Volvo Glossary

Volvo Glossary: Definitions of Volvo car lingo, terminology and abbreviations. Volvo abbreviations explained here.

Hello Volvo car owner! Here is a Volvo Glossary for you to understand Volvo terms and abbreviations. Please contact me if you can’t find what you’re looking for, and I’ll add it.

Volvo Terms and Abbreviations so You Can Speak Volvo

Volvo Term


4C or “Four-C”Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept (Volvo’s active suspension system)
854Slang for a Volvo 850 sedan (4 doors). Applies to all series, for instance 744, 244 etc.
855Slang for a Volvo 850 wagon (5 doors). Applies to all series, for instance 745, 245 etc.
ABSAnti-lock Braking System – keeps the wheels from locking in emergency stops; tied to Volvo’s TRACS system
ACCAutomatic Climate Control (early climate control system in late 80’s / very early 90’s 760 has a big wheel for temperature setting and slide lever like a manual system)
ACMAlternator control module (post ’07 cars)
ADMAdditive Dosing Module (diesel cars only)
AQSAir Quality Sensor (cars with indoor air quality system)
ATFAutomatic transmission fluid
AUDAUDio Amplifier module (the speaker amp in post ’07 cars with an Infotainment Control Module)
AUMAUdio Module (the radio in post-’01 cars, but not post ’07 P3x cars, and post ’08 P2/P1 cars)
AUUAccessory USB Unit (the iPod/USB interface in post ’07 cars; present in ’07-08s and in ’09s that did not come from the factory with iPod connections)
AWDAll-wheel drive
BCMBrake Control Module (was the ABS module in earlier cars)
Blue BoxSlang for “OEM Volvo Part”, OEM being slang for “original equipment manufacturer”. In summary, blue box parts are made by (or for) Volvo, are generally higher quality and more expensive than other brands of replacement parts. The term comes from the fact that Volvo OEM replacement parts’ boxes are blue.
BPMBluetooth Phone Module (the integrated Bluetooth receiver in post ’07 cars)
BrickOld school Volvo (many newer Volvos have some degree of Brick DNA). Affectionate term of Volvo lovers!
BSCBody Sensor Cluster (yaw/pitch sensors for DSTC)
CAN busThe Controller Area Network bus that Volvos use
CBVThe Compressor Bypass Valve allows the outlet pressure of the turbo to vent back into the intake of the turbo which keeps the air within the system and prevents a potentially rich condition. See much more about CBVs, including the theory behind them, and alternatives to them.
CCMClimate Control Module
CELCheck Engine Light I also see it referred to as a MIL which I think is a Malfunction Indicator Light.
CEMCentral Electronic Module (Example of S80 fixed by installing a new CEM)
CPS1. A part used on Volvo engines to monitor the position of the crankshaft. This information is used by engine management systems to control ignition system timing.

