'93 Volvo 940 Wagon: Will it make it?

I am looking to buy a 1993 Volvo 940 Wagon. The main purpose of this vehicle is to get us from South Carolina to Wisconsin and back. (about 1,100 mi. each way.) The car in question has 219,911 miles on it. As I made an initial visual inspection everything seemed to be clean. (fluids, underbody, engine compartment, etc.) I took the car for a test drive and noticed that it has a low thumping noise in the right side front end especially when braking or going over bumps. I am assuming that this is a minor front end repair i.e. wheel bering, strut, rotor or something. The other issue that I found was when I took it out on the highway. When the car accelerated and would switch through the gears there was somewhat of a violent “ish” jerk with the switching of the gears. (I did have the pedal to the metal.) I’m not sure if that is normal for this car or a sign of a transmission about to go. The car is in very good running order otherwise. It idles nice and quiet, there are no other weird noises and it seems to do very well. The dealer also stated that the timing chain was replaced either two or three years ago. Will this car make it on this trip? Does it have many more like it in its future? It seems to have been taken good care of since the interior/exterior and overall condition look great for its age. Also the dealer has it listed for $2990. This car with all the options is quoted at $2800 on Kelley Blue Book, and that’s without having to fix stuff. Anyone have any insight into whether or not I should purchase this vehicle?
P.S. I will need to get new front tires they seem kinda worn out.

As you can see by my screen name I drive a VOLVO. What I can’t decide is how to answer your question. My first thought is just to say NO!!! My second thought is to be rude and say “are you nuts”. You could put twice as much of the purchase price in this vehicle and still not have anything I would take on a long trip.

1 to @“VOLVO V70”

A 1993 anything is not worth buying unless you want to spend money and do a lot of repairs. An old Volvo only makes this more expensive

I think a better option would be to rent a car for the trip. If you must purchase a car, find a newer, more popular make like a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. If you do have a problem, the parts to get you going are more widely available.


Walk away from this one

Don’t buy any vehicles that are making strange noises and aren’t shifting smoothly. Not unless you are a mechanic, know EXACTLY what the problem is, and know that it’s an extremely cheap and easy repair, and you can do it yourself. Based on what you wrote, it sounds like you’re not really a car guy . . . ?

I would also look for a vehicle with less miles

More than likely, the dealer recently took this in on trade, and acquired it for peanuts. Based on the fact the tires look shot, he probably invested next to nothing in it, and now wants to flip it for a handsome profit

It’s a big risk . . . let somebody else take it

There are newer and more reliable cars for 3K

That would generally mean avoiding european and/or luxury cars

Do you need a station wagon?

Run. Fast.
Do NOT assume that the symptoms you noticed will be inexpensive fixes. Chances of that are almost zip.
DO assume that there’s more wrong with this car than you noticed. Chances of that are excellent.

Look into renting a car for your trip. This one is a really, really, really bad gamble.
And the price is way too high.

FIrst off, there is no one on the planet who can even make a wild guess whether a 1993 Anything with 219k miles on it will even make the city limits much less a road trip.

There may be an expensive connection between the thumping front end and worn out tires.
I would also strongly suspect that if a very thorough inspection was done a number of problems would be found.

You should back away from this thing and look for something more bland and run of the mill; say a Buick Century or something similar.

One more ‘run away’ vote.

Tim, I’m a little confused. If the main purpose of the car is for a trip, what’s the motivation to buy instead of renting? There are situations that buying this car is not an awful risk, but this is not one of them.

If you are planning on making a documentary about all that could go wrong on a 2000 mile trip, this would be the ideal vehicle. In addition, any problems on the road will be made worse by scarcity of parts and lack of specific Volvo expertise!!

We will most likely not hear back from Tim. I hope he reread his post and saw all the red flags he listed about this vehicle.

No. Why buy when you can rent and have a worry-free trip?

@misslieman Years ago I had a similar foolish idea. I planned a 4.5 month trip to Europe and had the choice of renting a car there or shipping my 1948 Chevrolet stove bolt six over and then just leaving it there at the end of the trip.

The shipping cost over were $300 or so, but gasoline was more than twice as much. I ended up driving 10,000 kilometers. Plus insurance and the fact that a breakdown in Spain with a 1948 Chevrolet would likely leave me stranded,

I decided instead to rent u good used VW Beetle from a private garage through a friend over there, and spent just 950 guilders, which came to just under $300 US. Renting a new car would be twice as much, but still cheap for over 4 months.

In those days we traveled with a book called “Europe on $5 a Day”!!!

The Beetle was easy on gas and only had one breakdown, a broken speedometer cable which I got fixed in Germany for all of $1.75 plus a package of Lucky Strike cigarettes since the mechanic had to be persuaded to work during his lunch hour.

When you are travelling try to eliminate as many uncertainties as possible, so you can enjoy your trip more.

Docnick…we all have had a foolish idea or two in our youth and sometimes later in life. I loaned my Corvair Monza Spyder to my brother because he promised to drive it gently on a 100 mile trip. He called several hours later to say that he abandoned my car on the interstate nearly 300 miles away. He claimed that he couldn’t get it to start and was coming home on the bus. I had a friend drive me to the spot where my Corvair was abandoned so that I could get it home. The fan belt had broke and overheated the engine. I replaced the belt and tried to drive home but it was not to be. I guess my brother was running the little car a little too hard because the engine was toast. Lesson learned.

My guess is the car has front suspension and transmission issues. It could easily cost more than the asking price to make it trustworthy for this trip. You can walk away; no need to run. The chances at geeting stuck during the trip seem high. If I was making the trip, I’d rent a vehicle.

Thanks, everyone, for the advice. The main reason I don’t want to rent a car is because I can’t. I don’t nor will I hopefully ever own a credit card. (which you need to rent a car) Also I would like to have a car that can accommodate my girlfriend, our dogs and myself. (Right now I have an old Toyota Pickup two seater.) Maintenance and the eventuality of replacing/repairing parts is not a scary proposition for me. I have been slowly teaching myself about the finer aspects of home auto repair through books and Youtube videos for my truck. Does everyone agree that I would be buying a lemon that won’t take me to the next county over? I have always heard that Volvo owners love their cars and they run forever. Maybe I’ve heard wrong.

When looking at used car if you think you have to ask if you should buy it then don’t. There are too many used cars to even think about a low production vehicle with this many red flags.
Just because you heard something about a car or anything means nothing. As for home repair on vehicles any more there is very little an inexperienced person can do anymore.

“I have always heard that Volvo owners love their cars and they run forever.”

ANY car can essentially be made to run “forever”…as long as the owner is willing to keep repairing it.

Unfortunately, with a Volvo of that vintage, those repairs will be more often–and more expensive–than with most other makes of vehicles. And, given the use to which you intend to subject the car, I foresee several repairs being made on the shoulder of the road during your journeys. That wouldn’t be my idea of an enjoyable trip, but you might have different values than I do.

If you intend to go ahead with this plan, all I can say is…
Good luck!

What about the pickup? If you have a cap, the dogs could ride in the bed. For a long trip, you should have a cap for luggage suecurity anyway. That is a lot less expensive than the Volvo you are interested in. This assumes that your truck is reliable enough to make the trip.

Tim, thanks for responding to the queries. I never realized that a credit card was an absolute requirement for renting.
I’d heard that Volvos are excellent vehicles as well; compared to other similar mileage/vintage vehicles, you’d have a better chance with this vehicle. That’s really about the best assessment I can give.