Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2005 Volvo XC70-keep or sell?

Hi all,

Let me first explain what is going on with this car. It has around 115k miles and the check engine light came on last week. There is now oil in the coolant.

2-3 years ago, this XC70 had a slow coolant leak. Our mechanic was afraid it was the head gasket, but he put aluminum flakes in the coolant and the leak went away. The car has been fine ever since, until now.

So with that in mind, I have a few questions:

  1. Does this car definitely have a blown head gasket? No one poured oil in the coolant, so is there any other possible cause of oil in the coolant besides a blown head gasket?

  2. Assuming this car has a blown head gasket, is it worth repairing or should we sell the car? Our mechanic won’t repair the head gasket and the dealership gave a phone estimate of $4k without looking at the car. Kelley Blue Book calculates the resale price at $7400 for this car with this mileage, in very good condition (which the car will be in if it’s fixed).

  3. How much should a head gasket job cost for a 2005 XC70 that has been well maintained?

Automatic Transmission ?
Many Vehicles Have Transmission Fluid Coolers Integral With The Vehicle’s Radiator. Sometimes An Internal Radiator Leak Will Allow Fluid To Mix With Coolant.

See if you’ve got 2 transmission lines connected to the radiator.

Check Engine light ? You’ll need to find out what triggered it. It could relate to a head gasket or be a red herring. Many major auto parts stores will do this free of charge. Do that and write down the exact codes (P0123, P0455, etcetera) and post them.

Any driveability symptoms ?


Ask your mechanic to recommend another independent mechanic and get another estimate for head gasket replacement. You are due for a timing belt if not already done.
Ask your mechanic why he does not want to do a head gasket repair on your car.
And ask your mechanic what the check engine message is.

Armed with the information of all the repairs needed, it may be time to pass the car along.

Alternatively, you could look for another Volvo-experienced mechanic in your area and ask for another assessment.

You aren’t quite upside down, but your car is worth nothing as it is. If the dealer or any one can make the car more valuable minus repair cost, after the repair then it is worth it. IMO, it will be a matter of timing from then on as it is with all cars past warrenty. Personally, I would keep after the repair but be looking for a new car and pull the trigger as soon as you found one. IMO, I avoid Volvos and I would expect more repairs sooner rather then later…