2. CPS also stands for clutch position sensor.

CRMConvertible Roof Module
CVMClosing Velocity Module
CVVTConstant Variable Valve Timing – the timing of intake and exhaust valves is set independent from one another, “on the fly”. Some examples are late intake valve closing, early intake valve closing, early intake valve opening, and early/late exhaust valve closing. Wikipedia’s CVVT page.
DABMDigital Audio Broadcast Module (Europe only)
DDM/PDMDriver/Passenger Door Module (window switch packs on front doors of post-’01 cars)
DiCEDiagnostic Communication Equipment–the replacement for the VCT2000; a diagnostic connection box that connects VIDA to the car.
DIMDriver Information Module — expensive unit in the dash pod that controls and monitors many of the car’s functions.
ECCElectronic Climate Control (ie:completely automatic, used in most 850+ cars)
ECM and ECU(synonymous terms) Engine Control Module
ECTEngine Coolant Temperature
ETAElectronic Throttle Actuator (the “new” Bosch-made throttle in most ’02 and newer cars)
ETMElectronic Throttle Module (the Magnetti Marelli throttle in ’99-02 cars)
ETSElectronic throttle system
FCPFCP Groton, a parts shop located in Connecticut, US
Flame trapPositive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve
FPCMFuel pump control module. Likely the same as PEM, but given a different name depending on the model.
FPMFuel pump module
FSMForward Sensing Module (used by the radar-guided cruise control)
FWDFront-wheel drive
GPSGlobal Positioning System (XC90)
GSMGear Selector Module (replaces PNP switch)
HCMHeadlamp Control Module (used by the Active Bi-Xenons)
HPTHigh Pressure Turbo, as opposed to LPT, meaning a low pressure turbo, or N/A, which is shorthand for a normally aspirated (no turbo) Volvo car. HPT cars produce more horsepower and torque than LPT or N/A cars. Read the Fast Friday Performance entry discussing the difference tuning an LPT vs. HPT Volvo.
HLDFHigh Level Display Front (the display unit in post ’07 cars with park assist camera and/or nav)
IAMIntegrated Audio Module (the CD player/radio in post ’07 ICM-equipped cars)
ICMInfotainment Control Module (the LCD and radio control buttons on post ’07 cars)
KVMKeyless Vehicle Module (only present on cars with comfort access & keyless go)
LCM/RCMLeft/Right Camera Module (BLIS only)
Limp ModeWhen something goes wrong on automatic transmissions the Volvo goes into a “limp mode” where it is drivable but it will run like crap. Essentially the car “limps” home. On 850/S70/V70/XC70 models this starts the car from a stop in 3rd gear. May have a flashing arrow on dash.
LIN busLocal area INterconnect; a bus that ties low-speed communication together in newer Volvos (siren modules, some heated seat commands, etc.)
LPTLow Pressure Turbo, as opposed to HPT, meaning a high pressure turbo, or N/A, which is shorthand for a normally aspirated (no turbo) Volvo car. LPT cars produce more horsepower and torque than N/A cars, but less than HPT cars. Read a user’s question regarding the difference between LPT and HPT in the Volvo Forum.
LSMLight Switch Module
MAFMass airflow sensor
MCCManual Climate Control (old school just the way it sounds, term typically used in 850’s for the non automatic system, but also descriptive of the 240 / 740 / 940 systems)
MCCManual Climate Control
MMMMultiMedia Module (the navigation box in the trunk on post ’07 IAM-equipped cars with RTI)
N/AA normally-aspirated Volvo; a Volvo that does not have a turbo
OBDOnboard Diagnostic (System?) Set of standard for self diagnostic features in the engine control system, primarily for emissions reasons, but useful for other diagnostics.
OBDII or OBD2(not spelled “OBD11”) Second generation OBD system, includes a standardized fault code table and 16 pin communications connector. Commonly used to refer to the code reader / codes stored by the diagnostic system and read with a universal scanner.
OEMOriginal Equipment Manufacture. It means a part is made by Volvo or made by the company that made the part that went into your car at the factory.
Oil TrapPart of the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system which does, literally, trap oil that circulates through the PCV. It requires periodic cleaning or replacement to keep the PCV working properly.
OWSOccupant Weight Sensor (used by SRS)
P1 PlatformThe Volvo P1 Platform was used in the Volvo S40 and V40 compact car’s second generation. These were introduced in 2004, and that model year was known as the “2004.5” model year. Also, all of the Volvo C30 model years were P1, as well as 2006 and newer C70. These cars were built in the Volvo factory in Ghent, Belgium.
P2 PlatformThe Volvo P2 Platformwas the foundation (chassis, electronics, etc) upon which most of Volvo’s 2000 decade offerings were based on. Models include

See a P2 vs. P80 vs. P3 photo. See the MVS Volvo P2 page.

P3 PlatformThe Volvo P3 platform is shared by almost every Volvo model currently sold in North America:

  • 2007–current Volvo S80 sedan
  • 2007–current Volvo V70 station wagon*
  • 2008–current Volvo XC70 compact SUV
  • 2009–current Volvo XC60 compact SUV
  • 2011–current Volvo V60 station wagon*

The P3 Volvos are reportedly very durable and reliable, subjectively better than the P2 cars.

The P3 is identical to Ford’s “EUCD” midsize car automobile platform. See a P2 vs. P80 vs. P3 photo.

* The V60 was never sold in North America, and Volvo pulled the V70 from the North American market after model year 2010. Grrr.

