Are New Volvo's Duds

My family has been long time drivers of 240 wagons. We have loved them and they’ve been great cars. Two years ago we decided to upgrade to a 2000 V70 wagon with 160,000 miles. This is a single owner car and we have all the shop records. Last Summer the viscus coupeling failed and the transfer case caught fire. This week the pressure relief valve gave out (the out of town mechanic said he had never seen this before) and now I’m worried the DEQ is looking for me.

The new Volvo mechanic told me something I had never heard before - Volvo never made another decent car after the 240 and I should avoid them like the plague. He loves people to drive them though, so he can but a new boat every year!

Any thoughts?


You have a smart mechanic! Recent Volvos have been fairly troublesome, and have no real safety advantage over many other cars. Now that they’re no longer owned by Ford, no telling if things will improve or worsen.


The 240 Volvos were pretty simple machines. To stay ahead of the pack on the safety features Volvo’s got much more complicated since the 240’s. Volvo also moved in the direction of “luxury” cars and added many features that break down mechanically and electrically. While Japanesse car makers added similar features, the Japanesse cars remainded dependable, while Volvo’s experience more frequent breakdowns and much higher repair costs.

Your V70 has AWD (the 240 didn’t), turbo charger (not on 240), all kinds of electrical and computer components (few on the 240), a complicated fuel system with 2 gas tanks and multiple pumps (one gas tank on 240), and that’s just the start. The V70XC is a very expensive car to own due to very expensive and frequent repairs. A 2000 with 160K miles will continue to have breakdowns and repairs.

All that is to say your mechanic is correct.

Hmmm…Since my '74 Volvo 242GL, bought new and maintained flawlessly, was the absolute worst, least reliable car that I ever owned, I would hate to experience the “quality” of these newer Volvos! My experience was apparently not unique, as I knew several other people with '73 or '74 Volvos who also hated these cars, due to the constant electrical problems, oil burning, leaking transmissions, problems with the fuel injection system, bad paint…

Now that I have gotten that off of my chest, I will say that newer Volvos have a reputation as cars that should be sold very soon after the warranty expires. Based on many posts in this forum, breakdowns seem to be frequent after a few years, and repair costs are reportedly high.

Thank you for youre help everyone. Wish I would have stopped here first.

Back in the late 1950’s, the two imports that were the most reliable of the imported cars had nameplates that began with V: Volkswagen and Volvo. The Volkswagen model was the Beetle and the Volvo was the PV 544 that looked like a shrunken version of a 1946 Ford. Had VW and Volvo improved their reliability over the past 50 years, the Hondas and Toyotas would not have come across the Pacific. However, as VW and Volvo introduced new models, the brands suffered in reliability as compared with other makes.

That 544 was a fine automobile.

Yes, except for the rear suspension.
And, after the 544, everything went downhill really fast.

Volvo has done what many other highly regarded brands have done and that is to cash in on their past reputation by moving into the high profit, high end models that fall short on the qualities that made them popular. Owners of the “Deacon’s Masterpiece”, i.e., the early Toyota pickup, have been greatly disappointed with todays offerings. Current models are more powerful and more luxurious but are not as bullet proof or user friendly. I have a neighbor who traded his 85 Toyota pickup in for a 94 and went back a week later and paid cash to get his old truck back to keep for a “spare.” To this day he has more faith in the 85 with nearly 300,000 miles.

Upgrading to a 2000 with 160K miles is a crap shoot in any car. Not defending Volvos but any car could start having problems at that age. You just picked one of the more likely ones.

My opinion is that when buying a 8 year old/160k miles used car all bets are off no matter who makes the car or what model it is.

You bought an aged collection of well-used parts; any of which is subject to failure at any time.
Yours apparently made it 8 years and 160k miles before suffering a problem; which might likely have been prevented depending on the details of the failure.

Volvos are not that bad if maintained properly.