How much do you enjoy working on your volvo?
If you enjoy working on your Volvo as much as I do, that’s great! I really enjoy working on my 850. It’s nice to work on a well-designed car, where the pieces are usually high quality and not made to perform a similar function in 5 other models across 3 sister brands (ahem, domestics). The engine compartment is certainly cramped like all cars from the last 20 years, but not bad like a Honda’s bay is.
I changed the oil, oil filter, spark plugs and air filter in my girlfriend’s 2000 Honda Civic EX yesterday. Spark plugs were easier to get to than my 850, but the oil filter was much more difficult. Not only is it behind the driveshaft on the back of the engine, requiring a triple-jointed wrist to remove, but it rests sideways on the engine. So while you’re torturing your hand trying to squeeze this filter out of the engine area, hot oil drips down the side of the engine and down your arm. And the Volvo has only one accessory belt; this Honda has two. Advantage: Volvo.
I’m not here to rip on Hondas. Just a ‘compare and contrast’ for those thinking about a Volvo and wondering how easy or hard they are to work on. I’m very comfortable with minor-to-medium skill work with my 850. There’s enough of them on the road to make a great deal of information available online, in Haynes-type manuals and from dealers and independent mechanics. And it’s a car that I can really respect. Few if any corners were cut in the design of this model. I’d feel bad if she weren’t in good condition, like I was cheating the Great Car Spirit or something.
If you don’t want to work on it but still want a Volvo, find a good independent Volvo shop. Not as good as doing your own work, but a close second 😉