Volvo reliability?

vsheavshea Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Volvo
We're looking at buying a new Volvo V-70 wagon. It's at the top of our list right now because of its safety, comfort, and power. But I hear mixed things about Volvo reliability. I'm coming off almost 15 years of Toyota ownership, so I'm used to having my car in the shop for mechanical problems about every--well, basically, never.

Volvo lovers or haters--any comments??


  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,208
    You can buy other Fords cheaper.
    Like you, I have found Volvos to be attractive to me. I have a recollection that many years ago, Volvo was synonymous with reliability and quality. Somewhere along the way, the reputation decreased to a point where Volvo was no longer a true leader in those areas, but certainly could hold its own. I find it hard to justify the European cost factor in view of other vehicles of equal quality from domestic and other sources. It is a hard call. If a person just wants a Volvo, perhaps they should go buy one. Does such a purchase require stringent justification? Awe, heck, I'll meet you at the dealership. We both need one!
  • mikegold_1966mikegold_1966 Member Posts: 138
    Volvos are not as reliable as people tend to believe. Volvos also have a very loyal following that at one time was justified.

    If you have the money to plunk down on a Volvo, you have the same money to consider a Lexus or Acura. Both are more reliable than Volvo.

    I remember I rode in one Volvo many years ago and it felt like riding in a tank. Sorry, but there are better choices.
  • ocelot1ocelot1 Member Posts: 101
    My wife had a 740 GLE non turbo 1986 we had 212,346 miles same drive train since new,We just sold it for 500.00 and bought a Subaru. It served us well.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Like any car if you put enough money into it it will run forever, true of Volvos, problem is they require a huge amount of required/scheduled maintenance compared to Japanese cars.

    Compared the required scheduled maintenance to other cars, not to mention part and labor cost!

    I owned one and that was one too many!
  • accord_loveraccord_lover Member Posts: 27
    My boss use to brag all the time how great Volvo's were until he had to go in for his first major service. After $900.00 for a tune up, oil change, filters and other assorted parts he changed his tune. They are very expensive to maintain and the servicing and parts are costly.

    I would suggest an Accord or Acura. You won't have the long term costs of service. Other good choices are the Toyota Avalon, Camry, Subaru Legacy or Nissan Maxima. The Infiniti and Lexus also have some outstanding vehicles.
  • rowlandjrowlandj Member Posts: 254
    And more important the company will not stand behind the problems even in the face of obvious defects. It is a long story related to the "top of the line" S80-T6. Suffice it to say I will never own one again and I could never recommend doing any kind of business with them as an organization.

  • wtd44wtd44 Member Posts: 1,208
    I do not remember how long Ford has "owned" Volvo, but I rather assumed that after gaining control, Ford would back up warranties and over time improve the lot of the marque-- much as happened to Harley-Davidson after ownership was relinquished by AMF. Any comments?
  • kulfonkulfon Member Posts: 5
    I have owned mine V70 for a year now, & have lost count of the unpleasant visits to the dealer while back...
    I recommend renting one for a week or so, then decide on your purchase. I didn't think of this option at the I am stuck with a car I really dislike! Never again.............!
  • sandhurstsandhurst Member Posts: 37
    1. What is the source of the reliability problems ?

    design flaws?
    build quality?
    dealer attitude/competence?

    2. Do complaints about reliability extend to all current models?

  • justinjustin Member Posts: 1,918
    ALL of the current Volvo platforms (C,V, and S) are all 100% Volvo, even the brand new S60. Ford was considering basing the next Taurus on the S80 platform, not the other way around. I personally think that the Volvo's (experience with mid-90's 850 models) are just as reliable. True, they are not as DURABLE as they used to be. Meaning, they do require maintenance. My first car was a 1980 Volvo DL. Heck, didn't even change the oil. The car would not die - even after 200k miles. All news cars seem to require more....not just Volvo's. As far as service prices, take your Lexus in for non-warranty work. Ouch!

