1989 Volvo 240 DL from North America

Summary:

Safe, Durable, Basic

Faults:

Front wheel bearing.

Overdrive switch.

Spark plug wires.

Alternator.

A/C conversion to modern freon.

Brake pads (normal maintenance).

New hood (knuckleheaded son forgot to latch the hood and it flew open when he was doing 50!)

Rear brake lights, a Volvo design defect, one of the few.

General Comments:

Bought this for my sons when they started driving. It is still in use with the one son still in college. Steady, safe, reliable. The boys hate its styling, but their alternative is bicycle/bus, take it or leave it.

The only defect in this design is the bizarre electrical connection for the taillights. It appears to be soldered aluminum foil. I have a good mechanic and he finally got a good connection that has lasted. I told my sons they better be careful or cops would pull them over at will for having a "defective taillight".

Burns no oil, and the oil stays relatively clean between changes. Surprising for a car this age. The A/C is a joke, but do Swedes really need A/C?

Knucklehead #1 forgot to latch the hood after checking the oil, and it flipped up while he was doing 50. Fortunately, he was able to pull over without incident, but the hood was badly bent near the hinges. So, we went to a local Pull-A-Part and selected a "new" hood, and he learned some basic mechanics. Our car is Carolina blue and the hood was white, so he painted blue "racing stripes" on the hood to make it look a little sporty. It is now a very recognizable car around Chapel Hill.

Hopefully, their little sister will be driving this car in a few years. A beater? Yes. Reliable? Yes. Safe? Yes. Good on gas? Yes.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th June, 2010

1989 Volvo 240 DL B23F from North America

Summary:

A bit of work, but worth it

Faults:

I bought this vehicle virtually abandoned at a mechanics shop and contacted the owner. It had sat outside for about 18 months.

Front seats wore out, and I replaced them.

Replaced front struts, tie rod ends and ball joints.

Replaced all 4 brakes with ones on my previous 240.

Replaced rear shocks and springs.

Replaced gas tank and in-tank fuel pump.

General Comments:

When I bought this car, I took a chance and I had no idea how it had been maintained before. It fired right up though after sitting for over a year.

It needed a tune up right away, and the brakes were really rusty from sitting. I was fortunate to have a parts car that I pretty much stripped for using in this vehicle. I probably wouldn't have bought it otherwise.

It has proven to be a very reliable and fun to drive car, and a good vehicle for towing.

Handles a lot better than I expected in the snow (with proper snow tires)!

I'm no mechanic, but I love how simple and robust these old Volvo's are!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd June, 2010

1989 Volvo 240 GL from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Volvo for LIFE!!

Faults:

Air conditioning didn't work at purchase, the cylinder is cracked. Quoted about $1000 to replace. No thanks!

The plastic in interior is brittle, especially the magazine holder in the doors, which cracks if you look at it the wrong way!

Metallic paint all but gone on all top surfaces of the body. Undercoat still there though so no worries about rust, it just looks crappy.

I had to rewire the lights to the tailgate. I have the wagon and the wiring runs through the tailgate hinge. Got a quote from my local mechanic for $1000 (!!!) but took it to the right guys and they did it for less than $100.

At the same time I had to replace a worn bearing in the steering column.

Timing belt snapped at idle a couple of weeks after purchase. I can't remember how much it cost to replace, but it was less than I paid for the car ($800).

After about 6 months of ownership the brake stop valve cracked and started leaking brake fluid. Had to replace it, the part was expensive because it was new and original.

Windscreen wiper motor blew up, replaced it with a second hand one for cheap.

New battery.

The bottom of the muffler is rusted out, but it's not particularly loud.

There's a small ATF leak somewhere but its not a problem.

The speedo is out by about 10%, but I won't bother replacing because in these cars the whole instrument unit is sealed and has to be completely replaced, which will be scarily expensive.

The fuel gauge is temperamental, after about half-way it doesn't read correctly.

I think the fuel injector is on its way out. It sometimes cuts out when you first start up unless you stomp on the accelerator and flood it. You can hear that the pump hasn't kicked in.

Both front seats are stuck in one position. They can move backwards and forwards, but the other 2 adjusters are seized.

To fit a stereo head unit you need a fitting kit. They are not expensive, but kind of hard to come by.

Replaced a head lamp. They are not sealed units, so it's as easy as changing a light bulb.

The glove box doesn't stay closed. A friend of mine had the same car and she had to glue hers closed. I just leave mine open, it doesn't bother me but my passengers get annoyed with it. After it falls down and hits them on the knees a few times though they see my logic.

General Comments:

This is my first car and I will buy Volvo for life! So comfy on long trips. My dad is a total car snob and he reckons my Volvo is a nice ride. High praise!

It is infinitely better to drive than these cheap tin cans you buy new. My mum drives a Hyundai and it is absolutely no comparison.

This car is solid as. I reversed into a pole the other day, and I mean I really hit that pole, not even a scratch. It has this big plastic buffer thing around the front and back so it's a great first car.

The turning circle is amazing, it can get around a smaller space than a car half its size.

She really goes too, especially when you reach the kick-down at the bottom of the accelerator. Talk about power! On the highway she cruises comfortably at about 135 km/h.

Its the perfect road trip car. With the back seats folded down flat the boot is just a bit bigger than a single bed mattress. The car doesn't loose heat at night and with 6 metres of fabric you can make curtains that fit perfectly.

I know it sounds like lots has gone wrong, but it's only ever died on me twice, and once it was the battery. Everything else is just part of its charm.

My advice would be, do your own maintenance if you are able. Buy the workshop manual of ebay get to know your car. They are simple to work on. I'm an 19 year old girl and I can do my own service. Buy second hand parts where you can and only fix things that need fixing, don't be a perfectionist.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th June, 2009

7th Jul 2011, 21:58

Looking to buy a used one, would be perfect for me. I can just see me, slinging a few hay bales in the trunk, and taking the pups out for weekend trips...

12th Oct 2012, 13:16

The speedometers aren't sealed, you have to take the cluster out and then remove the speedometer from behind.

It's a fairly easy process, just be sure to have torx screwdrivers just in case.