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Expensive Volvo Repair

To reinforce the advice so many here give about buying used European vehicles . Most of the time it is that it would be best to avoid if you can’t afford the repairs.

Our 2010 Volvo V10 is in the dealer shop because the rear lift gate will not stay open . The parts are going to take 3 or 4 days to arrive and they say at least one whole day to replace the gas struts that are hidden by the headliner. The estimate is 1300.00 to 1400.00 .

While we would not really care to spend this amount but we bought it new and this is the first repair other then normal service. Just think how someone on a budget would feel if they had this problem plus vehicle payments.

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A friend of mine had a Volvo once. It cost a minimum of about $500 every time it went to the shop, and it was in the shop a lot.

No thanks.

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While many sources discuss car reliability, I find it difficult to find sources that discuss the actual costs. So, I hear rumors that Volvo, Subaru, Audi, BMW etc etc are expensive to own, I never see any data. Can anybody recommend a good source of actual $$?

1300-14,000$?
I assume it’s 1400. You really need struts?

Whoops , one too many zero’s . Thanks Cavell it has been edited.

I am almost at the point where if one gets a repair done on a car for less than $1000, one probably got off cheap.
I had to have a water pump replaced on the 2011 Toyota Sienna I owned. The cost was $975. The heater blower is beginning to make a screeching noise on my 2017 Sienna. I looked online as to how to make the repair. It wouldn’t be that difficult except that I can’t do the contortions to get under the dashboard, so when it gets too annoying, I’ll have to bite the bullet and pay for the repair
I had to replace the blower motor a couple of times in my 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass. It wss under the hood and a 15 minute job I did myself. The heater core was under the hood and I replaced it in about an hour. I was able to replace the water pump on the Oldsmobile in about three hours. Spark plugs were easy to access.
My point is that I am not sure that European makes today are any worse as far as cost of repairs as any other vehicles on the market.

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good info, @VOLVO-V70

Meh, I don’t think this is as gloom and doom as you make it out to be. I own a 2018 XC60, it comes down to having a lifecycle cost mentality. You’re saying this car is 10 years old and has required one $1400 repair. $1400 in repairs over 10 years is nothing…now if it was $1400 every year, that’s another conversation.

I guess it comes down to personal preference…for me, I would gladly (and I have) taken a vehicle whose major systems are highly reliable (generally), at the cost of a few weird/expensive accessories and electronics. After all, you always have the option not to repair the struts, the same could not necessarily be said of engine/transmission/suspension work.

Wow. I never found non-hidden hatch struts to be ugly, and they mean I pay about 20 or 30 bucks to replace them in around 5 minutes.

About a year ago I sold a 2007 Acura TL. I’d spent less than $3,000, including the mandatory timing belt job that was over $1,000, to keep it on the road in all the years I owned it, and I bought it off-lease in 2008. The most expensive repair I had to do on it was right at the end when I snapped an axle that had gotten rusty under the rubber vibration dampener. That cost around $400 to do it myself, only about 2/3rds of which was the part (I had to buy a few tools). Would’ve been somewhere around $1500 to have it done at a shop.

Meanwhile a friend of mine used to drive an Audi S4. At the time he worked for a chain of gas stations managing their IT needs, and one of the perqs of the job was free gas. Even with that, he ended up selling the Audi because it was draining his wallet so fast in repairs that the free gas didn’t make up for it. He ended up in a Japanese car and was amazed at how much less he was spending to keep it on the road.

Now, I know that personal anecdotes only represent single points of data, but there are a lot of those anecdotes out there both on the Euro car expense and the relative frugality of owning cars from other continents. As another anecdote, my mom managed to spend more on the BMW she owned for 3 years, despite it being under warranty (because somehow the problems were always diagnosed as being non-covered repairs), than I did in the whole time I owned the Acura.

You’re right, but $1,400 to fix a problem that costs less than dinner for 2 at a chain restaurant on most other cars is, you’ll surely admit, a bit up there.

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Here you go!..

https://www.edmunds.com/tco.html

I ran the analysis between my 2014 Audi A4 Quattro and a 2014 Honda Accord V6

Maintenance over 5 years Audi - $6527 Honda $5414
Repairs over 5 years Audi $7156 (!!) Honda $2470

Maintenance is scheduled and estimated unscheduled. Repairs are the estimated costs NOT covered by warranty. Insurance and depreciation was a bit higher for the Audi.

Clearly the Euro cars costs more to own. $5800 more just to keep 'er running in this comparison.

My personal yardstick for any car is I only want one where I can get the oil changed at Walmart.

