17th Jan 2007, 14:17
Wow, just reading all that has depressed me. I own a '94 850 wagon and have seen these problems, spent thousands in repairs. But it's an old car. With 225k miles on it. What does one expect?
Things wear out... the fan blower, the seat cable, belts, etc. Now I am looking at oxygen sensors and hearing mechanics fret over the piston rings and such. Oi weh. Signed, Volvo owner wondering whether to throw the towel into Boston harbor.
8th Feb 2007, 08:43
I've owned an 855 T-5 for a while now and, even with little faults, like ALL 12 yo cars have, I love it. Great acceleration and handling combined with subtlety.
I previously owned a W210 Benz E class and E39 BMW 5 series an they were shockingly bad especially the MB.
For the guy with the non-starting 850 turbo:
Check the ignition relay. When you open the hood its the gray one under the fan cowling on the front slam panel.
Check either the relay or the wiring into the relay connector block. Not very well known fault and will kill the car. The pump will prime, the car will crank, but that's all if there is a fault in this area.
9th Feb 2007, 07:58
Wow... I never heard so much bad things about Volvo 850. I own an 850 T-5R with about 350.000 kilometers on the clock. I took good care of the car, and considering I drive hard, the car has been great. Only bad thing about this car is, that it eats front tires. Only thing that went wrong is electric seat on passenger site. Otherwise only normal wear and tear.
5th Mar 2007, 14:37
I own a '95 850 with 132,000 miles on it. I bought it as a lease return in '98. The only major problem I have experienced is the fuel pump going out once.
The car is very reliable and I am really surprised to see all of the negative comments about them.
Routine maintenance has always been the ticket to long, reliable life of every car we have owned.
15th Mar 2007, 23:37
Thanks everyone. I decided to google about the 850 because everyday for the past 4 months when I'm on the bus going to work, I pass by this dealership that has a rather nice looking (black) 94 850 sitting front and center. Thanks for helping me make up my mind,if I should get off the bus and check it out or not.
10th Jul 2007, 10:57
Volvo 850's are very particular about regularly scheduled maintenance. If you purchase a used 850, S70, V70, etc you need to make sure that it has seen regular service... Especially if it is a turbo! Otherwise, you could be in for a world of hurt. 850's can be abused, but might not outwardly show the abuse like your mamma's Hyundai would. Have it checked before you buy. You might pay a little more for a good one, but the well cared for Volvo 850 can easily give you 300K miles.
24th Oct 2007, 12:59
I purchased my '94 850 Turbo in December 2006 with 128000 kilometers. So far I have replaced the radiator, lower control arms, PNP switch (the back up lights would intermittently work) and had the Volvo dealer install a block heater. I expected that I would have to replace or repair items, after all, it is a used car. Presently the car has 144000 kilometers. The car has been meticulously and properly maintained given the previous service history. I very much enjoy the car. The performance, comfort of the seats, sound system, fit and finish are all top notch. Lastly these cars were built with safety in mind. Happy to be an 850 owner. SK, Canada.
25th Oct 2007, 14:29
I purchased a '94 850 off eBay about 1 1/2 years ago from Miami Florida 1,500 miles away. The picture showed 86,000 on the odometer. The seller's comment was "our experience shows this car has been garage kept". The paint was shiny red with no scratches, tinted windows, sunroof, spoiler... an awesome looking sporty car! The Carfax looked OK up to a point... then there was no record for about the last year and a half before I bought it. It did raise a red flag in my mind, but I ignored that since I got it at such a "steal". I had it delivered to my house for $700. The car had been detailed and looked great.
I took it to a local dealership and had it inspected. Basically the car was worn out. The mileage was not 86,000, but actually 135,000, and it had been wrecked, then repainted (they must have replaced the odometer). The carpet and interior was very faded, so the seller must have just tinted all the windows to mask it.
I think the car is a good solid car, but like the dealer said, it was just worn out with a lot of things needing replaced... which of course costs money. Add that to the "great price" I bought it for on eBay, and I could have bought a much more expensive one that was in mint condition and not-wrecked.
The PCV system was all clogged, which caused some seals to leak. I replaced all that. I have replaced much of the suspension including struts, strut mounts, springs seats, rear shocks, inner and outer tie rods, ball joints, control arm bushings, sway bar end links, engine mounts, frame mounts and both "front wheel hub assemblies" (Volvo's name for the front wheel bearings).
The interior is broken up and many of the plastic parts are brittle and snap very easily. The dash won't screw down to the instrument panel, because all those tabs have snapped off. The glove box is sagging. Despite replacing many burned-out bulbs, some still don't light up (like the climate control).
The headliner sags. The sunroof leaks, and lately I have been finding water standing in the passenger floorboard after a rain. (Smelly!!) I have to remove the seat, pull up the carpet and shop-vac all the water out. The visor won't stay up. There are numerous rattles and squeaks.
The cruise control has never worked. The two hoses that connect the heater core to the engine block are not connected, resulting in no heat in the winter (I imagine the heater core is no good). There are two stickers that show the timing belt has been twice replaced, but I already bought another one and plan to replace it (and a fuel filter) soon.
The car does burn oil -- about a half quart per month. It doesn't leave a cloud of smoke when driving, but I've never had a car that used it that quick. I keep a quart or two of Castrol in the trunk, and about every other gas fill up I have to add some.
This is a 13 year old car with about 150,000 miles on it. Yes, they are engineered very well, but if you don't stay on top of the maintenance, things will start failing almost like a domino effect. I have done all my own maintenance on this car (except wheel alignment) from studying helpful Volvo forums, and they have taught me a lot. One of those is: Matthewsvolvosite.com
13th Nov 2007, 21:28
Our family has a history of Volvo ownership, although I do not drive one myself. The 850 has been in the family since new, and after 120K miles, has needed a new alternator, a timing belt, tires, brakes, and a suspension overhaul (not necessary, but well worth the money/effort to have a car this age that drives like new). The problems everyone seems to gripe about in these posts are clear indications of LACK of maintenance from current and previous owners. Indeed, most of these problems are cumulative, and are issues that just have never been addressed.
I've heard of tranny failures, which are admittedly a serious failure, but all the people I've known that have had these problems have never changed their tranny fluid. Hmmm...
If you have a problem dealing with general car maintenance issues, than please do go drive a Honda. You can suffer the boredom in design, driving experience, and ownership, and have a car that will continue to survive despite the neglect. Happy motoring!