Time to trade in Volvo?

I have a 2004 Volvo XC70 with 110,000 miles. This year, I’ve spent $5563 on the car – belts (not timing belt); new tires; replacing something with oil trap, hoses etc. (they were all gummed up); lower engine mounts and bushings; and a fuel sensor. Now two air sensors are shot ($900 to replace) and the timing belt/water pump is still to come (expensive). I like/trust the mechanic at the dealer, but I’m tired of seeing the check engine light ($$$). I’m not a real “car person” and wonder if there’s a formula to know when it’s time to get a new car? Volvo now has a 5-year, 60,000 mile maintenance program, which would mean no $$$ for five years. I’d appreciate any suggestions.

You just discovered reason #1 not to own a Volvo: expensive to maintain. Sell it and get something more reliable and less expensive to maintain, like a Subaru Forester or Honda CR-V.

Yes, it is time (actually was time to trade when warranty expired) to get rid of the Volvo. I had very similar experience with a '98 V70XC and sold it several years ago. You haven’t even started to get into all the expensive repairs yet to come. Rear drive shaft, frozen parking brakes, $1,000+ just for a new fuel pump, yadda yadda.

The seats and body hold up so well you’ll be tempted to keep it hoping this is the last big repair bill for a while. Don’t do it. The next big repair bill is only a few months away with your Volvo. I know, been there and won’t do it ever again.

I’d recommend that you stop by the local bookstore, pick up a Consumer Reports New Car Buyer’s Guide, and look for a replacement. The car’s first six years are a pretty good indicator of what to expect for the coming years…except it’ll get even less dependable and more expensive as it ages.

It’s time. You don’t need a magic formula. You already know the answer.

I agree with Uncle Turbo.
The time to get rid of a Volvo is when the warranties expire, or shortly thereafter.

As the OP has found out, even if we deduct the cost of normal wear and tear items like tires and drive belts, the cost to keep a Volvo running after warranty expiration can be…daunting to say the least.

By comparison with the outrageous amount that the OP has spent recently on his Volvo, on the Subaru that I recently traded in at ~110,000 miles, my total out-of-pocket repair costs over the 9 years that I owned the car amounted to less than $300. And, I got a very good trade-in for the car because it was in such exceptional condition–both mechanically and cosmetically–after 9 years.

If you want a car that will be reliable and will not have a ridiculously high cost for upkeep and repair, get a Japanese, Korean, or American make of car. European makes are nice when they are new, but they seem to need repairs much earlier than makes from the aforementioned countries, and when they need repairs, those European makes are incredibly expensive to work on.

As I sometimes tell friends and associates, “I had a Volvo–ONCE”. Never again!

Thank you all for responding so quickly. I wish I’d thought to try this forum back in January before I spent all that money. I’m going to test-drive a Subaru Outback.

One other question: Can I expect to get more than the Blue Book value in a trade-in because of everything I’ve had done this year?

Nope. You can try, but the market price is what it is.

You cannot consider all of those costs to be the sign of a faulty or trouble-prone car. Belts, tires, water pump and timing belt, etc, etc. are things that you will have to go through with any car no matter the make. This includes the timing belt if so equipped.

Many of these repairs could have been done at any independent shop and the costs could have been shaved down quite a bit. The higher dealer prices do not mean they were gouging you. It’s only that the dealer has considerably more overhead to cover in the service department and Volvo OEM parts are priced high. The dealer has to pay a ton for those parts because Volvo is not providing them to the dealers on the wholesale cheap.

As to these maintenance programs, read carefully what is provided against what should really be done. Sometimes these 2 things are at odds.

I don’t think any dealer would ever give more than the trade-in blue book value, no matter how much new parts a car has on it.

You’d do much better selling it yourself if you really want to get any value out of it.

In regards to a “formula” for figuring out whether it’s time for a new car, it is this -

Y + X = YX

Y (as in whY am I spending so much money?) + X (eXamine my car budget) = YX (as in whY eXpend any more money on a 5 year old car that shouldn’t be having these problems?)