Stopped Odometer on 1993 Volvo 850 GLT


I am meeting with someone tomorrow morning who is looking to sell a 1993 Volvo 850 GLT. The Odometer has stopped at 166,000 and he estimates that it is at about 175,000.

I am interested in the car but someone who is a former mechanic told me that it could be the transmission. I had to get rid of a 1992 (?) Volvo in 1996 or 1997 because of the transmission. Any thoughts? Advice? Questions to ask? Things to look for?

I will obviously look for leaks, etc.

I can’t think of a good reason to be looking at a 15 year old Volvo unless you have an obsession with the bodystyle. This is not a good used car purchase. A 93 850 with this many miles will have a laundry list of items that will likely need to be addressed now or in the future.

If you want to get a good idea of how many miles are really on the car run a Carfax and see how many miles he averages per year based on his mileage at each yearly inspection. If you really want this car-have it inspected by a volvo independent mechanic or dealer and get a list of repairs. If you want to be able to negotiate on price there is no greater tool than a list of needed repairs from a shop.

A 16 year old car with an unknown number of miles would not allow me to give a premium price for it.
Another way of possibly verifying the mileage could be if your state has an inspection program and mileage could be traced back year by year. If only 9k miles has been put on it in the last 7 years for example then I’d be skeptical of the mileage claim.

Buying any used car is always a crap shoot and especially so when age has set in and mileage is up in the 6 figures.

To address your specific question about the transmission - older cars had a small gear in the transmission that spun the flexible speedometer cable and indicated the speed on the dash. I don’t believe the 93 850 used a mechanical speedo, however, this may be the transmission “link” your former mechanic was referring to. Failure of this part doesn’t mean complete failure of the transmission.

Modern speedometers take an electronic signal from the engine/transmission computer to determine road speed.

A working speedometer and a non-working odometer points to an instrument cluster (speedo head) problem.