Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Continue with an Aveo, or abandon (tiny) ship?

So, my wife and I are the proud owners of a 2005 Chevy Aveo with about 75,000 miles on it. It’s paid off, and has been a decently reliable ride thus far.

The issue is that the problems with this inexpensive little car are starting to add up, and we’re wondering whether now might be a good time to sell it and move on.

We don’t want a car payment, and are considering a used Volvo wagon or Subaru Forester.

Which brings me to the question…are we better off keeping the 2005 Aveo and dumping money into it as stuff breaks, or should we sell it and buy a (potentially) older but better car like the aforementioned Volvo?

My way of thinking is that somehow a Volvo with 80,000 miles is just getting broken in, while an Aveo with 80,000 is just broken. Does this make any sense, or have I gone bananas?

Need to know what things are starting to add up. At this point, no one can tell how well this Aveo compares to any other average costs, or whether your inclination is even close to being correct.

Usually sticking with a 2005 is cheaper than buying someone else’s older headache. Overall, the Volvo (and the Forester might) have higher overall maintenance costs than the Aveo in the future. It looks like you will gain in reliability in either case, because the Aveo’s reliability is not too hot. However, you will see increased costs because both Volvo and Subaru probably come with more expensive parts and more complicated systems. I would bet you will also increase your weekly gasoline costs, too, so you really need to do a good analysis before you jump ship. The Forester, while attractive reliability-wise, can come with major costs if previously owners didn’t religiously follow Subaru guidelines on tires and services.

I have not owned a Volvo. I have had friends who did. Once. As the mileage adds up, the costs of repairs totals becomes astronomical. There is a posting on this topic on another part of this URL. A man has put over $5000 in his Volvo so far this year.

If you are concerned about ongoing costs, a Volvo is not the car to buy.

There are several cars from Japan and the US that will be much cheaper to keep running.

Speaking of Volvo maintenance

Ed B.

If you are talking about tires, brakes, fluids, and suspension parts those are maintenance, not repairs. And I would keep the car.

Yes, you should start shopping around for another car, but a used Volvo is going from the frying pan into the fire!!! About 30 years ago a Volvo with 80,000 miles was “just broken in”. Today that’s the mileage when you will need a second job to keep it one the road.

If you are considering another used car, a 2005 Mazda Protege with low miles would be ideal. Such as car has another 8-10 years of driving left on it. And repairs are affordable. A Hyundai Elantra, late model Hyundai Accent or Sonata are all good buys. Also Ford Focus, less than 4 years old.

The Aveo, as you know has a very short design life, you might say it had bad genes.

If high repair costs bother you, stay away from a Subaru as well, since they require meticulous care, and a used one is likely not to have had that, unless you know the owner personally. Also stay away from any Volkswagen, or any other Europn car.

Best yet, buy a Consumer Reports used car buying guide and ignore any positive things they ay about Volkswagen.

Uh, no. A Volvo with 80,000 miles is just getting “broken” and expensive to repair, not “broken in.” Look for another recent post by someone who just spent $5,000 on repairs for a Volvo with only 100k miles on it. I can’t speak to the reliability of an Aveo, but it can’t be as expensive to repair as a Volvo. If you want reliable, get a Toyota, Honda, or maybe Subaru. Don’t even think of a Volvo.

Thanks for the quick replies everyone!

Yowza! I guess that I hadn’t considered the maintenance cost of a Volvo or Subaru.

Here’s what’s going on with the Aveo right now. It’s getting harder and harder to start, idles strangely when cold, and has a periodic check engine light for an O2 sensor that may or may not be bad. Brakes and tires are in the near future, and just last week, the steering wheel developed a shake at low speeds, whether the brakes are being pressed or not. There are a myriad of weird electrical issues as well, and the drivers side keyhole keeps breaking off and falling inside the door, requiring a trip to the dealership so we can get into the car. Also, it’s due for a timing belt ($400ish).

I just replaced the thermostat and housing, the plastic (!) housing cracked out of nowhere, and dumped coolant everywhere. The fact that this thing seems to be made mostly of brittle plastic worries me about the future.

On the plus side, the body is in good shape!

So what it sounds like to me, is that perhaps the time is getting close to replacing this thing…but maybe not with the models we’ve been looking at?

I forgot to mention that my wife is a dog trainer and walker, and as such has to cart dogs around pretty regularly. We need something that can hold a crate or two in the back so they’re not in the back seat like with the Aveo hatchback. Suggestions?

New to this forum, I think I may be double posting this reply…forgive me?

Honda Fit. Small but great cargo space for the size.

There are Mazda Protege and Mazda 2 hatchbacks, there are the Toyota Matrix, and its sister the Pontiac Vibe. The Ford Focus has a hatchback, there are Ford Taurus station wagons; the list is very long.

I really wish I knew where the erroneous notion of Volvos being reliable cars originated.

