Volvo’s Latest Recall Is to Fix a Crucial Safety Feature

Volvo makes some of the safest and most luxurious cars on the market. Many of its cars are ranked highly on lists about safe cars, especially for families. However, even a luxury automaker like Volvo can make mistakes. Here’s everything you need to know about Volvo’s latest safety recall.

Volvo’s little mistake

As Car Complaints reported, Volvo is recalling over 730,000 of its cars from around the world due to an error in how it made one of its smart safety features. Over 120,000 of the Volvo models that will be affected by this recall are in the U.S., and the recalled models affect most, if not all of the cars that Volvo offers. As Car Complaints mentioned, all of the affected models are from the 2019 to 2020 model years.

The affected models that have been recalled are the S60, the V60, the V60 Cross Country, the S90L, the V90, the V90 Cross Country, the XC40, the XC60, and the XC90. 

The main reason why these cars have been recalled was that one of their smart safety systems, automatic emergency braking, may not work properly. As Car Complaints said, Volvo’s automatic emergency braking on these cars may not be able to detect objects and then automatically apply the brakes. 

And the reason why that’s happening, as Car Complaints reported, was because Volvo forgot to write some code in its cars’ smart safety system. If Volvo’s cars had over-the-air updates like Tesla’s cars do, then Volvo may have been able to update its cars without forcing owners to bring their cars into the dealership. But, since Volvo can’t do that, all the affected cars will have to be brought into the dealership for an update that will fix this issue.

What is automatic emergency braking anyways?

Volvo V60 Cross Country luxury plug-in hybrid estate car on display at Brussels Expo
The Volvo V60 | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

As its name would imply, automatic emergency braking is a smart safety technology that will automatically apply the brakes when the car thinks that a collision is imminent. Like other smart safety technologies, such as traffic sign recognition systems, automatic emergency braking makes software and hardware work together to do its job. 

Automatic emergency braking systems first need to detect a possible crash first and foremost. And then, it needs to actually get into gear and apply the brakes. However, due to Volvo forgetting to write some code, the software and the hardware were no longer able to work with each other. As a result, the automatic emergency braking system on these cars may simply not work at all. 

What Volvo owners can do in the meantime

As Car Complaints said, the recall will start on May 1st as that’s when dealerships will be able to update the affected Volvos and fix their software issue. In the meantime, though, fortunately for Volvo owners, Car Complaints said that Volvo is unaware of any crashes that have occurred due to this issue. 

That’s largely because while automatic emergency braking is a great smart safety feature to have on any car, it doesn’t do anything that a regular driver can’t do for themselves right now. As Car Complaints said, automatic emergency braking is a smart safety feature that’s most effective when it comes to avoiding or minimizing the damage sustained in a rear-end collision. 

There are many different rear-ending scenarios, but usually, if you’re paying attention to what’s ahead of you on the road, then you should be able to avoid the same accidents that automatic emergency braking tries to help you avoid. So, until May 1st, Volvo drivers should be aware that their automatic emergency braking system may be faulty and that they should keep their eyes on the road at all times.