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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default New (used) owner! A few questions

    Hi guys-
    I'm very happy to have picked up a 2004 XC70 with 124k miles today. Great shape, no rust, very clean interior. Looks almost brand new. I purchased from a small dealer in the area that almost exclusively buys and sells this era XC70 so I am confident I made a good choice. Timing belt was done as well as transmission fluid.

    Anyhow, I have a couple questions-

    Fuel, what octane? Seller said I can stick with the 87, but I remember reading elsewhere that the XC70 and most Turbo equipped engines in general like a higher octane.

    Oil? Right now it has conventional. Should I switch to synthetic at my next change? I know some folks advise against switching on higher mileage engines, but 124k doesn't seem too high to me and maybe it'd be better to make the switch now if I'm going to.

    On that note, should I follow the maintenance minders in the vehicle, or setup a custom schedule? For the last 10 years I have been driving a Honda Fit that is super reliable and I only follow the built in maintenance minders.

    Finally, anyone know of any cool uses for the built in nav system? It's obviously a bit dated, but I am wondering if there are any mods that allow a phone or other device to be connected to the screen. I could imagine something cool using a Raspberry Pi or something along those lines....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2018


    Did you ever get answers? I just bought a 2004 XC70 and want to change the oil, transmission fluid, and radiator fluid.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Windy Manitoba


    My experience:

    It'll run OK on 87 and won't break anything. But it will perform better, make more power, get better gas mileage, and run smoother on 89 or better, as per the manual's recommendation. This is especially true in hot weather.

    Use synthetic. Turbocharged engines are hard on oil. And the Volvo 5-cyl is hard on PCV systems. So keep that oil fresh - I do 10k kms (6200 miles) OCI with synthetic.

    I ignore the maintenance minder and follow the schedule in the owner's manual for stuff other than oil & trans fluid changes.

    Trans fluid - any 3309-compatible fluid. I get Toyota Type IV at the Toyota dealer or Mobil 3309 at the auto parts store. Check Gibbons method on this site.

    Coolant - I use Zerex G-05 yellow fluid in all my European stuff (Saab, Volvo).

    Watch out for the maintenance interval on the timing belt and change the belt, idler, and tensioner no less often than recommended in the manual.

    Check the PCV system for clogging (glove test or mechanic test with pressure gauge) - plugged PCV can lead to engine spewing oil from every seal ($$$).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    United States


    Premium gas makes the car feel much better, but the computer will pull back the timing for lower grades so you won't damage anything.

    Synthetic oil is a must in the whiteblocks and turbo engines are a little harder on the oil so I'd never compromise on that. I change my oil every 10000-12000 miles (mobil 1, full synthetic, plenty of life left in the oil but I like a good margin on a turbo engine - my non-turbo 965 did 20K miles between changes with still-good oil).

    I think the maintenance light only indicates "change oil", but it only measures miles, not wear on the oil so it's not accurate, it's just counting miles.
    You want to flush the trans - my local dealership recommends every 70K miles, or the lifetime fluid will have a far shorter lifetime.

    PCV is probably due, google the "rubber glove test" to check it.

    Timing belt and water pump stuff - this is important stuff. Get it done if you have no evidence of it having been done. The rest isn't as vital, just get it done when you can. Brake fluid flush, power steering fluid flush, coolant, etc.

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