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2000 Accord or 1999 V70

Howdy! After a few years of city living, I now have a 25-mile commute from the woods of southern Maine into Portland (a pretty fair city in its own right, for what its worth). Time to be a car owner again! I could really use some help, please, deciding between two used cars offered by friends willing to let me make payments.

The first is a 2000 Honda Accord, about to get stickered (registered). 2 door, standard. New tires & muffler. Some subframe rust (but the current owner feels it’ll pass registration), front bumper cracks. 190,000 miles, same owner since 2003. My friend is offering it for $1,000 with sticker, $800 without.

The second kind offer is a 1999 Volvo V70 with 224,000 miles. Tires are good, but it will need snow tires next winter. Shocks are new, all new springs on the engine valves, new pump, etc. It has the cold weather package Volvo used to offer before the ‘cold weather’ feature became standard (heated seats, headlight wipers). The friend who owns it would like to get $3,000 for it.

Money is definitely really tight, but reliability and future repair & maintenance costs are also important to me.

Any advice, folks? Let 'er fly! Thanks! :slight_smile:

I am a Volvo owner but there is no way I would pay 3000.00 for a 17 year old Volvo with that many miles.

Good to know! What would be a more reasonable range, in your opinion?

The Accord is the better choice, between the two. Even if they were both priced the same. With the Accord at 1/3 the price of the Volvp, it’s a no brainer. The fact that the Volvo required new valve springs to keep it on the road makes that point in spades.

Both cars are about the same age at 16-17 years. Cars of that vintage and in the 200K range will require unscheduled repairs from time to time, so make sure to budget for that in advance. Maybe set aside $200 per month for that, beyond routine scheduled maintenance. Since the Accord has a manual transmission, that will likely save you a pretty penny on repairs as it won’t likely ever need a transmission rebuild. That’s another thing in favor of the Accord, presuming the Volvo sports an automatic transmission. But the Accord could need a clutch-job at some point, that’s where the $200 a month comes in. Best of luck.

Edit: BTW, if the owner of one of these cars is Steven King, who’s also a resident of Maine , and he calls the car “Christine”, best to pass on that one … lol …

I agree re the volvo. They are not known for reliability. Does either one have complete service records?

You should budget at least $1500 per year for maintenance.

I’d get the Honda checked by an independent mechanic, specially the rust.

Between these 2, the Honda. I owned a '98 Volvo V70XC and it was very expensive to repair and needed expensive repairs 2+ times per year. I’m talking $2,000 average each repair bill. You can’t afford the Volvo, it will kill your budget.

I agree, you can’t afford the upkeep and repairs on the Volvo. The only thing with the Honda is that you should take a close look at the rust. If by sub frame you mean the engine cradle, no problem but if its a unibody and that is rusting, that could be a problem. You still need to plan for expensive maintenance like the timing belt if it hasn’t been done so $1000 will just be the start.

Odds are both cars need some work that is yet to be determined.

The Honda is the lesser of 2 evils based simply on miles and price. The Volvo is obscenely overpriced for the age and miles.

My first choice would had been neither. Would not expect them to do well when put to daily long commute. It might cost you less to buy a newer car with less mileage.

If that is not an option then the Honda. The Volvo has European car repair tags regardless of age & mileage.

Neither of these choices sound ideal… But for my money… THE HONDA…For too many reasons to list here.

With these types of high miles…the Timing Belt should be Preventive Maintenance item number one…unless you have proof it was recently done.


Accord, hands down. Pay it off ASAP because it will need service simply because it has nearly 200K on the odo. Don’t buy it without the sticker.

Once this is paid off, put the amount of the payment in a savings account every month to save up for a newer car. Any $1000 car is stop-gap transportation at best. You may get 3-400,000 miles out of this car, you might get 250,000. Cars like this are always a gamble, but the odds on a Honda beat the odds on the Volvo most any day.


If you could pay $3,000 for the Volvo, why not $3,000 for a much better Honda? The rust on the Honda would make me keep looking.

p.s. - I wouldn’t take the Volvo, even at $1,000.

A vote for the lower priced vehicle because if you are making payments to a friend the less you have to pay increases the chance a friendship will not be tested.

Rule NUMERO UNO…NEVER and I mean NEVER Sell or buy a vehicle from a Friend. Unless your intent is to break your friendship bond…

Its inevitable…any problems you or he experience will be seen as some sort of Mustache Twisting Plot against your buddy. Even if you could not possibly have prevented the problem or not…Its hard wired into Human Nature.

I could provide numerous examples of the Frendship Divide when it comes to car sales or purchases…

…and I bet you guys can as well.