Question about 1994 Volvo 940

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Volvos-Quandry--Are-They-Worth-Keeping?? I have 2 Volvos a 1994 940 Turbo (180K miles) and a 1992 740 NonTurbo (220K miles). Both have run very well and served us well for the past 6 years. Neither have any discernible rust. Until recently the 940 was our main family car. It has broken down a few times in the past few weeks and my wife wants to spend 20G on a new car. I'm trying to adjust to the shock of having a car payment. However, we just spent $2500 fixing the 940 (including transmission sensor, fuel pumps, ignition power stage unit, and a bunch of other things the Volvo guys recommended). Now a) the radiator and b) head gasket on the 940 are both leaking, and c) the right ball joint has 1/8 inch of play in it. I'd like to stick with driving an oldish Volvo and I'm prepared to spend some time learning more about them and fixing them myself. I feel that both my Volvos have a lot more miles in them. Wife open to the idea of having a Volvo in the driveway undergoing "maintenance". Is it realistic for me to consider attempting repair jobs such as a), b), and c) in my driveway? I have done some simple stuff and feel ready to graduate to trying these more advanced repairs. What are the considerations to determine whether it's worth putting the time, $ and effort into repair jobs rather than trading them each in ($1000 total I should think) and getting a newer (but lower quality) car? Thanks, Rob Pates Charlottesville, VA

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These things are repairable by a DIYer for sure.In order to do that and have a reasonably reliable car you should invest in some manuals. Locate a Haynes manual for starters, it will give you the proper way to make a lot of common repairs (like the ones you want to do) as well as some tips and warnings. They usually cost about $20. Ideally it would be best to find a dealer service manual because it will have a lot of diagrams and info that may be needed at a later date or for a different problem ( like computer codes, wiring diagrams). They usually cost a little more but they could save your car from the crusher before its time. You will also have to invest in a good trolley jack and some jack stands. ALWAYS use the jack stands when the car is off the ground.
Pricewise, doing your own repairs can save a lot of money over taking it to a shop because you aren't paying labour but it also eats into your free time. For sure fixing your own car will be cheaper than making car payments on a yearly basis as long as you realize that at some point it is time to quit. Shopping at a local auto parts store rather than the dealer can help as well, especially if you patronize one specific one. This could save you in the long run. I do this and recently had to buy a new heater switch for my VW, list price was over $300. As a regular customer I ended up getting it for $180, basically cost. Shop around until you find a store you are comfortable with and then stop.
Hope this helps.

Posted on Nov 20, 2009

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