Volvo Glossary

Share This

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

Volvo Term


4C or "Four-C" Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept (Volvo's active suspension system)
854 Slang for a Volvo 850 sedan (4 doors). Applies to all series, for instance 744, 244 etc.
855 Slang for a Volvo 850 wagon (5 doors). Applies to all series, for instance 745, 245 etc.
ABS Anti-lock Braking System - keeps the wheels from locking in emergency stops; tied to Volvo's TRACS system
ACC Automatic 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)
ACM Alternator control module (post '07 cars)
ADM Additive Dosing Module (diesel cars only)
AQS Air Quality Sensor (cars with indoor air quality system)
ATF Automatic transmission fluid
AUD AUDio Amplifier module (the speaker amp in post '07 cars with an Infotainment Control Module)
AUM AUdio Module (the radio in post-'01 cars, but not post '07 P3x cars, and post '08 P2/P1 cars)
AUU Accessory 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)
AWD All-wheel drive
BCM Brake Control Module (was the ABS module in earlier cars)
Blue Box Slang 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.
BPM Bluetooth Phone Module (the integrated Bluetooth receiver in post '07 cars)
Brick Old school Volvo (many newer Volvos have some degree of Brick DNA). Affectionate term of Volvo lovers!
BSC Body Sensor Cluster (yaw/pitch sensors for DSTC)
CAN bus The Controller Area Network bus that Volvos use
CBV The 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.
CCM Climate Control Module
CEL Check Engine Light I also see it referred to as a MIL which I think is a Malfunction Indicator Light.
CEM Central Electronic Module (Example of S80 fixed by installing a new CEM)
CPS 1. 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.

