9th Jan 2002, 16:05

Great review but you forgot a few things. I drive an '88 240 DL myself and one of the most irritating maintenance problems is the taillights. If you break the cover to one of the lights, it's about a $200 repair (a Volvo shop will tell you that you have to get the entire assembly replaced) also, the lights may get screwy (stop working) if the circuit board goes bad, they're outdated and not very reliable though easy and not very expensive to fix. Other than that, it's a great car and I expect it to hit 200K easily. Oh, and if anyone in the Durham, NC area needs to know where to take their Volvo, i recommend Absolute Automotive, they've always done good work and have been quite helpful.

9th May 2002, 10:36

I live in northern Sweden, where we get a lot of snow and slippery roads in wintertime. The 240:s doesn't have excellent handling on ice, but the 740:s is much worse!

But of corse, on roads that isn't slippery, the 740 may be better.

28th May 2002, 11:03

Just reading:

They switched to the big style headlights (that blow, in my opinion, but look nicer if they are not yellow) in 1986.

Wiring harness rot occurs from 1981-1988 I believe.

My favorite Volvo 240? the GT :) with the 2 round, glass headlamps with replacable bulbs.

Best year for the Volvo 240 in my opinion is 1990. Good style wiring harness, and the last year for R-12 AC (much better than Volvo's attempt at r-134 the next year)

So far I've owned a 82 DL, 83 GL wagon, 86 DL wagon, 91 DL sedan, and now an 80 diesel sedan converted to Chevy 350 V8 with all the IPD goodies (sway bars, wheels, bilstein shocks)

Volvo 240's are one of my favorite body designs of newer model cars. Some day when I'm more mechanically deft, I will find an old Volvo 122.

24th Oct 2002, 21:53

--Four wheel disc brakes have been standard on all models for years.

--wiring harness problem solved starting in 1988

--single plastic headlights started in 1986 on 240 series

--brake pads would not be original

--more inaccuracies

--I've been driving Volvo 240 wagons for 20 years. Presently have 5 (w/ 300,000 miles on one of them). They are great cars, but the reviewer really doesn't know very much about them.


21st Jul 2004, 10:46

Do-it-yourself oil changes are easy in this car. The filter is low, but is easily removed from above because of the extra-roomy engine compartment. The drain plug is not unusually large.

The alternator "failures" are usually faults in the voltage regulator or worn out brushes. Either is easily fixed by removing two screws and putting in a new regulator, a $30-$45 part.

With a manual transmission, 25-30 mpg is expected. Anything less and it means the injectors need cleaning.

Visibility is excellent and you can see all four corners of the car from the driver's position. The blind-spot mirror only reduces the size of your side-view mirror; it's better to turn your head.

Any high-speed vibration is probably due to suspension and/or tire problems, not a design issue.

9th Dec 2005, 19:49

In comparing a Volvo to a Mercedes you would have to take in effect the constant problems with head gaskets with the Mercedes 190 and 300 models. I did a lot of research between the two and Volvo is the far better purchase. Also the Mercedes parts are much more expensive and must be ordered from parts stores. For example an alternator for a Mercedes is around $145 and one for a Volvo was just under $75 at the same part store.

24th Mar 2010, 00:35

Very informative review for someone researching whether to get a used one or not. I am picking up a 1989 240 DL AT with 186k tomorrow for $700 bucks. This will be my first Volvo. I like the body Style. It is unique to Volvos. This will be a temporary ride, but from what I am reading, it may grow on me.

28th Nov 2010, 00:17

Just purchased a 1988 240 DL Wagon -- the tank.

I am thrilled with the price; it was under a grand.

I was told I would have to replace the blower motor soon. Ordered the motor at $37.00. Decided to go ahead and possibly replace the heating core -- $130 part. Got a used resistor and switch. I am paying someone to do the work for $200. Will probably throw in another $100 when the work is finished.

This car barely has any rust on it. It is an ole' classic.

The speedometer is good. The odometers go out, I read. Surely enough I bought it -- just last week. The owner told me that the odometer was not working -- an $800 job, not worth getting done in my opinion. THE BLOWER MOTORS GO. But, if you get one of these tanks at a 'steal', still be prepared to pay, and I mean pay for the replacement of the blower motor.

Remember, try to pay no more than a grand for this model and year. Get a shade tree Volvo expert. This will save labor cost. But realize you're still getting it replaced at a steal.

Today I have had 'the tank' for one week. Gas mileage is not the best. Will probably drive my beaten up but reliable Acura to work still. (I work about 25 miles from where I live.)

To find a car this old with so little rust is a treasure. No dents or dings. The motor is not computerized. The advantage (for me) is that I can 'bone-up' and do my own tune-ups. It is a 4-cylinder.

This baby turns heads. It is the new retro-academic mobile. Flash your academic pedigree in the window. Go Old School. I will let you know how the blower motor saga turns out.

Overall, I am still tickled with the purchase.

ML Michigan.

30th Jul 2011, 20:26

Great early review.

My 1988 240 DL Wagon has about 275,000 miles, and I see no end in sight. I had to replace the timing belt, rear transmission seals, the alternator, the windshield wiper motor, the fuel pump, exhaust system, various lamps and lenses fuel injection rail, all belts and hoses, and a few sets of tires (I run the skinniest ones I can get). But the engine and drive train still purr. The trim is beginning to show its age, and the paint, while it still shines, is getting close. I stopped using polishing compound, and now just use wax; I'm afraid the paint is too thin now.

The AC was taken out many years ago. The heater blower fan started to make noise a few years ago, and stopped working last year. The car cabin warms up soon enough and the heated seats help out. I'm shy about taking off the dash to install a new fan. The odometer stopped working at 215,000 miles... several years ago, but all the other gauges and speedometer work fine.

I have nothing bad to say about this car. I do expect that, from time to time, I will have to replace something (23 years is a long time), but I've never had to spend more than $800 in any given year to keep things in good trim.

I also had a 2004 XC90 T6. Now that car, while it was the best high speed interstate car I've ever driven (fast, great sound system, safe) did nothing but cost me money for repairs (and gas). The transmission failed at 75,000 miles without warranty. Volvo gave me a break in the replacement but it was still $3000. I'm not sure I wanted a car with a transmission that blows at 75K, so I sold the beast.

Volvo made a perfect car in the 240 series. They could have left well enough alone. I'll buy another from a good owner when this one retires.

Best advice ever as it relates to long-term ownership: CHANGE THE OIL MONTHLY. I do, and it has made all the difference.