Volvo S40 Reliability

volvo
maintenance

#1

Hey everyone,

I have a question. I’m currently a college student, and am in the market for a used car, somewhere between $5-$6K. I’ve been investigating a lot of different options and car postings listed on various websites. I’m hoping to get a good, reliable car that I won’t have to spend too much money on to maintain and to fix if any repairs are needed, and that won’t depreciate too much so that I can build some equity in it. Naturally I’ve been looking at Toyotas, Hyundais, Hondas, and other Japanese models.

Although I am looking for a reliable car, obviously it’d still be nice if I could swing getting something that’s fun to drive as well. I had a friend recommend to me getting a Volvo S40. He said that they’re pretty reliable, as well as being relatively nice cars for the cost. I did a lot of internet research, and what I’m finding from what people are saying is that they ARE pretty reliable, but when you have to get them fixed, it’s much more expensive than other brands.

My question is, is that the case only because these people are going to dealerships? If a repair was needed and I took it to a simple car repair shop instead of to a Volvo dealership, would it still be more expensive? Would I still be paying a lot more to maintain a 2005 Volvo 240 than a 2006 Toyota Corolla?

Any other advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


#2

They’re no better than average on reliability, and safety rating is pretty low. Not what I’d recommend. If I was looking for fun at that price, maybe a Mazda 3.


#3

Generally speaking, european cars are among the less reliable cars. And if you need service, it’s going to hurt

Depending on the repairs/service needed, a decent independent shop could do the job

Personally, I believe you’ll pay a lot more . . . over time . . . to maintain a 2005 Volvo, versus a 2005 Toyota

If you want a vehicle that’s somewhat fun to drive, a used Ford Focus might be okay. Ford parts are likely to be much cheaper than Volvo parts. And the Focus is actually kind of spiffy and handles pretty well. It’s actually got a much more advanced suspension setup, versus the Corolla

But the interior is going to be quite basic, versus the Volvo

Whatever you get, though, maintenance is the key. I recommend adhering to the severe service schedule, as a significant portion of US drivers actually fall into that category. An ounce of prevention . . .


#4

You can not build equity in a car, new or used. Any luxury or designer brand will be costly to repair and parts can be hard to find.


#5

For the money involved and being a college student, my suggestion would be to find a bland 4 door Buick Century or Ford Crown Vic grannymobile sedan.
The Volvo is kind of a high end car and any high end car means more $$$$ for service and repairs.

The key to buying a decent car is patience in the footwork involved in finding the right car and the toughest part; making reasonably sure it’s worth a darn once you do find it. A thorough inspection can help improve the odds. Otherwise, it’s a test drive and gut feel. The gut feel may be difficult to obtain by a person who has little mechanical aptitude.


#6

“Any luxury or designer brand will be costly to repair and parts can be hard to find.”

So true, so true. I traded for a Volvo S40 a few weeks ago and ended up selling it to a car dealer. He told me he intended to sell it for parts and he did. It seems parts for this beautiful little car are very hard to find. Listen to these guys because they really know what’s best. I wanted to keep the car because it looked so great but it did have problems and I’m glad I parted with it. You will be far better off with a Corolla or a Sentra. If you can find an Altima in your price range that will be even better.


#7

“Would I still be paying a lot more to maintain a 2005 Volvo 240 than a 2006 Toyota Corolla?”

Yes, run away from the Volvo and don’t look back. The Corolla is a much better choice.


#8

A Hyundai Accent is a great car for the money. You can pick one up with low mileage to meet your budget. As said a Mazda3 will also fit the bill. A Chevy Cobalt would do as well.

The Volvo would be one of your WORST choices on a college student’s budget.


#9

I’m going to make a blanket statement now . . . and possibly face the wrath of some others

People on a budget . . . limited income, college students, high school students, etc. . . . should NEVER buy a used European car, especially not a used European luxury car

if you’re on a tight budget, having a fly ride should not even be a priority. In fact, it shouldn’t even be on the list. A dependable ride is the most important thing, so that you can get to and from school/work

i might be wrong, but I suspect a used Volvo will be more costly to insure than a used Corolla

I’ve never owned a Volvo, so I can’t say


#10

@db4690 Nothing wrong with your blanket. A few years ago we helped a Rice University student from India shop for a Chevy Cobalt. He got a good deal for $3000 or so and thanked us later, after graduation, for being so helpful.

