by Bob Beranek
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I want to thank my readers for sending me issues involving safe installations. The newest one came from my friend, James Tremayne of Professional Glass in Seattle, Wash. His email mentioned a glass adhesion failure he witnessed.

This is the second time I have seen Volvo glass with bonding issues. The first was with pre-primed parts coming from Volvo dealerships. The difference here is that this was not the familiar paint delamination that we have seen on numerous makes and models of vehicles.

The problem Jim experienced was an adhesive failure to the glass surface. The vehicles involved were the 2010 Volvo S40 and a 2009 Volvo C30. These cars both take the FW2523 and the replacement glass in both cases were OE parts. Jim reported that one of these Volvos came to him with a leak complaint, and the other as a replacement, but both displayed the same condition. It seems that the failure is showing itself on the top of the glass only and not on the sides or bottom.

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I did some research on Volvo leak problems, and found a large number of complaints concerning wet floors after a rain. Most of the suspected causes were the sunroof drains, but I also noticed many reports that fixing the sunroof didn’t work and the cars still leaked. Of those I reviewed, only one suggested the windshield seal as the culprit.

I called my expert at Saint Gobain, the OE supplier of the glass, and learned that Saint Gobain does not prep the glass in any way before it is shipped to Volvo. Any pre-priming or glass preparation is done by Volvo at their distribution and assembly plants.

Currently, we do not know the reason for this failure. The problem could be incorrect preparation, manufacturing defect, installation problems or adhesive defect. We also don’t know if this is widespread or just in a particular area. However, we do know that this is incorrect and if you have a customer that complains of a leak on their Volvo it is best to inform them of the issue and suggest replacing the windshield.

Knowing of this problem, this is what I would do if a customer brought me their Volvo with a windshield leak:

  1. I would push up from the inside of the vehicle and see if the glass is loose from the adhesive;
  2. If that does not show a failure in the bond, I would then use a leak detector to determine the location of the leak; and
  3. If a leak detector is not available, I would water test and determine the location of the leak that way. If it is coming from the top seal and the glass is OE, I would suggest replacement instead of a reseal.

Once the diagnosis is made, it would make sense to replace the windshield with a brand of glass that is not the OEM. If the OEM part has a built-in defect, which we do not know at this time, all we would be doing is replicating the problem. I would then proceed with the installation making sure that I follow my adhesive manufacturer’s instructions for the removal of non-traditional contaminants.

What seems ironic to me is that Volvo is famous for vehicle safety and demanding the use of their products for the sake of performance and to preserve the safety of their automobiles. Yet, at least some of the products they supply appear to be inadequate to that end. If anyone reading this post has some insight on this issue, please contact me at bob@autoglassconsultants.com.

Comments (26)

  1. […] TODAY’S BLOG: Volvo Glass Bonding Issue […]

    • Mike said on 01-06-2015

      I have run into this for several years, Dan boehmer is correct in stating that a razor blade will take off the black factory primer. I would also recommend using beta brade to clean the glass after taking off the OEM primer. I have run into it on several volvo models. Glad this is being addressed.

    • John Tighe said on 01-12-2016

      xc60 2012 same problem and my glass company told me the local volvo dealer has brought plenty of business his way

    • Westley Boyd said on 02-12-2016

      Several months ago after a day of hard rain I found two inches of water in the driver’s side floor well. More recently after a heavy rain I discovered water in the back seat floor well. I run my car through the car wash one or two times a week and there was no leaking.
      Today I took the car in to the dealership for scheduled servicing and asked them to check for the problem. They said it was a loose wind shield and recommended I contact another company to reseal the wind shield, The company, specialists in glass replacement, said the entire wind shield would need to be replaced.
      It will cost me several hundred dollars on top of the $148.50 cost for diagnosing the problem.
      My car is out of warranty but I think this is a factory defect issue as I noticed other complaints about this issue in this model.

  2. John R. Allen said on 30-04-2015

    Thanks again Bob! I just sent this on to all my guys.

