The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

How Do Volvos Stack up in the Used Car Market?

2019-01-11 - Scott Hart

Disclaimer: Direct from ipd’s Tech Tip archive!  This tech tip contains information from previous publications.  Products mentioned may not be available or the information may not be accurate due to changes in supply, manufacturing, or part number association.  Please contact ipd Customer Support if you have further questions  info@ipdusa.com

Maintenance costs and serviceability are of the utmost importance when considering used car ownership. We've collected some data on typical maintenance parts you might need to maintain a 10 to 20 year old car with over 100,000 miles on it. The following information was gathered this November from local dealerships in the Portland area. The cars listed on the chart shown at the bottom of this page were selected from classi-fied ads in our local newspaper; asking prices averaged about $3000.

This information is for general comparison only. We don't know enough about other makes and models to provide an objective comparison factoring in serviceability and longevity. However, we do know that Volvos tend to be highly serviceable and are famous for their longevity. (I used to tell my friends the only reason Volvos last so long is because the owners are so determined to get a couple of hundred thousand miles out of them that they actually maintain them properly!) Now I understand that this is true to a certain extent, but the high serviceability makes it so. Many cars manufactured in the 70s and 80s are nightmares to work on and weren't designed to give 100,000 miles of service, let alone several hundred thousand, as I'm sure many of you are experiencing in your Volvos. I know there are exceptions with any make, however it seems to be the rule with Volvos.


Serviceability is the key characteristic that is behind Volvo's eputation for longevity. Serviceability is what allowed Iry Gordon to put over two million miles on his famous 1966 Volvo 1800. Serviceability is what allowed the Makinen delivery company of Finland to put over 2 million kilometers (1,250,000 miles) on their '79 Volvo 245. These are just a couple of examples. I'm sure you've heard similar stories if you've owned a Volvo for long. These Volvos had 2 or 3 engine replacements as well as most major components replaced several time. It's the integrity of the chassis that makes this possible. (And both are still in service today!) There is an inherent value in a Volvo that makes it worth maintaining and rebuilding. This value is more of a feeling you become aware of as you get to know your Volvo. You begin to notice that the utility of the design actually makes sense. You sense this car was built by a company with integrity, a company concerned that the owner gets a fair value.


Serviceability began to erode with the introduction of the 700 series as new car manufacturers met stricter federal emission standards, meaning more computer-controlled systems. As manufacturers begin to install on board diagnostic systems (0.B.D's), the service you as an owner can perform has pretty much diminished to filters and fluids. The 200 series stands out as one of the last models with a high level of owner serviceability. Stricter on board diagnostic systems (0.B.D. II's) are equipped on all cars 96 and later, essentially sealing off the engine compartment to the owner. These new systems are so sophisticated that they can electronically manipulate the engine management systems and provide clean emissions even when the primary components have failed. The system will alert the driver of a component failure, meaning, head for the nearest authorized dealership for service. The controversy behind these new systems is who is the authorized dealer! The manu-facturers want to eliminate the independent repair facility by write protecting the on board diagnostic informa-tion, thereby making it accessible only by the manufacturer, guaranteeing them all service work!