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Volvo XC70 Repairs at 232,000

I have a 2001 XC70 with 232,000 miles. I have maintained this car meticulously since I bought it with just over 100,000 miles, and it still runs and drives beautifully. However, the heater core is going bad. I have to add fluid to the reservoir tank every now and then (every few weeks, sometimes more, sometimes less) and the fluid leaks onto the driver’s side floor mat area. This is not a terrible inconvenience. The car is also due for its second timing belt replacement. The question I have is, which repair should I do first? And, is replacing the heater core necessary or can I drive it like this for the near future? I do think I will replace the timing belt, but again, with this many miles is this really necessary? Like I said, I love this car and hope to drive it to 300,000 miles, everything else runs great. Help!

If you really think you can run this car to 300K miles then you should replace the heater core, or at least find and fix the leak. The coolant dripping onto the carpet makes a smelly mess at the least. Continuing to add coolant won’t hurt the motor as long as you don’t forget someday and the coolant gets low and the motor overheats. That motor doesn’t handle overheating well at all, then you can get some significant and expensive damage.

Good luck making it to 300K without expensive repairs. I got out of a '98 V70XC because the repair bills were killing me and I was at 170K miles at that point.

Breathing antifreeze fumes is not good for your health. Neither is a continuously wet carpet. My vote is to fix that immediately.

If you are just due for the timing belt, it can wait a few months. If you are 30,000 miles overdue, then it’s less clear. How long do you have to wait to collect the $1000 or so for the timing belt?

Yes, the volvo is a little expensive to maintain, but at this point many major items have been taken care of. It is still cheaper than buying a new car, and I love the way it drives and handles in the Montana winters. I carry coolant in the back of the car, just in case, but I agree the mess front seat gets on my nerves. But still, $1,000 worth of repairs at this mileage is a little tough to stomach, not knowing what the future holds. Thanks for your reply!

First timing belt was at 116,000 (about 10K past what they say), so by the books the new one is due at 221,000.

@bigskyeditor I would find a shop that will do both repairs on the same visit.
Either problem could put the engine out for the count.

@bigskyeditor, I just had the timing belt, coolant, water pump, and serpentine belt replaced in my Honda for $800. I don’t know what it will cost for your Volvo, but it should be similar. For $1500, you might get both fixed. And where can you get a car that works well for you for $1500? Unless you can afford $8000 or more for another car, I’d fix this one.