Fix my 88 volvo wagon or buy a used car?

Trying to decide whether to fix my '88 740 Turbo Volvo wagon (220,000 miles on it) or get a used car? It needs a clutch, steering and turbo work, to total $1700. Also, it has a leak (needs approx. 1 qt. oil top-off per month. The engine mounts are collapsing; don’t need to repair till they completely collapse; that will be $480. Last smog, I had to have the muffler (or whatever it’s called) welded to pass test; don’t know how long that will last. Almost all people tell me I should get a new used car, but I’m doing research and every car I research seems to be bad, either in crash test or reliability, or complaints, or recalls. I have a 7-year-old. I want a safe, reliable car. Used cars seem such a crap shoot, no matter the price. What should I do? Thanks for any advice.

I’d be finding a new(er) car, not a penny more on the Volvo. Don’t overestimate the safety of your '88, most newer (2000 +) cars would be much safer.

“Fix” and “88 Volvo” should not even be used in the same sentence.

I may be wrong but waiting until motor mounts completely collapse sound like 100 % chance of a serious accident.

Volvo’s safety is somewhat exaggerated while Volvo’s exorbitant repair costs are legend. Moving on would be my recommendation also.

If you want a safe, reliable car, you shouldn’t be driving a 26-year-old Volvo!

Here’s a web site that summarizes safety data and ranks cars based on that data. You’ll need to look around a little, but it does have rankings for prior model years:

To me this is a no-brainer. There’s been big improvements in safety features since 1988. Brakes, suspension, engine power are all improved now. Especially with a 7 year old in tow, it’s common sense that you shouldn’t be driving a 1988 model. Buy another, newer car. First step is to visit your local public library or bookstore. Consumer Reports magazine has all the data you need to identify a reliable, frugal, and safe make/model/year.

I know it’s a pain to do this job, but it’s time. It has to be done. Sell or trade-in or junk the Volvo, and buy a newer car. I think the optimum choices for used cars are econo-boxes which sold large numbers and around 3 years old and have good reliability ratings. Such as the Corolla, Camry, Civic, Accord. From what I see on the car lots in my area, there’s plenty of choices. And don’t forget to visit the lots selling used rental cars too.

I understand you hold some emotional attachment to the Volvo. After all, it has seen you through thick and thin for a long time. It’s practically a member of the family. But once you make the switch to a newer, safer car, I fully expect you’ll know you did the right thing. It’s time.

If this is a job you don’t want to do, don’t have time for, I believe there are car buying consultants who will do if for you. They’ll charge you a fee, but they usually have a good deal of knowledge about the market, so you’ll get a fair price, and they often have first access to the better cars as they become available. I’ve never used this service, but if you are curious, I expect others here know how to get in touch with someone who does this.

I would be astounded if the cost weren’t at least twice that $1700 once they get into it. Dump it.

If you cannot do the work yourself, let it go. This car will need accelerated repairs and maintenance at it’s age. The parts are getting harder to find and some becoming very expensive. And, you’ll have to wait on shipping, since very few parts are locally stocked. But, it’s the labor cost that will eat you up.

How much do you have to spend? That will determine a lot about what type and year car to look for. That $1700 won’t go far. You should spend at least $4000 if you can afford it and save $1000 for immediate repairs and maintenance. Try to find a car that has all the inspections required so that you can register it immediately.

Time to say goodbye to the Volvo; you’ve had the best miles out of it.

Most used cars recommended will cost you a great deal less in upkeep.

I’ve got to agree, its time to move on. I would suggest that maybe the used cars you are looking at carry the same pedigre such as Audi, VW. Almost any Honda, Toyota, Ford, GM, etc. will provide reliable and safe transport, provided you have it checked out first by a mechanic.

problem solved

Time for a new car. Your Volvo is totally used up. And obsolete.
Huppmobiles are nice… (:slight_smile:

Guess I’m the only one who says you should keep the car,for target practice. The cost of repair far exceeds the value of the car and you are less then likely to recover that cost before the next repair.

I’m not good at advising on which car to buy, but if you tell us what cars you were looking at or what your needs are, the folks here can be very helpful in steering you in the right direction.

I honestly have a hard time believing that anyone would really be considering expensive repairs on a non-classic 26 year old car–especially in view of the claim that it is used to transport a young child.

But, assuming that the question was not posted in jest, I will say that I agree with everyone who said that it is time to move on to something newer. For the sake of safety, the OP should be looking at something made in at least the past decade.

+1 for @VDCdriver and for everyone that suggested you get rid of the Volvo.