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Is this an easy fix?

I’m looking into buying a 1995 Volvo 960 4 door sedan. It has 163,000 miles on it, but I hear that volvos can get past 250,000 miles. The “only” problem with this car is that when you stop at a stop light it gets stuck in first gear and you have to shift down (even though its an automatic), also sometimes the speedometer decides to take a break and not work… is this an easy and inexpensive fix?

You hear wrong, a '95 960 can have all kinds of problems. Avoid it. The symptoms you mention could be very expensive (transmission in particular).

Volvos can go beyond 250K miles, but so can just about any car that the owner takes proper car off. The difference is the Volvo will require lots of money due to expensive repairs to get to 250K miles.

If you are a university student you won’t want to spend $1,000 every 2 to 3 months for repairs is my guess. That’s what you are looking at with a Volvo of this age and mileage.


A 15 year old Volvo is going to give you a myriad of problems on an ongoing basis–many of which will cost big bucks to fix. The costliest example would be the transmission.

If you need to overhaul or replace the transmission on this car–which it sounds like you would need to do very soon–the cost of those repairs will exceed the book value of the car.

You should only buy this car if you have other options for transportation when this car is in the shop at least once a month, and if you have lots of financial resources to pay for those frequent repairs.

Trust me–I’ve been there.
As I tell my friends, “I had a Volvo–once”.
Never again.

well that news is sad :frowning: thank you for letting me know though!

this is all very sad news… dang… does anyone know of a car that canhandle driving cross country every year? any suggestions? My car is broken down (mazda mx3 95) and it is about dead (over heating and oil spilling out of every which crany)…

What is your budget for another car? When buying any used car you need to have about $2,000 handy to fix whatever is wrong with it. Since people don’t sell cars when they are just fine, there is usually a reason the car is for sale. It can be time for new tires, but usually it is something like time for a new timing belt or a significant repair.

There are older cars that can handle cross country trips. Perhaps the most reliable and long lived car is the Ford Crown Victoria. Find one in good shape and it will last you through college and well beyond.

Volvo’s could run past 250k miles in the old days because owners were willing to pay for expensive repairs and put the maintenance into it.

The reality is many new cars can achieve this.

Automatic transmission repairs are extremely expensive and this car is likely ready for the scrap yard based on mileage, age and cost of that repair.


Pay a mechanic $100 for checkover before purchasing anything. It may be a lot of money to you but cars can cost you far more (their purchase at least) in upkeep.

I would suggest a used domestic small car or mid size. They have low resale so you can acquire one with lower mileage and hope the owner took care of it somewhat.

Think low mileage (<100k) Cavalier, Neon, Focus, Taurus, Impala, Malibu, Hyundai.

Honda and Toyota are decent cars but you pay at least a $2000-$3000 premium, simply for the badge. I am not convinced it is worth it.

Any 15 year old car, from Audi to Zundapp, with 160k+ miles on it is a crap shoot.
Just about any car will easily go 250k miles IF it is maintained well and not driven in an abusive manner.

In this case, sounds like the transmission is on the way out likely due to neglect. Pass on this one.

Almost nothing is an easy or inexpensive fix on a Volvo.

If it were an easy fix, the owner of the car would have fixed it. This is a good general rule to keep in mind when buying a used car. There’s usually a good reason the seller didn’t just fix the problem insead of selling the car “as is.”

Either of these issues could be caused by a bad vehicle speed sensor. The VSS tells the computer how fast you’re going and when to shift. While THIS particular repair might be reasonably cheap, the next three will probably expensive.

Ditto on the expense of repairing a Volvo. My sister got a Volvo in college, and every (frequent) repair was a minimum of $300. It was often a lot more than $300. I think she was more in love with having a Volvo than a decent car; don’t fall into this trap. Good luck.

Yeah hearing Volvo and transmission problem in the same sentance makes your heart flutter.