NASTF Information Requests

Tracking: 381 Status: Closed - Requester Not Satisfied
State: MA Name: Paul
Category of Request: Reprogramming Manufacturer: VOLVO

Have you checked the OEM website?
Description of Repair unable to perform
Download of software upgrade bundles referenced in technical journal.
Description of Information not available
Bundled upgrade packages - only available to authorized manufacturer retailers.
Description of steps taken to obtain information (help/contact function on website, websites, etc.)
Contacted manufacturer website help request system.
Other Comments or Concerns
I recently requested some information on the software bundles mentioned in Technical Journal 23940 (dated 2/17/2011) entitled “Volvo Service for Life: Complimentary Software Updates”. The corresponding VTI help request thread number is 24604. The journal indicates that the software numbers listed are only available to authorized Volvo retailers. I questioned, what are the equivalent part numbers available for download by independents? I was informed that these are software bundles that include multiple upgrades in one package. The only option available to the independent is to download and install all the individual upgrades one at a time. What exactly is the obstacle to making these bundles available for purchase to the independent market? From a pricing standpoint, purchasing eight individual upgrades is definitely more costly than purchasing a single bundled product. Although I was told that the total CAN upgrade bundle is not the same as these service update bundles, let’s call them “close enough” for price comparison. On a 02 S60, the cost of the total can upgrade is approximately one third the cost of the eight individual upgrades mentioned in these bundles. Also, there is additional cost associated with the difference in the time performing a single download event versus eight individual ones. Aside from the increased cost of doing the upgrades individually, there is also increased risk of download issues. In a perfect world downloads would complete flawlessly every time, but we all know that reality dictates differently. I would prefer not to have to tempt fate any more than necessary. Finally, there seems to be a major discrepancy between what VTI is (and has been) preaching about software upgrades and what Volvo is instructing through its literature and dealer practices. VTI has consistently stated upgrades only be performed when necessitated by a specific problem or repair procedure. Dealer techs we have hired in the past painted a much different picture, citing total upgrades as one of the first steps used in addressing a vehicle with a laundry list of codes. This may have been a case of the first line techs not following protocol, but it sure sounded like standard procedure from the accounts I heard. Now, I’m even more apt to believe this as this tech journal we are dealing with here specifically states to install these upgrade bundles “at every service opportunity and with the customers permission”. There is no mention of having to be tied to a specific problem or repair procedure- just any service. As a matter of fact, a local dealer has already started using this upgrade bundle as a marketing tool in their most recent direct mailing campaign. To me, this says Volvos position is that these upgrades should be installed in all the vehicles listed at the soonest opportunity- is this accurate? I would like to be able to provide this service to our customers if they want it. I would absorb the cost of a bundled product, but do not feel as though I should have to subject the customer (and our company) to the increased risk of having to perform this upgrade in multiple programming events. Thank you in advance for your time in reviewing these questions. I hope you can provide some insight on this issue or better yet a solution.
Mary Hutchinson - 4/1/2011
Response from Volvo personnel: Thank you for following the proper process and allowing us to assist you by submitting a help request via We find this to be very successful in resolving our customer concerns. Regarding your recent inquiry concerning the Volvo Service for Life Program, the Volvo Service for Life program is designed to enhance the customer experience and add value to the customer when having their vehicle serviced at a participating Volvo retailer. The program consists of four core elements: - Volvo's replacement parts warranty is being doubled to two years on parts and labor when installed at a Volve retailer. - Volvo owners experiencing a Check Engine Light or other warning indicator will receive 1 hour complimentary computer diagnostics at Volvo retailers. - Owners will receive complimentary software updates to ensure their vehicles are brought up to the latest specifications. - Volvo owners that have their car serviced at a retailer will periodically receive special offers including a savings on Volvo On Call, Volvo's roadside assistance program. Regarding the complimentary software products, there is no actual list of software part numbers that are bundled the same way. Each vehicle's current state will dictate which software products it will receive. The total CAN upgrade you mention is not the same. The total CAN upgrade will touch all the nodes on the network; the Service for Life software will not. Next, the policy of Volvo regarding total upgrades as a first step in repairing vehicles has not changed. This Service for Life software is not intended to be used for a repair, or in place of other software used for a repair. We realize technicians perform software downloads before diagnosing vehicles, but this, as you know, is not a good proactice, and is not recommended. It is further important to state that all software necessary for the repair of a vehicle is and will remain available to all VIDA users. Thank you again for your inquiry, and I hope I have answered you satisfactorily.
Mary Hutchinson - 4/7/11
Mr. Brezina's further inquiry: Thank you for your response to my NASTF help request. After reading your response, I am still left with a few questions on the matter that you might be able to clarify. I may have confused the issue a bit by mentioning the total CAN upgrades, how they are being unconventionally used in some cases and their cost comparisons. So, putting all those aside, let me clarify the point I was trying to make and how it applies to my Service for Life (SFL) service upgrade applications question. Up until this SFL campaign, the directive from Volvo Tech Info (VTI) was always – do not install upgrades into modules unless you are doing so to address a particular problem (usually as directed by a service bulletin, tech note etc.) The installation of these upgrades under the SFL program seems to directly contradict this directive. The retailers are encouraged to install the upgrades under the SFL program at every service opportunity. To me this says that Volvo has determined that there is a value in keeping the software in certain modules up to date, even without them exhibiting any particular problems. Is this accurate? As mentioned in your reply, I am aware that each bundle is different, based on which modules are determined to be in need of updating. It is access to the service update applications that do this evaluation that I am interested in. The part numbers for these applications are listed the referenced technical journal (8691431, 8691414, 30775481 and 31295476). As I understand it, these applications inspect the current state of the software in the vehicle, compile a list of available upgrades for that individual vehicle, then bundle those upgrades and deliver them for download into the vehicle. This is undoubtedly the most efficient way to approach keeping all of vehicles software up