Repairing My Car

I drive a 1996 Volvo 850 wagon with approximately 130,000 miles. The car has a decent amount of wear and tear, but aside from this major repair it runs well. I have a leak in my brake booster and the shop I brought it to near my school said it would cost 1000 dollars. They said the part was $686 and with labor it comes to 1000. I found the part for 250 dollars, but they won’t let me use the part I found because they said they have to order it since that is there policy. If I can find another shop that would repair it with the part, I can order it and it would be a lot cheaper. The other issue is that the rear O2 sensor is broken and I would need to repair that before my next inspection. I feel like I could do that myself. I have a Haynes manual and it does not seem too extensive. Sorry to be so long winded, but my question is would it be worth investing all of this money into the car? I want to keep the car until I get through school which would be another two and a half years.

If you can find a shop that will install a booster you bring them, then do it. Just be aware that you won’t have the same kind of warranty on the job that you would be entitled to if they bought the part and installed it.

I think you can replace the booster yourself as well. I found no reason online to believe there is a design flaw in any part of your braking system, and I know that failure of this part is not common, but I assume your diagnosis that the part itself is the reason for the loss of vacuum is correct. Assuming you’re right, maybe you can compare notes with a thread concerning your replacement at this link:, and decide if you can’t manage the repair yourself. See the thread posted under Tech. The repair sounds easy, especially if it is backed up on your end by the book for this car.

There are people who will come to you and help you do the repair. They will charge you, but they will also guide you. You might want to look at that approach… should be cheaper in terms of labor, and you’ll learn something, hopefully.

Thanks for all of the advice. Where can I get a hold of someone who would come to me and guide me through the repair? That is an option I would really consider because I would like to learn how to fix my car and that would likely be cheaper than bringing it to a shop.

I appreciate your spunk, and unlike Lou Grant, I like spunk. In answer to your question, my suggestion would be to find some sort of worldwide computer network.

Here’s a start to get specific information on your car .

The name is misleading because it’s not only for hot rodders !

I’m not entirely sure this happens anymore, but it used to be that you could ask for help from a local vocational school with an automotive curriculum. Look online in your area for vocational schools and add automotive in your search. It can’t hurt to contact one and plead your case.

It does still happen in southern NH.

Good suggestion, by the way.


Another online source: