I've noticed a few similar questions about a buying guide, but have yet to find one definitive topic with all the links and suggestions, so I thought I would try to compile a list.
A one stop information shop for future potential Volvo owners!
If you have any other suggestions or information, please post a reply and I will edit this first post so all the information can be found here.
Let's try to make this so good it gets pinned to the top!
So without further ado, the Buying Guide:
Dear Potential Volvo Owner,
Welcome to Swedespeed!
We hope you find a Volvo to call your own and enjoy many happy years of Volvo ownership!
But, we would also be remiss if we did not first warn you:
1. Volvos are European cars, with all that that entails
Quoted from dmorga1:
Rules for buying a Volvo are like any other European car--you pay for the pedigree of the car. Few owner history with documented excellent maintenance history costs up front. A dog car? Well, you can get that cheap. Owners dump these cars all the time with no maintenance done, and you'll be up to your eyeballs (i.e., $2000-4000) in work in the first six months. No sh$t. Just a cautionary note--they are wonderful cars, but you get what you pay for!
2. The 1999 and 2000 models may have Electronic Throttle Module (ETM) issues. Refer to this link for more information:
Okay, now that we got that out of the way, lets get to the good stuff:
-Typical problems of the series?
Quoted from glsable:
As to cosmetic differences between '98 and '99/'00 S/V70s, some others I have noticed are:
- the '98s have a blacked-out area on the rear doors near the lower edge of the windows. The '99s and '00s just leave this painted body color. I guess for an automotive designer this was an important visual styling point! (but I have noticed that the blackout paint is wearing away a little on one of my doors).
- Early '98s have flatter twin-nozzle windshield washer sprayers (same as the 850s?). Later-'98s, '99s and '00s have the square-lump style (single-nozzle). Mine is a July-98 build and has the square lumps.
- I have heard a rumour (or read it somewhere?) that the '99/'00s might have cup holders in the rear seat armrest? Is this true? If so, I wish my '98 had these!
Quoted from MadeInJapan:
'99 and '00 V/S/XC/ and C's (I assume) have a pocket under the glove box to put things. My '98 does not.
Quoted from 1999s70:
Here are a few other model year observations:
1998 has a "Volvo" label at the rear of the front quarter panels. 99 and 00 have turn signal marker lights in these positions.
2000 saw the S70 SE model, which did not exist (or was not imported to the US) in previous years.
The engines are unique to each model year, too:
1998 has the 850 throttle setup (wired connection), distributor ignition (meaning that there's a cap and rotor that are part of routine maintenance), etc. with a peak of 162 hp for the NA engine
1999 has the electronic throttle and coil packs at each spark plug (no distributor), also with a peak of 162 hp
2000 is the 1999, but now with variable valve timing, adding 6 hp at peak (now 168 hp for the NA engine) and a few more ft-lbs of torque
-Interior Photos of Model Differences:
-Youtube video walk-around of 1998 S70 T5:
-V70 Cross Country/XC70:
Quoted from glsable:
The only thing I have heard is that the older models (pre-2003?) are very sensitive to tire diameter, so it is important to keep all four tires* of the same brand/size/tread depth.
* or is it just side-to-side that is important?
And apparently lots of AWD 70s are running around in fwd-only mode (rear driveshaft removed) to avoid replacing expensive parts!
-Things to check-out at before buying?
-General advice, quoted from t5p0wer:
expect to purchase a decent car for around 4-8k depending on the car, (T5, GLT, or an R) and expect for it to be relatively high-mileage... over 100k miles. and one last thing is to budget for replacement of parts that have been worn out over the years. this stage is called "Stage 0". here's a tutorial on what things to replace when purchasing a high mileage volvo:
-Another take on Stage Zero by our own [email protected]:
-S70 and V70 Repairs and Fixes:
-Volvo Recalls and Technical Service Bulletins:
-Wiring Diagrams (PDF):
(Website is in Polish-- look under "Schematy elektryczne Volvotechinfo")
-Owner's Manuals (and other documents):
If these links do not work, go to Volvo Cars website:
Select "Volvo Owners Info" from the menu on the top
Register your e-mail address or sign in
Select "Owners Library" from the menu on the left
Enter your year/model information
Other documents are also available (VIN Decoder, maintenance milestones, etc.)
-Other model specific documents (with European specs) can be found at the UK Volvo Owner's Club site:
-The Volvo Club of America (VCOA) does not have model specific information, but with membership you can save on parts and service at Volvo dealerships. Here's the website:
And link to member benefits:
-General advice for looking on Craigslist, etc.:
-Make sure you discuss important definitions. We found that seller's had very different ideas about what makes a "good" car and what "well-maintained means." Which leads me to my biggest piece of advice:
-Get the car inspected (by someone who knows Volvos and/or the model you are considering) before you purchase (unless you are very mechanically inclined and know a lot about Volvos). The results of this inspection help prioritize what needs to be fixed now, later, or eventually. It can also help with price negotiations.
-Search in bigger and/or wealthier city areas. The cars there are usually better maintained and often have more variety/selection available. I don't know how far you are looking to drive to find a car, but the bay area in CA (http://sfbay.craigslist.org/car/) usually has a good selection of Volvos of various models, vintages, and prices.
-Check the listings often; cars are always being uploaded and sell fast on craigslist.
Some other general advice:
Even if you plan to do all the mechanical work yourself, say hello and make contact with the independent Volvo shops in your area. When you find a good one, you should be able to ask a lot of questions to help guide you what to look for, what to avoid, etc. as well as to point you towards good resources in your area (including other reputable independent Volvo shops in the other cities where you may be searching).
-Quoted from MadeInJapan:
Get a CARFAX
Micheal Karesh (mkaresh) over at True Delta is gathering information about the reliability of various manufacturer's, including Volvos. But, at this time, there are not enough cars enrolled in this series to be included in the most recent results (hopefully this will change over time).
Here is the link to the most current results:
And, the home page:
Other Volvo-related forums (in no particular order):
-Matthews Volvo Site: http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/
-Swedishbricks (listserve): http://www.swedishbricks.net/home.html
Hope that helps.
When you find a Volvo you like, feel free to highlight it here to get your car-specific questions answered.
Good luck and happy hunting!
(Make sure you post photos of your new purchase too! We love impromptu photographic car shows! )
Modified by volvie! at 4:15 PM 3-8-2009
Modified by volvie! at 3:13 PM 11-4-2009