    Go with the Volvo. There is a reason why they are the best selling european wagons in the States...
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    I'm afraid that the most recent Volvos have slipped quite a bit in terms of reliability and durability. The old 240s and 740s were built with lower-grade materials and plastics, which is why you see many of them with ratty bodies. But they will run forever if maintained properly. The 850/70 series are a different story. Their build quality and interior fit/finish is much better than the rear-drive cars, but the electrics and other little stuff leaves a lot to be desired. They are much more complex than a 240. I know some people with '96 850s, and they always seem to have problem after problem with them; by contrast, the people I know with '96 Chevy Caprices have flawless service with them!
  • mbbenzmbbenz Member Posts: 47
    We bought a brand new 96 960 in 1996 because if offered so much for the money. Soon after problems after problems arised. ABS light coming on intermittently, Check engine lights come on once in a while, Airbag light comes on and horn does not work. Dealer replaced whole steering wheel at 6k miles. Thats just to name a few. Dealer service was great though I have to say. Finally at 48k miles the car would die out intermittently. We would cruise at 70 on highway and the engine would die and have to pull over to side without any power steering. Most times car wouls start right up again and drive for a few days without any incident. A few times we had to wait like 20 minutes for the thing to start again. So before the 50k warranty comes up we traded it in for a Lexus ES300. It doesn't have that European ride but the 99 Lexus now have 38k miles and have been in the dealer once once. Problem: windshield washer jet sprayed too high and shoots over the sunroof. Dealer made adjustments and that solved problem. Car has been flawless. Would we consider another Volvo? Absolutely never again. Sure we may have had a lemon but with other brands out there (Acura, Lexus) why bother with Volvo? My 2 cents.
  • lanshahanlanshahan Member Posts: 4
    Our 98 V70 has been the most unreliable car I have ever owned. 3 years has seen.
    Transmission, driveshafts, bevel gears, door panels, door locks, rear seat belt, CD player, various interior switches replaced all due to failure. Numerous trips to the dealer to have the computer reprogrammed to cure a sudden drop in RPM. Also have had numerous fit and finish problems with things like the rear leather coming undone as well as a multitude of rattles. The vehicle has also had a large number of 'campaigns' performed on it. The dealer has been fine to deal with (why not they have made $$$$ on warranty with this car) but VCNA was very difficult to deal with when it came time to get them to replace the tranny. After three years and many days in the shop I have had the oppurtunity to drive many examples of all the Volvo models as service loaners. Some of these cars for up to a month and only one of the dozen or so didn't have a glaring or multitude of defects. The S80 T6 I drove for a month had strange electric gremlins. For example half of the instruments would work but the other did not, then suddenly they all work again. One time the sunroof would not close until the car was shutdown and locked. Strange stuff. Perhaps the 02's are better but I would stay away from the previous gen S/V70's and the first two years of the S80. My lease is up here in less than two months and based upon the reliability experience and the lack of customer service on the part of Volvo corporate I just cannot see myself ever owning another.
  • leroysleroys Member Posts: 1
    I have a 99 S80 T-6. A lot of problems for a so called top of line luxury car. My Ford Escort had less problems.

    1. Plastic door panels on both sides cracked down middle. Fortunately replaced under warranty. However, Controls on Radio are cracking (different material. Door plastic cracking in different places. Outside of warranty. Right side door trim will not stay on. Had to dealer 4X's can't get fixed.

    2. Glove box rattled. Finally fixed after two requests.

    3. Driver rear view mirror has wind noise. Still does, dealer said could not duplicate.

    4. Throttle box had to be replaced. Prior to replacement car went from 35 mph to 10 mph without warning. Dealer said followed mfg recommendations and reloaded software. Next day after service identical problem. At that point replaced throttle box.

    5. Front end sounds like it is falling off when hits a bump. Took in to fix, replaced o-rings and bushing did not fix. Of course, they did not figure it out I did when I drove off lot. Still don't know what is wrong, they are going to try and figure it out.

    6. So far I have had to replace light bulbs ($15 per shot) 4X's. This is more than I have had to replace lights in every car I have owned since I was 16. I'm 41 now.

    7. Oxygen sensor I have had to replace 2X's I believe.

    Just word of warning: Vehicle maintance is high. 30K maintainance $500.00. Car should last 250,000 miles if spend that much every 30K.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Pity the Ferrari owner. His 30K service is about $5,000.
  • balls2wallsballs2walls Member Posts: 1
    in 1994 my wife and i went shopping for the volvo wagon she'd always wanted. although the dealership was most professional, the scenario ended abruptly when, while test driving the car, part of the windshield molding found itself on the shoulder of I-10; the salesman asked that i pull the car over so he could retrieve the now-free trim.

    time, and life, have ways of changing you. one year ago, my wife and two young children were involved in a very serious accident with an oil tanker. i found out the hard way that our reliable toyota camry, which we bought after the volvo test drive, wasn't the safest place to be in such a precarious situation. though they all are now doing well, i consider that event a milestone in my life, to be sure.

    when i walked into the volvo dealership a few weeks later, it was only with the mind set that i get a very safe car for my family; i was far from sold on the marque's reliability after my test drive from years before. it would be an understatement to say that the dealership was great; before, during, and after the sale. they have managed to exceed my expectations of them in practically every way.

    our s60 is nearly faultless. at almost 30k miles already, its only repair, other than scheduled 7500 mile services, was to a loose glove box door. that's it, the lone defect since the car was delivered. my records show that it's been about 8% more expensive to maintain so far than the camry was, and worth every dime.

    i'm changed. converted. sold. we hope to take delivery of a v70 in early summer through volvo's european delivery program to replace my car.
  • gundagirl1gundagirl1 Member Posts: 1
    My husband has a Volvo wagon that has won't die. I am in the process of finalizing a deal for an S40. What does anyone think of the car. I just got rid of a 1994 Pontiac Grand Prix that spent more time in the shop than on the road! What do you all think? I am really soured on American cars! Should I just buy a BMW 3 series? Great safety there too!
  • kulfonkulfon Member Posts: 5
    Rent one for few days, then decide.

    PS. In my opinion BMW 3 series is a way better car
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Don't get sucked in too deeply on safety. No car is "safe", and accidents are all about freaky sets of dynamics that cannot be predicted. However, I do believe some cars are less dangerous than others.

