Volvo C30 DRIVe: Blowing a gasket

C30 DRIVe stops driving

After 10,000 miles of hard driving up and down the A1 each day, the Volvo C30 DRIVe decided it was time to take a breather and say, 'enough's enough.'

In fact, it didn't say 'enough is enough' on the A1, it said it on the A421 on the way to a very important job - the first drive of the all-electric Nissan Leaf. 

It was a must-attend event and it was vital I was not late. I had been given a 30-minute slot to drive the Nissan - at 2.30pm - and it was at the Nissan technical centre near Bedford. I coudn't miss the slot and the usually reliable Volvo would get me there, no problem. 

On my sat nav my arrival time said 2.15pm - that would give me 15 minutes to find the right car park, get a quick briefing on the car and hit the road at 2.30pm. Then with only ten minutes to spare the Volvo lost power, and a warning message came up on the main display saying, 'Engine temperature too hot, stop safely'.

This was very untoward.

I pulled over, got out of the car, checked the oil and water levels and all seemed in order. I got back in, waited a few minutes and started the car up again. It pulled away nicely, with no apparent rise in temperature and I got to the Nissan Leaf event with just 2 minutes to spare.

Thing is, when this happens, you know it's not going to go away.

The Volvo repeated this performance twice the following weekend, so a trip to a Volvo service department was inevitable.

I phoned Marshalls in Peterborough the following Thursday and they said they could take the car in straightaway as long as I didn't need a courtesy car.

I didn't.

The service department said they would phone me when they had established what exactly was wrong with the car but there was radio silence up until Tuesday. Presumably, finding the cause of the issue was not that straightforward but the problem, itself, was: the C30 had blown its headgasket.

I collected the car on the following Thursday after the repairs had been completed and since then it all seems fine. The C30 has now done 11,000 miles and the first service is due on 12,500 miles. Marshalls will, once again, get my custom and they'll get the chance to check out if all's still well with the headgasket. It'll be fine, I'm sure.






Current mileage: 11,275

Average mpg: 50.5