Some will tell you that they were good cars…20 or more years ago…but that they have deteriorated of late.
Well, since my '74 Volvo (maintained better than the mfr specified) was the absolute worst, least reliable, most-expensive-to-repair car that I ever owned, I am not sure that these dogs were ever good cars.

And, in case you think that mine was the odd lemon, I met many other owners of '70s era Volvos at the indy foreign car mechanic’s garage, and they all had major tales of woe regarding their money pits bearing the Volvo badge on its fender. If Volvo quality has deteriorated in recent years, I would really hate to own one of the newer ones!

Although the Chevy (actually, Daewoo) Aveo is hardly the paragon of fine automotive engineering, you would probably be much better-off keeping that car, rather than buying someone else’s problem Volvo.

As to the comment about Subarus being expensive to maintain, the only extra maintenance costs with a Subaru are the same ones that you would have with any AWD vehicle, namely the recommendation to change the oil in two differentials (rather than one differential) every 30k miles, and the need to replace all 4 tires in the event that you have an unrepairable puncture in one tire.

I recently bought my third Subaru, and I would not have bought this one if the second one was not the most reliable car that I ever owned. Needless to say, I would not have bought that second one if the first one had not been more reliable than my preceding car, which was a Honda Accord, or the one before that, which was a Ford Taurus, or…

On my second Subaru, which I traded in about 3 months ago, my total repairs in 9 years/110,000 miles were the replacement of the serpentine belt tensioner and the idler pulley for the belt, plus replacement of one valve cover gasket. My total cost of repairs over that 9 year period was less than $300., and the maintenance was no more costly than what I paid for maintenance on my Honda Accord.

There are tales of woe regarding Subarus on this site, but in almost every case, these are from folks who have not maintained the car in accordance with the mfr’s maintenance schedule, or who have not bothered to read the caveats regarding “matched tires” in the Owner’s Manual. I will grant that Subarus are probably less tolerant of poor maintenance than some other makes, but my experience with my two properly-maintained Subarus over a total of…270,000 miles…has been close to flawless

I agree with evrything said…let me add.

The Aveo, sad to say, is practically worthless to sell or trade and may be worth keeping as a seldom used second car. Subarus at their worse are generally more reliable than Volvos. Go to Honda/Toyota/Subaru/Ford/Mazda dealers and try out models that fit your needs. Research CR for reliability and whittle the models down to those that pass the muster.
There are some GM products that are excellent but the company is inconsistent from one model to another…ref your Aveo vs GM/Toyota joint ventures for example. Use CR reliability reports very critically for them.
Otherwise, Accords, Fusions and Camrys are safe no brainer off the rack recommendations as used cars and I include any Subaru only new because of awd system.
Similar to VDC, let me add that the Subaru I bought new was the most reliable vehicle over the 8 years of ownership I have EVER had.

Forgot that one; yes, it’s cavernous inside. The perfect small car for those with large dogs.

I’d go with a Mazda 3 wagon instead of a Fit. Then gain, I never could sit comfortably in a Fit

I’d take an '05 Aveo over a used Volvo wagon in a heartbeat. I’ve owned Volvo wagons with in the 80K+ plus miles and the Aveo has to be cheaper to repair and maintain. If you want to get out of the Aveo fine, but look at a Honda Element over a Volvo. The Element is very dog friendly and would be a much more reliable and less expensive car to keep on the road.

I am the not so proud owner of a 2005 Aveo and if I had a rewind button or a time machine I would never have bought it in the first place, or at least sold it last year. Speaking of brittle plastic parts, this includes the tensioner pullies for the timing belt. My plastic tensioner pully disintegrated last week causing catastrophic engine damage (pistons smacking into valves, not good). My husband is an experienced mechanic and replaced the engine with a used one with the hopes that we can get it running again and sell it quick before something else falls apart. I say sell it and run for the hills!

Save up and get a 2005 or newer car, not something older. The Aveo is about as cheaply - made as they come, any 2005+ Mazda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, etc. would be an improvement. Avoid European brands.

Get a ford F 150… you can sleep in it. Or get a jeep. Nothing worse than losing life and sleep over a frigging car. So gas might be an issue. Subaru’s make good puddle jumpers, too and you can see out the frigging back window.

"My way of thinking is that somehow a Volvo with 80,000 miles is just getting broken in"

You couldn't be more wrong unfortunately. Volvos are expensive to maintain. Figure in at least a grand or two in repairs every year. My mom has a C70 convertible and it hasn't exactly been trouble free. My stepdad finanlly had enough and after four Volvo wagons ( 740 turbo, and 3 V70 wgaons) he went with new Highlander when it can time to replace his last Volvo, which was only 7 years old, but the repair bills were adding up. In the last year he owned the 03 V70, he spent almost $3400 in repairs, not maintence like timing belts and such, but repairs.

I’ve heard Volvo dealership are going to start helping owners of older ones out. They are going to offer loans to them from the finance office to keep their cars running