I’m the proud father of a 1996 Volvo 850 and a 1996 daughter – both have just turned 15. The Volvo has been my primary car, but the air conditioner doesn’t work and it has other minor problems so I recently replaced it with a new primary vehicle and am planning to keep the Volvo for my daughter when she turns 16. I’ve never done any significant mechanical work but have done minor repairs on the Volvo myself. Now to get it ready for my daughter (who apparently has higher standards than I did for the last 3-4 years) I need to replace the A/C evaporator, and once I have the dash off I might as well replace the squeaky heater fan, fix the broken odometer, and replace the burned out instrument panel lights. And then the front struts need to be replaced. I’m guessing something like $1000 for parts and a lot of my time. It runs fine other than the front suspension and the A/C, and it has new brakes and good tires.
Am I crazy to put more money into a car this old, especially considering that it will mostly sit for another year waiting for my daughter to turn 16? I know I could probably find a reliable used car for several thousand dollars, but three factors are swaying me toward the Volvo:
- I enjoy tinkering
- I know this car has been well-maintained
- my daughter thinks she deserves a new(er) car and I want to teach her a lesson about hard work and thrift.