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Mileage on a used car

Checking out used car for my daughter who is almost 17. We like a 2004 Volvo S60. The Autocheck lists it as 2 owners…leased for 3 years…sold again…and then driven from RI to CA . Went from 39k miles to 66k in just over a year. Since I am looking at it in MA, I’m assuming it was driven back to the Eastcoast before it was made available at the present dealership. Is it worse on a car to put alot of mileage on it in one big drive vs. driving it around town/normal yearly usuage?

Highway driving is easier on engines than city driving.

But that does not make this a good deal. Have this one checked out very thoroughly by a mechanic familiar with Volvos before making an offer. These are not known for their stellar reliability or their low cost of repair.

I agree with mountainbike.

A lot of highway miles is actually a good thing, as compared to a lot of miles put on a vehicle in local driving. However, the maintenance of this vehicle is of paramount importance.

If this vehicle comes with maintenance records, then it may be much more attractive, as long as you are able to verify that it has been maintained at least as well as Volvo specifies. If there are no maintenance records, or if the maintenance records reveal slack maintenance, then run from this deal.

As one example of what I am referring to, with 66k miles on the odometer, this car should have had the transmission fluid changed twice already. If you cannot verify that this was done, then that places the transmission at a higher risk of early failure. When trans fluid is not changed at 30k and 60k, trans failure can take place any time after 90-100k miles.

As MB stated, Volvos have a real-world record of relatively poor reliability and high repair costs, despite their (unearned) reputation for reliability. At best, this will be a high-cost car to maintain and to repair, but if the previous owners were not really diligent with maintenance, it will be a VERY high-cost car to maintain and repair.

Some people have reasoned that the high cost of keeping their Volvo running is a decent trade-off for superior safety. However, Volvo’s superiority in safety disappeared some time ago. While the company was a pioneer in passenger protection, their safety advantage is now essentially non-existent since most other car companies caught up with Volvo in terms of safety several years ago. A Volvo is a safe car, but almost any other make of car is just as safe nowadays.

MSN Autos ratesit as a reliable car, but they do caution the buyer about engine problems:

“Periodic problems on this vehicle are the failure of the Engine Intake Valves, Fuel Pressure Sensor, Leak Detection Pump and Crankcase Ventilation Hose under the intake manifold. The cost to replace the Engine Intake Valves is estimated at $460.00 for parts and $1170.00 for labor. The cost to replace the Fuel Pressure Sensor is estimated at $60.00 for parts and $39.00 for labor. The cost to replace the Leak Detection Pump is estimated at $200.00 for parts and $130.00 for labor. The cost to replace the Crankcase Ventilation Hose is estimated at $50.00 for parts and $195.00 for labor. All prices are estimates based on $65 per flat rate hour and do not include diagnostic time or any applicable sales tax.”

Make sure you at least get the intake valves evaluated; a compression test would be a good place to start. BTW, the engine is rated with significant problems, but if it checks out OK, the rest of the car stands a great chance of being sound, too.

For what it’s worth, I would recommend against buying a used Volvo. My sister is in college, and she has a Volvo, somewhere around a 1998 model I believe. It has been nothing but trouble. Seems like every other month it’s in the shop for one thing or another, and the repairs aren’t cheap either. I would also assume at 17 this car would be going with your daughter to college. If my sister is any example, the car probably won’t be maintained or driven in a manner most conducive to long life. No offense, but it is something to consider.

For the money, I would buy a Honda or Toyota myself. Good luck.