    Find the car you like and are comfortable driving FIRST, and then check out the safety stats. I think you'll find many comparable automobiles, and all have different driving characteristics--one of which might suit you more than others.

    Renting the car, that's a good idea.
  • javadocjavadoc Member Posts: 1,167
    I'm biased, because I don't mind the higher cost of maintenance on these cars. Some might not see the logic in it, but I like a car that's not mainstream, like an Accord or Camry. That's why I have owned Saabs, my MPV vans and now a Volvo (well, and it goes like heck). I always say this when people are talking about Hondas/Toyotas and Volvos together, "You *should* buy a Camry/Accord based on resale and reliability, but buy what you want to, not what you should buy." I personally would be bored with a car that I saw at every street corner, however good and reliable that car is.

    However, you don't want the car in the shop sucking the dough from your wallet. I've had great reliability w/my Volvo so far. I'm having a prob with the cat or O2 sensors, but that's about it for the past few years, and it's a '96 w/75k on the clock. It drives better than the Honda/Toyotas I've driven with similar mileage, which means something to me.

    It's interesting to note that, in my experience, lots of Volvo owners "graduate" to Bimmers after either not really liking the Volvos or just wanting to move to a BMW. I agree with kulfon, a Bimmer is a better car, and I like Audis alot too.

  • kulfonkulfon Member Posts: 5
    Funny you say this javadoc - I am already thinking of trading the Volvo for a Bimmer 3 series (wagon). There is something about German cars that is so appealing. Somehow they (Germans) are able to combine performance, functionality, safety, reliability and appearance in one package. (I'm talking about the big 3)
    Swedes were always good at producing safe cars, they improved greatly in appearance dept. yet performance is a unknown word in Swedish dictionary. And reliability is the thing of the past.
    Sure VWs reliability has gone to S…….but can this manufacturer be considered German, with bulk of its cars produced in Africa & southern/central Americas!
    The new A4 Avant is sweet, best awd in the industry, yet it is only matter of time when they will start making them in Mexico or Brazil ( too bad)
  • exlegendexlegend Member Posts: 22
    I looked at a 2000 S80 2.9 last year. I even came close to buying it until I stumbled onto Edmunds "Town Hall" and the S80 page. I must have read about 300 out of 302 negative comments on the '99 and 2000 S80, both T6 and 2.9. Yeah, I know, all of the negative comments are posted here, with minimal positive flow, but it got me to thinking enough, coming out of a 1991 Legend, to buy a 2001 Infiniti I30. Ford's loss. I just didn't think that I could get the expected 125,000 minimal problem miles I am used to with Acuras. The Acura RL was way over priced and for $28,000 on the I30, am quite pleased. I found the S80 to be appealing, but not worth the potential maintenance nightmare.
  • scottc3scottc3 Member Posts: 137
    We each have our own stories to tell, about anything we own. When our expectations don't match reality, we get concerned. Thus far my Volvo, the 1st one I've ever owned, has been great, I'd score it as a 9 out of 10. I change my own oil on no set schedule, but try for 5K mile changed. Synthetic only so far, but may change to regular oil at some point. I actually thought of selling the car at one point, glad I did not. Just another opinion.

  • showdogshowdog Member Posts: 1
    AS stated by the owner in Message #13 I have had way too many problems with my 2000 S-80 t6. Mostly electrical. Have replaced two headlights and numerous rear bulbs although my dealer has given me several bulbs free of charge. Had the front end o-ring problem too. Tires on front wear faster than they should and I check pressure regularly. Car runs like a bat out of heck but if you ever had a BMW 5 series, you will hate the cornering ability of which there is none...My 2000 Taurus company car handles better. Still the car is roomy compared to others in its class, the brakes stop it on a dime with no pull or noise, and the engine purrs....too much torque pull when manually shifting though and a car with this price on it should know how to take care of that.
    Our next one will be back in the BMW line or possibly an Audi A6
  • icefan1icefan1 Member Posts: 14
    I have (and my wife drives) a '97 850 with the base 168 HP engine and most of options offered by Volvo. While the general maintenance cost are a bit high, this car is still extremely solid feeling even after 65,000 miles. I have never had any major problems with it, although I have learned to have the front brakes checked often as the pads and rotors can go quickly. I found a mechanic who specializes in Volvo and Saab repair and charges less than the dealer's service center. I have and continue to be very satisfied with this car and look forward to getting many more miles out of it.
  • mralanmralan Member Posts: 174
    I also read that Ford was planning on changing the Taurus to the Volvo platform and use a Volvo drivetrain in the next generation Ranger P/U.

    Do you think this would be a good move for Ford? Obviously, putting that many Volvo components into the "mainstream" should lessen the costs of repairs, parts, and maintenance.
  • carolcarscarolcars Member Posts: 1
    My new S60 is just a year old and had to be towed to the dealer. I was told by service that the axel shaft had come out of the hub and a new one would take more than a week to arrive due to delays. That could mean that there are a lot of problems with this part. Has anyone had these problems?
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