CRM Convertible Roof Module
CVM Closing Velocity Module
CVVT Constant 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.
DABM Digital Audio Broadcast Module (Europe only)
DDM/PDM Driver/Passenger Door Module (window switch packs on front doors of post-'01 cars)
DiCE Diagnostic Communication Equipment--the replacement for the VCT2000; a diagnostic connection box that connects VIDA to the car.
DIM Driver Information Module -- expensive unit in the dash pod that controls and monitors many of the car's functions.
ECC Electronic Climate Control (ie:completely automatic, used in most 850+ cars)
ECM and ECU (synonymous terms) Engine Control Module
ECT Engine Coolant Temperature
ETA Electronic Throttle Actuator (the "new" Bosch-made throttle in most '02 and newer cars)
ETM Electronic Throttle Module (the Magnetti Marelli throttle in '99-02 cars)
ETS Electronic throttle system
FCP FCP Groton, a parts shop located in Connecticut, US
Flame trap Positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve
FPCM Fuel pump control module. Likely the same as PEM, but given a different name depending on the model.
FPM Fuel pump module
FSM Forward Sensing Module (used by the radar-guided cruise control)
FWD Front-wheel drive
GPS Global Positioning System (XC90)
GSM Gear Selector Module (replaces PNP switch)
HCM Headlamp Control Module (used by the Active Bi-Xenons)
HPT High 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.
HLDF High Level Display Front (the display unit in post '07 cars with park assist camera and/or nav)
IAM Integrated Audio Module (the CD player/radio in post '07 ICM-equipped cars)
ICM Infotainment Control Module (the LCD and radio control buttons on post '07 cars)
KVM Keyless Vehicle Module (only present on cars with comfort access & keyless go)
LCM/RCM Left/Right Camera Module (BLIS only)
Limp Mode When 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 bus Local area INterconnect; a bus that ties low-speed communication together in newer Volvos (siren modules, some heated seat commands, etc.)
LPT Low 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.
LSM Light Switch Module
MAF Mass airflow sensor
MCC Manual 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)
MCC Manual Climate Control
MMM MultiMedia Module (the navigation box in the trunk on post '07 IAM-equipped cars with RTI)
N/A A normally-aspirated Volvo; a Volvo that does not have a turbo
OBD Onboard 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.
OEM Original 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 Trap Part 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.
OWS Occupant Weight Sensor (used by SRS)
P1 Platform The 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. They began life in the Volvo factory in Ghent, Belgium.
P2 Platform The 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 Platform The 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 Platform The 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.
PAC Parking Assist Camera (the rearview camera connected to the HLDF)
PAM Parking Assistance Module (the radar-equipped unit that offers front/rear park assist)
PBM Parking Brake Module (cars with electric parking brake)
PCV Postive 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.
PEM Pump electronic module. Likely the same as FPCM, but given a different name depending on the model.
PHM Phone Module (the integrated GSM phone on post '07 ICM-equipped cars)
Platinum 850 Offered 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.
PNP Park 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.
POT Power Operated Tailgate (XC60, V70, XC70)
PSCM Power Steering Control Module (cars with electrical power steering)
PSM Power Seat Module
PTC Positive Temperature Coefficient (heater nipple)
R134a 2-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.
RDAR Remote Digital Audio Receiver (Sirius satellite radio receiver in post '07 cars)
REM Rear Electronic Module
RKE Remote Keyless Entry (post-'07 cars, cars with keyless vehicle)
RRX Remote Receiver (post-'07 cars, cars without keyless vehicle)
RSE Rear Seat Entertainment
RTI Road Traffic Information (satellite navigation)
RWD Rear-wheel drive (Volvo 240, 740, 760, 940, 960, V90, S90... every model before 1993)
SAFC Super Air Flow Converter or Super Air Fuel Controller. SAFC is an ECU piggyback unit which lets you adjust the air fuel ratio
SAS Secondary 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!
SAS Steering Angle Sensor
SCU Start Control Unit (ignition switch/slot, post-'07)
SIPS Side 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 Driving Conveyance at extralegal speeds, especially on non-freeway secondary highways. Associated with grinning.
Sportwagon The 1995 855 T5-R wagon, or more loosely, any turbocharged 855
SRM Sunroof control module
SRS Supplemental 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 Neutral Sometimes 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.
SUB Subwoofer Module (XC60, V70, XC70, XC90)
SUM SUspension Module (found on P2 'R' models and cars with Four C suspensions)
SWM Steering Wheel Module (connects steering wheel controls to CAN bus)
TCM Transmission Control Module [fault list]
TCV [Turbo Control Valve] -- TCV's function is to keep torque output steady over wide engine speeds
TRACS Volvo'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
TRM Trailer Module
Turbobrick An old school Volvo equipped with a turbocharger
TVM Television Module (cars with Sensus entertainment, post-'11)
UEM Upper Electronic Module (it's inside the mirror in post-'01 except certain C70s, and all P3x vehicles)
VADIS Volvo's own internal repair documentation & diagnostics environment, now deprecated. Read about VADIS here.
VCT2000 The 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.
VGLA Volvo Guard Lock & Alarm (found on pre-'01 cars)
VIDA Volvo vehicle information / communication software, the successor to VADIS.
VOL-FCR software Laptop / PC based diagnostic tool for Volvo cars made between 1996 and 1998/9 and some other models onwards.
VST Volvo 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.
VVIS Volvo 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 Engines Volvo Engines with aluminum blocks, debuted on the 1992 (North American model year was 1993) 5-cylinder Volvo 850.
WOT Wide 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.

39 responses to “Volvo Glossary”

  1. […] Volvo term & abbreviation glossary to be integrated with a 1995 Volvo 850 technical term glossary […]

  2. […] a good start off the line has been the “Holy Grail” of HPT P80 Volvos, and even a good chunk of P2 Volvo models: often searched for, rarely found. Culprit: […]

  3. […] contributor CN90 made a discovery: if you can’t get your Volvo P80 model ABS module out, try an E6 socket. CN90 […]

  4. […] Forum member gchelidze tells us in text and (24!) photos how to access your ECU and TCU modules from under your Volvo 850, S70, V70, XC70, C70′s hood. He […]

  5. […] stickers are the result of a combination of Volvo’s marketing department and Volvo RWD enthusiast Dave Barton. Paraphrasing Dave: in 2003, to show the accident-avoiding reflexes of the […]

  6. […] MVS Forums Moderator Ozark Lee tells us how to do a control arm replacement on P80 Volvos: […]

  7. […] the tidy 3-door hit the streets sharing engines, parts and assembly line space with other Volvo P1 cars. Problem was, not enough of them hit the streets. Blame too-high an MSRP (I do). Whatever the case, […]

  8. […] reinforces, no pun intended, that the P80 is a flexy platform, and finding ways to brace it make it a more predictable handling car, if not […]

  9. […] Forum member lexluther describes in descriptive language how he swapped the Compressor Bypass Valve in his V70XC 2000. If you know how to do this more easily on the AWD P80 Volvos, please add to […]

  10. […] helpful items for owners of V70 R and S60 R cars in the 2004-2007 model years, or in other words, P2 R […]