P80 PlatformThe Volvo P80 Platform was the foundation (chassis, electronics, etc) upon which all of Volvo’s 1992+ front-wheel- and all-wheel-drive models were based on. Models included the 850 up to 1997 (its last year) and S70, V70, XC70 (V70-XC), C70 models up to year 2000. See a P2 vs. P80 vs. P3 photo.
PACParking Assist Camera (the rearview camera connected to the HLDF)
PAMParking Assistance Module (the radar-equipped unit that offers front/rear park assist)
PBMParking Brake Module (cars with electric parking brake)
PCVPostive Crankcase Ventilation…on our Volvo’s it’s a series of hoses connected from the accordion air intake hose all the way to the oil trap (also called the separator or breather box) under the intake manifold- when it get’s clogged up, positive pressure builds up in the engine and can cause engine leaks.
PEMPump electronic module. Likely the same as FPCM, but given a different name depending on the model.
PHMPhone Module (the integrated GSM phone on post ’07 ICM-equipped cars)
Platinum 850Offered only in 850 model year 1996, the Platinum Edition 850 was a limited-run of 1500 cars in the US. Every option was standard, as was a special “pearl white platinum ” paint and special wheels.
PNPPark Neutral Switch on automatic transmissions. Essentially tells the transmission what gear the shifter is in. Common failure point and there are a bunch of threads about the subject.
POTPower Operated Tailgate (XC60, V70, XC70)
PSCMPower Steering Control Module (cars with electrical power steering)
PSMPower Seat Module
PTCPositive Temperature Coefficient (heater nipple)
R134a2-Tetrafluoroethane, an environment-friendly refrigerant used in Volvo AC systems since the early 1990s. A gas at temperatures above -26.3 °C (-15.34 °F). In the US, it replaced dichlorodifluoromethane (R-12, “freon”). Old R-12 automobile air conditioning systems can be converted to R134a with conversion kits.
RDARRemote Digital Audio Receiver (Sirius satellite radio receiver in post ’07 cars)
REMRear Electronic Module
RKERemote Keyless Entry (post-’07 cars, cars with keyless vehicle)
RRXRemote Receiver (post-’07 cars, cars without keyless vehicle)
RSERear Seat Entertainment
RTIRoad Traffic Information (satellite navigation)
RWDRear-wheel drive (Volvo 240, 740, 760, 940, 960, V90, S90… every model before 1993)
SAFCSuper Air Flow Converter or Super Air Fuel Controller. SAFC is an ECU piggyback unit which lets you adjust the air fuel ratio
SASSecondary Air System part of 1990s-on Volvo cars, this recycles rich exhaust gasses back into the engine to be burned when the car is started when cold. The air pump and SAS valve are responsible for this process, and when they fail they set off code P0410. Here’s how to do what’s called an SAS Delete, which tricks the Volvo’s computer into thinking things are ok even if the valve or pump fail. Whoohoo!
SASSteering Angle Sensor
SCUStart Control Unit (ignition switch/slot, post-’07)
SIPSSide Impact Protection System — introduced on the 850 in 1994, standard 1995 onward. “The SIPS system worked by having the driver and passenger seat mounted on transverse steel rails, not bolted to the floor as per the standard configuration. In a side impact these transverse rails allowed the seats to crush a reinforced center console during a side impact.”
Spirited DrivingConveyance at extralegal speeds, especially on non-freeway secondary highways. Associated with grinning.
SportwagonThe 1995 855 T5-R wagon, or more loosely, any turbocharged 855
SRMSunroof control module
SRSSupplemental Restraint System: As an enhancement to the three-point seat belts, Volvos are equipped with a Supplemental Restraint System (SRS). Volvo’s SRS consists of seat belt tensioners, front airbags, side impact airbags, the occupant weight sensor, and inflatable curtains. All of these systems are monitored by the SRS control module.
Stop NeutralSometimes abbreviated as “S/N”. Software Volvo implemented in some 2001 models’ transmissions that shifted the transmission into neutral when the car came to rest. The 2001 V70 for one was notorious for failed transmissions on 2001 models because of this feature. The driver could not control this behavior, and the shifter itself didn’t move. The stop neutral code was removed by a software update that came out years later and was delivered to cars at dealers via VADIS or VIDA.
SUBSubwoofer Module (XC60, V70, XC70, XC90)
SUMSUspension Module (found on P2 ‘R’ models and cars with Four C suspensions)
SWMSteering Wheel Module (connects steering wheel controls to CAN bus)
TCMTransmission Control Module [fault list]
TCV[Turbo Control Valve] — TCV’s function is to keep torque output steady over wide engine speeds
TRACSVolvo’s name for traction control – keeps the wheels from spinning on slippery surfaces like snow; controlled by Volvo’s ABS system; in the 850 family it’s known as ineffective
“tranny” or “trans”Transmission
TRMTrailer Module
TurbobrickAn old school Volvo equipped with a turbocharger
TVMTelevision Module (cars with Sensus entertainment, post-’11)
UEMUpper Electronic Module (it’s inside the mirror in post-’01 except certain C70s, and all P3x vehicles)
VADISVolvo’s own internal repair documentation & diagnostics environment, now deprecated. Read about VADIS here.
VCT2000The actual interface cable / box used to let a computer running VADIS talk to a 99+ car. Typically used in the context of “I need a VCT system to check that” or “I wish I had one” Very expensive and hard to fine, but really fun to have. Officially deprecated by Volvo on October 15, 2009.
VGLAVolvo Guard Lock & Alarm (found on pre-’01 cars)
VIDAVolvo vehicle information / communication software, the successor to VADIS.
VOL-FCR softwareLaptop / PC based diagnostic tool for Volvo cars made between 1996 and 1998/9 and some other models onwards.
VSTVolvo Scan Tool. Used to talk to computers on 96-98 cars. Unfortunetly nessessary to read / reset fault codes for the trans, climate control, srs, etc. Some functionality can be duplicated with the VOL-FCR or OBDII software.
VVISVolvo Variable Induction System. This applies to the ’93 – ‘94.5 850 intake manifold with a vacuum actuated vane to switch between a long or short runner within the manifold at a set RPM for torque, and/or fuel savings.

Side note: They function better when the actuation order is reversed with a device that fools the electronic vacuum solenoid as to RPM.

White Block EnginesVolvo Engines with aluminum blocks, debuted on the 1992 (North American model year was 1993) 5-cylinder Volvo 850.
WOTWide open throttle. Or “putting the hammer down”, or “pedal to the metal”, or… any number of euphemisms for mashing the gas pedal.

Have something to add? Reply to this Volvo forum topic and I’ll see that your term/definition finds its way to this list.

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