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Volvo 850 Buying Experiences

Share your volvo 850 buying experience.

[By Ozark Lee, taken from this Volvo Forum thread]

I bought a ’96 850 a few months ago in Chicago for $550.00 with the doc fees off of eBay, I rented a trailer from Uhaul for $125.00 and then spent another $200.00 or so in gasoline to drag it home. 134 k miles on the clock and it had a loose battery cable – the control arms are shot but otherwise it is a dang decent car for my son – control arms are on the way.

My first 850 I also bought off of eBay and it was $1,300 in Indianapolis. The flight to pick it up from Kansas City was around $70.00. The cab ride to the stealership was closer to $80.00.

The ’94 had all of the Volvo 850 issues, the odometer had quit, the glove box latch had broken, the sunroof shade was drooping, the rear suspension was clacking.

That was the best $1,300 I ever spent in my life.

Driving the car back from Indianapolis to my cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks, and its twisty roads, was the most fun I have had since I had my Porsche 914 in high school. My Porsche had a few warts as well but it had a soul – that is exactly how I feel about the 850’s. As a side note, the heater works a lot better on the 850 than it did on the 914 so the soul is warmer.

I am a decent shade tree mechanic. These cars will eat you alive if you take them to the dealership for repairs. They are also quite intuitive to repair and if you have decent mechanical abilities they are not hard to fix or maintain.

I have seen the other posts that suggest Hondas or Toyotas and other cars that have no soul. If pure reliability without minor issues along the way is your objective that is where you should go.

MVS Forum Member calbrit01 says:

Hi SoluTech & Co,

I am actually from Chester, England been in California for some 7 years now, first time I owned a Volvo was over here, great car can’t wait to drive the UK models though. As far a pricing is concerned, ( and it can be a complicated subject ) , I trade on both sides of the Atlantic, and I find its pretty much pound (Sterling) for dollar – I.e. if you pay a pound for something in the UK, you will pay a dollar for the same thing in the US ( well California anyway ! ) – except umbrellas its a luxury item here – Sorry don’t mean to rub it in with the crappy weather the UK is having at the moment, lol.
I would be interested to find out how you get on with the tranny selector bulbs, thats one of my outstanding jobs. What I do for bulbs though is, anytime I go down the scrap (wrecking US) yard I grab as many bulbs as are left on the car and just shove them in my pocket, your bound to get a few good ones. Good luck, and welcome to the forum – its saved me a wad of cash since I had to start working on my own car again, compliments of California Divorce Law 😀 ,



MVS Forum Member MadeInJapan added:

Not to continue with my ramblings but when we had our 850, our kid also loved that center seat…many trips were taken with it…we just packed all of our luggage around him and put a pillow on each side. It was his favorite spot to fall asleep in! Great Volvo design!


Bought my 1st (and not my last) 850 in 2005. A ’95 n/a base with a few bells and whistles. Paid $3600USD with 52,000 miles on the clock.
Had a control arm fall apart @70k (broken front bolt), MAF sensor went retarded and the plastic radiator mount broke on 1 side. Other than that….1 hell of a car.
I love how it wont allow you to lock the keys in the car and the self diagnostic unit is *thumbs up*.
Love it so much that I’m looking for a T5-R now.

got a 97 turbo 850, with a wrecking title in 2005.chenged timing belt and serpent belt and water pump my self in just under 2 1/2 hr when I checked with mechanics one Portland Oregon shop wanted $960.00 the lowest bid was $490.00 it cost me less then a hundred dollars. after that we drove it from north Wa state to Calif. it was snowing in the mountains but we could maintain speed limit and a little more. we put synthetic oil and platinum plugs in her and got 29.8 miles /gallon

This story rocks. It inspires me to add another Volvo to the family! Perhaps I can use Lee for my next purchase as it seems that he has found some killer deals! I’m assuming that the 850’s he bought were non-turbos? An 850 Turbo in good shape will easily fetch $3500-$5000 around here (Denver).

Hey Lee,
That’s such an awesome story. I wish I knew more about these cars back when I was looking. I probably would have taken the chances you have with your cars but I was ignorant and too chicken, so I’m sure I paid way too much for mine, but hey, I’ve never regretted owning and driving it for one minute!

In terms of a soul, you are spot on about these cars!
Volvo for Life!


I have bought my first Volvo 95 850 Turbo. I really didn’t know what I had I just new I was able to buy me a car for $700.00 that ran well. I got some neg feed back from friends and family like wow thats going to be expensive to get worked on. anyway as I have done some research on my car i have found many helpful tips . I haven’t driven my car much. I bought a new battery and replacing vacuum hoses. I think I still have a vacuum leak but I am very optimistic about my car. I will be back to this site. Tammy

Well Im on my first Volvo . All I can say is wow its one hell of a car . I’ve driven numerous cars over the years and nothing gets close to the 850 for quality of the drive . My wifes quite worried as I keep obsessively polishing it lol .

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