The key qualities of a student car are reliability, cheap to fix and cheap to run. The Volvo does not meet any of these.

My student car was a 1948 Chevy stove bolt 6 with no extras whatsoever. I put $600 dollars into it over a 4 year period, and had cheap, reliable transportation.


#11

@db4690; The way I see the problem is the steep depreciation of the Euro & luxury brands, luring people on a budget to want to get one. Right now, if I search for cars in the $5-6K, I get more hits with average mileage Mini’s and BMW’s than Honda’s or Toyota’s. The quick reaction is “why not get something fun too”. Then logic has to set in.


#12

@galant‌

Yeah, you’re right

Unfortunately, people seeing those cheap Euro cars for sale don’t realize that parts for a used Euro car are just as expensive as for a new Euro car

And to make matters worse, a used euro car will need more frequent maintenance and bigger repairs than any new car

False logic

Speaking of depreciation . . . unless I’m mistaken, Lexus holds its value much better than Benz

It makes sense, if you think about it. A 10 year old Lexus is likely to be much more reliable than a 10 year old Benz. I’m just thinking about the cars, not the SUVs, by the way. A troublesome old car should be worth less than a reliable old car . . .


#13

Forget about reliability of a Volvo. They are luxury cars and will be expensive to maintain and repair because of that. These days, any compact car will be fun to drive. And at $6000, you are better off looking for something in excellent condition with low mileage. Brand isn’t as important when you are looking at something about 10 years old.


#14

Again, the Focus comes to mind

Having owned Corollas, and having Focus in our fleet, I can say 100% the Focus is more fun to drive


#15

“People on a budget . . . limited income, college students, high school students, etc. . . . should NEVER buy a used European car, especially not a used European luxury car”

What do limited income college students, etc. buy in Europe? Used American or Asian cars?


#16

@asemaster‌

In europe, there are plenty of european brand tiny strippo models available. And there are cheap brands that you haven’t even heard of here. For example, Seat and Skoda are the cheaper brands within the VW group

In the US, it seems that even the lowliest VW is not a basic car. And most of the euro cars here are actually luxury brands


#17

My comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I had forgotten about the various makes that we here in the states know nothing about. I remember as a child visiting relatives in Amsterdam, I had an uncle who thought himself a thrifty sort and drove a Simca while mom’s cousin had an Opel. Another older family member was a die-hard Cortina fan, and a great uncle prided himself on only driving Mercedes.

I also realize that most college students in Europe have no need or desire of a car. Many people there can go their whole lives with public transportation meeting most of their needs.


#18

“I also realize that most college students in Europe have no need or desire of a car. Many people there can go their whole lives with public transportation meeting most of their needs.”

^^ I agree. I have been thinking how come there are makes that we don’t want to touch in US that are popular in Europe. It is gotta be the way they use the car. My BIL has a Peugeot, I believe 2007 model, in Germany and it has only 15K KM on it so far. I put that much on my car in the last 3 months.


#19

In addition to costly maintenance and repairs, almost all European cars require premium gas. So they get you when they’re running and when they’re not. I am also a big fan of the Mazda3. Especially since the hatchback has always sold well and is readily available. It’s such a practical car for a college student. I wish Honda sold a Civic hatchback in the US, but they stopped years ago. The Toyota Matrix was something like a Corolla hatchback/wagon, but it’s gone now, too. The closest thing you can get made by Toyota is the Scion xB, a very practical car, if not as nice as a Mazda3. Roomier in the back seat and cargo area, but not as good to drive.


#20

“I had an uncle who thought himself a thrifty sort and drove a Simca while mom’s cousin had an Opel.”

@asemaster I drove a Simca during my teenage years and they were just basic transportation…nothing more. So “thrifty” is the word that I would use as well.