The Volvo Glossary: Terms, Words and Abbreviations

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



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. See our  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.
DSTC The Dynamic Stability and Traction Control system consists of a number of functions designed help reduce wheel spin, counteract skidding, and to generally help improve directional stability.
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,. As opposed to 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. 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 Platform The Volvo P2 Platform was 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 sold in North America in the late 2000 decade to the mid 2010s.


  • 2007–2016 Volvo S80 sedan
  • 2011–2018 Volvo S60 sedan (Y283)
  • 2007–2016 Volvo V70 station wagon*
  • 2008–2016 Volvo XC70 compact SUV
  • 2009–2017 Volvo XC60 compact SUV
  • 2011–2018 Volvo V60 station wagon*

The P3 Volvos are 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.

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)
SPA Platform Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform — The SPA platform is used for the entire range of Volvos newest models: the XC90, the S90, the V90 and its buff twin V90 Cross Country. It succeeds the P3 Platform as the primary building block for all mid-large Volvo cars and SUVs. Its importance to Volvo cannot be overstated.
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.
STC Stability and Traction Control: In 1999, with engine torque management handled in software ( Bosch ME7) the earlier TRACS system was upgraded to include ABS control of all four wheels, and torque management for enhanced stability and traction.
SWMBO S/he Who Must Be Obeyed: usually aimed at married guys
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.

VVT In internal combustion engines, variable valve timing (VVT) is the process of altering the timing of a valve lift event, and is often used to improve performance, fuel economy or emissions. It is increasingly being used in combination with variable valve lift systems. There are many ways in which this can be achieved, ranging from mechanical devices to electro-hydraulic and camless systems. Increasingly strict emissions regulations are causing[citation needed] many automotive manufacturers to use VVT systems. VVT on Wikipedia.
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.