Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

OK Experts....Does The Volvo Stay Or Go?

My wife and I just traded our travel trailer for a 2005 Volvo S40 (normally aspirated) sedan. We had the travel trailer up for sale and all we got was low-ball offers and buyers (supposedly) who never showed up. We finally got an offer from a nice couple that wanted to trade a Volvo for our travel trailer. The trailer was worth about $5K and I looked up the Volvo and it was worth around $6K. The title and maintenance history was in good order so we did the trade. I’m now having second thoughts about the trade (as I normally do) because I know the repair costs of this beautiful little car will be astronomical in the future. Here is your assignment if you choose to take it: Decide for me what to do with the car. It’s has about 60K on the clock, has leather seats, the paint is flawless and the tires are new. The car was just serviced by a mechanic that I know personally and it drives beautifully. My wife and I both drive newer vehicles so neither one of us will drive this car very much. What to do? My wife has one idea and I have another. Help us out of this dilemna. The car pictured is not our car but it looks exactly the same. I want to keep it but my wife wants to give it to someone that needs it. We will both be happy with either one of these decisions.

  1. Sell the car.

  2. Keep the car as spare transportation.

  3. Give the car to a friend or family member.

Your recommendations will be greatly appreciated and the majority advice will be followed. If the advice is evenly divided after one week…I’m pulling one of these numbers out of a cookie jar…along with any Oreo cookies that are left. Thanks…this will take a load off of my mind. Getting older is harder than I thought.

As nice as it is to have a spare car around (we’re using ours right now because of a dead battery in one of the others), we’d sell ours if it wasn’t going to be used full time in a few months (it is). Think of it this way - if you had sold the trailer for cash, would you have gone out and bought a car?

And sell vs. give? That’s up to you.

Acquiesce to your wife’s idea, whatever that is. {:slight_smile:

One other thing to consider - the S40 is built on the basic chassis of the Mazda 3 and Ford Focus. Its safety stats are average, and reliability so-so. For what it’s worth…

Since you were initially intending just to sell the trailer…
I’d now try to sell the car…now…that it’s in great condition and ready to rock and roll.

Giving a car to a friend or family member can turn sour quickly. I say sell.

You should at least get some offers from local car dealers to help set the value. If there is a CarMax near you, see what they offer. You are not obligated to take the offer, but you might like it enough to accept it. CarMax seems to offer top dollar for cars, though it is likely to be less than in a private sale. This can at least help you set a price that you won’t go under.

Since you have the luxury of time, you could try to sell the car to someone who specifically wants a Volvo S40. Search Google for websites with forums for Volvo owners and post it there. It might take time to find the right buyer, but there’s a good chance that buyer is out there somewhere. Craigslist works but it can get you a lot of bottom feeders who can drive you nuts.

Sell the Volvo, give the money to the someone you love; in essence, don’t give the Volvo to someone that can not come up with the $6k needed to buy one, because he/she would not be able to keep the car.

I’d sell it. 2005 was a new design year, so manufacturing bugs hadn’t yet been worked out. The engine and climate systems both have received complaints about reliability. AWD was introduced in 2005, and if yours is AWD, that’s another reason to sell it. I wouldn’t want AWD if that’s the first year it was introduced. By “normally aspirated”, I assume you mean it is not a turbocharged engine; i.e. you don’t mean to say it is carb’d. If fuel injected and not turbo’d, that’s one thing on the plus side. Still, I’m thinking this car presents some particular risk to your wallet, reliability-wise.

keep it, let someone borrow it?

Good advice. You can’t get cash for your trailer ? Then get a car and turn it into cash. Seems reasonable. If you feel that Volvo logo envy taking you over along with the added mystique of being someone special because you are now on a first name basis with the service manager at the Volvo dealership, you have the option of keeping it.
Neither is a bad choice. Besides, if you keep the car, you can up your involvement and contribution to Cartalk by starting more threads on repair work.

For a Volvo, the S40 is fairly reliable because it is simple. But you should still sell it unless you really need a spare car for some odd reason. It will continue to depreciate even if you’re not driving it. Keep it and you lose money continuously. Sell it and you can invest the cash in something that will make money.

Well, the S40 has the worst reliability of the different Volvos according to CR…

UPDATE: Thanks for all the succinct comments. Well…yesterday the beautiful car refused to start for my wife. We finally figured out that it was the ignition key and after replacing it…the vehicle started. When she got home…the key refused to come out of the ignition. At this point…we have taken “giving the car to someone” and “keeping it” off the table. We have a standing offer from a used car dealer so it looks like the little Volvo is getting a new home. I think I finally figured out why it was in such great condition and only had 60K on the clock. That “point A to point B” problem has raised it’s ugly head. The good thing is that we “sold” the travel trailer in a roundabout manner and learned something in the process. Always trust the experts and your initial gut feelings. Bye, bye Volvo and thanks again experts.

FINAL UPDATE: The Volvo is gone. Our bank account is bigger and we are happy to have dodged a bullet. The dealer plans to part out the S40 because he said he can make more money that way. More power to him. The only vehicle I ever made money on when parting it out was a '69 Camaro and a '77 Corvette. I haven’t parted out many vehicles since then but I either lost money or broke close to even on them. BTW…the dealer got the key out with no problem. He said it was a common problem with some model Volvo’s.

Common problem with some Volvos ? Good grief ! I will file that one away for future reference. How hard is it to come up with a subcontractor with an ignition key system that works on a car that is overpriced to begin with ?

Sell. You had a trailer you couldn’tt sell. Now you’ve got a Volvo that might be hard to sell but a larger market. Same problem, same solution but easier to store.

Tells you something that the Volvo is worth more as parts. Not many people want to buy whole cars, but plenty of people need parts to keep their cars running. Sad. I always liked Volvo when I was a kid because they seemed such a sensible shape (this was the late sixties boxy models) at a time American cars were ridiculous barges.

I’d cruise by his lot in a week and see if it’s not out on the front row, or check for his craigslist ads for parts. It MIGHT be worth more broken up, but folks who buy parts cars don’t buy complete, good looking, running cars. They buy totaled cars from insurance company auctions for 10 cents on the dollar. It will be there, in one piece, unless of course you gave it away, in which case he could run it through a dealer only auction for a profit. IF he wrecks it out, he’d also have the labor of dismantlement, and long term storage of the parts, involved. Ain’t happen’n, not when there is good easy profit to be made other ways.