1993 Volvo 940, safety, & children

My father gave me a 1993 Volvo 940 wagon (aka named by me - “Victoria Volvo”) about six years ago at 195,000 miles. It now has 230,000 miles, and I’ve been doing all the prophylactic repairs that my mechanic has recommended. My fiance and I are thinking about having children in the next couple years and know that there have been many safety upgrades to cars in the past 17 years. How do you feel about having kids in this old of a car? We’d love to keep on riding Victoria for as long as possible, as she’s been great. But, we’d purchase a new car if safety was an issue.

If currently available child safety seats fit into the back seat I don’t see a problem. The biggest factor about safety is the driver. A '93 Volvo isn’t setting safety standards anymore but if it is good condition it can driven safely.

Remember airbags don’t last forever. I had a '98 Volvo with side airbags and all the airbags were recommended to be replaced at 10 years of age. I don’t think anybody goes through the trouble and expense, so if you want safety and operating airbags are part of the picture you might want a newer car, not just for the kids - you and eventual hubby count too.

Crash performance and other safety developments are so improved, I would replace this car if that’s a reasonable financial option for you. If you haven’t had big repair costs, you will, 230,000 is pushing it for any brand of car. Side air bags, in particular, are a major improvement - does the 940 have them?

The car is so old that it is unsafe compared to almost anything built today. It was among the safer cars in the early 1990s, but isn’t up to snuff today. I wouldn’t worry so much about the children strapped in the back, but your legs when the front end caves in on you. But you have to be in an accident for any of that to matter. As Uncle Turbo said, you are the best safety appliance in the car.
But about your question: safety is an issue. Get another car. You can keep Victoria for a second car, but if you want the advantages of air bags all around and better front and side intrusion protection, you need a new car.

“How do you feel about having kids in this old of a car?”

Personally, I think children should not be born in cars of any age if at all possible.

Things have changed a lot since 1993, and even a smaller, lighter modern car is probably “safer” than your old tank. Having said that, as long as the car is running and you’re comfortable with it, why replace it?

You’re “thinking about having children in the next couple of years.” Victoria will probably die of natural causes before then, or the cost of maintaining her will become so high you’ll give up on her, and she is not likely to be a major issue when the children are born (hopefully not in a car).

You’re worrying about something that’s several years in the future. Surely you have something better to do right now.

In the mean time, drive Victoria and enjoy her.

For energy absorption and structural integrity of the passenger compartment, the 940 is a match for anything being built today. What it does not have that todays safer cars have is side air bags. Also, as others have pointed out, your front air bag in the steering wheel is past its shelf life. Imagine someone’s laundry blowing out of your steering wheel in your face.

Ultimately, it is a matter of your peace of mind, but I would drive it so long as it was not cost-prohibitive to keep it going, which assuming good care up to now, may be another 100k miles.

Thanks so much for all of your thoughts. As for air bags- Victoria only has one airbag (driver’s side), which was replaced probably about eight or nine years ago when my father was in an accident. Thanks so much for letting me know they should be replaced every ten years.

In the early 90s, Volvo recommended 10 years, but I have read on the Brickboard that this recommendation was upgraded to 15 years once the cars had been out for a decade and they saw how well the bags were standing the test of time.

You might want to confirm that, though I would not ask the parts counter guy at the Volvo dealer because he would love to sell you a new bag.

If what I heard was true and yours was replaced 8 years ago, you should be fine for a long while yet.

Those 940 Volvo’s are classic cars-and I would not necessarily discard it. As for having children, you may want to consider it as a second car with an up-to-date Volvo as the primary car for transporting the children. The older Volvo could be used for hauling pets or rubbish to the town recycling center. We have a cross country, and it is fabulous as well as a V50. The V50 is great, although a bit small for a family.

“…the 940 is a match for anything being built today.”

Can you site a source for your information? There are no test results for 940 at NHTSA or IIHS/HLDI.

At its age, it’s more likely to strand you somewhere than injure you. Not a good thing with a baby.