Should I Repair and Keep this 95 Volvo?

This car was bought at Auction in Dec 2007 with 137K. It ran pretty good with minimal upkeep. Gets 20 MPG. It’s a 1995 Volvo 850 Turbo, all the options including front side airbags. Everything except the trunk CD play works.

I put another 26K miles on it in 14 months. The radiator had a small leak at first, which got worse over time. Now it needs a new radiator - estimates ranged from $650 to $800 (high included new hoses).

But the serpentine belt and timing belt has not been changed an engine mount is broken, the head gasket is blown and it needs a major tuneup. Estimates for all this additional work are about $2400 by an independent Volvo dealer.

I like the car. Traditional Volvo safety. The front leather seats need sheepskins, the CarFax is clean. But even if I had the money to fix it, it would only be worth $2,500 or so.

Could I get another 50K miles out of it? I could afford to do the radiator now – but something major (belt) could go wrong at any moment.

I’ve been offered $350 as it sits.

What think you guys?

Volvo repairs increase at an EXPONENTIAL rate as the car ages. You are wise to ask if it will get you another 50K miles without breaking the bank. I would say yes, but beyond that a 95 Volvo will become a real money pit. I would budget at least $2500 per year or so, up to the 50k miles, $4000+ per year thereafter to 200,000 miles. After that the car will be so old that it would be better to sell it for parts. If you drive 15,000 miles a year, you’ll put another $8500-$9000 into it for the next 50,000 miles. After that you will be virtually rebuilding the car.

This car is not suitable, in my opinion, for a person who drives a lot and depends on the car. A retired personwith a good income could actually enjoy this car by driving only 5-6000 miles a year to the golf course.

If you have trouble believing these figures, they come from actual users, all of whom swear they will never own a Volvo again.

Wheras older Volvos up to the early 70s were simple and very long lived; the current ones are the opposite.

Take the $350. The trouble with Volvo’s is the paint and bodies hold up and they look good. BUT, the electical, cooling, drivetrains, motors, and motor mounts all fail often. You are looking at $2,000 to $4,000 a year to get another 50K miles out of the car. If you like it that much, hey its your money. Former owner of '98 V70XC talking.

If you want car safety, buy something built in the latter 2000’s you can afford with extra side protection and air bags and stability control. Volvo WAS the safety leader. Now they are in the same company with Honda and Subaru and even some Ford.

You could get those miles for about $2,000 more. That turbo is the deal breaker. With those dumb things on an old car, you have no reliability. None that you can bet on anyway. Your car needs a remanufactured engine to go with that turbo, and a new turbo.

“I like the car. Traditional Volvo safety.”

It’s all in your head! The Volvo you own is a piece of junk, or will be soon, and has nothing whatsoever to do with "traditional Volvo safety.

You need to rethink your position. BIG TIME.

The fact that you’ve been ignoring a leaking radiator for two years, not to mention the timing belt, tells us everything we need to know about you. You’re a cheapskate.

Your car needs some maintenance, but you don’t believe in maintenance, so I doubt you will do the right thing.

I suggest you abandon this vehicle at your first opportunity.

You haven’t, and I suggest, WON’T, spend the money necessary to correctly maintain this vehicle.

You should not be driving a Volvo. Perhaps you should not be driving.

Thanks for all (mostly constructive) feedback.

‘Cheapskate’ by necessity – I was homeless.

The car was given to me and I was thankful for it. Keeping it going when gas was $3-$4/gallon meant I couldn’t afford major repairs.

I changed the oil every 3K, put 4 new tires on it. The radiator would have cost $700 whether it was replaced when I got it or after I got 26K more miles on it. The overall cost of operating the car for those miles was $0.19 per, gas, maintenance, repairs and tires (and anti-freeze).