  11. […] and 960 cars from 1993 – 1995 can display fault codes for the Supplemental Restraint System using the On-Board Diagnostic unit in the engine […]

  12. […] MVS Contributor Zachary shows us how to replace the rear hub in a AWD P2 Volvo: […]

  13. […] Volvo “Blue box” parts — we all know them and use them when it makes financial sense, or when we want the best. So why this post? What’s going on? […]

  14. […] Volvo repair DIY video house Robert shows us how to replace the heater core on Volvo P80 models (all FWD and AWD Volvos […]

  15. […] Forum user Dempsy explains how he tracked down the source of an annoying ABS […]

  16. […] mikealder compiled a list of 850, V70, S70, XC-70 and C70 wheels — all Volvos in the P80 family – meaning 1993-2000 FWD and AWD Volvos. He helpfully included wheel size, offset, tire size […]

  17. […] Forum Contributor and all-around DIY uberguru Ben850 fabricated an OBD-I code reader. OBD-I cars are typically model year 1988 to 1995, and have a more crude way to display […]

  18. […] to Brett Borders of Swedish Motors in Boulder via Facebook for this excellent list to DIY a TCV (turbo control valve). TCVs are standard OE equipment on turbo Volvos. This parts list produces one suitable for P2 […]

  19. […] is actually one of the more interesting bits of P80 lore, to me. No idea […]

  20. […] MVS forums user Erik goes “full auto” and documents the vacuum lines on non-turbo Volvos in the P80 family: […]

  21. […] Forums contributor deepsouth shows us how a front O2 sensor swap is done on an AWD Volvo P80, including photos. This is a “from the top” DIY, meaning it’s how to […]

  22. […] Forums Moderator Phil: I had a couple bulbs out on my sunroof and tracs switch so I decided to replace the bulbs. Here is a write up on how to do it if anyone needs […]

  23. […] rare ECU failure, something that’s becoming more common in Volvo P80 models as they age. Here’s what it looks like from a diagnosis […]

  24. […] bought a 2004 V70 R in 2010, and I needed to “baseline” it, get it back to Stage 0. Volvo P2 generation cars are more picky about fluid age and quality, and I wanted it to drive like it came right out of […]

  25. […] I found that BCM (brake control module) codes indicating a failed Yaw Sensor may not necessarily indicate a $500+ repair is on the […]

  26. […] radiator hose part # 9470409 for turbo (N/A different pn); About $35 at […]

  27. […] thread from hankb on troubleshooting ECM DIM CAN bus as function of heat and […]

  28. […] PCV for late P80 car with coolant warmed PCV pipe and […]

  29. […] Volvo Forums moderator abscate explains why working on his 1999 V70′s CBV makes him […]

  30. […] MVS reader Nathan sent me a finely detailed writeup on how to replace the steering rack on an 850… and probably all Volvo P80 models: […]

  31. […] Forums member kcodyjr started a topic years ago that now contains a trove of excellent Volvo P80* speaker […]

  32. […] Volvo 5-cylinder engines, with great photos and illustrations. This tutorial is close enough to the P2 Volvo family that I’m including those categories in this post’s category […]

  33. […] not familiar with P2 cars, but I want to check out a 2003 V70 this afternoon that looks nice, has a 5-speed and only 64k on […]

  34. […] parts. I’d do that, or get a lift kit from Bad Swede, which sells a 2? suspension lift for P2 Volvos. From their […]

  35. […] 88760RICH asks about buying a P80 Volvo. […]

  36. […] What is a Volvo “P2”? — The Volvo P2 Platform entry in the MVS Glossary. […]

  37. […] contributor fazool crushes any and all mystery over S60 audio upgrades (really any P2 Volvo like V70, XC70 etc.) with this outstanding, exhaustive post. This post is so extraordinary […]

  38. […] Volvo P80 headlights are now fifteen+ years old. That means dull, yellow illumination at night… unless you do something about it, like upgrading the bulb (low cost/low benefit), lens, reflector or the whole thing. When replacing everything, you can choose to go stock halogen, swap to projector or jewel headlights, or even HID. As you’ve probably guessed, getting the best — or even just better — light isn’t cheap. […]

  39. […] for a 98 as the system was a little different, and I don’t pay any US taxes. Just checked on Vida and looks like the pump and ejector are the same for 850AWD to 2000 V70 AWD of all […]

Leave a Reply