  3. Dan Boehmer said on 30-04-2015

    Hi Bob, This is the same issue we covered last year on the XC crossover model. The common denominator in all cases is that release occurs across top only. This is also the area where a value added UGM is attached to the glass. No scientific proof, but my theory is the UGM contains a contaminate that is leaching onto the substrate, or is applied before properly cleaning the glass surface prior to the primer application. It may not be relevant but the frit is between the lamination rather than on the bonding surface as well. The charcoal paint primer as opposed to clear fluid types of primer is easily removed with the pass of a razor blade.

  4. Robby said on 30-04-2015

    Bob , I understood that these were replaced with oe glass that was pre primed. If so did tech use clear primer on top of black primer? Dow stated to prime black on black clear on clear This is a very common mistake made by techs. If this is what is actually happening there is more to follow.

    • James Tremayne said on 09-05-2015

      Both windows were were the original Volvo windshields. One I was called out on for a replacement of a broken glass. The other we were called to investigate a waterleak. In both cases we performed a replacement in line with AGRSS standards. The leaking windshield was removed without breaking but was not reinstalled since we have no idea as to the cause of the original adhesive failure. Both windshields were found to be unbonded across the top, from corner to corner. Bonding was complete down the sides and across the bottom. They were different models, a S30 and a C30, but both use the same windshield, FW2524.

  5. Daniel said on 02-05-2015

    As far as I remember, Volvo got China involved in the Brand. And when it’s about chinese stuff, I think twice.

  6. Glasseye said on 02-05-2015

    I think Volvo need to do a thorough investigative trail through the entire glass production to establish why the seal is failing.

  7. Greg said on 14-07-2015

    I know my Volvo is a little older but I just purchased a 2004 V40 and the rear passenger windows have some sort of pits or growth like tiny little stars in-between the laminate. I have owned many Volvos and NEVER have I seen this.
    I would like to know if anyone has this issue as you cannot fix it and Volvo should have had a recall on the glass!

  8. Lisa said on 27-01-2016

    I have a 2009 s40 w water issues. Had the sunroof drains cleared 2x. Today, on a nice 40F winter day I went for car wash. About 2/3 thru I got splashes of water coming down from rear view mirror area, then dribbles down my portion of windshield. Exacerbated ofcourse by high speed dryers. Manager at car wash has never seen this happen. I’ll be visiting a glass place tomorrow. So frustrated w these water issues and I’m aware their is a class action against Volvo for drainage issues with sunroof. Im too late though. I’ll post what I find out and def. show them your findings.

  9. Shelby said on 29-01-2016

    I bought my 2011 Volvo C30 new in Feb. 2010, and I just had windshield come loose across the top! I noticed a loud rattling sound when I got in my car this evening. As I was searching for the source I pushed on the drivers side top corner and it was extremely loose. It seems to be the passenger side as well. This is so disappointing for Volvo. I did report it to Volvo even though my car is no longer under warranty. I haven’t had any water leakage, but after this weekends storm I probably will.

    • Amy said on 22-06-2016

      Clogged drain for moon roof and loose windshield in my S-40. Car still under warranty but Volvo dealership said neither was covered!?!?

  10. Doug Wickstrom said on 03-02-2016

    I have a 2010 C30 and it has begun leaking recently with water collecting primarily in the passenger footwell. after very heavy rains. After drying out the carpet multiple times and cleaning all drains several times I finally found a rubber seal or gasket in the top right outside corner of the windscreen that appears to have contracted and left a small gap that could allow water in. This sounds alot like what is being talked about here. I have not taken it to the dealer yet because I thought it had to be a clogged drain and therefore my problem. My question is would you expect that a Volvo dealer or Volvo itself will be responsive to this?

  11. Gloria Francis said on 06-09-2016

    I have a 2013 XC60 which seems to be leaking down the windshield? I purchased it in 2014. I already have issues with the cv joints & other things.

  12. Ross Youngblood said on 03-12-2016

    Interesting thread. My 2011 Volvo XC60 has just started leaking at the top left driver side of the windshield.

    • Lynn BASLER said on 01-05-2017

      I have a 2012 xc 60 and it also started to leak on the upper left windshield. I have had it resealed from the inside. The dealer told me I had to replace it and did not admit to any seal issues

  13. Margaret Kowalski said on 08-12-2016

    2009 Volvo S80. Windshield leaking. We push on it and it moves. Will have to replace the whole windshield. I agree with Glasseye posted above. Investigation needed. This is a safety issue.

