The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

How Do I Find My Engine Serial Number Or Engine Family? (FWD/AWD Models)

2011-01-21 - Kevin Rutledge

Why do I need an engine serial number to figure out what parts fit my Volvo?

Volvo is notorious for changing engine parts in the middle of production model years. When they do this, they make a notation in their parts catalog stating what engine serial number ranges a product fits: "Fits up to and including engine serial number -3082419" or "Fits from engine serial number 3082420- onwards" or similar.

Volvo doesn't make their engines in the same factory as their car bodies (indeed, they make car bodies around the world, including here in the US), so the engines are crated up at their factory in Sweden and sent in batches to a car body factory to be installed in to cars. Thus, the safest way to track different versions/revisions of parts on these engines is by the engine's serial number, which this guide will help you find and read.

If you're not sure of your Volvo's platform and generation (P2, P3, etc.), check out your car's history and info in our shop-by-model detail pages.

If you can't read your engine serial sticker/stamping, or if you're not sure which number on the sticker/stamping is your engine serial, someone with an active VIDA subscription (such as your Volvo dealer or IPD customer service) can often look up your engine serial number from your car's VIN. So, if you can't figure out your engine serial from the guide below, give us a call!

P80, 900-series, NedCar, and P2s with "white block" engines, 1990s to mid-2000s

  • 850
  • S70/V70
  • 960/S90
  • C70 coupe and convertible
  • S40/V40
  • XC90
  • S80
  • S60/V70
  • XC70/V70 XC

For the Volvos of the 1990s to mid 2000s with the "white block" inline-four, -five, and -six cylinder engines, Volvo puts the engine serial number in two places: a sticker on the upper timing cover and a stamping on an engine block surface. It is very common for the sticker on the timing cover to be missing or damaged but the stamping on the engine block is always there.

The sticker and the stamping both have the engine family and the engine serial number. If ever in doubt what engine is in your Volvo, check the stamping!

Engine Serial Number location 1

The stamping on the block is a little bit difficult to see, but with a little persistence and a bright flash light, you will find it:

P1 and P3s with "compact five" engines, mid 2000s to mid 2010s

  • S40/V50
  • C30
  • C70 folding hardtop
  • S60/V60
  • Some later V70 XC70s
  • Some later XC60s

Volvo began to use a special compact variation of their venerable "white block" inline-five engine in their P1 and P3 platform cars. These have somewhat trickier to read engine stickers showing the engine family and serial number, but they're still there and still important for things like different tensioners or water pumps past a certain engine serial number.

On the compact fives, the engine serial number sticker has moved to the lower timing cover, sitting just above the crankshaft pulley and just below the engine mount. It's difficult to see in place because it's right next to the frame rail, but can be seen with either the right-side (passenger in the US) engine mount removed or through the right-side wheel well with the plastic wheel well liner pulled up.

If you're changing your engine mount or doing belt service, take the time to look for the sticker and write down your serial number. You'll thank yourself later!

P3s with "short six" engines, mid 2000s to mid 2010s

  • S80
  • XC60
  • XC90 "3.2i"
  • S60/V60
  • XC70/V70

The 3.2i and T6 "short six" engine used by Volvo in P3s and the P2 XC90 usually has the engine model code and serial number on a sticker on the intake manifold, near the dipstick.

If this sticker's been removed (somewhat common, thanks to overzealous detailers), there's a spot on the side of the block you can check. 

One of the engineering "tricks" used to make these engines fit transversely in engine bays was to move belt-driven accessories like the water pump, alternator, and A/C compressor from the end of the engine to the sides via relay shafts and gears, making the whole engine shorter since it no longer needs a crankshaft pulley to drive those accessories via belts. Without a crank pulley or belt drive, the end of the engine block is nice and flat, and the engine serial and part number stickers are in these locations:

  • The engine serial and VIN sticker with barcode (blue) is sideways on the right side of the cylinder head, behind the upper torque mount and visible with the engine cover removed
  • The engine part number sticker (yellow) is on the large rubber plug where the crank pulley would normally be.

We've found that engine serial number is less critical with the short six family of engines, as most fitment issues can be generalized to either the engine model (like B6304T2 vs B6304T4) or to chassis breaks, both of which can be figured out from the VIN. Still, if you need it, here it is.

P2 and P3s with V8 engines, mid 2000s to early 2010s

  • S80 V8
  • XC90 V8

In large Volvos like the XC90 and S80, one of the optional engines was a 4.4L V8 made by Yamaha for Volvo. Vee engines are unusual for Volvo, and this engine has its sticker in an unusual spot: between the banks of the vee, above the central belt idler pulley.

Later P3s and SPA/P5s with VEA engines, 2015 and beyond

Volvo has adopted a common family of 2-liter, four-cylinder turbo-, super-, and twin-charged engines called VEA ("Volvo Engine Architecture") to power all of its latest US-market cars.

While there are many tiny variations of these engines, they all share a core engine architecture, and the external layout is largely the same:

  • Engine serial number (red) and engine part number (green) on a sticker on the upper timing cover
  • Engine serial number (red) and engine model code (blue) stamped on the PCV box by the spark plugs under the engine cover