Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Late model Volvo or Saab, good idea?

Thank you for acknowledging the comments and hope they help in your decision no matter what you choose to do. Guess I’m a bit biased about SAABs being an ex-SAAB tech and currently the owner of my 3rd SAAB.
I doubt these people would have motored along this many miles while owning a pain in the neck.

Headache95 has not, or cannot more than likely, provide the details behind his problems but my feeling is that he or she has been the victim of some incompetent repair work rather than a totally shoddy car. When it comes to multiple head gasket replacements and repairing a moon roof more than half a dozen times then this is not a car problem; it’s a service problem.

And too much of a beating, no doubt.

Not everyone gets a mechanic as competent as you. When are you moving to MD? ;’)

Here’s the deal with Volvos, and I’m now on my 3rd (2000 v70). They will always start and they will always run. the little things will drive you nuts. (this goes for most western European cars)
Volvo #1 1969 145 wagon. The B20B engine was utterly UNKILLABLE as was the transmission. the wipers, radio, and rear pass window worked sponteaneously. The weirdest thing was when the steering wheel caught on fire. Yup, you got it right! A short in the horn ignited the grease in the steering column shaft (Imagine a college hippy in a SF State of ming driving thru the dorm parking lot trying to blow out his steering wheel…)2 years later I drove it to the wrecker with 210k miles!.
Volvo #2 1993 960 wagon. A testiment to the sheer brute toughness of the design. Shortly after I bought it (at 171k) extensive amounts of water vapor plumed from the exhaust pipe. Leaking head gasket. 20k miles and 4 cans of Bars Leaks (radiator and head gasket sealant) I donated to KQED after someone tried to steal my catalytic converter.
Volvo #3 recent aquisition. A 2000 V70 with manual transmission (for better mileage). I LOVE this car. Yet, true to form, the air conditioner error code comes on frome time to time. AC works fine! I expect to drive this one to death also, maybe in 10 years…

fortunately i don’t have to say that i want to dump this hunk of junk anymore as i already did 2 x’s. yes thats right the first one was so bad ($6500 in warrenty work)that i let the dealer give me a “deal” on a brand new one. i just didn’t hear him sa bend over first. almost $13000 in warrenty work, including no stereo for almost a year. i was paying about $500 a month on a car with a hole in the dash and a boom box on the seat. the worst part was when the wireing harness caught fire on christmas day 500 miles from home. i say the worst part because i carry a fire ext. with me, unfortunately i used it and saved the car, in retrospect i should have picked up some marshmallows, graham crackers etc and made smors. (took 2 months to fix, and no loaner). soory about the rant. but anyway had 3 80’s volvos all were very good cars, but i would suggest mid 80’s to mid 90’s mercedes, (except 92/3 e420 tranny is junk) i have an 86 420 sel big comfy car gets 23 mpg overall, runs and drives great. jags are a lot of fun and great to drive but not very reliable (need a 2nd car). also BMW is all as good as mercedes. the basic difference is bmw is a sportier drive. good luck. whatever you buy remember there is no substitute for a pre purchase professional inspection.

I’ve always owned SAABs- currently own 2. Both of the ones I got rid of had over 200,000 mi on them. One had almost 3. ('84) As with any car- you have to make sure oil is changed reg. I also like volvo- my parents currently are still driving a '87 wagon. Handles like a car. drives awesome! Yes, I think the parts are sometimes more expensive- but I think if you buy one that was well taken care of, your need for buying parts are greatly reduced-