1994 Volvo 960 - time for retirement?!

Hey Guys,

I have a 1994 Volvo 960 wagon that has given us years of good service - it has over 120,000 miles on it and we really like the car. We’ve put money into repairs in the past - it got a new engine two years ago (among other, more minor things) which has kept it running pretty smoothly until now.

A few days ago, the brake warning light came on - although this was initially diagnosed as just low brake fluid, the dealer eventually assessed it as a problem in the master cylinder, which apparently has to be replaced. The price tag of this is over $3,000, which at this point is over the actual value of the car. In addition, the transmission has really outlived expectations and I wouldn’t be suprised if it’ll soon need replacing; and, the car burns oil at a rather ridiculous rate.

Having said all that, we love our Volvo. It’s great to drive, it’s safe, there’s tons of room, and quite honestly the car is a tank. I’d much prefer to keep it running than to get a new car - Volvos have been said to last as long as you are willing to put money into them but basically I’m looking for opinions as to when we should stop being so willing.

Is it time to retire the car, or would it be worth it to do the repair and keep the car going?! Anyone with experience with these old boxes of cars?!

You need to find a good independent shop with Volvo experience, or a Volvo specialist.

3K for a master cylinder? Yikes. Here’s what Advance Auto Parts asks for them: http://www.partsamerica.com/ProductList.aspx?parttype=230&ptset=A&searchfor=Master+Cylinder

The mid-priced new, not reman Bendix looks like a good choice to me at $125.

I hope that dealer didn’t install your new engine…

I agree, find a good independent shop to do the master cylinder and keep driving it. Short of a very expensive failure, it is almost always a better deal to repair than replace.

The dealer is probably using a “new from Volvo” master cylinder and these will be obscenely overpriced. Volvo is not giving these away to the dealers either.
You can get an aftermarket reman one for a 100 or so that will work just as well.

Don’t know what the cause of your engine failure was but a Volvo engine that has regular oil changes and is not driven when overheating will go for a long time. You should not have suffered a premature engine failure at this point.

A new engine before 120K miles? And you think the transmission has “outlived expectations?” Please tell me again why you are so enamored of this vehicle. If you said it had 300K miles on it, I could understand.

Find an independent mechanic and get another price on the master cylinder repair. $3,000 for a master cylinder is totally ridiculous. So is less than 120K miles on a Volvo engine. Does anyone ever open the hood and check fluid levels?

The engine replacement came (as ok4450 predicted) after the car was driven with the engine overheating (temp gauge was nonfunctional/a general moment of not smartness). It’s encouraging to hear that perhaps the transmission should have a lot left in it - the dealer has told us otherwise! We do check the fluid rather religiously - the car burns oil quite impressively.

The economics and rationale for driving a Volvo continue to baffle me! Your cheapest compact will get 300,000 miles or so out of an engine, and even without a temperature gage, will continue to run well unless the cooling system develops a leak. Volvo ownerhip requires dedication and a lot of tender loving care. There is also nothing “moral” or environmentally benign about a car whose master cylinder only lasts 120,000 miles.

Having said all this, Volvo bodies are good enough to last a long time, so you can keep putting money in them virtually forever. Two of the Guinness Book of Records car for maximum mileage were Volvos.

However, I know of no company that would buy Volvos as their company cars since they fail the ownership cost test miserably.

In summary, if you really like this car and have no other expensive habits, I would get the master cylinder fixed by a competent mechanic who will search for a quality rebuilt unit.

too much money to put into a 1994. what about all the other parts that are old they will need replaced very soon. I would go into the daeler with out a trade. you will zip for it. I would place an ad in news paper or web sites for the car. some one might need an engine. you could get more for the car in part s. question dod you have a place to keep the car if you start to peice it out. a good engine must be worth $500
alone. one door $100. this the way junk yard make money pay $50 for car and sell parst for 10000 percent for what they paid for car.

You should get rid of the car and get something cheaper to maintain. Your comments about Volvos lasting as long as you’re willing to put money in them insinuates strongly the car is at fault.
You drove the car while it was overheating so this makes it your fault, not the car. The temp gauge was inoperative due to lack of coolant; again, your fault.
NOW you have a new engine that was replaced only 2 years ago and it’s burning oil at a “rather ridiculous rate”? If this was a “new” engine (not defined as a half worn out salvage yard unit) then this points to your driving habits and maintenance.

Guess you’re mad at these comments. Don’t care. :slight_smile:

IMHO, you really have to make a decision. Do you want to keep this car and maintain it properly, or do you want to get rid of it and buy some late model POS that’s more tolerant of abuse. If you keep this car it will probably cost a few $ per year, if that’s a problem for you get something else.