Need a diagnostic code lookup?
Volvo code lookup is easy and free. Generally, retrieving codes from your Volvo depends on the year, and goes from caveman-ish to very modern as you go from early 1990s to today’s cars.
1996 850s through P2 Volvos you can plug in a code reader (starting at $20 or so) and scroll through the codes your Volvo has set, and clear most of them. SRS codes are sometimes a headache to get rid of. See the definition of “SRS” here.
We in the 850 family who have 1996 and 1997 model years have it easy… we have both OBD-I and OBD-II.
Which Code Reader to Buy?Regardless of your Volvo model, if it has an OBD-II port, you can plug in a code reader and read codes.
Don’t spend a lot on the reader. Code readers don’t change much. They have one job, after all. The bottleneck of OBD-II will always be the car. Why? Because these cars are from the 90s. OBD-II isn’t advanced AI, it’s just a dumb system that stores and outputs fault codes.
If you do spend more on a code reader, you get luxuries like being able to reset the Check Engine Light (“CEL”). Or you get the description of the code right on the reader. The CEL bit is nice to have, but code lookup we have right here for free:
Check Engine light comes on? We just plug in our code lookup readers and a magical system called OBD-II tells us what code(s) are causing the CE light. Same with 1998 model year Volvos, like S70, V70 and XC70 models. Then after that, the code lookup expanded from the OBD-II to include Volvo-specific codes that OBD-II readers cannot retrieve, although many overlap in meaning.
To start, the Ignition key must be in position II, engine not running. Open the hood. Locate the two diagnostic sockets just inboard of the washer fill cap. The “A” connector (shown above) has a jumper that is stored in the lid of the “A” diagnostic connector. The jumper is used for both diagnostic connectors.