My 1996 volvo 850 has trouble starting when its cold in the morning. I will turn the key and the starter revs but the engine does not turn over unless I give the car gas and try it a few times. The problem does not happen more than once a day unless it is extremely cold. The check engine light is on but, it was on before I had this problem.
Figure out why the check engine light is on. Read the computer codes for free at a local auto parts store and post the results here.
Volvo’s of the mid '90’s need new spark plugs every 30K miles. They also need new distributor caps and wires about every 60K miles. Since you have a check engine light and aren’t concerned then my guess is you aren’t really putting much money and/or effort into maintaining the car. You are lucky it starts at all. Just keep driving it, check engine light and all, until it won’t start. Then you’ll have to figure out what is wrong, or move on to another car.