Emissions testing: required for all Volvos made after the last ice age, right? Not for some 1993-2000 FWD/AWD Volvos.
Volvo’s emission standards were too high on the P80 Volvos. Yes, too high.
Let’s let Jimmy57 explain:
They will not pass with CEL on and may still be checked for emissions readiness but will pass with more indicators not in full ready mode.
The Bosch engine management system had too tight parameters for some of the readiness indicators and would only complete those to full readiness state by a VERY strict test drive followed to the letter. A person leaving a/c compressor on full time (as is the best plan for cleared windows and more alert driver) would never pass it as the stringent drive routine required some operation at drive and idle with no a/c compressor.
Volvo and another carmaker got exemptions. Sort of the opposite of the VW deal. These ECM’s didn’t have defeat devices they had hard-assed enforcement software.
Of course whether your 1992-2000 850, V70-XC, V70 or S70 (P80 Volvos) is exempt from emissions or partly exempt depends on your state.
As far as I know this varies by state. Your dealer is most likely right because they encounter this with a lot of consumers coming in for emission testing. You may just want to confirm and call your local DMV.
Here where I live all 97′ and 98’s are exempt from emission testing for quite a few years now. The last time I passed my XC with 5 monitors not showing ready mode. If I have a CEL on I could simply clear all codes, drive down to the testing station, and pass.