude. And, believe me, he looked like the happiest dude in this sorry store.
“Well, would it be covered under the Volvo warranty? Seems to me it’s a bad design and since there’s a repair kit, it’s also a known issue.”
“No. My boss also says, ‘No.’ ”
“Well, can you call Volvo and see if they would cover it as goodwill?”
“No. Here is your remote,” said Alex-a-thousand-times-no.
“Well, can you at least print the repair order you opened for me?
This generated a I-want-you-to-go-away-because-I-hate-your-questions look, followed by tense silence until Alex wrote their excuses on the RO, printed it out and wordlessly handed it to me.
Cut to my conversation with Steve at Wellesley in which I describe the problem and tell them Farrell Volvo is sure Volvo of Wellesley “did it”:
“Let me call you back in 10 minutes.”
10 minutes later: “I called Farrell, got the part number for the repair kit and we’ll take care of it.”
Moral of the story? Don’t change the oil in your “60 cluster” Volvo with the T6 engine unless you don’t mind a) your headlight bouncing up and down over bumps; b) car dealers who are supposed to know how to do oil changes breaking a flimsy system for holding those headlights in place and blaming someone else or c) a plus b.