Going against everything that I thought I was going to do when looking for an inexpensive used car I have found myself intrigued by a 1991 Volvo 940 Turbo wagon with 200,000 miles on it. It appears fine, maintained, etc. Searching around I can not find anything overly negative about this year of this car. It seems like parts are not outrageously priced and the price is in my budget. Would I be nuts to consider such a car? I have no history with Volvos but this car certainly seems more interesting than your average japanese pod car from the mid 90’s, many of which have similar mileage figures and are the same or much more expensive. Some one tell me I am crazy to even consider this.
Based on my experience with a '98 V70XC and '00 V70XC you are crazy to consider this. Volvo bodies and seats hold up great. So the car looks and feels fine. Volvo mechanics and electrical items (little switches, window motors, circuts and connectors) don’t hold up well. This means you’ll need a good Volvo mechanic, and the dealer service prices are always ridiculously high.
If you can budget about $2,000 a year for repairs, go for it.
Thank you. That is kind of what I thought would be the answer. The strange thing is that I just do not read so much about those issues anywhere, though I thought I would. I have had VW eurovans and know full well that experience that I would never buy one of those used but they are great vehicles in many ways. The only thing is that this would not be my main vehicle and I suspect I am going to have some issues with any used car under $1600 or so…my gut tells me to go somewhere else, though for some of the reasons you just mentioned.
The only way this makes any sense at all is if you buy the car and then junk it the first time it needs anything. If you get a year out of it with no repairs, be happy. In this price range cars are throw-aways.
You do know this car could become a bottomless money pit overnight, right?
I do realize that cars in this price range are throwaway, and that is a good point. It will probably get used under 3000 miles a year and I would fully expect that if anything of $ consequence happened to it that it would just get junked. Again, my gut tells me to head another direction but I thought I would just see what others had to say. Thank you.
Save yourself a lot of trouble and walk away.
There are a lot of half-million-mile Volvos of that vintage still on the road, but not very many of them are turbos. The Volvo in my driveway is closing in on 300k miles. Looks good and runs like a Swiss watch, but it is not a turbo.
The key to driving older European cars is that you must be willing and able to do all the work yourself. Quality parts are quite inexpensive from an array of on-line vendors. If you take it even once to the dealer, however, you will likely spend more than the vehicle is worth for even a simple problem.
My Volvo and three BMWs total over 800k miles, and I spend less than anyone I know on transportation, but I spend a lot of Saturdays in my garage.
In the Volvo’s favor - many cars in this price range have been neglected, abused, and patched together to sell. Some Volvos are meticulously cared for all their lives, which makes them excellent choices in their price ranges. I have been looking for a 7-10 year old BMW wagon to replace my 20 year old Volvo wagon. After 20 years, I am a bit tired of it and want something quicker and prettier. Trouble is, I cannot find one that is in better shape than my Volvo, even with 1/3 the miles. Apparently the average BMW owner is not as interested in car maintenance as the average Volvo owner.
Bottom line - Turbos scare me, but if you are willing and able to buy a manual and basic tools and maintain it yourself, it is probably in better shape and a lot more interesting car that a Japanese or American car that you can buy for the same money.
Thank you Manolito. You have hit the nail on the head with my thinking. I agree, turbos are probably the big no no, and a full vehicle history and quality maintenance would have to be a must. The equation I keep bumping into is that a honda civic or toyota whatever with the same mileage is not clear to me to be an overall better risk. It might be, it might not. Looking back over 25 years of consumers reports (one advantage of never throwing them away!) This one model does sort of stand out as being well considered. There is also the cost/mile or cost/year to consider and that makes for some interesting number crunching versus a new car for instance. Than there is the hassle factor. All good points. Thank you.