21st Jul 2002, 17:03

We also owned a 1997 Volvo 850 GLT wagon that was, from Day 1, an owner's nightmare. We had problems with the electronic brake switch (car wouldn't shift out of "Park" because it couldn't tell we were stepping on the brakes), loose bits of exterior trim, and high-pitched squealing from the brakes in hot weather--when the brakes weren't in use! The final straw was an engine oil seal leak, which would have cost about $1500 to repair if the car hadn't still been under warranty. We sold it before the warranty ran out rather than suffer any longer. It certainly was a dream to drive, though.

9th Oct 2002, 19:38

The first year I owned my 1993 850 Volvo it was in the transmission shop for 9 months. I had 4 transmissions with numerous problems. The last two were good, but all 4 had a slip (flare) going into fourth gear every time you started it. I have had numerous mechanics opinions and a couple said that it was normal and not to worry about it. At this time it has been stalling mysteriously at stop lights. I do not know what it is. I have been able to tap into the diagnostic system and replaced the part indicated, but this has not helped. I am mechanically inclined and I can't figure out what the problem is. For the amount I have spent fixing this car I could have bought myself a new RELIABLE car! If anyone has any idea please contact me at: mssaintjoes@hotmail.com.

28th Oct 2002, 17:18

I have religiously serviced my 1993 Volvo 850 GLT at a local prominent San Jose dealership. At 120k the timing belt broke because the dealership 'forgot' to replace it at the 100k service even though it was identified on the work order.

After having to involve the BBB, the dealership agreed to repair the engine at their cost. Now at 150k, the car is using 2 quarts of oil a week and the it stalls when the break is applied. My 'Volvo' only service shop told me today that there isn't a leak and that they will include an additive in the oil change although they don't think that will help. I was told to consider trading it in for a new car. I am extremely disappointed. After having taken such good care of the car, it can't even last 175k miles? Besides safety, Volvo used to be known for their longevity. I don't think I will buy a Volvo again.

6th Nov 2002, 18:36

I have loved every minute of owning my Volvo 850 GLT saloon, but sadly I am parting with it after five years of totally trouble free motoring and 100,000 miles. I need a bigger car to transport my new dogs. My car was registered in 1995 and since then it has passed every MOT without needing a thing doing to it. My only small niggle is tyre wear. The T5 wheels eat tyres, small price to pay though for what has been in my opinion a brilliant car. (Just hope Volvo's v40's are as good).

24th Apr 2003, 20:35

I have 2 850s and my wife and I are generally happy with the cars. They are not without problems though, Rear main seals go around 100k miles. Expect to spend some $ on repairs.

14th Jul 2005, 17:59

This transmission / front wheel drive configuration has been available from sept 1992 in Holland. AW50-42LE are pretty good unless abused. Most last 300 to 400.000 Km.


20th Jul 2005, 10:22

Although my 94 850 wagon is what I'd call a "good" car, its been pretty expensive to maintain, so expensive that I've decided to do the bare minimum. At 138,000 miles, I don't take it in for the big mileage checks. I've given up on trying to keep the exterior trim, which has been flaking off for the past four years. And this weekend, the passenger seat well, both front and back, is letting in rain, soaking the carpet. If anyone else has had this problem, I'd appreciate hearing. Thanks.

22nd Mar 2009, 17:17

Hi there everyone. I have 1997 Volvo 850 wagon. The car runs strong, and the only problem is a valve tick. Is it OK to keep driving the car? Please help if any one has the same problem.

Other than that, the wagon is beautiful and everything else seem to work fine.

By the way, it has 150k, and I'm trying to get another 100k on it.

24th Oct 2009, 15:31

Hi guys, I have had 3 Volvos, starting with a 1994 940 Wentworth estate 2.0, and was so impressed I upgraded to a 1996 850 CD T5 ---- Wow, what a car, a fully loaded 7 seater that could race Porsches.

OK, so you have to change the oil and filter every 3000 miles, but everything else worked perfectly, and this was on a 136,000 mile car that pulled like a train and thought it was a removal van. UK users call it a brick that flies.

The cars do not suffer abuse too well, but the build was excellent.

These cars are not very hard to work on once you have the right tools, and everything is repairable at a reasonable cost. I was looking at a post earlier that quoted $500 for a cam belt replacement. In UK a cam belt is £26 from eBay and approx £60 to fit.

Sorry to hear people are disappointed with Volvo. The build before Ford took them over was fantastic, and although they are old now, they still out perform many new cars, and if treated with respect, will go on to do 300,000 miles easily with no major problems

Malcolm, a fan, but not part of Volvo.