1986 Volvo 240 Dl


Safe and reliable, worth every penny


The seats have worn badly, and have several burns.

The AC does not work.

I have replaced the dash cluster twice and the odometer still does not work.

The driver side window often falls of the track. Also the knobs fall off when rolling up and down the windows.

Most probably due to the previous owners' irresponsible driving, (my father and brother) the drive shaft was bent, the front tie rod ends were broken and the body was left with several substantial dents and scratches.

The plastic trim and other plastic external parts will often fall off due to high speeds, bumps and sudden turns.

General Comments:

With the exception of the AC, the interior off the car is very comfortable.

The exterior shape of the car is not very attractive, but I have always liked the white with black trim.

For the dollar that I paid for it, I will buy this car every time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th October, 2003

1986 Volvo 240 DL 2.3


Miles do not matter!


The rear end started to make a loud clunking noise at 170,000. I changed the fluid and it made no difference. At 172,000, just before I was going to pull the rear axle, I found out that it was only the E-brake sticking. The a.c. does not work. The window crank knobs fall off while rolling the window up or down. The rear window wiper is too noisy. Stalls until it has been running a few minutes.

General Comments:

The car is not that quick, but handles great.

It gets 26 miles to the gallon.

Plenty of room!

Runs Great after it warms up!

I only paid $100 for it and would choose it over my 1980 Mercedes 450 Sel or my 1969 Lincoln Mark III.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th September, 2003

1986 Volvo 240 DL 2.3, gas


This is a very solid, no-nonsense, low-tech, safe and dependable work-horse


Water pump, 1986 (replaced under warranty)

Steering control arm bushings 1996.

Mass airflow sensor 1997 (just unplug its connector and you can drive it again, home or to the service garage) ; cost $Can 500.

Starter motor 1995.

Radiator 2000.

Clutch cable, 2001.

Gas tank leaked, sender unit also gone, 2003.

Brakes serviced in 2001.

Battery is only the second one.

Timing belt 2003 (replaced as regular maintenance item)

General Comments:

I've had this car since it was new and it has been very reliable in the coldest Canadian winter weather. It starts every time even at -20C, though I had a block heater installed for the cooler days. One problem in winter is that plastic parts get crisp and are easy to snap off (I hacked off a piece signal light thinking it was ice during the '98 ice storm).

Handling on ice and snow is not easy past about 40 km/h, as fishtailing sets in easily. However, it can plow through deep snow as long as it has some momentum, due to its weight.

The cabin offers great visibility rarely found in other cars. It is amazingly roomy and ergonomic as well. I like the floor mats, which are really hard plastic trays that hold the winter salty slush well.

It is a very sensibly-designed car. It is almost impossible to lock yourself out, or to leave the headlights on when you park the car.

The car is still very solid and drives well. It feels safe, everything works and it has no unpredictable computerized gimmicks. Economy is decent at 10 km/100l.

After the clutch cable broke in 2001, forcing me to hitch-hike home from school with the kids, my wife nagged me to buy a newer car. I bought a 1996 Saab 9000 (with an American-built engine). The Saab's cost of ownership was too high, service was poor, and it had too many options that needed up-keep. I sold the Saab 1 year later and kept the Volvo. (Later I came to know that the new Saab owner suffered a demised engine due to timing belt failure even though I had its maintenance up to date according to my records. It cost her Can $10000 to repair the GM engine).

So, I was glad that I had not yet sold the Volvo. I have had it oil-sprayed since 1995 and repainted a few rust patches, but structurally it is sound in spite of the salt used on the roads here. I intend to keep driving it for a good few years yet. It passed the Ontario emissions test with flying colors.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 25th June, 2003

31st May 2006, 14:34

I am considering buying a very well-maintained 240 DL, but I have never owned a rear-wheel drive car. I live in Montreal so I can relate to your winter woes. You say that the car doesn't handle well above 40 kph on snowy/icy roads, do you use winter tires? If not, do you think that the winter handling would improve if you did? Thank you!