First Time Repairing a Car


Hi guys,

My name’s Andrew, and I’m a 22 year old student at Johns Hopkins. I’m back home for the summer, and I’m trying to fix my car in order to sell it. It is a 1992 Volvo Sedan 240. It has 189457 miles on it. I brought it to the local gas station to have it evaluated, and they told me it would cost $945 to have it ready to be on the road again. This includes:

Exhaust from Cat. back

Four Tires


Oil Change


State Inspection

The car is in good condition, and the Blue Book value for it is somewhere in the $2300 range. I figured I could make more money by fixing the basics myself (i.e. just the battery), selling it for about $1500, and allowing the buyer to deal with the rest.

Now, here’s the issue. It would only stop before when I jumped the battery. I bought a new battery, and I installed it on Saturday. It worked fine, and I left it running. Now, however, the car will not stop at all. This leads me to think that there is another problem besides the battery. They did not discover anything at the gas station. Any idea what it could be? (I was thinking maybe something with the gas…the car has sat in my parents’ driveway for about four years without being used at all…is there a way to replace the gas that is in there or something…)




Opps, I mean it will not START at all not that it will not STOP at all, haha


You really aren’t giving us enough to go on here. When you say it won’t start, does it crank but not start, does it just click but not crank, not even a click? What exactly happens?

Honestly, the price you were quoted is pretty reasonable and I’d get them to fix it, then sell it. Learn on your next car. OK, maybe do the oil change yourself, but that’s only going to save you $25 or so.


When I say it won’t start, what I mean is that I completely turn the key in the ignition. The key goes completely around, but absolutely nothing happens. No lights come on, and the engine makes no noise. That’s what I mean when I say it won’t start. Does that make sense or no??


Yes, it’s entirely possible that the gasoline in the car is no good. Four years is a long time, and I’m betting no one put fuel stabilizer in it.

The gasoline should be drained and disposed of in a responsible manner.


Sounds like a dead battery. Did you try recharging it or jumping it???


ya, like i said, it’s a new battery, right from the shop. it worked ons saturday, when i replaced the old battery, but now…nothing. i also just tried replacing the fuel, and it still won’t start… :frowning:


OK then, sounds like either the battery is dead already or one of the cables is loose. Check the battery cables at both ends for clean and tight connections. If you have a voltmeter check the voltage in the battery. If it’s dead or really low, then there is probably something draining it while the car is turned off. Most likely suspect would be a bad alternator, though certainly other things could be at fault.


Your profits are sinking fast. Try to sell the car as is to whoever can tow it away. You’re into the “money pit” stage. You could make some money but it won’t be worth the effort for you. It could be a good car for a “mechanic” of sorts, buy you and all others must pay cash. If you want to sll it for 1500, it isn’t worth it to put 1400 into it when you might get 200 for it as is. Sometimes it’s just impossible to get anywhere by fixing it.


Agree. Sell the car as is and save your time. Would you buy a 15 year old car with almost 200,000 miles on it for $1,500.00. It would have to be in mighty great shape- which yours is not. I doubt your increase in profit will be worth your time. However, if you enjoy working on cars, then go for it.



I agree with the others. Sell as it is. You at least need to get it started to do that. Juice isn’t getting from the battery to power the starter, or anything else. Disconnect the battery cables, scrape the inside of the cable loops, reattach the cables. Try to start the engine. You may need to use a jump to give the battery a 15 to 30 minute charge. If the gas tank level is low, you could dilute the old gas with a tank fill up of fresh gas. You MAY have to change the fuel filter to get gas to the engine. Disconnect a fuel line and run the gasoline into a gas can. You might have to turn the ignition key to START several times to get the fuel pump to run enough to fill the can.