New Old Volvo--opinions please!


My 2001 S80 needs a transmission, the drivers side window is slipping, sunroof doesn’t work, leaking shocks, and cosmetically (in and out) is getting pretty . . .beat. I JUST finished paying for the car, and got the dreaded “transmission service urgent” light! My trusty Volvo mechanic says that transmission problems are common on Volvos of this era. My research suggests that even a rebuilt one might not last THAT long. I’m looking at roughly 5-6k to fix everything that’s wrong with this car (that I know of).

I’m thinking of cutting my losses with it, and looking for an OLDER Volvo, like a 940, S70, 850 (sedans)—I have always loved the classic boxy style, and, well, I just think they’re cool. I see used ones listed for around 4k that “look” to be in great shape.

Would anyone care to comment on whether these older ones would be a good bet? I work at home, and actually don’t put many miles on a car----we use my wife’s new CRV for most of the hustling the family around town (Los Angeles) and road tripping (which we don’t do much either).

Volvo = Money Pit… Find a used Corolla with less than 100K miles and make your life a lot easier…

Carbass, you may want to search the web for some volvo enthusiast sites. They would be well equipped to answer your question. I found this site after some web searching: You may want to check it out.

I concur with finding a newer make and model of vehicle that will suit your needs. 4K for an older model Volvo is overpriced.

Agree; you need to be cured of your Volvo addiction, especially now that the future of Volvo is very uncertain.

Changing from one old Volvo to another is like changing from rum to bourbon to cure a drinking problem.

Your life will be a lot more pleasant when you buy a newer, simple compact car as suggested and your bank account will show it as well.

The OP did not ask for advise on would another make be better. There is a strong propensity for some on this list to exert their opinions and advise when it wasn’t asked for.
I have seen many first time posters run off because of these strong opinionated answers.

The OP says he likes the classic boxy bodied Volvo’s, he won’t drive many miles and they have a newer reliable car for when they need to take trips.

If he wants to buy an older model Volvo, in my opinion, he needs to buy one in the best condition he can afford- no projects rust buckets or fixer uppers. Shop around and look at several examples before you settle on one. Make sure it comes with service records and maintenance reports. Take any prospective car in to a mechanic who knows Volvo’s and have a pre-purchase inspection done, and use any needed fixes as bargaining points with the seller. Locate a supplier for parts and find a good independent Volvo mechanic.

Like older Saab’s, Mercedes and BMW’s, there are still quite a few good Volvo examples out there. People who like driving these older cars understand the challenges of driving them and accept the added costs and heartburn. It’s worth it to them to drive something unique that they enjoy. Not everyone enjoys driving a cookie cutter appliance that looks like everything else. As long as they know going in what the potential challenges may be, and accept them, they’ll be fine. And happy.


Old Volvo’s are expensive to keep on the road. Every repair seems to be $1,500 to $2,000 and they occur too frequently. My experience with older V70XC wagons ('98 and 2000) was not good. The bodies and seats on these older Volvo’s hold up fine, it is the electrical and mechanical systems that require the expensive repairs.

If you buy an older S70 expect more of the same as you are getting with you current Volvo.

If you were to ask whether to get another Volvo my answer would be…why would you do that?

But that wasn’t your question. Since you seem to have you heart set on getting an older model Volvo, just be sure you get it thoroughly checked out with a detailed report. You can tell nothing by looking at the outside. Make no assumptions.

Sure- as long as you don’t actually need a car to DRIVE, old Volvos are great.

Gee, you folks are pretty tough on old Volvos. The '91 wagon I have been driving every day for 20 years has 291k miles on it, no rust, is absolutely reliable, hauls anything up to a full-size sofa or a half-ton of concrete blocks, and gets 30 mpg on the freeway. My daughters, however, think it looks like a kitchen appliance…

Pretty much any car you buy for $4k or less is going to be expensive to own unless you do your own work, and old Volvos are fairly easy to work on if you are so inclined.

Our in-laws have a '97 S70 that has been a pretty good car. Antilock brake controller had to be rebuilt once, and the power steering has always been a bit ‘heavy’, but overall, very few repairs. Leather is getting pretty rough looking, but the exterior looks great.