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Lights Out! Resetting Service Reminder And Warning Lights - Classic (RWD) Volvos

2019-02-11 - Ipd Staff

*** Disclaimer; Direct from ipd’s Tech Tip archive!  This tech tip contains information from previous publications.  Products mentioned may not be available or the information may not be accurate due to changes in supply, manufacturing, or part number association.  Please contact ipd Customer Support if you have further questions.

It's another beautifully crisp and clear winter morning, and you're snugly seated inside your Volvo, beginning your daily commute. Thanks to your trusty heater, your fingers are gradually regaining their mobility after becoming numb while clearing ice from the windshield. Then it happens. BLAM! A warning light on the dashboard flashes to life, signaling a potential problem.

If after your pulse begins to calm down you're able to read the warning light, and it's the EGR, Lambda Sond, SERVICE or CHECK ENGINE, read on. The following information will be helpful when it comes to resetting the light after you or a qualified Volvo specialist have performed the necessary service. Methods of resetting will vary depending on the year and model of your Volvo, so check the diagrams below for specifics.

All models with EGR (1975-1977 240 and 1989-1993 240)

To service the exhaust gas recirculation valves on these models, remove the valve and attach a vacuum pump to the valve. Actuate the valve into the open position, spray the moving parts with an all purpose lubri-cant like WD-40®, and clean the seat area and check the operation of the valve. Be sure to use anti-seize com-pound on the threads when re-installing. These valves should be serviced every 15-30,000 miles to ensure proper operation and clean emissions.

1975-1985 240/260 Series

On these models the EGR or Lambda Sond lamp is set to come on every 15,000 miles. To perform the service required, refer to a good manual like the new Bentley or Haynes publications. Because checking the function of the oxygen sensor is complex, you might also consider using the services of your favorite Volvo specialist.

Typical sensor life is approximately 60,000 miles. To reset the reminder light, locate the counter and reset buttons. The counter box should be clipped to the bottom of the dashboard frame, just above where your left knee is when sitting in the drivers seat. It has a small speedo type drive cable and 2 red wires attached to it. To gain access to the reset box, remove the panel just above the drivers side footwell. The counter box is approximately lx 1"x2". You may have to remove the cover. Simply press the reset and the light will go out.

1986-1993 240 Series

The service lamp on these models comes on every 5,000 miles (10,000 miles on '92 & '93 models). The reminder lamp will stay on for about two minutes at every start-up until it has been reset. The reset on these models is located on the back of the speedometer (see diagram). Reset by pushing the small lever upwards (always reset with the ignition off). Some models may have a button in place of a lever. 1989-1993 models are also equipped with a CHECK ENGINE lamp. See note at end of article concerning this important indicator.

700 & 900 Series

5,000 miles and every 10,000 miles on the 1992-1993 models. It will illuminate for about two minutes after every start-up until reset. To reset on 1983-1987 760's and 1985-1988 740 models a button on the back of the speedometer must be pushed (some models may have a lever in place of a button — see diagram). Always reset with the ignition off. Volvo service manuals state that the instrument panel should be removed
from the dash for resetting, going so far as to say "DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REACH UNDERNEATH THE DASH!" It can be done with the cluster in the car using a flat blade scredriver, a flashlight and some minor contortions!

1988-1990 760s and 1989-1994 740s and 900 Series

The reset has been located to the front of the instrument panel for easy access (see diagram). Remove the rubber grommet with a small screwdriver or tweezers, being careful not to push it inside the instru-ment cluster like I did! With the plug removed, use a small screwdriv-er to gently press the reset button. Again, this is to be done with the ignition off.

All models 1989-1994 CHECK ENGINE lamp

This lamp is part of the fuel injection/emissions system and can only be reset by finding and repairing the fault which activated the lamp. Once the fault has been repaired, pressing the button on the underhood diag-nostic unit one time will reset the system. The L.E.D. indicator will flash three times indicating a successful reset. It is recommended that this function be performed by a qualified Volvo specialist as diagnostic codes and special equipment is required.