27th Aug 2003, 11:22

I've owned two 850's now and they do have their problems, but they seem to be consistent. The transmissions do fail and the micro switch on top of the tranny is a factory recall, get it replaced. Also, in the power seats, the cable for reclining breaks, replace it as well when or if it breaks. I've experienced the roof liner material coming off of the sunroof slider, I fixed it with $3 of 3M spray adhesive. I've driven both these cars HARD and they've taken the abuse. Sorry to hear that others are unhappy with the car. Its not Honda reliability, but you'll also live when you get hit by all the SUVs out there.

24th May 2004, 09:08

I have a 1994 850 right now and wouldn't trade it for the world. I am completely in love with this car! The only problem I've had is with the seat heater, but as that has no effect of the way the car runs, I am not worried. I always know my car will start and that I will fare well if in an accident. And for that peace of mind... I would pay a lot of money.

1st Jun 2004, 17:23

I'm pretty sure that you just picked a bad one. I bought mine new in 94 and havn't had any of the problems you described except for the random check engine light. my car now has 120,000 miles on it and still runs like a champ. you should read the car and driver article about it from a 1995 review they did between it and some other vehicles that were about the same price (including the 3-series BMW) and they gave rave reviews and it took home the gold!

19th May 2006, 16:36

I had no experience with Volvo cars prior to meeting my husband, who owns a 1994 850.

Let's say that my husbands mechanical skills are entirely lacking, and I'm the one that has taken over the reins in that department.

The car was bought used in 2000, and, in the beginning, she was taken to a Volvo dealer for regular maintenance. That ended somewhere around 2003.

I love driving the car. However, I have noticed our 850 having many of the same problems as others have noted.

The AC no longer works. The blower only works on setting 4. The shift lock acts up occassionally, and, in cold weather, we have trouble with acceleration.

I'm taking her in for a check-up in a couple of weeks. I found a site that lists how much it should cost, parts and labor, for various services on the car from a Volvo dealer. The most pressing thing is to have the timing belt replaced and an engine tune-up. But, I'm fearful as to what the mechanics may find. I wonder, do you think that some mechanics take advantage of Volvo owners given the fact that they are more complicated than say, a Honda? With my Honda and my Mitsubishi, I would just take it to the local lube joint, but Volvo's are tricky and I think the dealerships work that to their advantage.

25th May 2006, 18:54

I take some comfort reading these comments because I thought I was the only one who had a bad Volvo. I bought mine three months ago, with 100,000 miles on it. In that time I have spent about $1,600 on repairs (oxygen sensors, fuel pump, etc.), I cannot get FM on the radio and for some reason I have a standing pool of water in the trunk, where the spare is. then there are all the squeaks and rattles. I'm hoping to get through summer with it then cutting my losses and trading it in for something, anything, else.

25th May 2006, 22:34

I feel sorry about your bad experience. Unfortunately, used Volvos can be purchased for little money, so people don't realise that the running cost is not comparable to a Honda or a Toyota. Volvo 850s are complex pieces of automobile. The level of engineering that went into the 850s is amazing. Keeping in mind the level of performance, safety, handling and practicality, they have almost no equivalent even today. I drive (hard) an 850 turbo wagon with more than 250,000 miles and it is very reliable (engine has never been open). However, like any other high performance (relatively speaking), you have to do a lot of preventive maintenance. You do need to change the engine seals, belts, the odd gasket and replacing wear pieces such as brake rotors, pads, suspension bushings, shocks and the sometimes an alternator, starter or fuel pump. Given the age of the car, it is to be expected. Regularly replace trans-axle and motor oil with synthetic and both are good for 500,000 miles.

My wife drives a 2005 Altima and my Volvo is faster, brakes better, is more comfortable and much safer. Since it is a wagon, it is extremely practical. To put it in perspective, try driving a 10 year old Jag, Porsche or Mercedes for a while, you will find that running cost is probably much lower with the Volvo.

Love my Volvo and I'm getting a full respray this winter. Will take advantage of very cheap used parts to restore interior as well. It's paid for so I don't mind paying more for preventive maintenance. I would have to pay close to $60,000 Can to get equivalent value today. Further, newer cars are even more complex with almost no possibility of doing some of the work yourself.

Hope this helps.


Volvo 850 turbo wagon

Porsche 944 turbo

Fiat spider 1980

Nissan Altima 2005.

6th Dec 2006, 14:25

I agree, the Volvo 850 is a pile of junk. My 1991 ford ranger is better then this Volvo. I have spent 3k on it in 2 months. Do not buy them!! I can't wait to dump this hunk of crap!

7th Dec 2006, 05:05

Bought a "94 850 and in 2 months have had to spend 2K on airconditioner and oil leak problems. Now I'm told the turbo is going out. I orginally thought the timing belt would be my first priority. I am going to get rid of it asap and buy another Honda.

14th Dec 2006, 21:10

I have a 94 Volvo 850 turbo wagon and this vehicle has been nothing, but trouble for me as well. My wife actually bought this car herself and I'm pretty sure she just liked the looks of it. I also thought the car was the bomb when we first got it in 2001 with only 80000 miles on it. Unfortunately it has been nothing, but trouble.. head gasket, terrible oil leak, leaking sunroof, rattles and numerous check engine light issues. The car currently will not start and I haven't figured out why yet. I think I may have a bad fuel pump or possibly a clogged fuel filter.. either way, more money. I will also get rid of this car as soon as I can, I just can't afford to keep dumping money into it. So far, about $5000 dollars.. and that's just mechanical.. not including tires and such.

14th Jan 2007, 07:30

Mine is pushing upwards of 350,000 km now, I am proud to say. I expect to see at least another 100,000. I would recommend to the woman not sure of where to take the car that she take it to someone who specializes in Volvo, if not the dealership. A lot of money can be spent not fixing these cars, or fixing the wrong things.. And to reiterate a previously made point... Stay on top of the preventative maintenance.