Classic and stylish!? An '89 Volvo? Yeah right.
My wagon had the same electrical issues related to the rear gate. It turns out the wiring goes through the hinges and, on mine, the ground was very nearly gone, so if I stopped and went over a bump, the middle brake light would lose ground and instead ground through the defroster relay, turning the defroster on. Or, if that didn't happen, the bulb warning light would come on.
A cheap fix made that all go away, but some days, at the right temp, on the right bump, I'll look down and the defroster is going. Ah. European electrics. I love them.
Reminds me of my Saab whose power door locks would, once the car warmed up inside, suddenly remember that you'd unlocked the door to get in and all unlock at once *KERCHUNK*. Very startling.
I don't know why people slander the Volvo 200 series in terms of it's style. I would agree that it is classic and stylish. It is classic because it is such a recognisable, clean and solid design, and it is stylish because the car is distinguishable among others. As that other person said, style is subjective, but people should just quit slagging Volvos and saying they are ugly etc. I don't think it's true.
My 1989 240 DL rules! I bought it for $1200 in Nov. '05 as my primary vehicle and would bypass any brand new car for it even now. After I bought it someone hit me on the driver's side as I sat parked at the shopping center--the impact rocked the car, smudged the paint if you know where to look, resulted in an $800 check which came in handy for Christmas!
I keep it serviced for routine items like brakes, etc. I am willing to meet almost any repair costs because it's a tank--just keeps on rolling no matter what. On rocky back roads or pot holes in the city with minimal steering I let the Volvo do what it does.
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