Volvos- are they a good used car purchase?

been looking at used cars for my next buy- in the preliminary research stage, but stumbled across used volvos and was surprised by how cheap they come. I know old ones can run forever, whats the opinion on the newer models? looking at 2017 and up.

They have very similar upkeep costs to that of other European luxury makes (BMW, MB, Audi, Jaguar, etc.)


If you have read anything here you would not ask this question. Most of the regulars here all agree that European vehicles ( Volvo - BMW - Mercedes - Porsche - Land Rover ) should be bought new and traded when the warranty period is over .

Your first post said you want to join the Car Scene what ever that means so as a Volvo owner ( even I would not buy one used ) Volvo does not seem to fit that description.

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As you reference my first post, it can be derived that I am still quite new here and not read up on all subjects. For clarification, I would love to be a part of the car scene/community and would like to purchase a car when it makes sense to do so. The post you are responding to was in regards to my professional life and finding a car that suited those needs- I would also like one for pleasure. Hope that helps make more sense in the origins of my post and post history.

I had an “old” one–as did several people with whom I worked–and they all required very frequent repairs. Almost any car can run “forever” if the owner is willing to keep repairing it, and–unfortunately–Volvos, both old and new, need frequent repairs. My “old” Volvo was bought new, and maintained better than the mfr specified, and yet it was the absolute worst, least reliable car that I ever owned.

Those European marques can be very rewarding to drive when they are new, but the cost of repairs–and even maintenance–can be very high as they age.


I looked up projected maintenance and repair costs at for a 2017 Volvo V60 and a Lexus RX350. Maintenance and repairs are estimated at $8200 and $6000 for the Volvo over the next 5 years. For the Lexus, the projections are $10,300 and $3700 respectively. A total of $14,200 for the Volvo and $14,000 is about the same. Here’s what they say about how they estimate these costs:


This is the estimated expense of the two types of maintenance: scheduled and unscheduled. Scheduled maintenance is the performance of factory-recommended items at periodic mileage and/or calendar intervals. Unscheduled maintenance includes wheel alignment and the replacement of items such as the battery, brakes, headlamps, hoses, exhaust system parts, taillight/turn signal bulbs, tires and wiper blades/inserts. Estimated tire replacement costs are supplied to by The Tire Rack, Inc.


This is the estimated expense for repairs not covered by the vehicle manufacturer’s warranties over the five years from the date of purchase, assuming 15,000 miles are driven annually. We estimate this expense based on the cost of a typical “zero deductible” extended warranty for the vehicle, minus the estimated amount of that cost that consists of the warranty provider’s overhead and profit.


I appreciate the explanation and first-hand experience. Thank you

Thank you for the indepth explination- this provided alot of clarity!

It’s certainly true that any car, including a Volvo, can “run forever.” Given unlimited time and money. Especially money.

A friend of mine bought a used Volvo a while back. It was in the shop frequently for weird problems, and it seemed like every trip cost at least $500. Finally the timing belt broke on the engine, and she got rid of it. She’s never looked at another Volvo after that experience.

I wouldn’t give a used Volvo to my worst enemy. But your results may vary.

You’re welcome, but I have to say that I am unable to understand where the fairly-widespread fable about Volvos “lasting forever” originated. I was also under that delusion, and–unfortunately–none of my co-workers revealed their many problems with their “old” Volvos until after I bought mine.

The small town I live in has a very active Ford Model T club . All of them look and run great . So I guess you could say that Model T’s run forever .


Not true, they’re no better than many cars their age. I’d pick a Camry, any day, over the same-age Volvo for longevity.


For crying out loud , those can be for any brand of vehicle . And not every one will need all of that across the board

The main point is that European luxury vehicle do have higher costs but normal things like tires , oil changes . batteries and wiper blades should not be a factor in a purchase decision .


Cry all you want. I cut and pasted Edmunds explanations for what maintenance and repair costs consist of to provide a clear explanation.

A couple questions come to mind: 1) How do you use a car? Is it used for commuting to work? Do you need an upscale car to impress clients? Will the car be used for long road trips? ; 2) Is there a Volvo dealer in your community? Will this be your only car?
I ask these questions because you may need alternate transportation if the Volvo is laid up. I live in a university town. There is no Volvo, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, or Nissan dealer. Back in 1969, I headed off to graduate school with a 1965 Rambler. There was no AMC dealer in town. A snap ring broke in the manual transmission, damaging the main shaft and main drive gear in the transmission. There was a fine independent transmission specialist in town. He had to order parts from a dealer 60 miles away and have them shipped to him in the package compartment of a bus. My car was laid up for more than a week.
When I was in high school, I worked around a garage for the owner. I would talk to him about cars. He advised me to buy a Ford or Chevrolet as parts were readily available and almost all mechanics had worked on them. I should have taken his advice. Now this was back in the 1950s. His advice today might be to buy a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic.
My dad liked cars that were different. He liked the 1949-1951 Nash Airflytes. He thought a two stroke Saab might be a neat car. However, we had common cars.
I had colleagues that owned Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volvos, etc. The nearest dealers were 55 miles away. I prefer a common car that can be serviced readily by a local independent shop or a local dealer.


When I was in college in the late '70s to early '80s the boxy Volvos and diesel Mercedes seemed to be popular among the professors.
I think they were perceived as dignified and okay quality.
Okay quality compared to other '70s cars which were pretty lousy by more recent standards.

Just for the sake of comparison a 30 year old Astro Van would likely be a cheaper and more reliable vehicle to operate than a 15 year old Volvo.


Volvos got their “last forever” reputation back in the '70s and '80s with the 200 series with its famous red cast iron four cylinder engines that powered cars, tractors, and boats for decades. I gave each of my daughters one for driving to high school and starting college. I sold them with a little over a quarter-million miles on each with what I would consider routine maintenance other than a failed 5-speed manual transmission in one of them. One thing I noticed when I owned two Volvos and two BMWs that the dealer prices for comparable parts (suspension bushings, water pumps, etc.) were much more expensive at the Volvo dealer than at the BMW dealer. Aftermarket name brand parts were comparably priced for both makes.

Then came the front wheel drive Volvo 850/S70 series of the 1990s that had wonderful seats and routinely ran well past 200k miles with minimal problems. Sister-in-law drove one of those until she totaled it just last year.

After that, Volvo sales in the US dropped off, and Volvo’s passenger car division was sold to a Chinese company. Resale value dropped off.

In the past couple of years, I have seen several posts and photos on car owner forums complaining about new Volvo interior and exterior fit and finish.


I’m glad that you had a good experience.
By drastic contrast, my '74 242 was a total POS from day one, with myriad electrical problems that the dealership was rarely able to fix permanently. I used to replace the Bosch fuel pump about every 15 months, the CIS injection system was clearly designed by Satan, and the engine began burning oil badly by 60k miles, despite meticulous maintenance. When I took a trip, I had to carry less luggage than I wanted, so that I could load a case of motor oil into the trunk.

If my co-workers with '72 & '73 Volvos had been forthcoming beforehand about the essentially identical problems that they had with their cars, I would never have bought my '74 Volvo. Unfortunately, they only revealed that their Volvos were also total POS vehicles after I bought mine.

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The cockroach of the automotive world… Seemingly un-kill-able. Far more useful than a cockroach.

GM hasn’t made those things for 15 years and I still see quite a few on the road. Most look pretty awful but they are still running.

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