If I have to take it to a dealer and/or out of my local town for maintenance, that’s not the car for me.

@shadowfax. I have never owned a car with a European nameplate. My experience with minivans, which includes a 1990 Ford Aerostar, a 2000 Ford Windstar, a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander, a 2011 Toyota Sienna and a 2017 Toyota Sienna is that the repair expenses were about equal on all of them.
I live in a university town. There are no longer dealers for European cars. We can’t keep a VW dealership. The only Asian dealerships are Toyota and Honda. The Mazda dealer, the Subaru dealer and the Nissan dealer are long gone. Maybe this says something about the reliability of different makes. Before I retired, I had colleagues with BMW and Mercedes Benz cars. The nearest dealers for these products is 55 miles away.
For me, time was money before I retired. My time was too valuable to spend a half day or more with car servicing and repair. I was happy driving my Ford Maverick that rode like a wheelbarrow and had an interior that made a school bus seem luxurious, than wasting time having to drive 55 miles each way for car repairs. Maybe European makes do require more repairs.

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You’re a very tolerant guy. My grandma had a Maverick. She hated coming to our house in it because we lived at the top of a mountain and that thing could barely wheeze its way up to our neighborhood.

The Edmunds link is very useful. However, I am a believer in keeping a car about 15 years, so I am looking for the 5-15 year data also. I am particularly interested in knowing about repairs such as the Volvo hatchback supports. That is, will my car have a lot of $1000 repairs for parts that ought to cost $40.
I will also read a car’s maintenance schedule to see if there are significant items that I cannot do, and try to see if the car has proprietary parts that cost a fortune. Of course, all this data is hard to find.

@shadowfax. My Ford Maverick had the 250 cu in 6 engine and had reasonable power. I bought the Maverick as a used vehicle and initially I was using a quart of oil every 300 miles. I had the valve stem seals replaced–I think the cost back then was less than $50. The garage didn’t pull the cylinder head. The mechanic had an adapter that fit the spark plug hole. He injected air into the cylinder to keep the valve from dropping down, removed the keeper and valve spring, put in a new seal and moved on to the next cylinder. After the repair, I got about 1300 miles per quart of oil, while not great, was acceptable to me.
The biggest expense I had was for Preparation-H that I used because of the wheelbarrow ride and Blue Cross wouldn’t pay for Preparation-H.

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I think we’re all doing apples and oranges comparisons here. If you want to keep a car for 15 years and the idea of $1000 plus repairs for noncritical systems scares you, then any luxury brand…not just Volvo, is likely not for you. Similarly, if the dealership is 50+ miles away, the brand may not be for you; as for time being money, most of the luxury brands (including Volvo) have a service where they will bring you a loaner car and take your car off to repair.

Personally, I drive a Volvo because of the company’s long commitment to safety, the looks of the vehicle, some of the winter weather features (e.g., all touchscreens work with gloves, since people in Sweden pretty much have wear them all year lol), and the value that I personally get in being able to drive something unique in the road (I live in Detroit, and everyone and their dog is driving a Caddy, Lincoln, or Buick). But I’m also okay with paying for $1400 windshield replacements (due to integrated heads up display and some other stuff) and, I guess, liftgate struts (assuming it wasn’t more than once a decade).

I think the conversation on European cars being more expensive to own only touches on part of the question. Yes, they are often more expensive to fix. But what about the value provided by the vehicle? Within budget constraints, someone who perceives a vehicle as having 2x the value of another should be okay with paying 2x as much for repairs, all else equal.

I always thought that for inexpensive repairs, s 1958 Studebaker Scotsman would be a good car for long road trips and a King Midget would be a a good around town car.

As long as you never, ever, ever get in a crash.

Key point, and I agree. You own a Volvo and find the costs acceptable just as I own an Audi and also find the costs acceptable. But I wouldn’t recommend someone spend their entire car buying budget buying a 10 year old Volvo or Audi.

But the questions we get asked here are from people who are thinking of buying a cheap used Euro car because they believe they are more durable and somehow that creates a low cost of ownership. Clearly, it does not.

I will often comment… A cheap Abcxyz (pick your least favorite Euro brand) is the most expensive car you’ll ever own. And I’ll repeat that to the next poster who wants to buy a 15 year old BMW, Mercedes or Volvo with 160,000 miles. The data bears this out.

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The engineer in me can still apply that to my original value vs. cost logic, haha

At the point that the cost of repairs is actively causing you stress – as it might be with someone who has a lower budget – then you have to start adding that stress to the cost side of the equation. At some point, those costs (actual + i dunno, psychological) will outweigh the benefits/value…and then at that point, no, you should not be owning that car.