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Thread: Need purchasing advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    126

    Default Need purchasing advice

    So, I just got back from L.A. visiting my son. His 2001 XC70 is on it's last legs...tranny issues, loss of power and someone backed into his rear passenger door. I would love to put him back into another Volvo, but I have no idea how to manage that long distance. He has about $10K and contemplated a lease of a Civic, Subaru or Mazda. Having always had Volvos (544, 140, P1800, 240, 740, S40, S60 and XC70) I am sold it the safety and solidity of the car. Having now driven on the expressways in LA, I really do want him in a safe vehicle. What would you all do it this situation? He is not 'a car guy', thus does not enjoy nor understand the pre-owned car buying process. He found a mechanic, but its a small independent shop run by Two Swedes (that's the name). They seem to only work on the older models, no resource for purchasing.
    Had to put it out there, as I know he will call soon to tell me that his car has ended its life. !

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    GA
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    1,107

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanS View Post
    What would you all do it this situation?
    I have been in the car repair business since 1971, owned a Volvo shop from 1980-2018. Have worked on most imports, British, German, Swedish, Japanese, Korean -

    What do I recommend for someone who just needs transportation, has very little money for repairs, and can't (or won't ) do any of it themselves?

    Simple/logical answer (and sad for some of us) - a Toyota or Subaru, Maybe a Honda. (my kids now drive a Subaru and a Mazda) Sure a Volvo is "safe, solid", but when a Toyo comes into my shop with 230k miles and you ask the owner what they have done to the car the past 20 years - and the answer is tires, oil changes, some brake pads and a few "tune ups" - it's hard to justify comparing (for those that just need basic transportation) what you would have to spend on a 2001 xc70 (or many other volvo, bmw, mercedes, saab Etc.. models) during that same 230k miles.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    28

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoonk View Post
    What do I recommend for someone who just needs transportation, has very little money for repairs, and can't (or won't ) do any of it themselves?

    Simple/logical answer (and sad for some of us) - a Toyota or Subaru, Maybe a Honda.
    I have to agree. My son is getting ready to head off to college, could be 6 or more hours away. I need him to have something reliable and cheap, and while I would love to send him off with a S60 or V70 truth is I'm looking for a Toyota Matrix or Pontiac Vibe. Something wagon-ish for transport but dirt cheap and bulletproof so I don't have to worry.

    We have had the "sometimes expensive is cheap" talk - our two Volvos are 14 and 12 years old, and we've probably spend 5k between them in maintenance - and will be the last cars I need to buy, but in this case it's the "reliable and inexpensive - but boring - is cheap" talk that's going to take place. He came home from the hospital in an 00 V40 (not really a Volvo but it's what we could afford at the time).

    Someday I hope he'll remember what he grew up in and come back to the stable, but I have to be practical for his sake right now (my dad grew us up in Chevy and Pontiac wagons - Bel Air and Safaris and I carried on as best I could for my kids - wink).
    ---
    '04 AWD
    '05 XC (totaled in a rear end collision; RIP)
    '06 XC

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Western Head, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    3,049

    Default

    I have had close to 50 cars since I was 16 and my two sons have had their fair share of units that I ended up working on off and on when they lived at home. With all of that, I would agree with the previous 2 posts especially since you are in California. If we were talking about an environment with abundant salt air and/or road salt, I would suggest staying clear of most Asian cars (even the ones built in NA) as they will just dissolve sitting in your driveway in such environments. Here, for example, its pretty common to have to replace Subaru subframes after about 4-5 years as they just rust out. All those shiny yellow-zinc fittings break down and end up with massive amounts of rust scale, something I don't see much of with the Euro cars and whatever corrosion treatment they give their fittings. Toyota, Mazda, Nissan all end up with fender and rocker rust-outs and the Korean makes seem to have more random rust just forming under the paint with better body integrity. Those makes, like VW or Audi, that claim to use 2-sided galvanise do better, but if you get a nick in the paint and allow water and salt to get into the nick, you will lose the paint around the nick. In some cases, I've seen paintless spots 4-5 inches in diameter.

    Now with all that said, if body appearance and integrity are not the big concern, mechanically all makes I've run into amount to about the same thing. The more complicated the engineering, the more crap you have to put up with. I had a '95 Land Rover Defender that was an ex-British MOD radio truck that had a non-turbo diesel and only 6 fuses for its very basic electrical system. Had absolutely no problem mechanically or electrically with that one. Conversely, the Porsches I've had have been the worse for reliability even when driven fairly easy.

    Anyway, my suggestion is get the kid something non-complicated with as little electro-gizmos as possible these days.

    Have fun,

    Bill
    Western Head, NS CDN

    '05 V70R (Magic Blue)-119K mi to-date
    '05 XC70 (Lava Sand)-290K kms to-date
    '02 V70XC-gone @393K kms
    '98 V70-gone @390k kms
    '91 744GL-killed by son @ 220K kms
    '96 854R (Red)-real CDN-spec 5-speed R - gone @270k kms
    '90 744T w/Turbo Plus-killed by son @260K mi
    '78 245-killed by wife @166K mi
    '76 265-gas hog gone
    And other misc. Euro stuff

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Maine USA. Cumbria UK
    Posts
    385

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    Quote Originally Posted by billr99 View Post

    Anyway, my suggestion is get the kid something non-complicated with as little electro-gizmos as possible these days.

    Have fun
    Bill
    Sound advice, Volvos are great cars, that said I have two XC's and would never contemplate ever buying a Volvo again, too high maintenance for a uninspiring, plebeian car, I am capable, thankfully of doing my own work on them, I have other projects that I would rather spend my time involved with yet the Volvos demand much in time and expense. I find myself leaving them home and using other modes of transportation rather than the Volvo, When I do drive the Volvo I find myself turning the entertainment off so I can hear the next complaint that the car will make of me. That is no way to live.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    563

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    Somebody admired my '04 recently and I said "yes, great cars if you like messing around with cars. If you don't, get a Toyota".

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