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Should I buy a 1996 Volvo 960?

Volvo 960

MVS Volvo Forum member Gladys asks if 1996 is a good vintage for the Volvo 960 model. Ethan responds with good tips on this year of 960, what to look for, what to expect when buying a used Volvo:

– 1996 was a fine year for the 960. The car went virtually unchanged from 96-98.

– Specific issues: disintegrating wiring harness for the ignition coils is the most serious problem IMHO. This and broken timing belts are what is taking these cars off the road.

-For a non-mechanic to own an 18 year old car, the car needs to have a value beyond resale. A 960 could be such a car if it were well maintained. For example: I bought my 96 960 for $1200 and spent $1300 fixing it up. I have $2500 into a $2000 car. However, I can’t find a nicer, safer, or more reliable car for $2500, so it is a good value to me.

-Service and maintenance parts are readily available. Interior and trim parts are being phased out.

Volvo 960 Buying Advice:

It requires using Premium Gasoline, and here’s Fuel Economy of 1996 Volvo 960

120K miles needs to be defined in terms of city vs hwy percent, and if oil/filter was changed ontime. Was it driven by the little old lady from Pasadena, who made mostly short trips to grocery store, etc?

I have no idea if Volvo dealerships can make an assessment, for under $200.00; but there are periodic maintenance schedules that should be followed, and they are listed in owner’s manual. Anytime I purchase an used vehicle, I assume it will cost $1k to $2k in parts to make it highway road worthy. Since its my labor, then means about $2k to $4k at dealership.

I said roadworthy… not a daily beater.

Hence, existing owner should have repair bills/etc to look over. Needless to say, the seller’s character is most important, but you must also ask questions.

“Newly licensed daughter,” maybe she needs a daily beater to learn on.

If lots of miles defines usage, get a more fuel efficient vehicle; just local and school type miles, fine.

PS: Maintenance is not cheap… all vehicles need repairs with time.

Another Volvo 960 Buying Opinion

Depends on your goals. If you want a very safe and somewhat luxurious car and are willing to put more money into maintenance, and gas mileage is secondary, an older Volvo is a good choice. If low overall cost and reliability are most important, i would suggest looking for a 15-20 year old Honda or Toyota, specifically a Civic or Corolla with as low miles as possible and good maintenance record. I bought Civics and Corollas for my daughters thru their college days, and had almost no problems with them. I still have a 91 Camry that runs great and has cost nothing over routine maintenance. I love my 98 V70, but it is not cheap to keep running.

1996 960 Should I buy?