1993 Volvo Wagon - time to shoot?

My fresh-out-of-college son has a '93 Volvo wagon (130K miles), and not much in the way of savings. This weekend he had the car idling in the driveway while he ran inside the house to get something - his girlfriend in the passenger seat. I came out to go somewhere, saw the car, knew he’d be out in a minute, but it was hot, so I got in my car and started it up to get air moving. Imagine my surprise when I head “F**K” and the Volvo whipped by me into my wife’s garden and up a pile of firewood and over the dead lawnmower. The girlfriend had popped the car into neutral to coast into the driveway and let me out, thinking that she could just pop it back into “Park” and the car would stop, which did not turn out to be the case (Q #1, should it have stopped?). (She is ok, but mortified.) Meanwhile, to get the car out of the garden and off the woodpile, I jack it up and start pulling wood out from underneath it. My son sticks his head under the car to look for damage. I tell him to get his head out from under the car - which is good, because the jack collapsed a minute later. We get the car out and it’s now at the mechanic who wants $450 to replace the exhaust. For a $2,000 car is it worth it? Otherwise car is in “Fair/Poor” condition, no pick-up. Is it worth keeping a beater car so his girlfriend can continue to learn how to drive in something that is not as expensive to smash into things? They are both at the age where they hit something just about every other weekend. The good news is that the lawnmower liked getting run over and now works.

The time to sell a 1993 Volvo passed by many years ago. A 20+ year old Volvo is not worth $2K in the majority of this country. Sell it for parts and buy a newer, safer vehicle.

This car will keep causing you misery, so just shoot it in the head.

Any future repairs on the car will cost you a bundle. There is a usual rule that you don’t spend more than 25% of a car’s value on any one repair. With a Honda or Toyota I would not adhere to that, but this car will have many such repairs in the coming years. Many panelists will concur.

otherJack wrote:
They are both at the age where they hit something just about every other weekend.

If this is true and not just exaggeration, they don’t belong on the road with the rest of us until they get to a driving school. This is not acceptable even for the most novice drivers. The idea of stopping the car by putting it into Park while moving just reinforces my point here.

By the way, an idling car without a driver absolutely must have the parking brake on as well. You don’t ever want to trust one system (the transmission) to keep the car in place. This would probably have prevented this boneheaded accident as well, of course.

As a parent, I am exaggerating. The son is pretty safe, and the girlfriend has only otherwise run over some bushes.

If I had a 93 Volvo, I’d shoot it, but don’t do it in town. Discharging a firearm in the city limits in Minnesota is a felony and firearms include BB guns. I’d suggest at least a 12 ga. and a box of shells. Should be a lot of fun.

Maybe mount a mower deck to the volvo for the next time your mower goes out.
Mowing in air conditioning is the ultimate in luxury. I hear Volvos are very good for taking out unwanted bushes too.

I say yes, it IS worth keeping for another year or two as a beater, especially if the GF is learning to drive.
And you say your son doesn’t have much money, so he’s not going to be able to afford a much better car for now.

Tell him to start saving for a new vehicle, while his GF further abuses the Volvo. In a year or two he’ll have saved enough for a better car, and the GF will have learned how to drive.

Another way to look at it is what can you buy to replace the Volvo with $450? This repair might make sense if your son needs the car and can’t affair anything else.

His (and my) buddy, a mechanic, has offered to fix it for $350 and provide a tuneup to boot. I guess “we” are keeping the beast for another turn of the wheel. Maybe he can add a mower deck for a reasonable fee. :wink: