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Old 01-08-2009, 10:12 PM
Location: Arkansas
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Does anyone know how long Volvo's tend to actually last or where to find info like that? We are currently looking at the XC-90 and would like to know if we can get 10 good years or more out of the vehicle/engine.

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Old 01-09-2009, 05:21 AM
Location: Charleston, SC
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My fiance has a '92 960 that's in great shape. Just keep on top of timing belt maintenance (IDK if the model you're looking at has one, or if it has a chain). That's the biggest thing with the older models anyway.
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Old 01-09-2009, 05:40 AM
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I had a 1993 240 that we kept for 14 years and finally retired it with 330,000 miles. No problems ever. IMHO- the best car ever built.
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Old 01-09-2009, 06:21 AM
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Most cars are good to go for a LOT of years and miles, provided you take good care of them.

I just bought my daughter a 2003 Ford Focus with 190,000 miles on it - and it runs like a sewing machine.

Volvos have a reputation of being a very long-lifed car. I think that if you take care of it, you'll be very happy with it for a long, long time.
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Old 01-09-2009, 08:51 AM
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No I wouldn't recommend a 90. If you want a long lasting Volvo look into a 850 or older 70 series. Those are all used though. Stay away from AWD! And the 90's tranny's generally are CRAP. Also they have an electronic throttle module (ETM) that generally fails at 10 years and that's quite a pretty penny to replace as well. There is an aftermarket one on ebay but it's still $600 and that's if you replace it yourself. When Ford started taking over, Volvo started losing quality.

Here's a good place to ask about your potential car's issues:
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Old 01-09-2009, 10:06 AM
Location: FLG/PHX/MKE
7,285 posts, read 14,134,441 times
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Originally Posted by dvcgal View Post
Does anyone know how long Volvo's tend to actually last or where to find info like that? We are currently looking at the XC-90 and would like to know if we can get 10 good years or more out of the vehicle/engine.

The XC-90 is a nice SUV. It's comfortable and has a lot of features.

I think the long term reliability for the 2007-2009 models is still unknown. The XC90 base model has a 3.2L 6cyl, introduced in model year 2007. Most 2007 models are still under 50,000 miles--probably more like under 30k. That's just not enough to evaluate ten year reliability.

The prior XC90 had a 2.5L turbo which is virtually bulletproof, although not too powerful. There was/is a V8, but it was manufactured by Yamaha, IIRC. That's not either good or bad, but in my experience this is a recipe for the owner to pay a lot more for both maintenance and repairs.

Volvos, like most European makes, are not inexpensive to maintain. Many Volvo models do not take kindly to being under-maintained (contrary to some of the older models which were known for unrivaled longevity). Even the older models weren't immune to problems. Anybody who got hit with a 240 series blower motor problem, an S70 evaporator replacement, an 850 ABS module issue, or a broken 850 or S80 transmission, could tell you that. Some models of 240 had defective engine computers. Almost all 240, 740, and 940 series had faulty electronics which were cheap to replace, but often caught people off guard, resulting in expensive towing bills and inconvenience. The 960/S90 series, and the S70 models, had interior parts that delaminated, and were so expensive to replace that nobody did. Most of the pre-2004 S80s ate transmissions. Volvo experimented with a 16-valve 4 cylinder engine that was so bad they only made it for a couple of years. In 1992, Volvo made a 6 cylinder engine that had a 25,000 or 30,000 timing belt replacement interval--not a good thing. Many of these were not expensive if you had a source for inexpensive repairs or had a lot of know-how. But for the "average" retail service customer, each of the problems I've listed, could result in enormous expense. So bad, in some cases, that the owner would simply not fix the car at all, and either drive it with one or many warning lights illuminated, parts removed, or just ditch it altogether.

FYI, the later all wheel drive systems, which the current XC70, XC90, S80, and other models use, were far improved from the early ones. The early S70, V70, and Cross Country (XC70) models, had awful problems with all wheel drive. It is not unusual to see these vehicles listed on the used car market, without the rear driveshaft attached. In other words, they're broken, but the owner couldn't afford to fix the problem, so they just removed parts. Keep in mind that these cars are not even ten years old yet!

I have owned at least one (sometimes more than one) Volvo at any given time, since the 80s. I still own one. Despite my affinity for the brand, if you were looking to buy a nice SUV in the price range of the Volvo XC90, with the intention of keeping it for ten years, I would check out the Lexus RX350 AWD. The resale is significantly higher on the Lexus, should you elect to re-sell it sooner than planned. And if my experience with Lexus/Toyota is any indication, you will have less problems with a Toyota-made product. If you need a 3rd row of seats, I'm not sure what I'd recommend though. I don't think the RX has that available.

I guess the most important factor isn't whether the car will last ten years. Most decent cars that are well maintained and not abused, should be able to make the ten year mark. The issue boils down to how much you are willing to spend, to get to that point. With an extended warranty (which carries a negotiable price tag, BTW), you could extend coverage for a long time.

So I think the point I'm trying to make is, if you're aware of potential expense, which will almost certainly be more than other brands, it will probably be OK. Volvo has made some bulletproof engines and transmissions over the years, but they have also manufactured a bunch of turds. If you are making the decision based on what you like, what you are comfortable in, what looks good to you, and what fits your needs the best, that's one thing. If you are making a decision based primarily on a combination of price, quality, longevity, and resale value, there are better options.

Last edited by 43north87west; 01-09-2009 at 10:45 AM..
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Old 01-09-2009, 12:27 PM
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
59,956 posts, read 43,607,646 times
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Originally Posted by dvcgal View Post
Does anyone know how long Volvo's tend to actually last or where to find info like that? We are currently looking at the XC-90 and would like to know if we can get 10 good years or more out of the vehicle/engine.


Assuming maintenance at least by the owner's manual and normal years of 10-15K miles you'll easily get 10 years from virtually any vehicle currently sold in the US.
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Old 01-09-2009, 12:39 PM
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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I'm not sure that I'd trust an XC90 to have the same durability as the station wagons, even with keeping up on the maintenance. I think that Volvo rushed into SUV production to have one as opposed to the same principles used in the other vehicles in the range.

I generally see a few more of them in for service, proportionally, when I am at the dealership and know someone who regrets getting rid of an S60 for one, though it was needed for room with another child. Their issue is more to the size of the vehicle, as it has been pretty reliable thus far.

In the same class, I'd consider the Pilot or if you only need 7 passenger seating, the Acura.
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:39 PM
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Another one of those Volvo myths ... the old, sturdy, overbuilt, heavy, slow, marginal handling, average fuel economy, and tank-like durability went the way of the car line back in the late 1980's ... when Volvo had to build more competitive cars with more "features" to stay in the game.

Yes, old 240's (and even older models) with 4 cylinder cast iron motors and cast iron transmissions lasted a long long time. (and we even had a "fix" for the blower motors, which allowed us to remove the right side squirrel cage from the motor shaft and replace all except the right side squirrel cage with a new blower motor installed ... very quick to do with a lot less stress than the complete replacement). But these car's couldn't begin to compete with newer models from other companies for handling, braking, fuel economy, comfort, performance .... and so were replaced with cars that were substantially comparable to their competition and price points.

I've got friends with Volvo only aftermarket specialty shops, and their business has been booming for them for the last decade, due to many problems with the cars that persist after the dealer warranty runs out. And I've had friends who used to depend upon the longevity and low overall cost per mile go from buying their Volvo's to leasing them, with intentions of buying out the lease at the end of the term ... but they haven't for several cars now. The cars are simply too expensive with too many repairs to justify buying anymore after a lease to get inexpensive service life out of them. Their lower cost has been to lease the car and then ditch it at the end of the lease, even if they were overmiles and had to pay up to walk away.

You might want to look at CR's annual auto issue for the most recent compilations of owner reported problems. IIRC, Volvo wasn't anything above average in the marketplace, and may have been lower than some of it's competitors.
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