New used volvo, good buy?



hey, my father recently brought our 94 volvo 850 to the shop, it needs, or ought to have, 1200$ of maintenance. This is the primary kid car(i am one of 3 boys, the other two are off at college). A fair amount of money has been put into this car, but it still has low miles and is in great shape. So i suggested that he just give up on this volvo and buy another one, even for less than the repair. So i began researching used volvos in the under 1200$ category. I was pleased to find a 88 volvo 760 on craigslist, It’s located just a few minutes from home and cost just 300$. The catch is that “IT LEAKS POWER STEERING FLUID, AND IT NEEDS AN EMERGENCY BRAKE CABLE BEFORE YOU CAN GET A STICKER.” Is it worth persuing this car. regardless of what happens to the 850. This summer all 3 kids will be driving, and right now we only have the 1, broken, volvo 850 for a kid car. What do you think?

here is the craigslist add http://bos…69844.html




A <$1200 car is very likely a car (esp Volvo) that needs far more than $1200 in repairs.

$1200 sounds expensive however in reality is normal for a 13 year old vehicle to incur maintenance/repairs. Dump the money in and keep driving. Its a meager $100/month if nothing else fails for a year. Not a big deal.


If that power steering fluid leak is the rack, you will be lucky to fix it for less than $1200, and that’s before considering the brake problem and anything else the seller may have failed to mention. I also notice it’s a turbo with 125K miles on it. Figure another $1000 repair for the turbo sometime soon.

In other words, you’d be nuts to buy some old clunker instead of fixing the known car that you say is in “great shape.”


The $300 Volvo will cost more than $1200 in repairs before you can get it on the road. Forget it. It’s probably closer to junk than to being a usable car.

Believe it or not, $1,200 is NOT a lot of money to spend on repair/maintenance of a vehicle, especially a Volvo. If you want to drive a premium brand you have to pay premium money. There’s no such thing as a cheap Volvo.


Consider this: if the owner is asking $300 for the car it’s probably because he hasn’t been able to sell it for even $400. If it were me I’d pay to have the old one fixed. You know its history, how it has been driven, whether it has been in an accident etc. Personally I only get rid of my old cars when they start to scare me or it’s too hard to get parts.


I doubt that you can find any car in as good a condition as you say your Volvo is for $1200. You know the owner and how well it has been cared for. Any other car in this price range is likely to have had more than one owner. How can you know how well it has been maintained for the 150,000 miles or so that are likely on the car? I’d stick with the Volvo you have adn repair it.


If you really want to deal with this problem, why not find out what the shop proposes to do and then consider educating yourself on how to fix some of the issues yourself? There are several repair manuals available (Clymers, Haynes). You’ve got very little to lose and much to gain. Replacing brake pads and rotors is something you could learn to do and save a bundle. Stop looking at Dad’s wallet as the solution to your problem and start dealing with it yourself.