1981 Volvo 245 Reviews

1981 Volvo 245 DL 2.1 Gas from North America

Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.1 Gas Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired214000 miles
Most recent distance225000 miles
Previous carHonda Accord

Summary:

Reliable, slow, ugly, noisy vehicle

Faults:

Sucked in a valve seat, and needed to have the head machined, at about 700 bucks, when all was said and done. Rear main seal went bad, I mean, real bad, it was dumping oil out as soon as I poured it in. That was another 700 or so. Needs brakes, and front rotors right now. Tail gate wiring is toast, I think water leaked in. The seal between the exhaust manifold and downpipe is shot, so it's really noisy. I keep trying to kill this thing, so I can justify getting a new vehicle, but it's stubborn, and won't die.

General Comments:

Slow, noisy, old, ugly, smelly, cumbersome. Reliable, boxy, safe, oh, and slow.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st July, 2003

8th Apr 2004, 22:02

Funny, I am not one to really take care of my cars, thus I can truly predict its life expectancy. My '82 Volvo DL I cannot predict. It has taken some serious punishment and it still seems to 'tick' as if it were saying, "is that all you got"? THIS - CAR - WILL - NOT - DIE!!! I have to agree with the statements: slow, ugly, smells, slow etc. AND, yes, I know its greatness is overshadowed by its monstrous looks, its toxic smell, and its 'pedestrian like' speed but you know you have to give it up for its reliability. THIS - CAR - WILL - NOT - DIE!!! I guess with all the "BAD (s)," the "GOOD" is pretty good. Just think of it like the movie "SHREK" although it's ugly, gross, and stubborn, it has a good heart.

28th Oct 2004, 09:10

I have an 82 244 diesel wagon, and I have to agree with the above comment, these things just won't die. My wagon has over 400k on it (odemeter stopped working four years ago) the engine was only rebuilt once, tranny and clutch were replaced at 300k. The car is still my daily driver. It always runs poorly, but it always runs. I can't kill it.

15th Jun 2005, 16:52

I was the original poster. I am sad to report that this beloved Volvo wagon threw a rod on the freeway, and is no more. Since I posted, I've gone through an 88 corolla, that got totaled in front of my house, a 91 SAAB 9000CD, which was a piece of crap, and now I have a 2002 F-150. I miss my old wagon.

8th Jul 2006, 02:25

PS - Just to clarify, I went for the $2 extender and it works great. I just carry an extra spark plug or two to replace the old one from time to time. It was a lot cheaper than an engine overhaul.

9th Jul 2006, 23:20

I have a 1982 244DL with a petrol carburettor engine. It has done almost 400,000km and is still going strong. The body and interior are in good condition, and it always starts and runs really well. This car is by no means a sports car, but what it is, is a well built reliable car.

21st Sep 2009, 12:35

My 81' Volvo wagon is totally dorktastic. I love being tailgated constantly because of my cars pedestrian like speed. One of these days some rich person is going to hit me and I'm going to buy another old Volvo. It's very roomy and safe. Works for me!

1981 Volvo 245 DL 2.1 Gas from North America

Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.1 Gas Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired111000 miles
Most recent distance123000 miles
Previous carVolvo 240

Summary:

Slow, noisy, and very reliable

Faults:

Did the brakes

It ate a valve seat a few months ago, had the head machined, and all was well.

General Comments:

Very reliable. Pretty thirsty though. I drive the heck out of it, and it keeps going. It just won't die. It has a massive exhaust leak right now, that I need to fix, so it sounds like a fishing trawler. But other than that, I love it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th June, 2003

1981 Volvo 245 GL 2.4 from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.4 Manual
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired510000 miles
Most recent distance530000 miles
Previous carHolden Commodore

Summary:

Marvelous

Faults:

The things that have gone wrong with the Volvo are not really surprising given that it has done in excess of half a million kilometres. The vacuum assist booster for the brakes failed and was replaced with a reconditioned unit and I have had to replace a unreliable thermostat. Nothing else in the past 2 years.

General Comments:

I really had to add this review so that my remarkable 500K+ kilometre Volvo had a spot on the Web. I bought it from my wife's uncle (A$500 = US$250) who owned her from new and clocked up 510,000kms on her. So really the 20,000kms I have added are inconsequential except that these have been at the more 'mature' end of her life. So what can you say for a car that is in excess of 20 years old, has travelled to the moon and halfway back, and looks set to make it home.

I really don't want to comment on her other than she really is a marvelous piece of engineering. I couldn't recommend her highly enough.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th March, 2003

26th Jan 2004, 10:13

Hey there. I've got the same car and I absolutely love it. Mine (light blue metallic with blue cloth interior) is currently driving around the South of France. I bought it with about 200,000 kms (now add another 50k plus) from a retired Navy Captain who raised his navy brats in it before turning it over to them as teenagers. He couldn't have cared less about the outside (although it's not that bad) but he did run that light blue boat's mechanics through a shipyard style regimen. Basically all major parts have been replaced. I was so impressed that I decided to go ahead and replace the entire suspension. Now THAT made an unbelievable difference. I can once again pump air into the rear suspension through that valve under the bonnet, when the car is fully loaded up in the rear. I had forgotten how 240 estates normally ride that high in the rear because all the ones you see around are basically shot, since you can't simply slap in regular shocks and it's expensive as hell to have Volvo do it. Makes the car look great though, and the driving difference is incredible. I do recommend putting in a Brochet fuel catalyst though. For £70, I ordered one over the internet from the UK. It now takes unleaded fine and has run far better with zero valve wear for 5 years now! Worth every penny as the new potassium lead replacement is crap and those additives do add up. Putting in low octane regular unleaded works perfectly. I figure I have saved a fortune as leaded gas around here is very expensive. Anyway, enjoy cruising your Volvo. JohnB.

Average review marks: 7.3 / 10, based on 3 reviews