  14. Van said on 27-12-2016

    2012 Volvo C30 50k miles and I’m taking it to the dealer next week. Small leak from the top of the windshield at the car wash on both the driver and passenger sides and now I notice if I push on the glass from the inside, it is loose across the top. Ugh.

  15. Michael Malyszko said on 03-01-2017

    I have a 2008 V70 Wagon. When it rains (or worse, at a car wash) water comes down through header just to the left of the dome light. I had it in to the dealer three times, no luck, not even determining if it was the moon roof or the windshield (they claimed they resealed the windshield, cleaned the drain tubes from the moon roof, straightened out a kink in the hose, etc.) Yesterday I tried science! I ran a hose over just the top of the windshield, leaving the moon roof untouched. After about 6 minutes or so, water started pouring through the area surrounding the dome light. So I guess it’s the seal at the top of the glass. Time for a replacement.

  16. Timothy Wilkerson said on 12-07-2017

    This is Tim with Glass Doctor of Jacksonville Fl, We have ben doing all of Osteen Volvo and Volkswagens glass for a long time and have dealt with this issue over 100 times. If you have a good technician you can remove the glass with the bond failure, clean and prep the surface again, re prime pinchweld after slightly scratching it with a scratch pad, and re install the original glass back in. we experience about a 1 in 10 break ratio while pulling these. This saves your customer a lot of money, and should be tried first, but always have a backup windshield on hand for that 1 in 10 break.

  17. Christina said on 26-07-2017

    We recently had this problem on my spouse’s 2012 Volvo XC70.

    We originally took it to the dealership and they stated the seal had broken and would need to be fixed by a glass company. When we took it to Safelite, they stated it was a factory installed windshield and they did not understand why Volvo was not repairing it. So we called the dealership to speak to the service advisor. He stated this problem occurs frequently on Volvos and Volvo considers it maintenance, so they would not cover the problem. Our issue is that if this is a widespread problem with Volvos, they should proactively repair the problem or they should contact Volvo directly in order to get them to pay for the windshield regardless of how they classify the repair. In addition, it is a product liability issue. Other comparable products on the market do not have this problem.

    So, we filed a BBB and Kansas Attorney General complaints. We also filed a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, because it does pose highway safety issues due to the potential to leak water during storms while driving (could cause a wreck) and good cause other mechanical damages if too much water leaks into the vehicle.

    Volvo put in writing that if the dealership would have contacted them directly about the problem that they would have remedied the issue. Apparently the dealership did not do this and we have since complained. The AG recently mailed use a letter suggesting that we take the dealership to small claims court, but we are torn on whether we want to do this or not because we also believe Volvo should be proactively recalling vehicles due to the widespread issue. So, to all of you out there with similar windshield issues, please file your own BBB, state attorney general, and NHTSA reports against Volvo. If enough people get their complaints on record, they will eventually be forced to recall and to fix the problem themselves rather than pushing the cost off on the customer or the customer’s insurance company. Just make sure to get documentation that it is a factory installed windshield such as pictures and a written statement from the repair shop.

    • Andrew said on 10-08-2017

      Filed a complaint today with NHTSA and BBB. I replaced my 2013 XC60’s windshield today after severe water intrusion has occurred over the last month. When pressure was applied to the top of the windshield from inside the vehicle the whole glass could be separated from the car (I have video of this). When the glass was removed it was visible that the gasket was not attached to the glass at all at the top section of the window. Volvo told me there is nothing they can do now without a recall. This is a severe safety issue in the event of an accident, I amazed at the amount of documentation on this issue.

  18. Ross said on 14-08-2017

    I have a 2009 V40 and have experienced leaking of increasing severity. Today there was a pool in the driver side footwell after a heavy rain and when I turned the steering wheel, water started dripping from the wheel and the horn shorted out, honking continuously until I disconnected the battery and eventually the horn relay. There is water dripping from the overhead lights as well. I read this post and, sure enough, when I push up on the windshield it is clearly not bonded across the drivers side top. Very frustrating that the dealer doesn’t cover this defect.

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