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Car: Volvo S60 Automatic - Aisin 5 speed - 2002


At 84000 miles I pretty much new my auto transmission needed something doing to it. It wasn't causing me any problems but it did jolt a little bit when going into gear from 'P' or 'N'. The upchanges were a little more juddery than when it was new and kickdown was more of a kick. I also noticed that starting off when in 'D' seemed to have a bit of a delay and then a small jolt into gear as the car started to move. Most passengers didn't notice anything - but I did.

When I tried the garages I was completely confused. These are the answers I got: Volvo dealer 1 - it's fluid for life, no need to change

Volvo dealer 2 - every 36,000 miles - "You need the gearbox memory reseting that'll cure the problems and we renew the 4 litres of fluid 185

Specialist gearbox centre - when it feels bad 85 - dunno what fluid they used

I other independant garage - didn't know - but would look into it.


So searching around on the internet I found a great article by gibbons on the forum This article explains how to change the oil yourself - so I prepared.



enginetop11x long orange flexible funnel from Halfords - which fits exactly into the dipstick for the gearbox.

1 x 2 metres of 1/2" clear tubing - local hardware store

1 x 2l measuring jug - supermarket

1 x 1l measuring jug

1 x large container to catch the oil

1 x container to store it ready for disposal

Rags or paper towels

Auto Transmission Fluid - aahh....

To cut a long story short; from Volvo its 12.69 per litre or 44.42 for 4 litres, Vauxhall is 10.35 per litle and Saab 8.29 per litre (Apr2010). I found on the forum that the fluid required is JWS-3309 standard made by Mobil - I think. It is also supplied to GM and is part number GM 93160393. It is used in the new Vauxhall and Saab autos. The Saab garage thought I was nuts when I asked for 12 litres - that was all they had ! One of their mechanics came out and said they rarely have a car old enough to need the oil changing so there is a lot of confusion about how much oil and how often it should be changed.

Anyhow, 99 later and I have 12 litre bottles in my car boot.



The first thing was to dump the gearbox sump - that was easy enough (3.1l), put the plug back in and put 3.1l in through the dipstick hole. I used the small measuring jug to measure the part litres e.g. 100ml of the 3.1l that came out. The sump plug had a small amount of grey gunge on it - but nothing to worry about.


Following the gibbons procedure I removed the pipe with the green clip fitted hte pipe and pumped into the large container (an old 10l emulsion tub) waited for the bubbles and then measured it with the 2l jug and poured it into the disposal container. The half inch pipe had a several turns of plumbing ptfe tape and fitted into the top cooler outlet snuggly.

oilcoolertop1The stuff that came out smelt like burnt oil - nasty. The stuff going in was a nice red colour and smelt of strawberries - quite pleaseant but quite TOXIC. I could stand by the car door and see the bubbles in the pipe to indicate when to stop the engine and measure what came out and replace with the same.

As you can see I lined the bottles up so I could see where I was in the whole event The last flow was very close to the colour of fresh fluid so I stopped. I cleaned up and put the pipe back in. I moved the car to a level surface and checked the dipstick - it was spot on. Luck I think - and good measuring.

Off for a test drive.....

Oh, how different. It's much smoother. The little jolts into gear don't happen anymore. The kickdown is smoother - super dooper. Double checked the engine bay for leaks - all okay.

I love my car even more. Did I mention it's a T5.

Thanks to the forum.

After 5 weeks it got worse again. Jolting into first and slipping between gears. I had the gearbox ECU reset and updated - no better.

It is beginning to look like it's just worn out at 87k miles - rubbish from Volvo.

Contact me:
mark @


I wrote to volvo UK to ask why the automatic gearbox on my S60 was failing at such low mileage.

This is the reply from Volvo UK.

"Once the warranty on the vehicle expires, we do not put a life expectancy on any of our components, as unfortunately things can and do go wrong. We must also take into account the age of the vehicle, which in this case, it is over 8 years old, therefore, I do not believe that the gearbox has failed prematurely."


They are confusing the matter with the 8 years old statement but this car has done motorway miles regularly serviced and looked after. The age is of little relevance the mileage is what counts.
It has only done 87,000.

At the best they don't expect their gearboxes to last more than 8 years !!

Volvo UK - Volvo S60

Shocking reply to one of their quality cars failing at 87,000 miles
The V70 has the same Aisin Warner 55-50 gearbox - many of these fail.

I bet the new Volvo V60 is no better