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Would Not Buy Again, 2002 V70 N/A

Here is a very interesting post by MVS reader Mike:

I just did the Xemodex ETM rebuild a month ago and the problem is completely gone. The 2002 V70 non-turbo has 185k miles on it. I am a moderately skilled mechanic and have fixed most things, especially suspension and brakes. I have a few unresolved issues like radio volume that goes up by itself, no rear washer, broken seat back latch, groaning noise when backing up with wheel turned. I have lived with these and a few more niggling problems. I get great hwy mileage, comfy seats, easy to drive. Parts are relatively available, somewhat expensive. Pretty solid car. Much more reliable than my 76 265 wagon, but that car drove well too. Would I buy one again, probably no.

The Automobile Social Contract

There’s a “social contract” with us DIY’ers and our Volvos. It goes something like this:

The Volvo: I’ll give you 200k miles, or more, of comfortable motoring.

The DIY’er: I want a reasonable trade. I’ll feed you nice parts and change fluids on or near the maintenance schedule dates, and in return I want near-Japanse-style dependability. Near. Everything else you do I’m happy with.

Volvo: Why can’t you be so focused on comfort? I’m very good at that. But no, you want  something I’m not predisposed to.

DIY’er: I just need to get to work, M-F.

Volvo: Deal. If you buy me nice parts (they don’t have to be OEM blue box to be good), keep an eye on my fluids, and check MatthewsVolvoSite so you know how I feel on the inside. I have needs.

So that’s the owner-Volvo “contract”. Now back to Mike’s post. Why does it show up so brightly on my radar? Because of the last sentence: Would I buy one again, probably no.

I haven’t contacted Mike, so I don’t know anything beyond what we all know from his post. But we know he didn’t like the playing the game, despite his credentials (mechanic – “moderately good”) and recent ETM success. I know a lot of guys who have much less on their side, but stay in the game.

I admit I often think about buying a brand new VW (Volvo doesn’t offer anything I can afford & that I like) and taking a break from the Owner-Volvo contract. But that offers very little satisfaction, plus it’s all downhill (uphill?) from the day I’d roll off the dealer lot: entropy (#5) is, to make a terrible pun, alive and well. The new car only gets worse, in terms of wear and tear.

Meaning I’d park half-miles away from shops just to save the doors from other doors.

It’s just so much exposure to potential heartbreak. But anyway, Mike, if you’re reading this, let us know what you plan on doing… if you plan to sell and buy something else or keep the V70. Thank you.


Brad Giles says:

Enjoyed the “contract” way of looking at things. Long-time skilled mechanic but new to the Volvo world as of last year. After just getting use to the way that Volvo does things, it’s been a pretty good experience. I do have to say that the thought of getting rid of a Volvo for a new VW would not be step in the right direction. You think Volvo does some weird things – VW takes it to a whole other level. They do things different just to be different, not because it’s actually better. I’ll take my 98 V70R anyday over the VW.

Well – here I am, an owner of both VW and Volvo. I inherited the 1999 V70 T5 from the boss when we bought BMW (used) but the car was just so d*** comfortable I couldn’t get rid of it. Now at 150k it runs me the occasional 5 hour trip, and gets my lard butt out of the car feeling like a teenager – you just dont get that level of comfort in a rice rocket IMHO. In 6 months my teen girls start driving and they already know they have to master stick before they can think about license test. I am fully signed up for the contract…. 🙂

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