1983 Volvo 240 from North America


Worst car I have ever owned


Engine seals.

Transmission seals.




Air conditioning.


General Comments:

This was the worst car I have ever owned. I bought it used and didn't check it out carefully. The body looked great and I heard that Volvos are reliable. Then the air conditioner quit, the driver's seat broke, the rear suspension went bad, both the engine and transmission seals started to leak. Finally the insulation on the wiring began to flake off and fried the computer.

And parts are twice as expensive as for other cars. What a money pit! I'm sorry I sold my 1979 Toyota Corolla. It looked rough, but it still would have lasted for many years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th January, 2002

22nd Sep 2002, 11:56

Just because you didn't do your research, doesn't make it a bad car. Just a bad consumer.

16th Nov 2002, 19:43

Sounds to me like you might have bought a stolen and recovered vehicle, or one that had been stored for quite a while for whatever reason. Yes the bodies are very good on these cars, but the rest of the vehicle is dependent on the owner for longevity. Just because the car carries a good name never assume the previous owner did it justice. Look before you leap and go have a look at another one. Oh bye the way, when was the last time you saw an un-restored early model Toyota anything running around?

I love my Volvo...


Dale Harvey


1983 Volvo 240 DL Wagon 2.3 gas non-turbo from North America


Very reliable, very roomy, and very slow


No mechanical failures at all. The engine runs like new. The transmission shifts perfectly.

Electrical problems are prevalent throughout the car.

Wiring for engine harness degrades over time. If you buy a 240 built before 1988, be sure the harness has already been replaced.

The tailgate wiring becomes severed over time and renders all tailgate electronics (wiper, defrost, electric lock, license plate light) inoperable. Easy replacement if you know how to wire up simple electronics.

The ventilation blower motor failed long before I purchased the car and was not replaced. Replacing it myself required over 10 hours of labor on my part. It is strongly advised that you buy a car which has had this motor replaced.

The engine computer in 1983-1984 models is notorious for going bad and causing no start conditions. Buy a car in which the computer has been replaced already, or avoid this year altogether. A used working computer can be purchased at Ebay for $50. A new one from Volvo costs $900.

The driver' seat is badly worn, and bottom support springs as well as lumbar support were broken when purchased. Finding a seat in a junkyard would not be difficult and it takes literally less than 10 minutes to replace.

Aside from that, a very reliable car. I would not hesitate to buy another Volvo based on reliability alone.

General Comments:

The main reason I would not buy another non-turbo 240 (or any non-turbo Volvo for that matter) is performance.

The engine in this car, though remarkably reliable, is horribly overburdened with the task of hauling around a 3,100lb car. Acceleration borders on dangerously slow. This was a serious oversight on Volvo's part. Getting up to speed on any road near my home requires over ten seconds of full throttle acceleration. This is an accident waiting to happen on a busy day. If you are at all interested in even a respectable level of performance, do not buy this car.

Handling is biased heavily toward understeer. It is very difficult if not impossible to cause this car to spin under even flood conditions. This car's handling abilities are compromised by its ride-biased suspension tuning.

The ride quality of the car is excellent. It floats fairly smoothly over most roads, and doesn't jar much on bumps.

The brakes work astonishingly well. The four wheel discs do their job superbly. If it weren't for every other driving dynamic being so poor, hammering the brakes would make you think you're driving a race car.

Noise level inside the car is definitely not befitting of a company desiring a luxury car image. Engine noise can get to you at times. Dynomatting or adding insulation near the firewall takes care of most of this.

Comfort is very good in all seats. They are well designed and supportive, though offering no lateral support during corners whatsoever. The rear seat legroom is excellent. Passenger seating all around is spacious.

For the driver, a few missing amenities add up to aggravation over time. There are no cup holders in the car. The small storage areas in the center stack console are effectively useless. Anything left in the change tray will be on the floor within a day as it holds onto nothing. Lack of cruise control is a big minus. For a manual transmission-equipped car, a tachometer is sorely missed. Though the car has no effective power-band to exploit, a tach is still necessary in my book.

Fuel economy is fair. For a car this size it isn't bad, but I've seen cars with twice the horsepower that get better gas mileage. I get on average 20-23mpg in a 50/50 city/highway mix.

Overall, it's a good, reliable car with lots of cargo area, and it's slow as hell.

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

Review Date: 14th October, 2001

22nd Jul 2002, 08:52

I agree with everything in this review. I have had every problem mentioned with both my 245's.

I have both a 1984 245 DL (91,000 miles) and a 1985 245 GL (149,000 miles), and have found that the cars are remarkably different, even though they are only one model-year apart, hence, the higher mileage on the 1985!

The 1985 performs and handles significantly better than the 1984. This is most likely due to the engine modifications made to the 1985 model (B230F vs. B23F in the '84). Also, the 1985 has the smaller steering wheel and a different steering rack.

In 1996, I complained to Volvo about the flaking insulation on the engine wiring harness. Volvo split the replacement with me 50/50, costing me about $635.

The two cables that carry power through the hatch hinges to the rear wiper, rear door lock, tail and license plates lights do tend to fail every 6 years or so. Fortunately Express Auto Parts sells these cables for about $10 each. One thing not mentioned in the review is that there are also ground wires in the hinges that also fail. These failures are most likely due to the flexing of the cables every time the rear hatch door is raised/lowered, combined with exposure to the elements.

I have also found that the automatic transmission overdrive relay fails and needs to be replaced every 4-5 years or so.

For some reason, the throttle plate position sensor tends to go out of adjustment occasionally. This usually causes hard starting.

The lumbar support in the driver's seat broke about 2 years ago on the 1985.

Areas of the car that have had no problems:

The fuel system on both cars has been perfect; no problems with injectors, pumps, or anything else.

Alternators, starters, power steering pumps, and A/C systems are original.

Blower motors both work just fine.

I also have a 1997 850 T-5 that is just great. 35,000 miles and no problems whatsoever.