1982 Volvo 245 DL Wagon 2.1L inline 4 from North America


Slow, reliable, cheap wagon, passing 300k


The fuel pump relay failed because it got wet. It was $40 for a new one at NAPA Auto Parts, and it just plugged into place. These fail commonly, so before you replace a fuel pump, check out the relay first and save some $$$

The air conditioning doesn't work, and the driver's side keyhole stopped working.

The radio doesn't work, so I wired up some nice 2.1 computer speakers to a 400w inverter. It works great, and sounds better than any integrated system I could have installed.

The overdrive on the "4 speed + OD" transmission stopped working because OD (5th gear) is activated by a button on the top of the stick. There is a wiring problem, and I can't get OD to work.

The front left brake seized after I wore the brake pad down to the metal backing (oops, my fault). I had to replace the front rotors, calipers and pads, an easy fix and cheap if you go somewhere like AutoZone. Don't underestimate AutoZone brake parts, they work great and have a "lifetime warranty", which really means lifetime replacements, for free, regardless of wear.

Here's a really helpful DIY instructional video on the brake job:


General Comments:

I am a college student, and bought the 245 Wagon for trips to the grocery store and weekend trips to go camping or skiing; things it does well. My only complaint is gas mileage, usually around 15-20mpg. These cars turn heads and are very common in certain areas. Girls call the car cute.

Even with rear wheel drive, it handles really well in slippery situations. I drove around in the snow and ice for abound 2 weeks this winter (Pacific Northwest) and never got stuck. When it slides, recovery is really controlled and easy. Drifting around is a lot of fun!

Despite a few hiccups, it's been a great car. I bought it for $500 after hearing 140/240/740 Volvos were "invincible." With a total investment of about $1000 over a year, it has been a good bargain.

They're not invincible - but they are big, slow, and reliable. With the exception of the fuel relay problems I mentioned, the wagon has started every time since I bought it almost a year ago. It is super easy to work on, to change parts and do regular maintenance. If you have basic mechanic skills, your 240/245 will run for a looooong time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th May, 2011

1982 Volvo 245 DL 2.1L OHC inline 4 carb from North America


Solid, square, sputtering, safe


The carb never worked, and we never found out why until after we sent it to the crusher.

The dash lights never worked.

The overdrive worked when it wanted to, not necessarily when you fixed it.

The knobs and plastic were starting to break.

The vinyl seats were nasty in summer. We replaced them with cloth seats from a sedan before we sent it to the crusher.

U-joints needed replacement at about 454,000 km.

Thermostat was replaced at 475,000 km.

Roof rack buckled, but that was under way too much weight (300-400 lb. of solid hardwood).

General Comments:

This car had a full set of gauges, including a vacuum meter that gave rough fuel economy estimates and an outside temperature gauges that gave rough outside temperature estimates. The exhaust was often leaky, but we didn't really fix it. Who does, when they buy a car for $450? Not us. We did fix the U-joint when it went, though.

We went off-road (though not off roading), on mountain trips, and we moved house with it once. It carried anything and everything, and towed a trailer with surprising authority for a little four-cylinder engine.

The engine never ran right, sputtering and needing frequent encouragement to stay running. The transmission had a fancy overdrive that wouldn't stay engaged. The gauges would go wild sometimes. The car smelled of dog and Volvo (raw gas, and the trace of gentleman's club). The analog clock made a horrible "graunch" like it was going to stop working, every second of every day. The car would shudder and shake at speed (tires) and coming to rest (brakes).

We loved it.

For a car that was bought as a 1-year car, it performed amazingly. It never gave up. It's almost tempting to ascribe human qualities to something as determined to keep going as this car was. In the end we gave up on it, and sent it off to be crushed. I'd like to believe that someone took a look at it in the junkyard, paid $50, and drove home to use this incredible tool of a brick again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th September, 2009