Howard's Volvo Maintenance

Metric sockets + Wrenches

This is a European car so a good metric sockets and wrenches are a must. Crows foot is useful here and there.

Torx sockets + Screw drivers + Hex sockets

Volvo uses Torx screws everywhere, you may need

  • Torx sockets
  • Torx screw drivers
  • Long tipped torx sockets or key set to get at various parts
  • Brake job need a couple of hex key sockets
  • ABS module removal requires an E5 socket

VIDA Installation

There are 2 ways to install Volvo's factory diagnostic software VIDA. Either natively on a Windows machine or on a Virtual Machine (VM). I personally like the VM installation because VIDA does install other subsystems and its good to keep it all separate from your main OS.

VIDA has several dependencies

  • Uses Microsoft's SQL and .NET foundation software so proper version of those need to be installed.
  • Was originally made for Windows XP. So installation to the latest Win10 is more manual as you need to cobble and configure the later components (SQL) together.

Native Windows 10 Installation

Here are the directions for installing on Windows10. The directions are robust but there are many steps to take. If you are all that savoy with computer, it might be a bit daunting. 

I ran into 2 issues during this installation, noted here

Virtual Machine Installation

Another simpler installation solution is to use a virtual machine (VM). VM is like running another computer inside of your current computer. The VM computer is just running inside of a window on your desktop.

Someone already did the hard work of installing VIDA on Windows 10 and made it into a VM image and put it online. You must download this image along with installing VM on your PC (VM available on both Windows10 and Mac OSX) and you are ready to go! In fact, even if you are on a Mac, the Windows10 VM works perfect on the desktop. You can run Win10 inside of a window on a Mac.

Directions here 

Potential Issues

In my previous installation several years ago. There is an annoying WSL login window that constantly appears during usage. Here is a link on how to get rid of that. Not sure this problem still exist  

Code Readers

Most OBDII readers can read the common codes in this car. But there are a bunch of Volvo specific codes that regular OBDII readers can't read. This will cost you probably $30-100 at the dealer to read them depending on your dealer.



These are chinese made clones of the Volvo's diagnostic computer tool. They are about $200 on ebay and $189 at This tool let you do a lot of things but are also complex to setup and use compared to the BSR PPC. Besides providing the full electronic service and parts manual, it will read all diagnostic codes, run various diagnostic programs and trigger software adaptation (I've tried TCM adaptation). It will also monitor every sensor available in the car. To load the latest software, it needs to connect online to Volvo's website and requires a subscription. Not sure this will work since this is a much cheaper clone of Volvo's system.

Here are some additional info

VIDA stands for Vehicle Information Diagnostic Aftersale. This is basically the software that runs on the Windows PC.

DiCE stands for Diagnostic Communication Equipment. This is basically the unit that goes between vehicle's OBD2 port and the PC's USB port.

Installation is a bit tricky. Please see and VIDA Installation section for more details. 


I invested in a PPC diagnostic tool from the company below ($150 on ebay) and it also can reset codes (You guessed it, $30-$100 at the dealer again) to help with the debug process on the electronics of this car. Unfortunately, it seems to be no longer available and the new model is quite pricy :(

Here is a manual for the PPC tool and it includes a full diagnostic code table for this car 


ELM 327 Bluetooth ODB2 dongle

These will only read+clear ODB2 codes but is cheap (like $4 on ebay) and handy for all cars. They only work with Android (Free Torque Lite app).


 A complete list of codes are here including Volvo specific codes.

This site also gives you info for the fault code retrieved