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Volvo XC60 2019: Why do I already need new brakes?

I have just had the 30,000 km service done on my 2019 Volvo XC60 and the mechanic has told me I need new brakes after just one year. I find that difficult to understand given that I’m on the highway to and from work six or seven days a week, hardly using brakes. The workshop also said that, on a Volvo, you need to change the pads as well as the discs as they cannot just replace the pads. Do you think this is correct?

I have been on the internet and quite a few people have complained about having to change brakes in the first year. I had a Jeep before this for five years and never changed the brake pads once, and I was hardly using the highway back then. I’ve been quoted $1976 for the job. Do you think this is fair?

This is a pretty common complaint from owners of a lot of European makes and models. To maximise braking performance, a lot of manufacturers (including Volvo) use a relatively hard brake pad and a relatively soft brake rotor. With the result that by the time the brake pads are worn enough to be replaced, so too are the rotors (discs).

However, the general expectation is that a vehicle should be capable of covering about 60,000km before this work needs to be done, so the 30,000km on your car suggests the brakes work harder than perhaps you think they do.

As for the price, I’d assume that to be using genuine Volvo parts. Shopping around and using aftermarket replacement parts could almost halve that quote.