I agree- I have had a 240 for 2 years now (229 000 kms and 17 years old) and have had nothing serious go wrong. I think the author of this review was ripped off and ended up buying an old bomb. Always pays to check a car well before buying.
My previous cars were Toyotas and Holdens- and these were less reliable than my Volvo.
Volvo will serve you well IF it has been looked after.
I don't think it's fair to buy an $800 high-mileage car and then fault the entire brand for the worn-out condition of that one car. Much of your review is of flaws you "suspect" but haven't truly diagnosed. It should be expected after buying an $800 car that you'll have some work to do to get it into good running condition, regardless of manufacturer.
Fair enough to remark on what you perceive are design flaws, but not fair to say "don't buy a Volvo unless you can walk home" just because your junker gave you problems.
Thanks for the tech tips, though.
Some of your statements in your review are not correct.
- There is no reason a lower temperature thermostat should be required in this car. My 240 has been everywhere from Arizona to Florida to Yukon Territory with the factory-spec thermostat. Lower temperature thermostats do not SOLVE problems, they HIDE problems until they eventually leave you STRANDED, which you seem to have found out, judging from your remark about not driving your Volvo further than you care to walk. On another note, thermostats that are rated cooler than the one that your Volvo is supposed to use offer no advantages, but disadvantages abound, such as shortened engine life and poorer fuel economy.
- As another commenter has already stated, the A/C on these cars is not the best. One thing that can help is to lightly tint your windows. Another item that can help your A/C cool better is to make sure that your temperature control adjustment turns the heat all the way off. Volvo designed the cooling system to let some coolant circulate through the heater core, so as to not let the heater core corrode. I have mine adjusted to block all coolant flowing through the heater core. I turn the heat on about once a week in the summertime to allow the coolant to circulate out of the heater core. I would suggest visiting www.brickboard.com to learn how to make this easy adjustment.
- Your Volvo seats are not the sturdiest. The reason behind this was that in the event of an accident, your seat was designed to COLLAPSE and ABSORB impact, instead of passing this force on to your person. Hence, the seats are not as sturdy as what you may expect. Driver and passenger seats can be interchanged, if you are having trouble finding a replacement.
Since 2001, I have owned two well used Volvo 240 wagons. The first, a 1986 wagon, had 168,000 miles on it, manual transmission, with an electronic push button fifth speed over drive. Even though it was shabby looking at this point, it was dependable. The A/C had long ago ceased to work, and when you hit a bump, the glove box would fly open. But run it did. I eventually got rid of it for two reasons: Vermont winters had turned this car into a rust bucket. Unfortunately, toward the end, its undercarriage was rotting away. The other issue with this one (and the '91 I currently own) is the fan blower motor went. With the first Volvo, I tore the dashboard apart-the blower motor is buried deep in the bowels of the dash on a 240, gave up and ended up giving this car to a friend. The blower went in my current one about the same mileage as the '86, but, I toughed it out, and successfully performed open dash surgery, and replaced the blower.
My 1991 240, like its predecessor, was a wagon with a 5 speed manual shift (but without the annoying push button fifth.) It's A/C, heated seats have never worked on the past five years I have owned it. Unlike the '86, it has minimal rust, as it started out its life being galvanized (I believe this was started on the '88 models.)
During my second year of ownership, I had to get the rear end rebuilt, and its alternator replaced. For a while last year, I was having intermittent starting problems. After a false diagnoses which resulted in a 300 dollar fuel injection/gas pump relay, it turned out to be pitted fuse holder #6!
But, despite these things, I just love this car! It has a simple elegance to it, and it feels like a comfortable old pair of shoes that you know you should replace, but just can't bring yourself to. It turned 200,000 miles in May. (I bought it in Aug. 2003 with 146,000 miles on it.)
The rear window wiper quit working a few months ago- I need to rewire it through one of the rear door's hinges. The cruise control needs a tap on the gas pedal for encouragement, the drivers door handle is getting harder to open, the rear seat no longer will go down. The seat's lumbar supports-don't. But it just keeps putting along! If money were no object, I'd have it restored! When I first had it and was doing more highway driving, I'd get about 28-29 MPG on the highway, going about 65-70 MPH. Around town, maybe 23-24, not too shabby for a boxed shaped car! I'll probably keep it until something major goes on it.
We have a 1991 Volvo 240 that we bought in 1996. I LOVE this car. It is the most reliable car I have ever owned.
It is now approaching 200,000 miles. We do frequent oil changes, and have an excellent mechanic who troubleshoots problems for us before they become major.
I really wish that Volvo had continued to make this model.
Before this car, we owned a 1980 Volvo 242 that was also incredibly reliable. We owned that car for over 20 years. So the 1991 is approaching it's 20th birthday, and we aren't even thinking that it is time to replace it, because it is so reliable!
Thanks for sharing your Volvo 240 story..
Here is mine, I've been looking for a Volvo 240 in a white color for about 3 - 5 months, and I finally spotted one on Ebay. We agreed on a buy it now price of around 2200 for a 1993 White Volvo with 168k. The paint looks almost new on it; the car was in Georgia for most of its life, the guy had timing belt and many other things changed before his daughter decided that she no longer wanted the boxy brick!
I drove it for a bit, then redid the wiring as it was having starting problems, put in a new battery.. oil pressure switch, alternator, windshield washer pump, mass air flow sensor, and new fuel pump..
The car is running like a champ now, and I honestly think my MPG is 4 miles or so to the gallon better than when I just got it.. with some slight maintenance, the Volvo 240 is a very reliable car. All I would suggest is if you aren't mechanically inclined, make sure you find someone who works on Swedish cars to check it out for you, and go over all the parts to make sure that wiring and some of the almost 20 year old parts are still functioning properly.
I highly recommend the Brick to people who are in a market for this kind of car, just make sure you have a bit saved up just in case you need to upgrade some of the older parts on this vehicle. Don't expect to buy a car for 1.5 k and have everything function like new..
I have a 1993 240 sedan.
I bought a Bentley manual and accessed the many Volvo 240 blogs and utilized the Volvo's diagnostic device. My Volvo runs like a champ! BUT I did wait for a one owner example with 190k on the clock so the price was reasonable. Further, mine was well taken care of as evidenced by the Volvo parts I noticed upon my inspection prior to my purchase.
The design is from the 60s and it shows! It's easy to work on, parts are robust, and cheap online. When I have fixed or replaced something it runs great! I have to laugh at people who buy Volvos, Mercedes and Lexus with over 100k miles on it, with dubious ownership and expect trouble/cost free ownership!
I bought my used 240 the same time a co-worker bought his 2010 S40. He has had more issues with his than I have had with mine!